The Simple Trick To Avoid Overcooking Instant Pot Pasta

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 is truly a beloved addition to the home kitchen. Its set-it-and-forget-it functions make life in the kitchen so much easier, especially when we don't have much time to cook or the desire to stand over a hot stove stirring a pot.

Adept at creating a huge variety of recipes, from spicy salsa chicken to creamy hummus to juicy pork tenderloin, the Instant Pot is also surprisingly handy when it comes to making pasta. Quick, easy, and involving zero pots of boiling water, the process requires next to no hands-on attention. All you do is add uncooked dried pasta into the pot, right along with some liquid and additional flavorings, set the appliance to the pressure cook function, and enjoy al dente, already sauced pasta just a few minutes later (via Food Network).

Creating an easy, tasty pasta in the Instant Pot is pretty straightforward, but there's one thing you'll want to avoid and that's overcooking it.

Follow this handy guideline to calculate the pasta's cooking time

If you've never cooked pasta in the Instant Pot, you're in for a treat, but the process takes a couple run-throughs in order to wrap your head around it. Many of us are used to boiling pasta in a pot of water we can access at all times in order to periodically check the pasta for doneness, but in the Instant Pot, the appliance is locked throughout the cooking process. For that reason, it can be easy for first-timers to either undercook the pasta by using too little liquid, or overcook it by setting the appliance to pressure cook for too long, according to Kitchn.

The outlet explains that overcooking the pasta is a particularly common error, since the starch's overall cook time really adds up as the pot comes to pressure, stays at pressure to cook the dish, and then releases pressure once done cooking. In order to take the guesswork out of the process, the outlet suggests halving the standard boiling-water cook time outlined on the box of pasta. 

So, if a box of penne has a suggested cook time of 12 minutes, halve that for six minutes under pressure in the Instant Pot. When in doubt, try looking up a specific recipe created for the Instant Pot for the pasta shape you're cooking with, Kitchn notes. With this handy rule, overcooked Instant Pot pasta should be a thing of your past.