Instant Pot Cacio e Pepe Inspired Spaghetti

Learn how to make an adaptation Instant Pot Cacio e Pepe, one of Rome’s most popular pasta dishes famously featured in Anthony Bourdain’s show ‘No Reservations’ and cooked for Bradly Cooper in a movie Burnt. For such a delicious, comforting spaghetti dish, it is ridiculously easy to make and we will show you how.

What is cacio e pepe?

In Italian, the name means ‘cheese and pepper’ and that is exactly what this pasta dish is made with. It’s the original version of mac and cheese traditionally made with al dente spaghetti, lots of black pepper and even more cheese, usually Pecorino Romano but sometimes Parmesan when the other isn’t available.

The magic of Cacio e Pepe is that you can make it drunk at 1 am when you have impromptu guests or having a super late supper, when you are broke and waiting for payday, or when you are just learning to cook. It’s fabulously easy and every time you make it you will marvel at how you turned the last things in your cupboard and fridge into pure luxury.


In his TV show, late chef Anthony Bourdain went so far as to say the dish “could be the greatest thing in the history of the world” and many visitors to Rome seek out this special pasta experience.

Today, we will show you how to make Instant Pot cacio e pepe pasta with very little time and effort. It will impress your date, dinner guests or the family. 

Cacio e Pepe Spaghetti in Instant Pot


Here is a handy video showing you how to make this adapted Instant Pot spaghetti dish. We used #3 spaghetti but you could use something a little thinner or thicker. For a less authentic version, feel free to use another type of pasta.

Other ingredients include butter, ground black pepper and grated Parmesan cheese. If you can get Pecorino cheese, this will be more authentic but you just use Parmesan cheese.

Butter is not always used but it helps to toast the pepper slightly to release its aromas before adding the pasta and cheese. The bulk of the sauce will come from the cooking pasta liquid, so make sure you don’t discard all of it. The liquid will be a little salty and have some of the pasta starch which is perfect for the sauce base.

This dish is quite peppery but not too spicy. If you want to reduce the spice, feel free to reduce the amount as you can always add more when serving.


Instant Pot Pasta Cacio e Pepe



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Instant Pot Cacio e Pepe

Instant Pot Cacio e Pepe Inspired Spaghetti

  • Author: Instant Pot Eats
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 3-4 1x
  • Category: Main
  • Method: Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: Italian
  • Diet: Vegetarian


Instant Pot Cacio e Pepe spaghetti in 20 minutes! Make this Roman classic dish for your family, dinner guests or a special date. Serve with a green salad.



Part 1
250 g dry spaghetti ( we used #3)

4 cups water

2/3 tsp salt

Part 2
1 tablespoon butter

1/2 cup pasta cooking liquid

3.5 oz / 100 g grated Pecorino cheese or Parmesan cheese (1 cup)

1 teaspoon black pepper (freshly ground is best)

Extra cheese to grate on top


  • Break the dry spaghetti in half and add to the pot. Pour in 4 cups of water and make sure all pasta is submerged. Add the salt. Stir it with your hands gently to make sure the water goes between all the spaghetti strands. 
  • Pop the lid on, lock and make sure to top valve is pointing to Sealing. Set to Manual/Pressure Cook, HIGH pressure for 3 minutes. Often, pasta recipes will call for 4-5 minutes cooking time in the Instant Pot but we are reducing it to 3 minutes and allowing some natural pressure release instead. This helps to settle the foam that forms during pressure cooking so that when you release the steam, it doesn’t spurt as much.
  • Once the timer is done, allow 7-8 for natural pressure release but not much longer than that or the pasta will overcook. Point the top valve to Venting to do the quick release. You may get some foam squirting out which happens after cooking pasta, but don’t worry as it is normal. 
  • Open the lid and stir the pasta through. Scoop out about 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid and strain out the rest. 
  • Return the empty pot to the base and press the Saute function key. Add the butter and pepper and stir through until melted and starting to bubble. Press Cancel to stop the Satue function. 
  • Add the reserved 1/2 cup of cooking pasta liquid and the strained spaghetti. Add the grated Parmesan cheese and stir through the pasta until melted and incorporated into the sauce.
  • As soon the cheese has melted and the pasta is well coated in the sauce, transfer all of it to a serving bowl and fill the empty pot with hot water to make it easier to clean.


Important! As soon the cheese has melted and the pasta is well coated in the sauce, transfer all of it to a serving bowl and fill the empty pot with hot water. Ideally, clean the pot as soon as possible. If the cheesy sauce thickens and gets stuck to the bottom of the pot, the best way to clean it is to fill it up with a little hot water and place it back on Saute function. The pot will heat up and melt the stuck cheese sauce, making it easier to scrape off. Using a stainless steel scrubber or scourer or a good brush will make the job very easy. 


  • Serving Size: 1.5 cups
  • Calories: 483
  • Sugar: 2.5 g
  • Sodium: 1088 mg
  • Fat: 14.2 g
  • Saturated Fat: 8.4 g
  • Trans Fat: 0 g
  • Carbohydrates: 63.9 g
  • Fiber: 2.9 g
  • Protein: 23.6 g
  • Cholesterol: 34.2 mg

Keywords: Spaghetti, Pasta, Roman



Instant Pot Cacio e Pepe Spaghetti

Instant Pot Recipes
By Instant Pot Eats

About us: We are a team of Instant Pot enthusiasts, who love good food and cooking. Our blog is dedicated to delicious Instant Pot recipes you can make using your trusted pressure cooker.
PS. This post may contain Amazon affiliate links, which means we receive a small commission for purchases made through these links. 

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  1. Made this tonight and found the pasta to be slightly overcooked despite following the timing directly. It was very tasty and had everyone enjoying it, but next time I think I’d vent the pot at 6 minutes instead of waiting for 7 to 8.

    1. Hey Brent, glad you enjoyed it. The timing does depend on the size of the pasta as some spaghetti are a little thinner than others. It is a bit of a trial and error with pasta shapes. Hope it works even better next time 🙂

  2. Made this Today and will definitely be making it again! Yum. Thanks Instantpoteats for another great recipe. I served it with rice fried with onions and mushrooms.

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