Spicy Creamy Tomato Pasta (Instant Pot)

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Spicy Tomato Cream Pasta on White Plate

Spicy Creamy Tomato Pasta is made in the Instant Pot for a quick and easy weeknight meal that’s also meatless. Only one pot, and no colander needed!

If you love classic spaghetti, you’ll love this elevated Spicy Creamy Tomato Pasta! It’s truly a grown-up version of your favorite dish without much additional work. Plus, it’s made in the Instant Pot for even quicker preparation.

One of the things I love most about this recipe is that the ingredients are so simple. Yet, it tastes like an expensive pasta dish from your favorite Italian restaurant. You could easily entertain with this recipe, and no one would know how easy it is! It will be one of the best Instant Pot spaghetti dishes you’ve ever had.

Spicy Creamy Tomato Pasta Equipment

Because this recipe is made in a pressure cooker, you only need one pot. Even better, you don’t need a colander to drain your pasta!

For this recipe, I used my 6 Quart Instant Pot. But you could also use an 8 Quart Instant Pot. Personally, I have only used the Instant Pot, but this recipe should work well with other pressure cookers.

If you do not have a pressure cooker, this recipe can still be made on the stove top. For stove top instructions, refer to my preparation tips below.

Why Use an Instant Pot?

Spicy Tomato Cream Pasta in Instant Pot (1)

Contrary to popular belief, recipes made in the Instant Pot are not always faster than if you made them on the stove-top. This Spicy Creamy Tomato Pasta is one of those examples. Preparation time is about the same if you made this on the stove or in the pressure cooker.

However, I prefer to make this recipe in the Instant Pot. When it’s cooked in the Instant Pot, the flavors are more intense. As it cooks, the pasta soaks up the tomato sauce. And the starch from the pasta helps thicken the sauce.

Additionally, once you saute the onions, the hands-off cooking time is minimal. Not having to baby-sit the pasta and the sauce is the BEST! Most of the time needed for this recipe is waiting for the Instant Pot to reach pressure.

Spicy Creamy Tomato Pasta Prep Tips

Spicy Creamy Tomato Pasta Process Shot

This recipe starts with canned spaghetti or tomato sauce which saves time and gives a good base flavor. I use Hunt’s Garlic and Herb spaghetti sauce, but use your favorite spaghetti or marinara sauce. If you want a homemade version, try my recipe for Homemade Marinara Sauce.

After sauteing the onions and the spices, add your chicken stock slowly. As you add the stock, scrape the bottom of the Instant Pot well to remove any bits stuck to the bottom of the pot. This will help you prevent the “burn notice” when cooking in your Instant Pot.

To prevent your spaghetti from sticking together, as you add the pasta to the pot, spiral the pasta around the pot. (Think of layering the pasta like a game of pickup sticks).

Can I Add Meat to the Spaghetti and Sauce?

This Instant Pot spaghetti is made without meat. If you want to add meat, ground beef or frozen meatballs work perfectly. While sauteing the onions, add your meat of choice, and saute until browned. Then, proceed with the recipe as written.

Can I Make Spicy Creamy Tomato Pasta without an Instant Pot?

If you don’t have a pressure cooker, you can still make this dinner on the stove top! To do this, you’ll want to cook your sauce and pasta separately. Then, you can combine them together.

For the Spicy Tomato Cream Sauce: In a large skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil. Add the onion, and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onion is soft and translucent. Next, add garlic, basil, red pepper flakes and continue to saute for 30 seconds or until you begin to smell the spices.

Finally, add spaghetti sauce, heavy cream, salt and pepper. Simmer for 10 minutes to thicken the sauce.

For the Pasta: Don’t forget to to salt your cooking water! Cook pasta according to package directions, and then drain. Combine the spaghetti and sauce. If your sauce is too thick, add some of the cooking water to the pasta.

Want More Italian Instant Pot Recipes?

Spicy Tomato Cream Pasta Twirled on Fork

This Spicy Creamy Tomato Pasta is especially delicious with copycat homemade Italian breadsticks. Or you could also serve it with a side salad.

If you love this Spicy Creamy Tomato Pasta, be sure to check out my recipe for Instant Pot Italian Marinara Pasta. It tastes like like baked Ziti, but even easier. Plus, it’s also made in one pot.

To see more of my Instant Pot recipes, click here! Or if you want to check out my full collection of Italian recipes, click here!

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Spicy Creamy Tomato Pasta (Instant Pot)

Spicy Creamy Tomato Pasta is made in the Instant Pot for a quick and easy weeknight meal that's also meatless. Only one pot, and no colander needed!
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Italian
Keyword Cheese, Entertaining, Instant Pot, Meal Prep, Meatless, Pasta
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Pressure Build-Up/Release 15 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 5
Calories 511kcal
Author Clean Fingers Laynie


  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 small Onion Diced Small
  • 2 tsp Garlic About 2 Cloves, Minced
  • 1 tsp Basil Dried
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp Red Pepper Flakes*
  • 3 1/4 cups Chicken Broth or Water
  • 1 lb Spaghetti
  • 24 oz Spaghetti Sauce or Marinara Sauce
  • 1/2 cup Heavy Cream
  • 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Salt


  • Turn on the “Saute” setting on the Instant Pot, and add olive oil and onion to the inner pot. Cook for about 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened and translucent. Add garlic, basil, red pepper flakes and continue to saute for 30 seconds or until you begin to smell the spices.

  • Add the chicken stock to the pot, and scrape any bits stuck to the bottom of the pot. Break the spaghetti in half, and add to the pot, spiraling the pasta around the pot.
  • Without stirring, add marinara or spaghetti sauce on top of the pasta. (Not stirring in the tomato sauce will prevent receiving the “Burn” notice on the Instant Pot.)
  • Close the instant pot with the lid, and turn the steam valve to “Sealing”. On the Instant Pot, click “Cancel” (or equivalent) to stop “Saute”. Click the “Manual” button on High Pressure. Set the timer for 8 minutes* and allow the Instant Pot to come to pressure (about 10-15 minutes).

  • Once the cooking time is finished, turn the steam valve to “Venting” to release the pressure manually. Be sure to do this right as it finishes cooking to prevent overcooked pasta.
  • Add the heavy cream to the pasta, and season to taste with salt and pepper.


Estimated Nutrition, Per Serving: Calories 511, Fat 14 g, Carbohydrate 83 g, Dietary Fiberg, Protein 13 g, Sodium 1276 mg
*If you like the pasta less spicy, use the lesser amount of red pepper flakes. 
See the post for stove cooking instructions.
–Recipe adapted from Spicy Southern Kitchen.

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