The Reason You Shouldn't Stir Instant Pot Pasta Right Away

Oh, the Instant Pot: A pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice maker, yogurt maker, and so many more things rolled into one easy-to-use countertop appliance. The Instant Pot has truly made life in the kitchen easier — especially when we've got little time to cook, or want a set-it-and-forget-it, hands-off type of dish. The Instant Pot is adept at creating a huge variety of recipes, from hearty chicken and potatoes to warming chana masala to beefy prime rib.

And if you've never made pasta in your Instant Pot, you've simply got to try it. Quick, easy, and involving zero pots of boiling water, it requires almost no hands-on attention and yes, it does come out al dente, too. All you have to do is dump uncooked dried pasta into the pot, right along with its sauce and additional flavorings, set the appliance to the pressure cook function, and enjoy perfectly cooked, already sauced pasta just a few short minutes later (via Food Network).

Whipping up an easy, flavorful pasta in the Instant Pot is pretty foolproof, but there's one counterintuitive step you should be aware of. As you place the ingredients in the appliance's pot insert, you shouldn't stir them before locking the lid and cooking the dish.

No stirring is needed for Instant Pot pasta

For many of us, pasta is undoubtedly one of the first dishes we learned how to cook on our own, seeing as how it's so easy. All you have to do, basically, is add pasta to boiling water, give it a good stir so that it doesn't stick together when cooking, drain it, add it to some sauce, and stir it again to coat every single strand or shape. After cooking pasta this way for so many years, it's likely that the urge to stir it is ingrained in our kitchen reflexes.

But if you're interested in streamlining the pasta-cooking process by using your Instant Pot, you're going to have to resist that urge. As explained by Kitchn, stirring the pasta with the liquid before locking the appliance and setting it to pressure cook will cause the dish to go sticky and gummy as it cooks, due to the way pasta releases starch under pressure. As recipe developer Susan Olayinka of The Flexible Fridge notes in the Instant Pot Spaghetti recipe on Tasting Table, "Be careful not to stir the raw spaghetti. It'll result in a mushy pasta."

Instant Pot pasta recipes will say in which order to add the ingredients. After you do so, just proceed with cooking — no stirring needed.