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Instant Pot Bolognese Sauce Recipe

Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time50 mins
Total Time1 hr 5 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 10 - 12 servings


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion yellow, finely chopped
  • 3 carrots diced
  • pounds ground meat beef, veal, pork combination
  • 6 ounce tomato paste
  • ½ cup red wine
  • 43½ ounces tomatoes diced or 3 - 14.5 cans
  • 1 tablespoon thyme fresh, finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon sage fresh, finely minced
  • 2 tablespoons parsley friesh, finely minced
  • 3 bay leaves
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 cup whole milk or ½ cup half & half
  • Parmesan cheese freshly grated for serving


  • Plug in the Instant Pot and press the “saute” button.
  • Let the Instant Pot heat up and add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the onion, saute for 3 minutes and add the diced carrots. Be sure to stir every occasionally, so nothing burns.
  • Push the onions & carrots to the sides of the pot and add the tomato paste. It should soften up a little with the heat of the pan and then you can combine it with the rest of the ingredients.
  • Continue cooking for another 3 minutes then add the ground meat. Be sure to break the meat up with your hands as you are adding it and then with a wood spoon as it is browning so there are no large pieces.
  • Season with a little salt and pepper, to taste.
  • Continue cooking the meat until it brown, about 5 minutes. Remember, it doesn’t have to cook through, just brown. It will be fully cooking when you pressure cook it.
  • Add the wine, stirring the bottom of the pot to scrape up and bits and pieces that may have stuck to it. Let the wine cook down until it is almost completely gone. This should take about 4 minutes.
  • Add the diced tomatoes, fresh herbs, bay leaves and season with a little salt and pepper.
  • Turn off the Instant Pot, place the cover back on and set it to cook at high pressure for 15 minutes. Make sure you pressure release valve is turned to close or what they call Sealing.
  • It’s going to take 10 to 14 minutes for the pressure to build up in the Instant Pot. The cooking timer doesn’t start until the pressure is just right. Once it get there, it will cook for 15 minutes and stop.
  • While it is getting to pressure, the LED display will show “ON”. When the Instant Pot reaches working pressure, the LED display with change to number of minutes, indicating how many minutes are left to cook.
  • When the cooking time is up, the InstaPot will go into a cycle called “Keep Warm”.
    For this recipe, you are going to use Natural Release which means you are going to leave the release valve in the “Sealing” position and let the pressure release slowly over time naturally.
    The opposite method is called “Quick Release” where you CAREFULLY turn the release valve to “Venting” to let all the steam out quickly. I like to use a dish towel when performing this chore so I don’t get burned.
    How long it takes to Naturally Release depends on the ingredients being cooked and how much liquid is in the pressure cooker. It can take as little as a few minutes to over 30 minutes for the pressure to naturally release.
    You’ll know the pressure is released when the little silver float value next to the pressure release value drops down. And don’t worry about the InstaPot being in the Keep Warm setting. It will release the pressure in this mode.
    If you get impatient with how long it takes to release naturally, I have been known to help it along after 10 or 15 minutes with a little quick release. But as my high school coach once told me, “Patience is a virtue”.
  • When the pressure is fully released, carefully remove the lid in case there is any residual steam by removing the cover away from you.
  • Add the milk or half & half, stir, taste and adjust seasonings with salt & pepper.
  • Serve over pasta or any other type of noodles you prefer.
    In our house, we typically serve Bolognese sauce with penne pasta but for this recipe we served it with Gigli (Campanelle) pasta, shaped like a cone with a ruffled edge.
  • And don’t forget to garnish the dish with some freshly grated Parmesan cheese.


I have read on several blogs that you can skip the browning of the vegetables and the meat and just dump everything into the Instant Pot and start cooking. I have not tried this yet but I will and will let you know how it turns out and if I would do it again.