This Instant Pot Penne Alfredo is creamy, rich, and a family-friendly dinner you can get on the table in a matter of minutes! It doesn’t get much easier (or more delicious!) than this!
There’s so much you can do in an Instant Pot, from making Instant Pot rice to corn-on-the-cob—between that and my air fryer, I don’t even know if I need my oven and stovetop anymore! Okay, maaaaybe I’m exaggerating a little, but when it comes to making easy pasta dinners, I really almost exclusively use the Instant Pot at this point. This Instant Pot Penne Alfredo is a favorite of my kids, but my husband and I love it too. You can make it for a romantic Valentine’s Day dinner (be sure to make my Copycat Portillo’s Chocolate Cake for dessert!), but it’s also simple enough to put on your regular weeknight meal rotation.
Easy Instant Pot Penne Alfredo Recipe
Instant Pot Penne Alfredo is great for picky eaters because it’s basically pasta in cream sauce—how can you go wrong?! (If you have little ones who refuse to eat “green things,” just omit the parsley from their portions!) Make it a meal by adding steamed broccoli, baked chicken breasts, and maybe some homemade garlic bread too if you’re feeding a big family!
Now, a traditional Italian-style alfredo is simply made with butter and parmesan; American-style is usually made with lots of butter and lots of heavy whipping cream. This recipe lightens things up by using cream cheese and just a half cup of half-and-half, so it’s an alfredo sauce you can eat without feeling disgustingly full afterwards. (I think we all know that feeling, right?!) But don’t worry, you still get the same rich, creamy texture!
See recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.
- Penne pasta – Cooking times vary for different types of pasta and this recipe was tested using penne. I highly recommend using penne and not swapping it for a different pasta type!
- Vegetable broth – Chicken broth can be used instead.
- Cream cheese – Let this sit on the counter until it comes to room temperature.
- Half and half – You can use heavy cream if you prefer.
- Fresh parsley
How to Make Instant Pot Penne Alfredo
1. Cook the Pasta
Place the penne in the bowl of the Instant Pot with the broth, nutmeg, and oregano. Use a wooden spoon to push the penne into the liquid. Close the pressure cooker with the pressure button in the sealing position. Select “pressure cook or manual”, set 5 minutes to “high.” The pressure will take about 8 minutes to rise before starting to cook. Release the pressure after the end of cooking alarm sounds.
Remove the lid and stir in the cream cheese, Parmesan, and half-and-half. Cover without closing tightly and let stand for about 2 minutes, or until the cheese has melted. Uncover, stir, and serve garnished with parsley.
How to Store and Reheat Leftover Instant Pot Penne Alfredo
You can refrigerate penne alfredo in an airtight container for up to 4 days. To reheat, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of half-and-half to the pasta to make the sauce creamy again. I don’t recommend freezing this recipe.
What is the difference between white sauce and alfredo sauce?
A white sauce is thickened with flour, but alfredo doesn’t have any flour added to it.
Can you put uncooked pasta in an Instant Pot?
Yes! You can use your Instant Pot to cook uncooked pasta. This recipe calls for dried penne.
How long does it take to cook pasta in an Instant Pot?
It depends on the shape of pasta you’re cooking. Just like on the stovetop, some shapes of pasta will take longer to cook than others.
What is penne alfredo pasta?
Penne alfredo is simply penne pasta in alfredo sauce. While fettuccine alfredo is the most popular dish made with alfredo sauce, penne is a great choice too because it’s a shape that holds the sauce well!
More Instant Pot Recipes to Try
Instant Pot Penne Alfredo
- 1 package 1 lb penne pasta
- 2 cups vegetable broth you can also use chicken broth for a non-vegetarian recipe
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- 2 tsp oregano
- 4 oz cream cheese room temperature
- ½ cup half and half cream you can substitute with heavy cream
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
- Place the penne in the bowl of the instant pot, pour the broth, the nutmeg and the oregano. Push the penne to immerse them as much as possible in the liquid. Close the pressure cooker with the pressure button in the sealing position.
- Select "pressure cook or manual", set 5 minutes to "high". The pressure will take about 8 minutes to rise before starting to cook.
- When the end of the cooking alarm sounds, release the pressure.
- Remove the lid, add the cream cheese, Parmesan and cream and stir for a few seconds. Cover without closing tightly and let stand 2 minutes to let the cheeses melt. Uncover, stir and serve immediately sprinkled with parsley.
The directions say to stir in parmesan but parmesan isn’t in the recipe list of ingredients. How much parmesan? Fresh? Chopped in chunks? Grated? Thanks