Classic bolognese meat sauce made in half the amount of time. Instant Pot Bolognese is a hearty pasta dinner that will satisfy big appetites.
Bolognese is a classic Italian pasta sauce simmered for hours until it cooks down into a rich and deeply flavorful meat sauce.
I'm all for traditional recipes and slow cooking methods, but it's also nice to have a quick and easy version in your back pocket.
Just because this recipe is easy, doesn't mean it's not delicious. My Instant Pot Bolognese will satisfy all your cravings for a rich and satisfying pasta dinner.
I take a few (okay, many) liberties with this recipes, to make it as easy as possible for all of you bolognese-loving busy parents. This sauce is essentially made in 3 easy steps:
Once all the ingredients are in the pot, cook at high pressure for 20 minutes. To finish, simmer and thicken the sauce in the Instant Pot for 10 to 20 minutes.
Simple Short-Cut Meat Sauce
Use an Instant Pot: Pressure cookers are known for concentrating flavor that usually takes hours to achieve over a low, stovetop simmer. This Instant Pot recipes isn't done instantly, but it is ready in less than half the amount of time of classic Bolognese.
Use a Food Processor: This is the quickest way to finely chop the onion, garlic, carrot and celery.
Use Red or White Wine: I'm not the only one who occasionally adds white wine to her meat sauce. Both are good, with white being more subtle. Use what you like to drink and what you already have on hand.
Use Canned Crushed Tomatoes: Canned whole tomatoes are preferable, but then you have to chop or crush them yourself. I hereby give you permission to make life easier by using crushed tomatoes. (but not diced! see more about this below)
Add More Flavor
I've used the simplest ingredients possible in my Instant Pot Bolognese, which still makes an incredibly rich and delicious sauce. You can make the sauce even richer and more flavorful with a few changes:
- Use butter, instead of olive oil
- Use ground Italian sausage, instead of ground pork
- Add bacon or pancetta (saute in the beginning, before the ground meat)
- Add a pinch of nutmeg, bay leaf, fennel seeds and/or dried oregano
- Stir in a ½ cup of whole milk or cream when the sauce is finished
Diced vs Crushed Tomatoes
Canned diced tomatoes are cut into little chunks sitting in juice. Crushed tomatoes are more like a tomato puree. For this recipe, use crushed tomatoes.
Most canned diced tomatoes don't break down, no matter how long you cook them. You'll end up with mushy, semi-firm chunks of tomato in your bolognese, which isn't good.
Serious Eats explains what type of canned tomatoes you should use and why most chefs buy whole canned tomatoes, then crush them by hand.
More Pasta Recipes You'll Love
- One-Pot Spaghetti with Tomatoes and Kale
- Instant Pot Chicken Parmesan Pasta
- Shrimp Linguine with Arugula Pesto
Instant Pot Bolognese
This is as quick and easy as Bolognese can get, with delicious results. Instant Pot Bolognese is just as rich and flavorful as classic Bolognese meat sauce, but ready in half the amount of time. Serve the bolognese with a pound of your favorite pasta.
Total Instant Pot Cooking Time: 10 to 15 minutes to reach pressure + 20 minute cooking time + quick release and simmer
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 1 hour
- Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
- Yield: 6 to 8 servings 1x
- Category: pasta
- Method: Instant Pot
- Cuisine: Italian
- 2 tablespoons olive oil or unsalted butter
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 2 carrots, finely chopped
- 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 pound ground pork
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ cup red wine
- 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
A short-cut for finely chopping vegetables: A food processor is a quick way to finely chop veggies. First, cut the onion, carrot and celery into large chunks. Put all of the vegetable chunks (plus whole cloves of peeled garlic) in the bowl of your food processor. Process until very finely chopped.
- Press the Instant Pot saute button, adjusting the heat level to "Normal." Add the olive oil. Saute onion, carrot, celery and garlic until soft and lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes.
- Adjust the saute heat level back up to "More." Add the ground beef and pork, breaking up the meat with a spatula as it cooks. Don’t stir the meat too frequently, or it will take longer to brown. Season the meat with salt and pepper. Cook until the meat is no longer pink, 8 to 10 minutes.
- The meat will release quite a bit of fat as it cooks. You can pour off some of the fat or just leave it all in the pot. Your choice. I've made it both ways, and both taste great but if you leave all of the fat in the pot your bolognese will have a noticeable amount of fat in it.
- Add wine. Simmer rapidly for 2 minutes to evaporate the alcohol.
- Add tomatoes. Mix well.
- Secure the lid. Make sure the steam release valve is in the sealed position. Cook on high pressure for 20 minutes. The Instant Pot will take 10-15 minutes to reach pressure before it starts cooking.
- When the cooking time is done, manually release the pressure for a quick release.
- Remove the lid. Stir the bolognese. Press the Saute button. Simmer the bolognese for 10 to 20 minutes, stirring frequently, to thicken the sauce.
- Season with more salt and pepper to taste before serving.
- Serve the bolognese with a pound of your favorite pasta.
How to Adjust the Instant Pot Saute Setting: First press "saute" then press "adjust" to change the heat level between "less," "normal and "more."
Keywords: instant pot bolognese, bolognese, pasta meat sauce