Instant Pot Baked Ziti: Olive Garden Copycat
One of Andy’s favorite meals, when we order out from Olive Garden, is baked ziti. This Instant Pot baked ziti is a dead ringer for Olive Garden’s Five Cheese Ziti. That’s why I call this Instant Pot “baked” ziti an Olive Garden copycat.
This is a one-pot, dump and start Instant Pot recipe that takes no time and tastes restaurant quality without the price. Maybe next I’ll find an Olive Garden breadstick recipe… One can only hope!
I promise you, this Instant Pot creamy ziti is not dairy-free or carb-free. It’s full of creamy pasta goodness, and hardly takes any time to make.
How to Make Instant Pot Baked Ziti
There are really only a few directions that go into making this easy Instant Pot creamy ziti. It’s pretty much fool-proof and a great beginner Instant Pot recipe.
You’re going to start out by adding cream, broth, garlic, salt and pepper, and pasta into the Instant Pot. Also, make sure your liquid is covering your pasta. You’re not going to stir. Remember: Do not stir.
All you have to do next is pressure cook for six minutes and then do a natural pressure release and then a quick release. You’re going to have a very liquidy sauce, which is normal to see. This will change once you turn your Instant Pot on sauté mode and you add your red pasta sauce and then slowly add your cheeses.
You’ll turn out with a creamy, thick sauce for your Instant Pot creamy ziti. After the sauce is thickened, you’re pretty much done here. Turn off your Instant Pot. Serve with some breadsticks and maybe a side salad. The real star here is the copycat Olive Garden Instant Pot baked ziti if we’re going to be completely honest.
Baked Ziti in the Instant Pot
This is optional: If you have the Instant Pot Duo Crisp lid to the Instant Pot, top your pasta with your cheeses and broil under the Duo Crisp lid for a few minutes to get the “baked” effect. If you don’t have the lid, then transfer to an oven-safe baking dish, add the cheese on top, and broil for about three minutes for a crispy golden top.
What if I don’t Have an Instant Pot?
The recipe is pretty similar on the stovetop as it is in the pressure cooker or Instant Pot. You can also make this recipe in your electric pressure cooker, just check your manufacturer’s specifications. If you’re looking for an Instant Pot pressure cooker, check any of my reviews out to find the best one. Otherwise, I used my Instant Pot Duo for this recipe.
Easy Instant Pot Baked Ziti: Olive Garden Copycat
- 1 cup of heavy cream
- 1 & ½ cups of chicken broth or vegetable broth
- 1 tsp of dried minced garlic
- ½ tsp of salt, plus more for tasting
- ½ tsp of pepper, plus more for tasting
- 8 oz of dry ziti pasta
- 1 cup of your preference of red pasta sauce or tomato sauce (if using plain add 1 tsp of Italian seasoning)
- 1 cup of mozzarella cheese, shredded, plus more for topping
- 1 cup of parmesan cheese shredded, plus more for topping
- Add cream, broth, garlic, salt, pepper, and noodles to your Instant Pot inner pot. Make sure your noodles are covered in the liquid but do not stir. Moving around some noodles to be covered is perfectly fine, though.
- With your Instant Pot manual/pressure cook on high, set for six minutes and cook. When the timer goes off, do a natural release of 5-7 minutes, and then release your pressure carefully.
- Turn on sauté mode. Add in the pasta or tomato sauce (if plain tomato sauce add with Italian seasoning) and stir.
- While stirring, slowly add in the cheeses gradually. You will see the cheese thicken and the sauce will start to thicken as well. Turn off the heat and serve.
- For a baked top, add additional cheese to the top and with your Instant Pot Duo Crisp lid, broil for a few minutes. If you don’t have the air fryer lid, then transfer to an oven-safe dish, add the cheese topping, and broil for about three minutes or until the cheese is golden brown. Enjoy!