Instant Pot Chicken Parmesan Pasta

A bowl of chicken penne pasta with cheese.

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4.8 from 10 reviews

The absolute easiest way to make Instant Pot chicken parmesan pasta! Just dump the ingredients, no prep work! Simple ingredients like chicken tenders, penne pasta and jarred marinara make this an easy one-pot dinner. Plus, lots of irresistible melted cheese and a crunchy breadcrumb topping. 

Total Instant Pot Cooking Time: 15 minutes to reach pressure + 4 minutes cooking time + Quick Release. The pasta then needs to sit for 5+ minutes for the sauce to thicken.


Units Scale
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound chicken tenders
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 25-ounce jar pasta/marinara sauce
  • 8 ounces penne pasta
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups grated cheese (pizza blend, Italian blend, or just mozzarella)
  • Garnish: fresh basil or oregano, crunchy toasted panko breadcrumbs

Crunchy Panko Breadcrumb Topping

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs


  1. Pour the olive oil evenly over the bottom of the Instant Pot. Add the chicken tenders, lining the tenders up in one even layer. Season the chicken with salt and garlic powder. 
  2. Pour marinara sauce on top of the chicken.
  3. Add the penne pasta, spreading it out in an even layer. Do NOT stir.
  4. Measure out the two cups of water. Pour the water into the empty marinara jar and shake the jar with a lid to get all of the sauce off the sides of the jar. Gently pour the water into the Instant Pot, over the pasta. Remember, do NOT stir.
  5.  Make sure all of the pasta is covered by water and not poking up out of the liquid. If needed, gently press down on the pasta to make sure each noodle is mostly under the water. 
  6. Lock the lid in place. Make sure the steam valve is in the sealed position. Press the Manual button and program the Instant Pot to cook on high pressure for 4 minutes. 
  7. When the cooking time is done, use a quick release to release the pressure instantly. 
  8. The sauce will seem watery and the pasta will still be fairly firm right when you open the lid. Don’t worry! Mix the pasta well. Use tongs to take the chicken tenders out of the pot, shaking off most of the tomato sauce, and lay the chicken tenders on a cutting board. 
  9. Cut the chicken tenders into bite-sized pieces. Season with salt if needed. Add the chicken back to the pot. 
  10. Add the grated cheese to the pasta and stir well.
  11. Make sure the Instant Pot is turned off, set the lid gently on top and let the pasta sit for 5 to 10 minutes for the sauce to thicken and the pasta to soften.  
  12. Top with fresh basil or oregano and crunchy panko breadcrumbs. You can also add grated parmesan cheese if you want even more cheese. 

Crunchy Breadcrumb Topping

  1. In a wide non-stick skillet, warm olive oil over medium heat.
  2. When the oil is hot, add the panko and mix well. Then spread the panko evenly across the skillet.
  3. Cook for about 4 minutes, stirring frequently, until breadcrumbs are lightly browned. 


This recipe was tested in a 6-quart Instant Pot

Chicken tenders will cook fully in the Instant Pot in 4 minutes. Don't substitute whole chicken thighs, chicken breasts or frozen chicken because they won't cook fully.  

The reason that you don't stir the ingredients before cooking is that you don't want the tomato sauce or pasta to burn to the bottom of the Instant pot. 

To make this recipe vegetarian, simply leave out the chicken