Creamy, cheesy noodles and tender chicken make Cheesy Instant Pot Chicken Pasta an easy, delicious dinner that the whole family will love!
I love one-pot meals. Little to no cleanup, a whole meal wrapped up in a neat little dish, it’s kitchen perfection. The only thing that can make a one-pot meal any better is if it’s a one-pot meal that can be prepped and cooked in under 30 minutes.
Cheesy Instant Pot Chicken Pasta fits both of those standards and believe me when I say, my family LOVES this stuff. (Just as much as they love Instant Pot Pork Chops!) It’s a complete meal, filled with cheesy goodness that can go from your instant pot to your hungry stomach in under 30 minutes. I call that a dinner game-changer!
CHEESY INSTANT POT CHICKEN PASTA
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With the stress of a big Thanksgiving dinner out of the way, it’s time for me to take a break mentally from food prep and recipe creation before the Christmas rush arrives. Every year in the ‘”in-between time” between Thanksgiving and Christmas, I find myself gravitating towards my favorite tried and true EASY recipes. I allow myself to take a step back and cook what I know works for my family. Instant pot chicken pasta is one of those recipes that just works wonderfully for everyone.
For my boys, anything cheesy and pasta-based is a WIN in their book. So I can almost guarantee that this instant pot chicken pasta will be making an appearance on our dinner table a few times before the end of the year.
My family loves this creamy, cheesy pasta and chicken. I love that dinner is prepped and cooked in under 30 minutes. My husband (who is typically on clean-up duty) loves that he’s only got ONE pot to clean! It’s a win-win recipe all around.
Ingredients for Chicken Pasta in an Instant Pot
CHEESE – most of my family’s favorite recipes have “cheese” in the title (can you blame us? Cheese is amazing…), so it’s no wonder that this instant pot pasta is a frequent request in our house! You’ll need two types of cheese for this dish: shredded cheddar and condensed cheddar cheese soup.
My biggest recommendation to you is to avoid using pre-shredded cheeses. The pre-bagged stuff has starch added to it to keep it from caking up in the bag. That starch causes it to clump up when melted into your cheese sauce. Grab your cheese grater and shred it yourself instead!
CHICKEN – I almost always have a pack of boneless, skinless chicken breasts in my fridge or freezer. For this instant pot pasta recipe, you’ll want to use those chicken breasts and cut them up into bite-sized pieces. If you don’t have uncooked chicken breasts lying around, feel free to use pre-cooked shredded chicken too. Just be sure to add it into your instant pot after the pasta cooks so it doesn’t get over-cooked.
How to Cook Pasta in an Instant Pot
Pasta can be kind of tricky in an instant pot – too little time and you’ve got crunchy noodles and too much time and you’ve got mush. I’ve found that the timing laid out below works perfectly for medium shells OR macaroni noodles.
You’ve got a tiny bit of prep work to do before closing the lid on your instant pot and letting it work it’s magic, but I promise it’s super easy and definitely worth it!
- Start by turning your instant pot to the saute setting and add the butter. Once the butter is melted, add the chicken and cook for about 3 minutes, just until it’s starting to cook. (It doesn’t need to be cooked through as the pressure cooking will do the remainder of the cooking!)
- Next, add in your seasonings and stir to coat the chicken.
- Add the pasta and chicken broth and stir to combine (yes, UNCOOKED pasta! The broth will serve as your water and they’ll cook right along with the chicken).
- Now, place the lid on the pot, turn the valve to sealing, and set to high pressure (manual) for 4 minutes.
- Once the cooking time is complete, carefully turn the valve to quick release the pressure (be very careful with this step, that steam is HOT). After the pin has dropped, remove the lid and add in the cheddar cheese soup. Stir to combine.
- Next, add the shredded cheddar cheese one cup at a time, stirring between each addition until melted and smooth – believe me, watching all that cheesy goodness melt together is SO satisfying.
- Add the peas and give them a quick stir to mix them in
- Now, if the cheese has become too thick (sometimes I’m a little heavy-handed with the cheese haha), add 2-3 tbsp of milk or heavy cream as needed until it is your desired creaminess
- Scoop your cheesy instant pot pasta into bowls, serve, and enjoy!
Can you Cook Dry Pasta in an Instant Pot?
You can absolutely cook dry pasta in an instant pot! Pasta can sometimes be tricky to time out correctly in an instant pot. But, when you get it right, you’ve saved yourself the time of boiling water and waiting for the pasta to cook. AND sometimes accidentally letting your pot boil over… or is that just me? Plus no extra dishes!
When cooking pasta in an instant pot, you’ll just need some form of liquid to cook the pasta in. You need less liquid than if you were boiling your pasta on the stove because the noodles will absorb all the liquid during the pressure cooking process. For instant pot chicken pasta, your liquid will be the chicken broth. You can substitute vegetable broth or water instead if you prefer!
Can You Put Raw Chicken in an Instant Pot?
Using my instant pot is one of my new favorite ways to cook chicken breasts. It’s quick and easy and the chicken comes out so moist and tender! Typically when I’m cooking chicken in the instant pot, I’ll put it in completely raw, add my seasonings, and let the pressure cooker do its thing. But, since this particular instant pot recipe has pasta in it, I do things a bit differently.
A typical raw chicken breast would need to cook for about 12 minutes in an instant pot. But, cooking pasta for 12 minutes would result in a mushy mess. So instead, I recommend using the saute function on your instant pot to start the cooking process on your chicken. It gives your chicken a little head start, that way the chicken and the pasta can cook together and be done at the same time!
Looking for some more of our favorite easy dinners?
- Instant Pot Beef Stew
- Instant Pot Chicken Chili
- Cheesy Sausage, Bacon, & Sweet Potato Pasta Bake
- Green Chili Chicken Enchilada Casserole
- Instant Pot Pork Chops
- more DINNER recipes…
Tools used to make this Cheesy Instant Pot Chicken Pasta recipe
Instant Pot: The greatest kitchen invention since the Crock Pot!
Soup Bowls: I adore these cute soup bowls and use them to serve up all my favorite pasta dishes!
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into bite-sized pieces
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 pound medium pasta shells or elbow macaroni
- 5 cups low-sodium chicken broth (or vegetable broth or water)
- 10.5 ounces condensed cheddar cheese soup
- 3 cups cheddar cheese shredded (see note)
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 3 tablespoons milk as needed
- Turn Instant Pot to sauté setting and add butter. Once butter is melted, add chicken and cook for about 3 minutes, just until it’s starting to turn color.
- Add garlic powder, onion powder, and salt. Stir to coat chicken.
- Add chicken broth and pasta to the pot. Stir to combine pasta and chicken.
- Place the lid on Instant Pot, turn the valve to sealing, and set to high pressure (manual) for 4 minutes.
- Once the cooking time is done, carefully turn valve to quick release the pressure. After the pin has dropped, remove the lid.
- Add the cheddar cheese soup and stir into pasta. Add shredded cheddar cheese, one cup at a time, stirring between each addition until melted and smooth.
- Add peas and stir to incorparte them into the pasta.
- If the cheese has become too thick, add 2-3 tablespons of milk as needed until it is your desired creaminess.
- Scoop into bowl and serve warm.