Instant Pot Spaghetti Bolognese: A Quick and Hearty Italian Classic

Spaghetti Bolognese, a cherished Italian classic, holds a special place in the hearts of many. Its rich, savory meat sauce, lovingly spooned over a tangle of perfectly cooked pasta, is a taste of comfort and nostalgia. But what if you could enjoy this beloved dish in a fraction of the time without sacrificing any of the deliciousness? Enter the Instant Pot, your kitchen companion to whip up an unforgettable plate of Spaghetti Bolognese with ease and speed.

What Is Spaghetti Bolognese?

Spaghetti Bolognese, or “Ragù alla Bolognese” in Italian, is a beloved and iconic Italian dish known for its delicious blend of flavors and heartiness. It hails from the city of Bologna in northern Italy and is a classic example of Italian cuisine. This dish has found its way into kitchens and hearts around the world, becoming a staple in many households and Italian restaurants.

The Components:

At its core, Spaghetti Bolognese consists of three essential components:

The Pasta: Spaghetti is the most commonly used pasta for this dish, but other long pasta shapes like fettuccine or tagliatelle are also suitable.

The Sauce: The sauce is where the magic happens. It’s a rich, meat-based sauce made with ground meat, typically a combination of beef and pork. The sauce is simmered to develop deep, savory flavors, often with the addition of ingredients like tomatoes, onions, garlic, carrots, celery, wine, and various herbs and spices.

The Variations: Spaghetti Bolognese has become a canvas for culinary creativity. There are regional and individual variations of the dish, with some incorporating ingredients like milk or cream for creaminess and others adding a touch of spiciness with red pepper flakes

How To Make an Instant Pot Spaghetti Bolognese

Instant Pot Spaghetti Bolognese Recipe

Recipe by Ethan HarrisCuisine: Italian classic


Prep time


Cooking time






  • Bolognese Sauce:
  • 1 pound ground meat (a combination of beef and pork is traditional)

  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 carrot, finely chopped

  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped

  • 1 can (14 oz) crushed tomatoes

  • 1/2 cup red wine (optional)

  • 1/2 cup whole milk or heavy cream (for creaminess)

  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 1 teaspoon dried basil

  • Salt and black pepper to taste

  • Red pepper flakes (optional, for spiciness)

  • Fresh basil leaves (for garnish)

  • Grated Parmesan cheese (for topping)


  • Sauté Mode.
    Turn on your Instant Pot and set it to the “Sauté” mode.
    Heat the olive oil and add the finely chopped onion, garlic, carrot, and celery. Sauté for about 2-3 minutes until they become soft and aromatic.
  • Brown the Meat.
    Add the ground meat (beef and pork blend or your choice) to the Instant Pot.
    Break up the meat with a spatula and brown it. This should take about 5-7 minutes.
  • Add Tomato Paste and Spices.
    Stir in the tomato paste, dried oregano, and dried basil. Cook for an additional 1-2 minutes to enhance the flavors.
  • Optional Wine.
    If you’re using red wine, pour it into the Instant Pot and allow it to simmer for a few minutes until the liquid reduces slightly.
  • Add Crushed Tomatoes and Milk.
    Pour in the can of crushed tomatoes and whole milk or heavy cream. Stir well to combine.
  • Pressure Cooking.
    Break the spaghetti in half and arrange it on top of the sauce in a crisscross pattern to prevent sticking. Ensure that the spaghetti is mostly submerged in the sauce.
    Close the Instant Pot and set it to “Manual” or “Pressure Cook” mode for 8 minutes.
  • Quick Release and Serve.
    Once the cooking time is complete, perform a quick pressure release.
    Open the Instant Pot, give the mixture a good stir, and season with salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste.
    Serve your Instant Pot Spaghetti Bolognese with a sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese and fresh basil leaves as a garnish.

Instant Pot Spaghetti Bolognese Variations

Classic Beef Bolognese: The traditional version uses ground beef, creating a hearty and rich sauce with a meaty flavor.

Pork Bolognese: Substitute ground pork for the beef to create a slightly sweeter and lighter version of the sauce. Pork pairs well with aromatic herbs like sage and rosemary.

Turkey Bolognese: Ground turkey is a leaner option that still delivers a satisfying taste. It’s a healthier alternative to traditional beef Bolognese.

Vegetarian Bolognese: Cater to vegetarians by using meat alternatives like textured vegetable protein (TVP), lentils, mushrooms, or a combination of these to create a meatless version of Bolognese.

Spicy Bolognese: Amp up the heat by adding extra red pepper flakes, diced jalapeños, or a splash of hot sauce for those who enjoy a spicy kick.

Serving Suggestions for Instant Pot Spaghetti Bolognese

Classic Spaghetti: Serve the Bolognese sauce over a generous portion of al dente spaghetti, ensuring the sauce coats every strand. Garnish with grated Parmesan cheese and fresh basil leaves.

Tagliatelle Elegance: Swap out the spaghetti for wide, ribbon-like tagliatelle noodles. The broad surface area of tagliatelle allows more sauce to cling to each bite, making it a rich and luxurious choice.

Pappardelle Perfection: Pappardelle, with its broad and flat noodles, provides an indulgent base for the hearty Bolognese sauce. It’s a great option for those who appreciate a thicker, more substantial pasta.

Zucchini Noodles (Zoodles): For a low-carb alternative, serve the Bolognese sauce over zucchini noodles. Spiralized zucchini offers a fresh and crisp contrast to the rich sauce.

Polenta Platform: Creamy polenta pairs wonderfully with Bolognese. Spread a generous scoop of polenta on each plate and ladle the sauce on top. Sprinkle with grated Pecorino Romano cheese.

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