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A bowl of arrabbiata sauce sprinkled with slivered basil, and a spoon sticking out of it, with a bowl of pepper flakes and a bowl of basil.

Instant Pot Arrabbiata Sauce

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 3 reviews

  • Author: Mike Vrobel
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Yield: Sauce to cover 1 pound of pasta


Instant Pot Arrabbiata Sauce. Spicy Italian tomato sauce from the pressure cooker, loaded with crushed red pepper, with all day simmered flavor in under an hour.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 large cloves garlic, crushed
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans whole plum tomatoes (preferably San Marzano) and their juices
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt (1 teaspoon if using low-salt tomatoes, like San Marzano)
  • ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup minced fresh basil
  • Accompaniments
  • Penne pasta, cooked according to package directions
  • Grated parmesan cheese (the real stuff) for serving
  • More minced fresh basil for serving


  1. Sauté the crushed pepper and onions: Set the Instant Pot for Sauté mode (medium heat in a stovetop PC) and add the olive oil to the pot. When the oil starts shimmering, stir the red pepper flakes into the oil. Then stir in the onion and garlic and sprinkle with ½ teaspoon of salt. Sauté, stirring often, until the onions soften, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add and crush the tomatoes: Add the cans of whole tomatoes, and break them up with a wooden spoon. Sprinkle with ½ teaspoon of salt (if using American tomatoes - add 1 teaspoon of salt if using Italian tomatoes - see notes)
  3. Pressure cook for 30 minutes with a natural pressure release: Pressure cook on high pressure for 30 minutes in an Instant Pot or electric pressure cooker (“Manual” or “Pressure Cook” mode), or for 24 minutes in a stovetop pressure cooker. Let the pressure come down naturally, about 15 minutes.
  4. Serve: Open the pot, tilting the lid away from you to avoid the hot steam. Give the sauce a vigorous stir, and break up any remaining chunks of tomatoes. Stir in the minced basil and fresh ground black pepper. Serve (traditionally with penne pasta and a sprinkle of parmesan) and enjoy!


Like I said in the header: Check the amount of sodium on the tomato’s nutrition label. If the canned tomatoes have less than 50 mg of sodium per serving (that is, they’re from Italy), add 1 teaspoon of sea salt. If they have more than 170 mg of sodium (that is, they’re from America), only add ½ teaspoon of sea salt. (I couldn’t find any tomatoes that were between those two numbers; if you manage to get some, use ¾ teaspoon of sea salt)


6 quart or larger pressure cooker (I love my Instant Pot 6-Quart Pressure Cooker)

Flat edged wooden spoon

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Category: Weeknight Dinner
  • Method: Pressure Cooker
  • Cuisine: Italian