This Instant Pot Chicken Parmesan Pasta has all your favorite flavors of the classic dish, except made in one pot for a quick and easy weekday dinner that is ready in just around 30 minutes! Serve with a crisp green salad and maybe some crusty garlic bread for a delicious meal that the whole family will enjoy!
Chicken Parmesan is one of our favorite meals, but it can be a lot of work prepping and cooking the meat, pasta, and sauce separately, not to mention the cleanup that is involved afterwards. That's where the Instant Pot really shines.
While not a traditional version, you can enjoy the same great flavors of tender chunks of chicken in a rich tomato sauce with pasta and cheese in our Instant Pot chicken parmesan pasta. It's casual fare and the kind of meal kids especially love since even the chicken is cut apart into bite-size chunks.
Here's a list of what you'll need to make this Instant Pot chicken parmesan recipe. See the printable recipe card below for exact amounts and full instructions.
- Chicken: We use boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into 1-inch pieces, but thighs can also be used.
- Onion: Half of a chopped onion helps add dimension and flavor to this dish.
- Pasta: We like to use penne pasta for this recipe, but farfalle, orecchiette, or rotini will all work well.
- Marinara sauce: You can make it from scratch or use your favorite jarred version. We especially like Rao's marinara sauce and always keep it on hand for easy meals that taste homemade.
- Chicken broth: This is the liquid that you need to pressurize the instant pot and cook the pasta. It adds more flavor to the finished dish than water but you can also use water and enough chicken bouillon to make your broth.
- Butter & cream: These two give a rich, silky finish to the sauce. You can omit the butter if you want to make a lighter version, but it really adds fantastic flavor.
- Cheese: It wouldn't be chicken parmesan without some mozzarella and parmesan cheese!
- Seasonings: We're keeping it simple with salt, pepper, and Italian seasonings, which is a blend of dried basil, oregano, rosemary, parsley, and thyme. Check out the notes below the recipe for substitution amounts if you don't have an Italian seasoning blend in your cupboard already.
It's easier to slice raw chicken that is still partially frozen. So if you are using chicken breasts from the freezer, there is no need to wait for them to thaw completely before cutting into chunks and making this recipe.
How to Make Instant Pot Chicken Parmesan Pasta
This is a step-by-step overview of the process for this easy pasta dinner recipe. Be sure to see the recipe card for full ingredients and instructions.
- Sear the chicken. Start by turning your Instant Pot on to the SAUTE mode. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning on a large place or in a large bowl. Add the olive oil to the Instant Pot, then once it's hot add the chicken pieces. Let this cook for a minute or two without stirring.
- Add onions. Once the chicken has browned on the bottom a bit, use a wooden spoon to stir, sauteing the chicken for another 2 minutes until it is almost cooked through. Add chopped onions and continue to saute until the chicken is done and the onions have softened somewhat.
Letting the chicken cook without stirring for the first couple of minutes helps it develop a brown crust, which means more flavor and better texture in the finished dish. This doesn't happen if you move the chicken around in the pot from the start.
- Add pasta and broth. Once the chicken is done, pour the broth into the Instant Pot along with the pasta and use a wooden spoon to scrape up any bits of chicken or onion sticking to the bottom of the pot.
- Seal and cook. Lock the lid in place and close the sealing valve. Cook at HIGH pressure for 5 minutes, followed by a quick pressure release.
- Add remaining ingredients and stir. Remove the lid and stir in the butter, cream, marinara sauce, and mozzarella cheese. until everything is melted and hot. The residual heat from the chicken and pasta should be enough, but if needed you can switch the Instant Pot back to saute mode for a minute or two to help get everything hot.
- Garnish and serve. Sprinkle the parmesan cheese and freshly chopped parsley over the pasta before serving.
Absolutely. Just use your favorite gluten-free pasta and make sure that the marinara sauce you are using is also gluten-free. Everything else works the same.
If you want to decrease the calories, you can try replacing the heavy cream with 3 ounces of reduced-fat cream cheese blended with ¾ cup of milk and reduce the butter to 2 tablespoons. The dish won't be as rich, but still good.
- Taste and adjust seasoning before serving. We recommend tasting and adding additional salt or pepper, if needed. You might also want to add a pinch of red pepper flakes for a little kick.
- Be careful releasing the pressure. When doing the quick pressure release, watch out for the steam coming out of the instant pot because it can be very hot.
- Use thawed chicken. While you can cook chicken from frozen in the instant pot, this is one situation where we think you get best results using thawed chicken so it can sear before cooking.
- Change the protein: If you prefer, you can use another protein like crumbled Italian sausage, pork tenderloin or pork chops cut into chunks. The cooking time will be the same. Shrimp are another good protein option, but I would add them at the end after cooking the pasta. Turn the pressure cook function off and switch to saute mode, then add the shrimp and sauce, stirring occasionally for 2-3 minutes until the shrimp has cooked through.
- Change the sauce: This same technique would work well with other types of sauces like vodka sauce.
Storage & Reheating
Leftovers can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. Reheat in the microwave until warm before serving. You may want to add a splash of milk and stir to help loosen up the pasta if it has absorbed a lot of the sauce.
You can freeze this dish for 1-2 months, then thaw and reheat in the microwave or on the stove.
More Pasta Recipes
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Instant Pot Chicken Parmesan Pasta
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, chopped into bite-size pieces
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- ½ onion, chopped
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 16 ounces penne pasta
- 4 Tablespoons salted butter
- ¾ cup heavy cream
- 1 cup marinara sauce (we like Rao's brand best)
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 3 ounces grated Parmesan cheese
- Flat-leaf Italian parsley, for garnish (optional)
- Season the chicken with salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning.
- Heat the Instant Pot using the SAUTE function, then add the olive oil. Add the seasoned chicken to the hot oil and do not move it around for the first 2 minutes so it can sear, then continue to saute, stirring occasionally for another 1-2 minutes until the chicken is almost cooked through.
- Add onions and cook until chicken is done and the onions have softened slightly.
- Add chicken broth and pasta, using a wooden spoon to scrape the bottom of the Instant Pot to remove any bits of chicken or onion.
- Place the lid on the Instant Pot, setting the valve to sealing and switch the Instant Pot to the PRESSURE function. Cook on HIGH for 5 minutes, followed by a quick pressure release.
- Remove the lid and stir in butter, heavy cream, spaghetti sauce, and mozzarella cheese until everything is melted and hot. If needed, switch back to the SAUTE feature.
- Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and fresh parsley before serving.
- Italian seasoning: If you don't already have this spice blend in your cupboard, you can substitute 1 teaspoon dried basil, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, 1 teaspoon dried parsley, ½ teaspoon dried marjoram and ½ teaspoon dried thyme instead. For a bit of kick, add ¼ to ½ teaspoon red chili flakes.
- Storage: Leftovers can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. Reheat in the microwave until warm before serving. You may want to add a splash of milk and stir to help loosen up the pasta if it has absorbed a lot of the sauce.
- Freezing: You can freeze this dish for 1-2 months, then thaw and reheat in the microwave or on the stove.