The Italian American classic made easy for an effortless weeknight pasta dinner!!! Creamy, cheesy and comforting meatless Baked Ziti in Instant Pot is made with jarred sauce and comes together in less than 30 minutes from start to finish. No bake ziti for the win!
Baked ziti peeps! But, not baked.
A classic Italian American comfort food that involves quite a few steps. What is baked ziti? A variation of lasagna. It is a baked pasta dish made with cooked ziti pasta and Neapolitan style tomato based ragu, layered with creamy ricotta snd mozzarella and then baked. So comforting for a Sunday dinner or pot lucks.
This meatless baked ziti in instant pot is my twist to the classic baked ziti made for a weeknight dinner.
The differences between this easy instant pot baked ziti recipe and the classic:
- One pot ( Instant pot that is) - instead of a pan each for cooking pasta, tomato sauce and baking. The pasta is cooked along with the sauce in the instant pot making it more flavorful.
- Store bought sauce - Instead of the traditional homemade meat sauce. Best instant pot baked ziti with jar sauce!
- Vegetarian - I omitted the meat, making it great option for vegetarians as well. Just use water instead of chicken stock.
- Fast - Under 30 minutes from start to finish when compared to 1 - 2 hours that might take for a traditional baked ziti. Thanks to the instant pot. Check out Instant pot dinner ideas
Let us look at the team players in the meatless baked ziti in instant pot:
Ziti pasta - Similar to penne but wider.
Tomato sauce - I used my favorite Prego (tomato, basil & garlic). Have leftover sauce? Check out another vegetarian instant pot pasta recipe: Instant pot no-cream pasta with tomato cream sauce
Chicken stock - I used 33% low sodium. If you are using no sodium or regular then please adjust the salt accordingly.
Cheeses - The classics - ricotta, mozzarella and parmesan
Flavorings - Salt, pepper, Italian seasoning and fresh basil.
Let us get to the process of making this instant pot baked ziti:
Step-1: Saute chopped onion and garlic in some olive oil.
Step-2 : Stir in pasta, tomato sauce, chicken stock, salt, pepper and Italian seasoning. Cook on manual for 6 minutes.
Step-3: In the meantime, stir together ricotta cheese and heavy cream, until thoroughly combined. Stir in shredded mozzarella. ( Why not stir all three ingredients separately into the cooked pasta? This helps in making a more creamier baked ziti since the ricotta melts along with the cream without giving a gritty feel)
Step-4: Open lid immediately and then stir the ricotta-cream mixture until combined.
Step-5: Sprinkle remaining cheeses and chopped basil on top and close lid for about a minute to melt cheeses.
Done and DONE.
Wasn't that easy?
If you like this meatless baked ziti in instant pot then check out out more Instant Pot pasta recipes
My trick in making a creamy baked ziti in instant pot
- Mixing ricotta cheese with heavy cream before stirring into the pasta. This gives a creamier saucy coating to the pasta when compared to stirring ricotta directly into the hot pasta.
- Heavy cream - A bit of heavy cream is all it takes to give a more luxurious baked ziti
How to make instant pot baked ziti vegetarian?
Just replace chicken stock with water and increase salt, according to taste.
Few notes on making a baked ziti no meat recipe:
Tomato sauce - I used Prego (tomato, basil and garlic). Use your favorite sauce, but adjust salt accordingly.
Chicken stock - I used 33% less sodium chicken stock. If using regular or no sodium stock, then please adjust salt accordingly.
Salt - Salt depends on the type of tomato sauce and chicken stock used.
Love baked ziti? Try this Baked Ziti with chicken recipe
Meatless Baked Ziti in Instant Pot
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ cup chopped onion
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 8 ounces ziti pasta
- 1 and ½ cups tomato sauce ( I used Prego - tomato, basil & garlic)
- 1 cup chicken stock (I used 33% less sodium)
- ½ + ⅛ teaspoon salt, refer notes
- ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
- ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¼ cup ricotta cheese
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- ½ cup shredded mozzarella
- ½ cup shredded mozzarella
- 2 tablespoons grated paremsan
- fresh basil, chopped
- Heat Instant Pot to saute mode. When hot, add olive oil, chopped onion and garlic. Saute for about 2 minutes, until it begins to get translucent.
- Press cancel. Add all group-1 ingredients, stir very well to combine. Close Instant pot and lock lid (making sure that valve is set to sealing). Cook 6 minutes on manual. In the meantime, stir together ricotta and heavy cream (from group-2) in a small bowl, until thoroughly combined. Mix in the ½ cup mozzarella and keep aside. (Why not stir all three ingredients separately into the cooked pasta? This helps in making a more creamier baked ziti since the ricotta melts along with the cream without giving a gritty feel) Release pressure as soon as the cooking time is done.
- Open lid, stir in the cheese-cream mixture, until thoroughly combined. Sprinkle group-3 ingredients on top. Close lid for about 1 minute, to melt cheeses.
- Serve instant pot baked ziti hot with steamed or roasted veggies on the side.
Nutritional information is based on third party calculations, should be considered estimates and not be construed as a guarantee. Varying factors such as product types, brands purchased, produce, the way ingredients are processed and more change the nutritional information in any recipe.
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This was excellent! And I love how you organized the groups! It made it very easy to keep my place and know what was coming next!
We enjoyed this recipe! I would like to double this for a family gathering. I assume I double all of the ingredients, however, is the cooking time the same? Thanks for any advice.
HI Cladia, Glad to hear that you liked it.
To double the recipe, you WILL NOT make any changes to the cooking time. The instant pot will take longer to come to pressure (which automatically adjusts for the quantity). Hope it helps:)
This is serious restaurant quality and soooo easy. This will be a regular for us! Substituted tofu for ricotta and while milk for cream (what I had). Simply delish! Thank you!
So glad that you loved it 🙂
This is my family's GO-TO recipe for the past 13 months for pasta bake in the instant pot. Move the portion slider to 6 servings and it is perfectly scaled to a 1 lb box of pasta. We gourmet it up by adding a bag of baby spinach or chopped kale before we pressure cook it.
How is the total cook time 17 minutes? 2 for sautéing got and 6 for group 2 and 1 for group 3. What am I missing?
Hi Karen, The instant pot (varies based on size) takes time to come to pressure. So, the cooking time takes that into account as well. Hope this helps...Happy holidays, Maria
Thanks for responding - I'm very new to this so I thought the times were those written about. I just loved your recipe. Thanks!