This easy Instant Pot Pasta Sauce has a deep, rich, all day simmered flavor, but takes just 25 minutes in your pressure cooker. Loaded with veggies, this healthy tomato sauce is vegetarian and easily made vegan. Perfect for spaghetti, lasagna, and other pasta dishes.
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For the longest time I couldn't understand the appeal of making homemade pasta sauce. I mean, what's the point when you could crack the lid on a perfectly delicious jar of marinara sauce and call it a day?
But then I tasted my friend's Italian nona's all day simmered tomato sauce and I wanted some privacy with it, it was that good.
I don't have an Italian nona, and don't have the patience to simmer things all day long. You know what I DO have? An Instant Pot! And it turns out that layering in the right flavours and pressure cooking the heck out of it will give you that same all day taste in just a fraction of the time.
And that, my friends, is why we're here today.
This Instant Pot Pasta Sauce is a game changer. It's made with simple, everyday ingredients, lots of love, and the magic of pressure cooking all those flavours together in a perfectly delicious way. Trust me, with a batch of this stuff in on hand in your freezer, you won't be going back to the canned stuff anytime soon.
Here's what you'll need to make Instant Pot Pasta Sauce:
- Canned, crushed tomatoes --> You can also start with diced or whole canned tomatoes if you prefer, but I like the texture of crushed.
- Onion --> A big yellow guy all diced up.
- Carrot --> About a cup of diced carrot.
- Celery --> For a little somethin' something'.
- Garlic --> Obviously.
- Red wine --> For building in deeeeeep flavour.
- Butter --> This creates richness.
- Tomato paste --> A bit of on brand umami.
- Honey --> To balance the acidity a bit.
- Spices --> We're using dried oregano, basil, bay leaves, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper.
You can't make Instant Pot Pasta Sauce without an Instant Pot! Of course any other brand of electric pressure cooker will be fine, but I have only tested the timings in my IP.
If you don't have a pressure cooker and you want to make this pasta sauce recipe stove top, I recommend a nice heavy bottomed pot like this one.
How do you make Instant Pot pasta sauce?
Easy peasy, my friends. I'll talk you through it.
Step 1: Turn your Instant Pot to the sauté setting on normal heat. Add a tablespoon of olive oil, and add the onions. Sauté for a couple of minutes until they start to turn translucent. I love a wooden spoon for this.
Step 2: Add the carrots, celery, and garlic, and sauté for another 3-5 minutes until the vegetables are softened and just starting to take on a golden hue. Make sure you scrape the bottom of the pot well.
Step 3: Cancel the sauté function. Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, butter, red wine, honey, herbs, and salt and pepper.
Step 4: Place the lid on your Instant Pot, seal, and set to "pressure cook, high" for 25 minutes. Make sure the vent is sealed. It will take about 10-15 minutes for the Instant Pot to come up to pressure.
Step 5: Once the pressure cooking cycle is complete, allow the pressure to release naturally for 15 minutes, and then quick release the remaining pressure.
Voila! Your pasta sauce is ready.
If you prefer a super smooth pasta sauce (parents of picky eaters, I see you) you can always run it through a food mill or purée with an immersion blender at this stage. Be sure to remove the bay leaf first!
Can this recipe be made vegan?
Totes. Use olive oil in place of the butter, sugar in place of the honey, and be sure to use a vegan-friendly wine. Then you're good to go.
Do I have to use the wine in this recipe?
Red wine gives the pasta sauce a deep, rich flavour so I do recommend keeping it in. But if for any reason you can't or prefer not to use wine in your cooking, you can replace it with an equivalent amount of vegetable broth.
Can I freeze this pasta sauce?
You sure can! You can either portion it into wide-mouth Mason jars (be sure to leave adequate head space for freezing) or, I love freezing Instant Pot Pasta Sauce in these reusable silicon freezer bags.
Help! My sauce is too runny.
Worry not, your pasta sauce will thicken considerably as it cools (see the photo below, that's taken after an overnight stint in the fridge). However, if you'd like to thicken it up, switch your Instant Pot onto the sauté function on low, and let it simmer until it's adequately thick.
How should I use Instant Pot Pasta Sauce?
Spoon it on top of spaghetti or use it to make a cheesy Vegetarian Ravioli Bake. Use it to make a delicious veggie-packed Kale Lasagna. Mmmmm. Or, for a lower carb option, you can use your Instant Pot Pasta Sauce in these Cheesy Baked Spaghetti Squash Noodles. Or how about Vegetarian Baked Ziti? So, so good.
Hey Nutrition Lady, are tomatoes good for you?
Tomato toe-mah-toe. However you like to say it, there’s no doubt that the sweet summer fruits are juicy little bombs of nutrition, whether they're canned or fresh.
Tomatoes are known for their antioxidant content, notably lycopene. Good for your prostates, fellas; eating tomatoes may reduce the risk of prostate cancer.
Other antioxidants include vitamin C, and beta carotene. As far as phytonutrients go, tomatoes are top of the charts. They contain flavonoids, carotenoids, and glycosides to name just a few.
Eating tomatoes has been shown to be beneficial for the profile of fats in our bloodstream. Specifically, tomato intake has been linked to reduced total cholesterol, reduced LDL cholesterol, and reduced triglyceride levels. This makes our hearts happy!
Tomatoes are also an excellent source of vitamin K, copper, potassium, manganese, dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin B6, folate, niacin, vitamin E, and phosphorus.
Other delicious recipes you might enjoy:
Instant Pot Pasta Sauce
- 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion diced
- 1 cup diced carrot
- 1 cup diced celery
- 3 cloves garlic crushed
- 3 cans crushed tomatoes three 14oz / 400g cans
- 4 tablespoon tomato paste
- ½ cup dry red wine or vegetable broth
- 2 tablespoon butter or olive oil
- 1 teaspoon honey or sugar
- 3 small bay leaves
- 2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 teaspoon dried basil
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup vegetable broth or water I rinse out the tomato cans and use this as the extra liquid
- Set your Instant Pot to the sauté setting on "normal" heat.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and add the diced onion. Sauté for 2-3 minutes, until just translucent.1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, 1 large onion
- Add the garlic, carrots, and celery, and sauté for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are starting to soften and just take on a golden hue.1 cup diced carrot, 3 cloves garlic, 1 cup diced celery
- Add the canned tomatoes, tomato paste, wine, butter, honey, oregano, basil, bay leaves, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, and extra liquid.3 cloves garlic, 3 cans crushed tomatoes, 4 tablespoon tomato paste, ½ cup dry red wine, 2 tablespoon butter, 1 teaspoon honey, 3 small bay leaves, 2 teaspoon dried oregano, 2 teaspoon dried basil, ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon sea salt, ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, 1 cup vegetable broth or water
- Seal the lid, and set to manual pressure cooking on high pressure for 25 minutes. It will take about 15 minutes to come up to pressure.
- When the pressure cooking cycle is complete, allow the pressure to release naturally for 15 minutes, and then quick release the remaining pressure.
- Remove the bay leave, stir the pasta sauce, and purée if desired.
- Nutrition values are an estimate only.
- Pasta sauce can be frozen once completely cooled in glass jars (be sure to leave adequate head space) or silicon freezer bags.
- To make vegan pasta sauce, replace the butter with olive oil and the honey with sugar. Be sure to use a vegan wine.
- You can replace the red wine with vegetable broth if you don't want to cook with wine.
This recipe was originally published January 7th, 2020. It was retested, edited, and updated on February 4th, 2022.