Creamy Instant Pot Lemon Pasta

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This Instant Pot Lemon Pasta is a quick and easy meatless meal that features a vibrant, creamy sauce made with cream cheese, condensed milk, and fresh lemon.

❤️ Why You’ll Love This Recipe: This is a bright and adult take on macaroni and cheese with a simple addition of lemon. It’s a family-favorite dinner that comes together in one pot and less than 20 minutes. ffdab9

We’ve been perfecting this lemon mac and cheese recipe in the Instant Pot for years. It’s a go-to for our family, and kids of all ages love it.

This fantastic instant pot pasta recipe has a silky smooth and rich sauce. Serve it with a Quick Asian Spinach Salad Recipe from Barbara Bakes or Instant Pot Green Beans to add some fresh green to your plate.

an overhead shot of the ingredients needed to make lemon pasta, including macaroni, cream cheese, salt, lemon, and evaporated milk on a muted teal baking sheet with green parsley for garnish

INGREDIENTS YOU NEED

The ingredients for this quick pasta recipe are simple. Here’s what you need:

  • Macaroni. You can use any short-cut pasta for this recipe. Use the easy guide for cooking pasta in an Instant Pot to find the best cooking time.
  • Cream cheese. For best results, let the cream cheese come to room temperature first.
  • Evaporated milk. This is the key to the creamiest, richest cheese sauce for pasta.
  • Lemon. You’ll use the fresh lemon juice and zest to brighten up the Instant Pot lemon pasta.
  • Parsley. This makes a nice herby garnish.
a 45 degree shot of a white bowl filled with Instant Pot lemon pasta, garnished with parsley, and sitting in front of an Instant Pot with juiced lemons and asparagus in the background

How to Make Lemon Pasta in an Instant Pot

This easy recipe will work in any brand of electric pressure cooker, including the Instant Pot, Ninja Foodi, or Power Pressure Cooker XL.

This pasta comes together easily with a few simple ingredients. Start by combining the pasta, water, and salt in the Instant Pot. Pressure cook for 4 minutes, release the pressure for a minute, then finish with a quick pressure release.

Remove the lid and stir in the cream cheese until it’s melted, followed by the evaporated milk. Then use the sauté function and simmer until the sauce is smooth and uniform.

Finally, turn off the pressure cooker and stir in lemon juice, lemon zest, and parsley. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.

a close-up of a dark brown wooden spoon scooping up a serving of creamy lemon pasta, with a stack of white plates and golden-yellow lemons in the background

Important Tips for Making Instant Pot Creamy Lemon Pasta

Keep these tips in mind when making Instant Pot lemon pasta with cream sauce:

  • You’ll continue cooking the pasta in the sauce after you remove the lid of the Instant Pot, so it’s ok to undercook it a bit.
  • This recipe works with any kind of short pasta, such as farfalle (bowties), penne, or rigatoni.
  • Cutting the cream cheese into chunks helps it melt quickly and evenly into the pasta.
  • Make sure you’re not using sweetened condensed milk, which will give your pasta a very sweet flavor!
a 45 degree vertical shot of a white bowl filled with creamy macaroni, garnished with lemon and parsley, with additional lemon and a bowl of asparagus in the background

Frequently Asked Questions about Creamy Lemon Pasta

Can I add other ingredients to the Instant Pot mac and cheese?

Of course! I like to add a cup of frozen peas for some extra texture and nutrition. Then, for a more decadent finish, I sprinkle the top with a little grated Parmesan.

Some readers like to stir in cooked shrimp, diced chicken, or ground meat for added protein.

How should I store leftovers?

Store leftover lemon pasta in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four days. The cooked pasta does not freeze well.

Can I double or half the recipe?

Yes, you can easily cut the recipe in half with no changes to the cook time. To double, just make sure not to fill the pressure cooker pot beyond the Max Fill line.

A close-up photo of a fork ready to take a bite of creamy lemon pasta

MORE Instant Pot Pasta Recipes

We love cooking Instant Pot pasta for a fast dinner. Here are some other favorite recipes:


Do you LOVE this recipe?
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Ingredients

  • 1 package (16 ounces) macaroni

  • 4 cups water

  • 2 teaspoons salt

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, cubed

  • 1 (12 ounce) can evaporated milk

  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest

  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley

Instructions

  1. Mix macaroni, water, and salt together in the pressure cooking pot. Lock the lid in place, select High Pressure and 4 minutes cook time.
  2. When the cook time ends, allow the pressure to release naturally for 1 minute, then use a quick pressure release. If foam starts to come out the valve, close it and wait 1 minute more before using another quick release. Repeat as needed until the pressure is fully released and the float valve has dropped.
  3. Carefully remove lid. Stir cream cheese in to hot pasta until melted. Stir in evaporated milk. Select saute and simmer until sauce is smooth and pasta is tender, 1 to 3 minutes. Add additional milk, if necessary, for a smooth and creamy sauce. (Remember, the sauce will continue to thicken as it cools. You want to take it off the heat when it’s just slightly thinner than you’d like.
  4. Turn off pressure cooker, stir in lemon juice, lemon zest and parsley. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.

Notes

Use more lemon juice to amp up the lemon flavor.

Nutrition Information:

Yield: 8

Serving Size: 1

Amount Per Serving:

Calories: 56Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 15mgSodium: 584mgCarbohydrates: 2gFiber: 0gSugar: 1gProtein: 1g

Nutrition information is calculated by Nutritionix and may not always be accurate.

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published on July 1, 2022

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