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Instant Pot Easy Cream Cheese Pasta

Super easy, creamy and garlicky pasta made with very few ingredients and under 20 minutes, a perfect meal for busy days. The cream cheese makes an alfredo-like sauce that’s super delicious and drool-worthy! Pair this easy Instant pot cream cheese pasta with some grilled chicken or garlic bread for a complete meal.

Two bowls of cream cheese pasta with garlic bread on the side.

Who doesn’t like a quick meal? If the whole dinner is done and ready to eat in 20 minutes, I will take up that offer. This cream cheese pasta is made in Instant pot in one go and it’s to die for! My whole family (especially my older kid) loves garlic. For us, there is no such thing as too much garlic. If you say there is too much garlic in this recipe, you and I are no longer friends… just kidding! I understand that tastes and levels of garlic is purely personal, so feel free to avoid or add more garlic as per your taste.

This recipe is budget friendly, made with 6 ingredients (not including salt, pepper and water) and is done in one-pot, which makes clean-up super easy. Just throw everything in dishwasher and be done with it, the inner pot I mean, not the entire instant pot. I made this pasta in the regular stovetop way for years and it was always our favorite. Instant pot makes the job even easier and tastier.

Cream cheese pasta in Instant pot.

What are the ingredients used for the Instant Pot Easy Cream Cheese pasta?

Seriously, only 6 Ingredients. Cook the pasta with some water, salt and olive oil. Then, fold in the cheese (Gosh… I can’t ever write this phrase without remembering Schitt’s Creek) to make a creamy pasta.

  1. Pasta: We love using Penne pasta because the penne pasta shape holds a lot of sauce. But you can use any kind of pasta you like. Spaghetti or rotini work great in this recipe. Gluten free pasta works too. I have used Banza chickpea pasta and brown rice pasta to make this recipe and they both work great. Just make sure you quick release as soon as the timer is done.
  2. Olive oil: Adding olive oil to pasta when pressure cooking will keep the pasta from sticking together. This is purely personal, some people don’t like to add olive oil. I personally feel it helps, especially when pressure cooking.
  3. Butter: Butter emulsifies so well with the starch in the pasta. But feel free to replace it with more olive oil.
  4. Garlic powder: I love love garlic in this recipe. Garlic powder works great here, but you can also use minced garlic in a pinch. If you don’t like garlic, feel free to skip it.
  5. Cream cheese: Obviously! Try to use full fat cream cheese in this recipe. Low fat one will still work but it’s just not the same, in my opinion. Diary free cream cheese might work, but I haven’t tried it, so I am really not sure.
  6. Parmesan Cheese: Store-bought shredded parmesan works fine here. Remember to get it from the refrigerator section, not the powdery stuff.
cream cheese pasta in a bowl with garlic bread on the side.

How to make the Instant Pot Cream Cheese pasta?

Its super super easy. Just cook the pasta in Instant pot and then fold in the cheeses for a smooth and creamy sauce.

  • Add dry pasta, water, salt and a splash of olive oil to your Instant pot.
  • Close the lid, turn the vent into sealing position and set the manual/Pressure cook mode for 5 minutes.
  • While the pasta is cooking, set the cream cheese and butter out and let them come to room temperature. Cut them into 1-inch cubes, so they blend in easy.
Process to make the Instant pot cream cheese pasta part 1.
  • Once the timer is done, quick release carefully, away from your face and your body. I always place a towel on the vent to avoid mess, in case starch leaks out.
  • Keep the Instant pot in “Keep Warm” mode and this makes sure the temperature is maintained to melt the cheeses.
  • Add butter and stir it in. Since the pasta water is not drained, the starches in the pasta water emulsify the butter.
  • Add cream cheese and fold it in till it melts. Stir the pasta gently, so it doesn’t break.
  • Add garlic powder, ground pepper, grated parmesan cheese and fold it in till the pasta sauce is creamy and the pasta is completely coated with sauce without any lumps.
  • Add salt if needed and turn off the instant pot. Serve it hot with some crunchy garlic bread or grilled chicken for a complete meal.
Process to make the Instant pot cream cheese pasta part 2.

Quick tips to make the best and tastiest cream cheese pasta:

  1. Try to get the cream cheese, parmesan and butter at room temperature or keep it on the counter for at least 20 minutes
  2. Cut the butter and cream cheese into 1-inch cubes, so they melt easy.
  3. Quick release carefully, away from your face and your body.
  4. Stir in the cheese keeping the instant pot in “keep warm” mode.

A few Faqs about the cream cheese pasta:

Can I use any shape pasta to make the cream cheese pasta?

We love using Penne pasta because the penne pasta shape holds a lot of sauce. But you can use any kind of pasta you like. Spaghetti or rotini work great in this recipe. Gluten free pasta works too. I have used Banza chickpea pasta and brown rice pasta to make this recipe and they both work great. Gluten free pasta needs only 1 min of pressure cook time. Also, quick release as soon as the timer is done.

Do we need any milk to make the pasta sauce creamier?

Nope. The starchy pasta water is retained in Instant pot and not drained. This helps with the emulsification process when butter and cheeses are mixed in, making a super creamy sauce. I promise, you don’t need milk!cream cheese pasta in a bowl with garlic bread on the side.

How to make this pasta better and more nutritious?

Adding vegetables is a great way to make this pasta nutritious. Broccoli or peas are great addition. I like asparagus too, but my kids don’t like lumpy asparagus, you can roast it separately and add to pasta. You can stir in some chopped spinach to make it a spinach and cream cheese pasta. If you want to add some protein to it, grilled chicken or sliced sausages are the way to go.

What to serve the pasta with?

Garlic bread! You cannot go wrong with a simple garlic bread. Just mix minced garlic, butter, parmesan cheese and Italian seasoning to make a simple garlic spread. Apply liberally on a baguette and bake till it’s nice and crispy and serve with the pasta. You can get this done by the time the instant pot comes to pressure. Or if you want to reduce the carb content, serve the pasta with a light salad.

Can I use gluten free pasta?

Yes! I have used chickpea pasta and brown rice pasta to make this dish and they both turned out great. Gluten free pasta needs only 1 min of pressure-cooking time, so adjust the time and quick release immediately after the timer is done.

Can I make cream cheese pasta on the stovetop?

Yes! Just boil the pasta like you usually do. Reserve some pasta water and drain the pasta. Make the sauce separately by sauteing minced garlic in butter, mix in the cream cheese, required pasta water and parmesan to make a creamy sauce and then mix in the cooked pasta.

Yield: 8

Instant Pot Easy Cream Cheese Pasta

cream cheese pasta in a bowl with garlic bread on the side.

Super creamy and garlicky one-pot pasta

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Time to build pressure in Instant pot 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes

Ingredients

For the Pasta:

For the Cream cheese sauce:

Instructions

To make the pasta:

  • Add dry pasta, water, salt and a splash of olive oil to your Instant pot.
  • Close the lid, turn the vent into sealing position and set the manual/Pressure cook mode for 5 minutes.
  • While the pasta is cooking, set the cream cheese and butter out and let them come to room temperature. Cut them into 1-inch cubes, so they melt easily.
  • Once the timer is done, quick release carefully.

To make the cream cheese pasta:

  • Keep the Instant pot in "Keep Warm" mode and Add butter and stir it in.
  • Add cream cheese and fold it in till it melts. Stir the pasta gently, so it doesn't break.
  • Add garlic powder, ground pepper, grated parmesan cheese and fold it in till the pasta sauce is creamy and the pasta is completely coated with sauce without any lumps.
  • Add salt if needed and turn off the instant pot.

Notes

  • Try to get the cream cheese, parmesan and butter at room temperature or keep it on the counter for at least 20 minutes
  • Cut the butter and cream cheese into 1-inch cubes, so they melt easy.
  • Quick release carefully, away from your face and your body.
  • Stir in the cheese keeping the instant pot in "keep warm" mode.
  • Make sure you use the brick or block cream cheese and shredded parmesan cheese available in the refrigerator sectio of your grocery store.
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    Nutrition Information:

    Yield:

    8

    Serving Size:

    1

    Amount Per Serving: Calories: 242Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 38mgSodium: 761mgCarbohydrates: 20gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 6g

    Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.

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