Create an aromatic and flavorful bolognese sauce with this quick and easy Instant Pot Turkey Bolognese recipe!
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.
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.)
- 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.
For more kitchen and equipment and tool smarts, visit our Essential Kitchen Cookware and Tools
- 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
- 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)
- Season turkey – Combine turkey with salt, oregano, black pepper and red pepper flakes. (Can be done 1 day ahead)
- Bring a stock pot of salted water to boil.
- 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.
- Add seasoned turkey to aromatics. Break up with a wooden spoon and brown for ~5 minutes.
- 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.
- While sauce cooks, add pasta to boiling water and cook until al dente, tender but not soggy. Drain and set aside.
- Spoon bolognese sauce over pasta and grate cheese on top, if using. Enjoy!
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