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Instant Pot Baked Ziti

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Instant Pot Baked Ziti is an easy one pot meal made with whole wheat pasta, spinach and cheese. The perfect meatless main dish for the family on busy weeknights!

Instant Pot Baked Ziti
Instant Pot Baked Ziti

I’m so excited to share this baked ziti recipe with all of you! I’ve tested this several times and got it just right! It’s an easy one pot pasta recipe that takes less than 15 minutes to make. I tried this out on my picky husband and he loved it, so did I! More one pot recipes like this you might like Instant Pot Spaghetti and Meat Sauce or Instant Pot Turkey Meatball and Pasta Soup.

Instant Pot Baked Ziti

So many things to love about this one pot dinner! Because this baked ziti cooks with the sauce, you honestly can’t tell the pasta is whole wheat. Of course, when it comes to whole wheat pasta, you all know the only brand I like is Delallo. The texture is so much better than other brands, it’s the first brand that got me to convert and I love that it’s organic. They have a variety of shapes in whole wheat, but I really love their whole wheat cavatappi for this recipe. To keep the calories low I suggest making your own homemade marinara with their San Marzano imported tomatoes or one that doesn’t have a lot of oil added.

There’s no meat in this dish, so for the protein (over 23 grams per serving) this dish has three cheeses – mozzarella, ricotta and Pecorino Romano cheese. If you want to add meat, use a meat sauce instead or add some leftover chopped up meatballs. The pasta cooks together in the Instant Pot (affil link) with the sauce at the same time all in one pot! All you Italians out there are shaking your head, I know! You’re supposed to boil pasta in a large pot of water, but guess what, I fed this to my Italian husband and he came back for seconds. Kids love it too!

Tips when making one-pot pasta:

  • Since the pasta is cooked right in the sauce, you will need to add water to the pot along with the sauce.
  • Make sure the liquid covers the pasta.
  • Once the pasta is ready, eat right away for al dente or the pasta will continue to absorb the sauce.
  • To make this on the stove, cook everything in a large pot with the same ingredients following the same method over med-low heat, covered about 16 to 20 minutes, or until pasta is cooked, stirring half way. Similar to this Spaghetti and Meat Sauce recipe.

delallo whole wheat pastalazy baked zitiInstant Pot Baked Zitipasta melted cheese close up

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Instant Pot Baked Ziti

4.81 from 111 votes
Instant Pot Baked Ziti is an easy one pot meal made with whole wheat pasta and spinach. Perfect meatless main dish for the family!
Course: Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine: Italian
lazy baked ziti
Prep: 4 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 24 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
Serving Size: 1 1/2 cups


  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed with the side of a knife
  • 2 cups chopped baby spinach
  • 2 cups water
  • 3/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 10 ounces Delallo whole wheat pasta such as ziti or cavatappi, about 3 cups
  • 2 cups homemade or jarred marinara sauce
  • 1/2 cup part skim ricotta
  • 1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano
  • 1 cup part-skim mozzarella cheese, grated


  • Using the saute button, when hot add the oil and garlic; stir 1 minute, or until golden.
  • Add water and salt to the pot to deglaze, making sure the garlic is not stuck to the bottom of the pot.
  • Add spinach and pasta and stir.
  • Pour the marinara sauce evenly over the uncooked pasta, making sure it's covering all the pasta. Do not stir.
    how to make baked ziti in the pressure cooker
  • Cover and cook high pressure 7 minutes.
  • Quick release, then open the lid, stir the pasta, dollop in the ricotta, top with Pecorino and the mozzarella.
  • Cover the lid 3 to 4 minutes, until the cheese melts.

Last Step:

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Serving: 1 1/2 cups, Calories: 452 kcal, Carbohydrates: 64 g, Protein: 24 g, Fat: 12.5 g, Saturated Fat: 5 g, Cholesterol: 29.5 mg, Sodium: 855.5 mg, Fiber: 10 g, Sugar: 6.5 g



Recipe is sponsored by Delallo, thank you for supporting the brands I love.

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207 comments on “Instant Pot Baked Ziti”

  1. I make this for my grandsons. I add one pound of lean ground beef to give them some extra protein. I usually freeze in 1-2 serving size portions for them. Reheats great and they love it.

  2. So delicious-plus it’s quick and easy! This is on my regular meal rotation and the whole house loves it!!

  3. Avatar photo
    Wayne McGowan

    Coming from a non-pasta fan, absolutely love this. Kids couldn’t tell that there spinach was in there. Makes the whole wheat pasta taste so much better than just typical preparation on the stove. This is a home run in every way.

  4. Extremely easy and quick to make, and also delicious! Made it for the first time tonight & it is going to be on of our staples now!

  5. Omgosh, I made this for the family tonight and it was a HUGE hit!! This will def be in the meal rotation every few weeks. Love your recipes and make them quite often. Thank you, Gina. ❤️

  6. I followed the recipe exactly and it turned out perfect. So, so good! This will definitely be on the repeat list

  7. This is so quick and easy on a busy night and my entire family (4 kids and husband) rank it as one of their very favorite things I make. It’s a win-win, easy for me and loved by the family.

  8. I get the burn notice each time I make this. I have added different amounts of liquid and still get some burnt piece at the bottom. Besides that, this is one of my go to meals. It’s easy and delicious

  9. The end result was delicious! However, I got a burn notice on my IP. Followed directions, added marinara covering pasta without stirring. The pasta was undercooked and some burnt to bottom. I added more water and stirred it all together and tried cooking for 2 more minutes in the IP. The noodles came out fine (after another burn notice). Next time, I’ll add more water than the recipe calls for. Overall, it was an easy recipe and tasty!

  10. Followed directions to the T. Got a burn notice and had to finish off on stove with additional fluid.  I used Rigitoni noodles as that is what I had. Maybe that was the problem.  

  11. Oddly bland. I made the mistake of stirring before serving (no warning not to in the recipe), and the mozzarella clumped into big masses. If you notice some of the pictures showing the completed dish, there is no sign of mozzarella. I will say that whole wheat pasta cooked like this can easily paste for white pasta- it’s more tender and very good. If I make this again, I’ll add more salt, less mozzarella, more Romano or Parmesan and some crushed red pepper and Italian herbs.

  12. This is a great recipe for a quick delicious weeknight dinner. I loved the simplicity of the recipe as well as the easy clean up of only one pot. Everyone should try this recipe.

  13. Avatar photo
    Kelsey Greene

    Tripled the recipe exactly and it turned out wonderfully!! All my children went crazy-that never happens! 

  14. Quick and delicious, I love that you can make the whole recipe in one pot! I don’t have an instant pot so I made it using Gina’s directions for on the stove. Thanks you!!

  15. How would I double this recipe? Would I double all the ingredients? How would the cook time be affected? Thank you!

  16. This was delicious and kid-friendly too! I used whole wheat penne and started it off with a lb of ground turkey and a chopped onion before adding the garlic, seasoned the turkey with oregano and basil, and added extra tomato sauce. It was perfect and so easy!

  17. Delicious! My entire family loved it and it was so easy and quick! Thank you for another reliable, delicious, healthy meal!

  18. This was absolutely amazing! I added ground beef and cooked on the stove top but followed every other direction. It will be my go to meal!!!

  19. Excellent!! I added 99% fat free turkey. I bought some Delallo Marinara sauce and wheat noodles. They are unbelievably good. My husband said the noodles have the same consistency as regular noodles. Thanks for the suggestion and great recipe!

    1. I looked up a few recipes for cooking gluten free pasta in the instant pot because I didn’t want to waste a box of penne.  I found most recommending not to add the sauce when cooking gf pasta. You can follow the recipe above and add the pasta and water. Cook it on high pressure for 0 minutes… yes 0 🙂 Then if you cook in a 6qt let it natural release for 8 minutes and if in an 8qt natural release for only 5. Once you manually release the remaining pressure you can drain any remaining water if it is a lot and add your sauce while turning on the Sauté feature. Once it is all warmed up and mixed you can turn off the sauté and go back to following the instructions with the cheese and such above. I used barilla gluten free pasta and it was cooked better than I have ever been able to on the stove top. Also, I have a ninja so I put the air fryer lid down and melted  the cheese that way. 

  20. This was delicious! I used the full bag of pasta, added 1/2 cup of water and topped it with a can of diced tomatoes and frozen meatballs. After I added the cheese, I put the foodi on bake for a couple minutes. Oh my. Easy, cheesy yumminess! 

  21. I made this is my Ninja Foodi XL Pressure Cooker. I made a few tweaks due to picky kids & it came out wonderfully. I browned 1lb of hamburger meat with the garlic & omitted the chopped spinach. I used 8oz of shredded mozzarella instead of grated & 24oz of RAO’s marinara sauce. I couldn’t find the whole wheat pasta you mentioned so I ended up using 3 cups of the Barilla whole grain penne. Thanks again for this yummy, quick recipe! We all loved it. 

  22. Looks delish! I don’t have an jnstapot….can this be made on the stovetop, oven or crockpot? A recipe variation for non-instapot would be great, thank you!

    1. You can try or or 🙂

  23. This is a winner every time! I even messed up the first time and instead of just putting the lid back on for 3-4 minutes, I pressure cooked it for 3 minutes and it was perfectly fine. I do cook a 1/2 lb of Italian sausage first and omit the garlic and oil since that is basically already in the sausage and realize that definitely changes the nutritional content. I also had to sub in some salsa for about a 1/2 cup of the marinara once, and I swear, that made it even better! I love this recipe–it hits all the marks for our family: quick, easy, and delicious!

  24. This was so easy and excellent!

    I added an onion and three bell peppers (red, orange, and yellow) and used two 5-ounce bags of spinach. The only whole wheat Delallo pasta available at my grocery store was bowtie, but it worked great.

    I used two whole jars of sauce: Botticelli, because it was on sale. My Instant Pot is the huge 10-quart model, and I wanted to add more liquid because of this, and also since I added extra vegetables.

    There was no ricotta available during my latest grocery trip (part of the cream cheese shortage?), so I left it out, but I added some extra parmesan. It was still creamy, and 1 cup of mozzarella was plenty.

    Without prepping all of the onions and peppers, this truly was a 15-minute meal. I have leftovers for lunch while we’re on winter break, and I could see myself making this in a Sunday to meal-prep for lunches. Thanks for a wonderful recipe!

  25. This was the first recipe I tried in my instant pot. I don’t know what I did wrong, I’m going to assume not adding enough liquid. All of these spinach went to the bottom and burnt to the bottom of the pot. But I dumped everything into a casserole dish and popped it in the oven and it came out delicious. If anyone has any instant pot tips for a newbie…

    1. Did you make sure you stirred the water, spinach, and pasta before you poured the marinara over it? And did you use fresh spinach, not frozen chopped spinach?

  26. If I’m using 12 oz of gluten free pasta and no spinach, do you think an extra half cup or extra cup of water should be sufficient? I can’t seem to adjust the recipe accordingly without getting the burn message on my instapot and burning the bottom of the pasta every time. 

  27. Oops, forgot to rate it in the last comment. I made a very similar version of this on the stove when I discovered the pot from my instapot to be mysteriously missing lol. It was still easy on the stove! Added 2 lbs of 93% lean ground turkey because I had to use it up and half an onion and halved the Ricotta. Also added a little red pepper and paprika. It came out delicious! Will definitely make this again.

  28. I made a very similar version of this on the stove when I discovered the pot from my instapot to be mysteriously missing lol. It was still easy on the stove! Added 2 lbs of 93% lean ground turkey because I had to use it up and half an onion and halved the Ricotta. Also added a little red pepper and paprika. It came out delicious! Will definitely make this again.

  29. This was great – I used 16 oz box medium shells, 1 box thawed spinach, 1 onion, and added an extra cup of water. Added some crushed red pepper and fresh basil on top. Yum.

  30. This was fabulous and easy and everyone, kids included, cleaned their plates. I LOVE a one pot instant pot meal. Used Rao’s sauce and whole wheat penne. 

  31. Another easy and delicious recipe! There honestly isn’t a recipe I haven’t tried from this site that I made and tasted and was disappointed. I made my own sauce, let it cool down, added everything to the instant pot and it was DELICIOUS!! I used Jovial GF bowtie pasta (12 oz.) and it turned out great!!

  32. Love this! Our family will keep coming back to this because it is so easy to make and also very tasty!

  33. I was skeptical to make pasta in an instant pot and this is a game changer!!! I used RAO’s sauce and this turned out wonderful!

  34. Amazing recipe! We added meat but other than that, stayed with the recipe. Such a quick and easy recipe that was a hit with the family.

    1. Avatar photo
      Roxann Mrochko

      Sounds delicious and can’t wait to make. I only have frozen spinach, can I use that thawed and drained? If so do I put 3 cups of water in instead of 2?

  35. Rotation worthy recipe! Yum! The delallo pasta is a keeper for sure too! I’m glad I found it too. I am going to try to make the whole 16 oz. next time . Any suggestions for the water/ sauce ratio?

  36. This is my go to for a quick meal on a weeknight I make it with gluten free pasta because I am allergic to wheat. 5 stars.

  37. We really liked this but thought it was a little dry. Flavor was good (using your Quick Marinara that I prepped yesterday). I used DeLallo’s whole wheat cavatappi.  Next time I’ll add a can of diced tomatoes which will only add 18.75 cal per serving.  Still 5 stars!  Thanks Gina!

  38. Avatar photo
    Amy Sutherland

    My husband must have told me three times in the past three days how good this pasta, and its leftovers, are! A great option for meatless monday, too! 4 stars only because I had some issues getting the mozzaella to melt.

    1. Not sure what kind of mozz you used, but if you use pre-shredded cheeses they don’t melt as well because of the preservatives added to keep the shreds from clumping. I shredded my cheese from a block and it melted great!

  39. LOVE LOVE LOVE! This recipe is fast and easy to make and tastes delicious. I am new to the Instant Pot world. This recipe makes nagivating the instant pot easier.

  40. I made this last night. Prior to sautéing the garlic, I sautéed 8 oz. sliced baby Bella mushrooms until cooked through. I used whole wheat fusilli and Rao’s marinara. I lightly seasoned the ricotta with salt, pepper, and garlic powder… Because that’s what I always do with ricotta. I did not add any extra liquid or time, and it came out great. A great addition to our Meatless Monday repertoire.
    We definitely plan on making this again, potentially trying other veggies or Italian turkey sausage.
    Bonus: my 2-year-old was a huge fan!

  41. I used 8 oz of chickpea pasta and it only needs about 3 minutes on high pressure. Delicious and so easy!

  42. Wow! This was so good and had tons of flavor! My whole family loved it—even the picky eaters. It also came together quickly so this is getting added to the regular rotation for sure. I decided to sauté some ground Italian sausage before added the rest of the ingredients. Yum!

  43. Wonderful recipe! I added ground turkey,that I cooked on sauté mode, 1 TBS of minced garlic, dried oregano, and a box of penne pasta. Also used 1 1/2cups chicken broth plus1 cup water (due to extra 6 oz of pasta) and added a
    Can of fire roasted tomatoes with the jar sauce. So delish! Thank you for this recipe. 

  44. This dinner saved my behind tonight! I spent the whole day cleaning and the last thing I wanted to do was make dinner. This was so easy to make! I added onions with the garlic and Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes. Came out perfectly- adding this to the rotation for sure!!

  45. This recipe is delicious! I added ground turkey (since I had to use up a defrosted package) and Italian seasoning and I was amazed at the results! Generous portions too! Definitely a keeper!

      1. I cooked the meat right in the IP, followed the above directions and added a min to the time.  Came out perfect!

  46. This recipe is a working mom’s dream come true! A must have weeknight dinner. This is now in steady rotation. My best friend and I started using skinnytaste recipes about six weeks ago. We take turns making them and then we give each other feedback. We now make at least one recipe per week. We LOVE this one! Serve with garlic bread and a salad – dinner is complete in 20 minutes or less. Also, I am totally digging the Delallo products, which I didn’t know existed until utilizing this site for recipes. Mangia!

  47. Great recipe! First time using my instant pot. I used banza pasta and prego sauce and it was incredible!

    1. Mushrooms, zucchini, bell peppers, broccolini, eggplant… I would add a bit more water and maybe another minute to the cook time.

  48. This is the first Instant Pot recipe I have ever tried and it was delicious! I followed the steps exactly and dinner was amazing. This is going into the regular rotation, thank you!

  49. Super tasty and crazy easy to make. My husband loved it as well. If you love cheesy pasta, make this! 

  50. I doubled the recipe by just doubling the ingredients and keeping cook time the exact same. It was a success! Leftovers reheated nicely too. One of the best instant pot recipes to date.

  51. This came out excellent! This was only my second Instant Pot recipe and it was delicious. I haven’t been able to find DeLallo pasta so I ordered it from Amazon, normally my husband dislikes whole wheat pasta but he didn’t have a clue that’s what I had used. I browned 8 oz of lean ground beef and added it last on top of the sauce.

  52. I haven’t tried this yet, but would need to use gluten free pasta. Would that change the amount of time that it needs to cook in the Instant Pot?

  53. Avatar photo
    Valerie Casano

    Great interpretation of a traditional recipe. This works well in the instant pot. I prefer to finish this dish in the oven after adding the cheeses, then popping it under the broiler to brown up a bit. We love the crispy bits of the traditional dish. I also use 1 lb. of pasta, increasing the sauce by 1/2 cup and water by 1/2 cup.

  54. Avatar photo
    Lisa Bartlett

    Hello: I’m not following a weight watchers plan, so points don’t matter to me too much. Could I add some browned hamburger to this or would it throw off the cooking time? Would throwing some frozen meatballs on top be ok do you think? I’d like to somehow add some protein.

  55. Avatar photo
    Ashlee Brouillette

    Family loved it! So easy to make on a weeknight. I paired it with a salad and your no yeast garlic knots. Slightly higher in points than some other recipes, but so worth it! I just made sure to plan my day and leave extra points for dinner. Definitely going in my rotation.

  56. Hi Gina, the points on this recipe are way off. My husband is on the blue and I’m on the green and when we created a recipe on the WW app, it said 16 and 15 points respectively. 
    In addition, when we calculated the points using the nutrition facts you provided, it was 14 points…not 11.
    We also found your unstuffed cabbage bowl points are off as well. 

    Your recipes are so tasty but I’m disappointed that we cannot cook them because it throws off our planning if the points are wrong. 

    1. Hi Jessica. The only accurate way to determine any recipe’s SmartPoints® value is to plug the ingredients into the recipe builder on the Weight Watchers website (Click on “My Foods,” select “Recipe,” and click “Create a recipe.”) which does not count fruits and vegetables in recipes in the calculations as they are now 0 points.

      The SmartPoints® calculator isn’t meant for recipes and will often give you the wrong points (usually higher) because it’s counting the fruits and vegetables. So if you see a recipe with a SmartPoints® value that’s different from what the calculator tells you, now you know why.

    2. You are correct that the points are off. I am seeing this as 6 points on purple. I used the recipe builder, but did not bother entering the 0 point items like spinach, garlic, or water. I used the lowest point “traditional” jarred marinara I’ve been able to find which is 2 points/half cup. 

      It’s delicious, but disappointing that the points are off. 

  57. Not sure if I did something wrong.  Followed the recipe to a tee. But the outcome was not good. My family did not like it, they ate it but we threw away the leftovers.  I was surprised to see so many raves.  Oh well.

  58. Usually dinner time is a battle with a picky 3 year old but he loved this! Used rotini pasta and a block of thawed frozen chopped spinach. Plus only 1 dirty pot!

  59. Avatar photo
    Taylor Mactier

    There’s no way this is just 4 purple points with all the cheese and pasta?! I Even if I do make your homemade marinara…when I look up all of the individual ingredients the points are through the roof. I’m so confused…how did you calculate this?

    1. Hi Taylor, did you use the recipe builder? The only accurate way to determine any recipe’s SmartPoints® value is to plug the ingredients into the recipe builder on the Weight Watchers website (Click on “My Foods,” select “Recipe,” and click “Create a recipe.”) which does not count fruits and vegetables in recipes in the calculations as they are now 0 points.

      The SmartPoints® calculator isn’t meant for recipes and will often give you the wrong points (usually higher) because it’s counting the fruits and vegetables. So if you see a recipe with a SmartPoints® value that’s different from what the calculator tells you, now you know why.

    2. Whole wheat pasta is zero points, but if you scan it it will give you a point value. That could be where you are getting extra points. 

  60. Avatar photo
    Martha Lydon

    I just made this instant pot baked ziti – so good. Excellent. I will definitely make it again. I love all your recipes. You are my go to site for anything I want to make. Thank you for all your recipes

  61. Avatar photo
    robert harjan

    This site is literally the BEST weight loss community enywhere,I read it everyday,and I’m also so grateful I found, it helped me not only lose weight but keep it off, hope it helps some others!

  62. This was so incredibly easy and delicious!  Made as stated, but added a shake or two of Italian seasoning. Thank you Gina!  This is going in the rotation!

  63. Avatar photo
    Rhowena Austin

    I used cassava penne noodles instead and it came out perfect! Everyone loved it. Next time I’ll be doubling it. 

  64. This dish was amazing. I made Gina’s Quick and Easy Marinara and bought some really good ricotta cheese which made all the difference. It was so tasty and filling. And, I did it in the instant pot and it was sooo easy!!

  65. We loved this, it truly is super easy and VERY tasty. I served it with a side of arugula salad with beets and goat cheese.  The freshness of the salad was a great contrast to the savoriness of this dish.  Will definitely make it again!

  66. I made this tonight and it was wonderful! I was thinking about adding a pound of ground beef. How would you recommend doing that? i have an idea, but I’m afraid it would give the BURN message.

    1. I added ground turkey & it turned out great.  I cooked it on the stove then mixed it in before adding the cheese.

    2. I added a little Italian sausage. I cooked it on the stove then mixed it into the sauce. So tasty!

  67. This was delicious and so easy! I followed the recipe exactly except for the spinach (I used frozen) and pasta (used whole wheat penne). Mine looked a more liquidy before I put the lid on and after too, but I stirred it all up before adding the cheese and it was fine. I’m giving it four instead of five stars because I found it a touch bland. Next time I may try doing a bit less water and more sauce to balance it out. Overall, so easy and yummy. It was the first thing I’ve cooked in the instant pot and now I’m hooked!

  68. I made this using Barilla GF penne and came out great! I have a Cuisinart pressure cooker that has the sauté setting – would turn it off after the garlic is done browning to let cool, the bottom layer of pasta got a little burnt. 

  69. Delicious!
    I turned off Saute before pouring water and next time I would wait a few more minutes longer for the cheese really to melt.

  70. I want to double this recipe. Do I add 4 cups water instead of 2? And do I increase 7 min cook time to 14 mins? TIA

    1. Gina @ Skinnytaste