Instant Pot Turkey Bolognese Recipe

Create an aromatic and flavorful bolognese sauce with this quick and easy Instant Pot Turkey Bolognese recipe!

  • By Taylor Isaac
  • April 7, 2018

Bolognese is a classic Italian meat-based red sauce. It’s comforting, delicious, and totally filling, but when you need a quick meal, it’s probably not at the top of your list. After all, bolognese cooked the traditional way requires hours of simmering on the stove. Our Instant Pot Turkey Bolognese recipe, however, uses the high pressure of the Instant Pot to infuse rich flavors in much less time!

To build layers of flavor in our bolognese, we season the turkey with savory spices and herbs, including oregano, black pepper, and red pepper flakes. Then we brown the turkey in vibrant aromatics — sautéed carrots, onions, garlic, and thyme. Finally, we add tomato paste for a rich concentration of tomato flavor and a bit of sugar to cut any extra acidity.

“Loved it! I plan to stock my freezer with this sauce. Yummy!”

— Elisabeth D.

We first introduced our Turkey Bolognese recipe in October as part of our meal plan service and it was a hit with our members! So we enlisted the help of the member-run Cook Smarts Instant Pot community to convert it for use in the Instant Pot. Now, it’s weeknight-ready!

Serve the bolognese over rigatoni pasta with some freshly grated parmesan on top! Leftover sauce freezes well and can be used to create new dishes like tamale pies and eggplant pizzas later in the month!

If you liked this recipe, you’ll love our other Italian comfort food classic: Instant Pot Braised Beef and Creamy Polenta! Get the recipe along with 9 other Instant Pot recipes in our new free guide!

Instant Pot Tip:

Use the Instant Pot for dishes that usually require long cooking times, like bolognese sauce, to get all-day cooking flavors in minimal time.

(For more Instant Pot tips, check out our article here.)

Prepping Smarts

  • Learn how to chop carrots, onions, and garlic with our videos below. Prepping these ahead of time can save a bit of time on cooking day.

How to Chop Carrots

Watch this video to learn our tips on how to best peel, chop, and dice carrots easily.


How to Chop & Dice an Onion

Learning how to dice an onion correctly will save you so much time in the kitchen.


How to Mince or Crush Garlic

Garlic adds great flavor and aroma to any dish. Learn how to impart the flavors of garlic to any dish with this short video.

Equipment Smarts

  • Instant Pot – used to sauté the aromatics, brown the meat, and cook the sauce
  • Stock pot – this big pot is roomy enough to cook pasta without turning it gummy

For more kitchen and equipment and tool smarts, visit our Essential Kitchen Cookware and Tools

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Instant Pot Turkey Bolognese Recipe

Instant Pot Turkey Bolognese with rigatoni pasta and grated parmesan is quick, flavorful, and perfect for an easy weeknight meal.

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 35 min

Total time: 50 min

Serves: 8


  • Carrots - 8 oz, diced
  • Onions, medium - 1, chopped
  • Garlic - 4 cloves, chopped
  • Turkey, ground - 2 lbs
  • Salt - 1 tsp
  • Oregano, dried - 1 tsp
  • Black pepper - 1/2 tsp
  • Red pepper flakes - 1/4 tsp
  • Oil, cooking - 1 Tbsp
  • Thyme, fresh leaves - 2 tsp
  • Tomato sauce - 4 cups
  • Sugar - 1/2 tsp
  • Pasta, rigatoni - 20 oz (sub any pasta shape)
  • Cheese, parmesan (opt) - 4 oz, grated



  1. Carrots / Onions / Garlic – Prep as directed. Combine carrots and onions in one container. Store garlic in a second container. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
  2. Season turkey – Combine turkey with salt, oregano, black pepper and red pepper flakes. (Can be done 1 day ahead)


  1. Bring a stock pot of salted water to boil.
  2. While waiting for the water to boil, heat Instant Pot on the Sauté function. Add oil and then carrots and onions to heated oil. Sauté until tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Add garlic and thyme leaves and sauté for 1 minute more.
  3. Add seasoned turkey to aromatics. Break up with a wooden spoon and brown for ~5 minutes.
  4. Add in tomato sauce and sugar. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Lock the lid, set pressure valve to “sealing” and cook on the Manual function for 15 minutes. Natural release for 10 minutes and then quick release.
  5. While sauce cooks, add pasta to boiling water and cook until al dente, tender but not soggy. Drain and set aside.
  6. Spoon bolognese sauce over pasta and grate cheese on top, if using. Enjoy!

A little note: Some of the above links are Amazon affiliate links, which means we earn a small percentage from those sales. We use this affiliate revenue to support the continued growth of Cook Smarts. Thank you!

If you love this recipe and want more ways to use your Instant Pot, get our Instant Pot Cheat Sheet eBook for all the IP cooking times, as well as how to convert your favorite recipes for the Instant Pot – all for just $9.99. Also, consider joining our meal plan members who love getting exciting, healthy, and smart menus delivered to their inbox every week!

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