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Creamy Pesto Pasta

Creamy Pesto Pasta (Instant Pot & Stovetop)

  • Author: Instant Pot Eats
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Main
  • Method: Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: Italian-American
  • Diet: Vegetarian


Quick and easy creamy pesto pasta that can be made in your Instant Pot or on the stovetop. Great for a busy weeknight family and is healthy and delicious.



250 g dry penne pasta (we used enriched pasta)

2.5 cups water

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon olive oil

1/2 packet light Philadelphia cheese (90 g/3 oz)

1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) basil pesto (you could also use sun-dried tomato pesto)

1 teaspoon lemon zest (optional)

A pinch of pepper

To finish:

10 cherry tomatoes, halved

A few basil leaves, chopped (optional) 


  • Instant Po instructions: Add the pasta, water, salt and olive oil and stir through. Set to Manual/Pressure Cook on HIGH. You can set it to 2 Minutes cooking time with 10-12 minutes Natural Release OR 5 Minutes cooking time with Quick Release. Using the 2-minute method will continue to cook the pasta during natural pressure release and helps to reduce the amount of foam that might spritz out when you release the remaining pressure manually (quick release).
  • Stovetop: Bring 1.5 litres of water to a boil, add the pasta, salt and olive oil and stir through. Cook as per packet instructions or to al dente texture.
  • Reserve 1/3 cup of cooking water liquid, whether you use the Instant Pot or Stovetop method and strain the pasta.
  • Combine cooked pasta, 1/3 cup cooking liquid, cream cheese, pesto, lemon zest and pepper in the pot and stir until nice and creamy. Taste for salt. You can also drizzle a little lemon juice on top.
  • Serve with cherry tomatoes on top.


  • Serving Size: 150-200 g cooked pasta
  • Calories: 370
  • Sugar: 4.3 g
  • Sodium: 512 mg
  • Fat: 13 g
  • Saturated Fat: 3.6 g
  • Carbohydrates: 51.4 g
  • Fiber: 2.9 g
  • Protein: 11.4 g
  • Cholesterol: 12.2 mg