Instant Pot Ground Turkey Pasta is cheesy, creamy, packed with perfectly cooked pasta & flavorful ground turkey in every bite. This creamy ground turkey pasta is sure make your weeknight dinners easy & delicious. Picky eaters love it!
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Creamy Ground Turkey Pasta
Ground turkey pasta with tomato sauce is a breeze to make in the instant pot with pantry staple ingredients. This one pot pasta dinner is restaurant quality good & always manage to bag raving reviews amongst friends & family!
You can play around with the cheese quantity & the liquid dairy quantities to create your own signature creamy tomato based sauce for a more heathy ground turkey pasta recipe or ground turkey penne pasta recipe.
Ingredients & Substitutions
Find the Ingredients with actual measurements at the bottom of the post. The list below is just a reference.
- Uncooked Pasta Shells: I used salad shells. If you want you can use rotini, penne, fusilli or farfalle instead of the salad shells.
- Ground Turkey: I used 97% lean ground turkey.
- Aromatics: Yellow onion & garlic. Do not use red onion. It'll add a pungent flavor to the dish.
- Bell pepper: You can use either yellow, orange or red bell pepper. I used orange bell pepper because that's what I had on hand.
- Tomato Sauce: You can sub the tomato sauce with tomato passata.
- Seasonings: Sweet paprika, oregano, thyme, ground black pepper and red pepper flakes for a subtle kick. Skip the red pepper flakes if you are heat intolerant.
- Liquid Dairy: Whole milk & heavy whipping cream for a rich creamier tomato based sauce. If you prefer a healthier version use 1% or fat free milk and half & half.
- Cheese: Grated sharp cheddar and mozzarella. Go heavy on the cheese if you prefer ultimate cheesy ground turkey pasta.
- Liquid: Better than Bouillon chicken based stirred in warm water to form an instant homemade chicken stock. No need to use store bought chicken stock. BTB is just so good!
- Cooking fat: Extra light or light olive oil. However, you can use any neutral oil like avocado oil, canola or sunflower oil.
- Salt: Add salt according to your personal taste preference. Salt helps to pop out the flavor and makes this ground turkey pasta instant pot recipe taste so good.
Tips for success
- For Saucy pasta: If you prefer saucy pastas like this Instant Pot Tortellini Pasta you can add more milk or creamy or a few splashes of stock to thin out the creamy sauce as per your liking. Feel free to adjust the consistency of the sauce according to your personal taste preference. Today's recipe has a good amount of sauce.
- Adding veggies: If you love extra veggies in your pasta dishes than you can add green peas, diced mushrooms, broccoli, baby spinach or cherry tomatoes in this easy ground turkey pasta recipe.
- For best texture: Serve the one pot ground turkey pasta immediately for best pasta texture. Cooked pasta absorbs a lot of liquid and hence the longer the pasta sits in the creamy tomato based sauce the more it will become tender by absorbing a lot of the sauce.
- Prevent BURN error: Deglaze the pot very well with stock and your spatula. This will help loosen any stuck food particles and help prevent the burn error. Do not rush this step! Also, do not stir or mix the ingredients in the pot before pressure cooking. Layering the pasta & the tomato sauce will give you the best results.
How to cook ground turkey pasta?
Find the detailed step by step recipe along with measurements + Video at the bottom of the post.
Step #1 Saute aromatics, lightly brown turkey
- Sauté aromatics: Sauté the onion, garlic, bell pepper in the instant pot sauté mode on high heat settings for 1-2 mins. Add salt.
- Brown ground turkey: Add the ground turkey, break it down into large chunks with the spatula and sauté until the meat lightly browns. Break down the meat further into medium chunks while sautéing. Add the seasonings and sauté well for another min. CANCEL the sauté mode.
Step #2 Deglaze pot well
- Deglaze pot well: Add stock and deglaze the pot with the help of your spatula by scraping the sides & the bottom of the pot. This will help loosen any stuck food particles and prevent the burn error. DO NOT rush this step!
Step #3 Pressure cook
- Layer ingredients: Add the uncooked pasta and spread it out in a single layer on top of the sausage with the help of your spatula. DO NOT stir or mix. Pour the tomato sauce on top of the pasta and spread it out in a single layer with the help of your spatula. DO NOT stir or mix.
- Pressure cook: Secure the lid, seal the valve and pressure cook on high for just 4 mins followed by a quick pressure release manually. Give everything a good stir.
Step #4 Make Creamy Sauce
- Make creamy sauce: Hit the sauté mode & set it on low heat settings. Add the cream, milk and ½ cup each cheddar 7 mozzarella cheese. Give everything a good stir until the cheese completely melts and incorporates into the creamy sauce. Cancel the sauté mode.
- Serve ground turkey pasta: Add the rest of the ½ cup each cheddar and mozzarella cheese on top of the pasta and secure the lid. Allow the pasta to rest for 5 mins or until the chees melts to form a cheesy top crust. Serve the instant pot ground turkey pasta immediately for best flavors & texture.
Though this creamy ground turkey pasta is a fantastic one pot meal yet sometimes I love to serve it with the following:
- A light green salad.
- Garlic bread.
- Instant Pot steamed broccoli.
- Instant Pot steamed carrots.
- Instant Pot beets (I toss the beats with evoo and add ground black pepper & salt for a quick simple healthy salad.)
Leftovers & Storage
Fridge: This one pot ground turkey pasta would last for 3-4 days in the fridge when stored in air tight containers. The pasta will absorb a lot of sauce. Follow the reheating directions below.
Freezer: You can freeze the instant pot ground turkey pasta for upto 2 months. Use individual portion control heavy duty freezer safe containers to store the pasta. In that case you can pop out each portion, reheat & serve. reheating directions shared below.
Fridge: Pasta absorbs a lot of the sauce when stored in the fridge. You need to sprinkle water or stock or add a few splashes of milk before reheating the ground turkey pasta. Reheat the pasta in the microwave oven until hot or warm. Gently stir with a spoon and serve.
Freezer: Thaw the frozen pasta overnight in the fridge and follow the reheating directions shared above. Frozen or fridge cold pasta will be tender in texture.
Did you make this cheesy ground turkey pasta? Let me know in the comments below!
More Instant pot pasta recipes
- Instant pot crack chicken pasta.
- Instant pot pesto chicken pasta.
- Instant pot salmon pasta.
- Instant pot penne pasta and meatballs.
- Instant pot American Goulash.
- Instant pot shrimp alfredo.
- Easy instant pot baked ziti.
- Instant pot chicken fettuccine alfredo with broccoli.
- Chicken tetrazzini instant pot.
- Instant pot rigatoni and meatballs.
- Velveeta shells and cheese instant pot.
- Instant pot chicken mushroom stroganoff.
- Instant pot Ravioli.
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Instant Pot Ground Turkey PastaPrint Recipe Pin Rate
Watch Recipe Video
- 12 ounce Pasta Shells (**Uncooked pasta. I used salad shell pasta. You can also use penne, rotini, farfalle pasta. Do weigh the pasta.)
- 1 pound ground turkey (**I used 97% lean ground turkey.)
- 1 cup onion (**roughly chopped yellow onion.)
- 1 tbsp garlic (**minced.)
- 1 cup yellow bell pepper (**diced into small squares. You can also use orange or red bell pepper.)
- 15 oz tomato sauce (**425 g.)
- 2 tbsp Olive Oil (**use extra light or light olive oil.)
- Salt (to taste) (**use according to your personal taste preference.)
- 1.5 tsp Paprika (**use sweet paprika. DO NOT use smoked paprika.)
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp thyme
- 1 tsp Ground Black Pepper
- ½ tsp red pepper flakes (**for slight heat. Skip if heat intolerant.)
- 3 cups Water (**warm.)
- 2 tbsp Better Than Bouillon (**chicken base stirred in the above 3 cups warm water to form an instant homemade chicken stock.)
- ¾ cup Heavy Whipping Cream
- 1 cup whole Milk (**use 1% or fat free for a lighter version.)
- 1 cup cheddar cheese (**I used sharp cheddar.)
- 1 cup Mozzarella Cheese
Lightly brown ground turkey
- Set the instant pot on SAUTE mode on LOW heat setting. You can adjust the heat settings on SAUTE mode by pressing the sauté button multiple times. Add oil, when the oil becomes moderately hot gently release the chopped onion, garlic & bell pepper. Sauté for 30 secs & add salt. Sauté for another min.
- Now, add the ground turkey & break it down into large chunks with the help of your spatula. Sauté the ground turkey until it turns Lightly brown. Break it down further into medium chunks as you continue browning the meat. The ground turkey will release moisture, you need to sauté well until all the extra moisture evaporates, that's when the meat will begin to brown. Add all the seasonings mentioned above in the "SEASONINGS" section of the ingredients list and sauté with the ground turkey for another min. This will add a great depth of flavor to the one pot ground turkey pasta recipe. CANCEL the Sauté mode.
- Pour the chicken stock and deglaze the pot very well scraping the sides & the bottom of the pot with the help of your spatula. This will help loosen any stuck food particles and prevent the burn error. DO NOT rush this step!
Layer Pasta, tomato Sauce
- Now, add the uncooked pasta in the instant pot and spread it in a single layer with the help of your spatula. DO NOT stir or mix. Press down the pasta slightly on all sides with the help of your spatula.
- Pour the tomato sauce on top of the pasta and spread it out evenly with the help of your spatula. DO NOT stir or mix.
- Secure the lid of the instant pot, seal the valve and PRESSURE COOK on HIGH for just 4 minutes. Once the cooking cycle is over the instant pot will begin to beep, immediately perform a quick pressure release manually by moving the valve from the sealing to the venting position. Once the floating pin on top of the lid drops open the lid of the instant pot carefully. Give everything in the instant pot a very good stir.
Make creamy ground turkey pasta
- Turn on the SAUTE mode & set it on low heat. Pour the milk & heavy whipping cream and give everything a good stir. Now, add about ½ cup of the cheddar cheese and ½ cup of the mozzarella cheese and stir well until the cheese melts completely and well incorporates to form a creamy cheesy sauce.
- Turn off the instant pot. Now, add the rest ½ cup cheddar & mozzarella cheese on top of the one pot ground turkey pasta & secure the lid of the instant pot. Let it rest for 5 mins or until the cheese melts. The residual heat will help melt the cheese to form a cheesy top layer.
- Open the lid & serve the cheesy ground turkey pasta. Enjoy!
- Best Pasta: I used salad shells. You can also use rotini, penne or farfalle pasta.
- Red pepper flakes: This will add a slight subtle kick to the one pot ground turkey pasta dish. If you are heat intolerant or making the recipe for kids skip adding the red pepper flakes.
- Can I use half & half? Yes you can use half & half instead of the heavy whipping cream. Use same amount.
- Can I use 1% or fat free milk? Yes you can use either 1% or fat free milk instead of the whole milk in the recipe for a much milder version.
- Can I use pre-packaged grated cheese? Yes, you can use pre-packaged grated cheese or grate it from a cheese block.
- For saucy pasta: You can always adjust the consistency of the dish by adding more liquid. For saucy pasta add more milk or stock at the end.
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