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Broccoli Pasta (Instant Pot Version)

This cheesy, creamy, easy Broccoli Pasta is a delicious dinner recipe packed full of vegetables that can be on your table fast. What more can you ask for? 

Overhead shot of Broccoli Pasta.

I cook for a living, so when the time comes every day, I’m pretty much tapped out. I’m sure almost anyone reading this can relate. It doesn’t matter how your day keeps you busy, by the time dinner rolls around, we want something ready as quickly as possible with very little effort. 

That’s where this Creamy Broccoli Pasta comes in! This recipe can be whipped up in the Instant Pot in under 30 minutes, and it uses up SO much broccoli! If you want something fast and yummy to feed the kids, this recipe will get the job done. 

Instant Pot Pasta Recipes, like this Slumgullion or Marry Me Chicken Pasta, really save the day on busy weeknights! Simply steam the broccoli, cook the pasta, and dinner is on the table. 

Why Make this Recipe?

  1. Under 30 Minute Recipe: Sometimes you just need dinner on the table, and FAST! This recipe is ready from start to finish in under 30 minutes. 
  2. Vegetarian: If you use vegetable broth, this Broccoli Pasta dish is the perfect vegetarian dinner! 
  3. More Flavorful Alfredo Sauce: The base of this recipe is very similar to an alfredo sauce, but with some extra flavor! The lemon flavor really shines (also check out my Lemon Ricotta Pasta!). 

What Do I Need to Make this Recipe? 

Ingredients 

Labeled ingredient shot.
  1. Broccoli: Feel free to use fresh or frozen. I used fresh.
  2. Garlic: I always recommend fresh garlic for pasta recipes. Minced fresh garlic adds so much flavor! 
  3. Chicken Broth: To make this recipe vegetarian, use vegetable broth. 
  4. Seasonings: Onion powder, oregano, thyme, salt 
  5. Lemon: You will need both the lemon juice and zest for this recipe. I zest the lemon first and then juice it. I highly recommend fresh lemon for the freshest flavor! 
  6. Parmesan Cheese: For a Cacio e Pepe twist, use pecorino romano cheese instead of grated parmesan. Freshly grated parmesan is always the best option. 

Tools

  1. Electric Pressure Cooker: Make this recipe using an electric pressure cooker like an Instant Pot. 
  2. Steamer/Trivet: This is an accessory that comes with your Instant Pot. You can put any steamer basket in the Instant Pot! 

How to Make this Recipe

Step 1: Cook the Broccoli

Uncooked broccoli in the instant pot
cooked broccoli in an instant pot.

Open your Instant Pot and pour 1 cup of water into the liner. 

Insert your steamer basket or trivet, and place the broccoli inside. 

Put the lid on the Instant Pot and turn it to steam for 2 minutes. When the cook cycle is up, remove the lid, set the broccoli aside, and pour out the water.

Step 2: Cook the Pasta

Uncooked pasta in the instant pot
cooked pasta in the instant pot

Return the liner to your pot and put your Instant Pot to saute. Add the butter until it melts completely. Then add the minced garlic and saute until fragrant. 

Add the chicken broth, heavy whipping cream, lemon juice, lemon zest, onion powder, oregano, thyme, and salt into the Instant Pot. Stir to combine. 

Add the shells into the instant pot, making sure they are completely submerged. Set the Instant Pot to HIGH for 5 minutes. Once the pasta is done cooking, do an Instant Release. 

Step 3: Add the Cheese and Broccoli

grated cheese in the instant pot
cooked pasta in the instant pot with broccoli dumped on top
Finished broccoli pasta in the instant pot.

Open the lid to the Instant Pot and add in the parmesan cheese. Stir to combine until the parmesan melts into the liquid. 

Then add the broccoli and stir again until combined. Salt again to taste if desired. 

For best results, allow the Easy Broccoli Pasta to sit for about 10 minutes so that the sauce thickens. Serve and enjoy!

Variations

There are a lot of ways that you can adjust this recipe based on your preferences! Here are some ideas: 

  • Add Protein: This recipe would be great with some protein added. Try adding chicken, shrimp, bacon or sausage. If you like shrimp, you might also like this Shrimp and Ricotta Pasta Bake
  • More Vegetables: Try adding other vegetables into this dish at the same time as the broccoli! Other great options would be zucchini, red peppers, squash, peas, spinach, or sundried tomatoes. 
  • Seasonings: Add basil for a summery taste, red pepper flakes for some spice, or nutmeg for a winter variation.
  • Other Pasta Types: You can make other kinds of pasta for this recipe. To do so, use any pasta. To figure out the right cook time, halve the time on the box, then add 1 minute. This is how long you need to cook that type of pasta! 

Expert Tips

Overhead shot of two bowls of broccoli pasta
  • Make sure to let the pasta sit for 10 minutes before diving in! This allows the sauce to thicken to the perfect texture before eating. 
  • The broccoli is very tender and falls apart in the pasta when steamed for 2 minutes. If you want your broccoli to hold its shape more, make sure to steam it for 1 minute instead. 
  • Make sure that the shell pasta is covered with the liquid in the pot so that it cooks evenly! 
  • Try making the chicken from this Crispy Chicken Fritta to add some protein to your dish! 

Recipe FAQs

Front view of a bowl of broccoli pasta.
What is a Quick Release vs a Natural Pressure Release? 

When cooking with an Instant Pot, there are two ways to release the pressure from the pot. You can either do a Quick Release which releases the pressure instantly and unseals the pot. You can also do a Natural Pressure Release which keeps the pot seals as the pressure seeps out of it over time. 

The Quick Release is a better option for pasta recipes so that the pasta does not overcook.

How to Store Leftovers

Just like any pasta recipe with cream, like this Instant Pot Fettuccine Alfredo, it is difficult to reheat the pasta to get the same texture as right after cooking. With that said, you can store leftovers. 

To do so, put leftover Broccoli Pasta in an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 5 days. 

To reheat, heat the pasta in the microwave, on the stove or on the Instant Pot saute function. Add a splash of milk or cream to try to replicate the initial sauce texture.

Can I Make this Recipe on the Stove?

You sure can! Simply follow the same instructions but cook the pasta in a pot on the stove for the same amount of time mentioned on the pasta box. 

Did you enjoy this Easy Broccoli Pasta Recipe? If so, make sure to check out these other recipes I picked out just for you: 

Broccoli Pasta in a bowl

Instant Pot Broccoli Pasta

This cheesy, creamy, easy Broccoli Pasta is a delicious dinner recipe packed full of vegetables that can be on your table fast. What more can you ask for?
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Course: Main Course
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Pressure Building Time: 8 minutes
Total Time: 21 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 669kcal

Equipment

  • Instant Pot

Ingredients

  • 4 cups broccoli florets
  • 4 Tbsp Butter
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • ½ lemon, juice
  • 1 tsp Onion Powder
  • ½ tsp oregano
  • tsp ground thyme
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • 8 oz medium shell pasta
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese

Instructions

  • Open your Instant Pot and pour 1 cup of water into the liner. Insert your steamer basket or trivet, and place the broccoli inside. Put the lid on the Instant Pot and turn it to steam for 2 minutes. When the cook cycle is up, remove the lid, set the broccoli aside, and pour out the water.
  • Return the liner to your pot and put your Instant Pot to saute. Add the butter until it melts completely. Then add the minced garlic and saute until fragrant.
  • Add the chicken broth, heavy whipping cream, lemon juice, lemon zest, onion powder, oregano, thyme, and salt into the Instant Pot. Stir to combine.
  • Add the shells into the instant pot, making sure they are completely submerged. Set the Instant Pot to HIGH for 5 minutes. Once the pasta is done cooking, do an Instant Release.
  • Open the lid to the Instant Pot and add in the parmesan cheese. Stir to combine until the parmesan melts into the liquid. Then add the broccoli and stir again until combined. Salt again to taste if desired.
  • For best results, allow the pasta to sit for about 10 minutes so that the sauce thickens. Serve and enjoy!

Notes

Recipe copyright The Domestic Spoon. For educational or personal use only. 
  • Broccoli: Feel free to use fresh or frozen. I used fresh.
  • Garlic: I always recommend fresh garlic for pasta recipes. Minced fresh garlic adds so much flavor! 
  • Chicken Broth: To make this recipe vegetarian, use vegetable broth. 
  • Seasonings: Onion powder, oregano, thyme, salt 
  • Lemon: You will need both the lemon juice and zest for this recipe. I zest the lemon first and then juice it. I highly recommend fresh lemon for the freshest flavor!
  • Parmesan Cheese: For a Cacio e Pepe twist, use pecorino romano cheese instead of grated parmesan. Freshly grated parmesan is always the best option.
  • Make sure to let the pasta sit for 10 minutes before diving in! This allows the sauce to thicken to the perfect texture before eating.
  • The broccoli is very tender and falls apart in the pasta when steamed for 2 minutes. If you want your broccoli to hold its shape more, make sure to steam it for 1 minute instead.
  • Make sure that the shell pasta is covered with the liquid in the pot so that it cooks evenly! 
  • Try making the chicken from this Crispy Chicken Fritta to add some protein to your dish!

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 669kcal | Carbohydrates: 57g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 41g | Saturated Fat: 25g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 0.5g | Cholesterol: 122mg | Sodium: 1058mg | Potassium: 590mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 2020IU | Vitamin C: 90mg | Calcium: 340mg | Iron: 2mg
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