Instant Pot Ziti is a delicious cheesy that is made in the Instant Pot that easily comes together in under an hour for a quick weeknight meal. This ziti features a flavorful meat-packed sauce with both Italian Sausage and ground beef paired up with your favorite jar sauce that's finished with cheese. If you like recipes like this you'll love my Instant Pot Ground Beef Stroganoff or this Bolognese sauce!
History of Ziti and Johnny Marzetti
The smells of a perfectly baked ziti wafting through the house on Sunday afternoon makes for a delightful family meal. According to The Pasta Project this dish is Neapolitan in origin and is a traditional Southern Italian dish where the pasta is actually broken by hand.
This dish was normally served at weddings, holidays, and celebrations where family was important so breaking the pasta by hand was an activity everyone in the family could take part in.
Who is Johnny Marzetti anyhow? He was the brother-in-law of Teresa Marzetti who immigrated to Columbus, Ohio from Italy then opened a restaurant with a famous dish of ground beef, pasta sauce, cheese, and pasta that is know today simply as Johnny Marzetti. A popular and much loved dish of Ohio State University students this became popular across the mid-West for how easy it was to prepare and how flavorful it was.
Prep the ingredients for cheesy ziti
Dice one onion and one green pepper then put the Instant Pot on saute. Add a small amount of oil to the pot for cooking. Cook until softened, about two-three minutes. I like to put a little salt and pepper on them. Next, add the minced garlic to saute for about a minute. Then add the Italian sausage and ground beef to cook until no longer pink. Add the oregano, pepper, salt, and hot red pepper flakes to the meat while it cooks.
Next pour in the beef broth, and deglaze the pan if needed. Add the ziti pasta on top but do not stir, the cream cheese, Worcestershire sauce, and jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce.
Again do not stir anything, and be sure to dot the top of the pasta with the cream cheese then pour the sauce on top. I added a pinch of sugar to the spaghetti sauce while it was in the jar then shook with the lid closed to cut down on the acidity of the tomato sauce.
Cook the cheesy ziti
At this point, seal the lid and cook on high pressure for 5 minutes then follow with a quick release. Remember since this is pasta you'll want to release in short bursts in order to prevent any sort of mess from the pasta water if there is any.
Once the pressure is fully released remove the lid, and now give the contents a good stir. Next set to saute, and add all the yummy cheeses.
I used mozzarella, parmesan, and a six-cheese Italian blend for a total of 2 ½ cups of cheese but you can use any of your favorite Italian cheeses. It should only take a few minutes to melt the cheese so stir constantly to keep from sticking. Also, if the heat is to much you can always cancel then turn back on if needed! 🙂
You can serve immediately, however, I do suggest a rest time of five minutes. Be sure to make some Air Fryer Garlic Bread to enjoy with this! The leftovers can be stored in an airtight container for up to one week.
If you enjoyed this you might also like Instant Pot Sweet Heat BBQ Meatballs, Creamy Instant Pot Mac and Cheese, or Instant Pot Omelette Bites!
Instant Pot Cheesy Ziti (Johnny Marzetti)
- 1 onion diced
- 1 green pepper diced
- 1 tablespoon garlic minced
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 pound Italian sausage not in casing
- 3 tablespoon oregano
- 3 teaspoon pepper
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon hot red pepper flakes can be increased to one
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 4 ounces cream cheese
- 24 ounces spaghetti sauce
- 3 cups beef broth I used unsalted
- 1 pound rigatoni or any 12 minute pasta
- 2 cups mozzarella or combination of Italian cheeses
- ½ cup parmesan cheese
- Set Instant Pot to saute then add the diced onion and green pepper then cook until softened with a small amount of oil. Add the garlic and saute about a minute. Add the ground beef, Italian sausage, oregano, pepper, salt, and hot red pepper flakes. Cook until the meat is no longer pink.
- Add the beef broth, and deglaze the pan. Turn off saute then add the Worcestershire sauce. top with pasta but do not stir. Cube the cream cheese and dot the top of the pasta. Pour the spaghetti sauce on top. Do not stir. Close the lid and cook on high pressure for 5 minutes then follow with a quick release in short bursts.
- Set pot to saute then add cheese and stir until melted. Rest for a few minutes if desired then serve immediately or store in an airtight container for up to one week.
I have a 6 quart instant pot. Seems like a lot of food to fit in there. Will a 6 quart work for this recipe?
I test all my recipes in a 6-quart Instant Pot. It will work - I don't own an 8-quart. It will give you lots of yummy leftovers though! 🙂 I hope you enjoy it!
I’m from Columbus. Marzetti strong!
Mrs Lancaster, the lunch lady, used to make this for us at Edison Elementary school, over 60 years ago! Wherever you are, Mrs Lancaster, thank you for the seconds?
What a wonderful memory! 🙂
Jeanie Dubberley says
Do I "sauté" the chopped onion and green pepper without any oil? The picture seems to show oil droplets on the sides of the IP.
Hi! Yes, you would use a small amount of oil for cooking. I've updated the post to reflect this. Thanks for the feedback! I hope you enjoy the recipe!
This was very good! I will definitely make it again. I was looking for an IP recipe that used what I had on hand. So glad I tried it!
So glad you enjoyed it!
Too much pepper. This was very spicy
Sorry to hear it was to spicy for you. I would recommend reducing the pepper in half, or omitting the hot red pepper flakes if you were to make this again.
Tina Ward says
I'm worried! It's in the instant pot now. I just read the comment about it being spicy. Too late now! I did leave out the red pepper flakes so hopefully it will turn out ok.
I hope it turned out well for you!
Christy Boston's Kitchen says
I made this last week. My husband is not a big fan of pasta, but he LOVED this recipe! I had enough leftover to freeze for two more evenings of dinners. We had one of the frozen ones last night and this reheats in the oven very well. I set it at 425 degrees F, put the frozen meal in covered with foil, and baked it for about 45 minutes. The flavors were even more pronounced the second time around!
Anything easy for a weeknight grabs my attention. I'm always looking for new ideas that I can get on the table after a long day of work. I think the kiddos will just love this. I'm pinning to remember for the fall when we crave comfort food like this.
Thanks, I hope you all enjoy it!
Youâ€™re so right- Sunday afternoon the smell of a delicious pasta dish, thereâ€™s nothing better! I just love all of hear flavors. And that itâ€™s a easy instant pot meal! My family will love it!!
Thanks! And this makes it so easy, no spending hours in the kitchen!
Jenni LeBaron says
Wow, this sounds like comfort food at it's best. I love that you can make this in the Instant pot too! I can't wait to tuck into a big bowl of this on the next drizzly night!
Definitely a great comfort food meal!
Pam Greer says
Another amazing Instant Pot recipe!! I love that the pasta and sauce all cook in the same pot!
Me too! It makes it so easy!
Nothing beats a quick an easy noodle recipe for dinner any night of the week. This looks like something my family would enjoy for sure. So much better than takeout. I will pass this along to my daughter, she has an Instant Pot.
Thanks, Gloria! I hope she enjoys it! It's definitely a big hit at our house.