Instant Pot American Chop Suey

When you combine perfectly cooked Macaroni in an irresistible tomato-based meat sauce, you have what’s come to be known as the classic American Chop Suey. Even better? It’s all gonna be done in one pot thanks to the Instant Pot.

Depending on the region of the US one resides, it also falls under the names of American Goulash or Johnny Marzetti. Whatever you wanna call it, this dish is quick, easy, flavorful and a home-run for the entire family. I’m talking kids of all ages approved.

American Chop Suey
Take a lovely onion…
Diced onion
…and dice it up
green bell pepper
Then, take a pepper.
Diced pepper
…and do the same thing.
Adding olive oil to pot
Add some olive oil to the pot and heat it up.
Adding onion and pepper to pot
Once heated, add the onion and pepper. Sauté for a few moments until lightly softened.
adding garlic to pot
Add garlic…
Sautéing garlic
…and sauté another moment longer.
Adding ground beef to pot
“Where’s the beef?!” Right here! Add some ground beef to the pot…
Breaking meat up with spoon
…and break it up with a spatula or mixing spoon as it cooks.
Browned beef
Once it’s crumbled and just lightly browned, you’re good.
Adding crushed tomatoes to pot
Add in a big can of crushed tomatoes…
Adding tomato sauce to pot
…tomato sauce (NOT the same thing as pasta sauce)…
Adding beef broth to pot
…and beef broth.
Adding seasonings to pot
Now season it up with some seasoned salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, dried basil and nutmeg…
Adding hot sauce to pot
…along with some hot sauce (but only if you wish).
Give everything a good stir.
Adding macaroni to pot.
Now let’s add in some macaroni!
Smoothing out pasta
Once it’s in the pot, DON’T STIR IT! Why? Well, there’s lots of meat in there already. If you stir the pasta in, you run the risk of clogging the pot when it tries to come to pressure. Just smooth it out so it’s lightly submerged in the sauce.
Pressure cook
It should look like this after smoothing. Secure the lid and pressure cook.
Finished pasta
When done, it’ll look like this and the pasta will have cooked perfectly!
Stirring pot
Give it a quick stir and it will be perfection.
Adding cream cheese to pot
Now this is totally optional. But IF you want a touch of a more creamy, indulgent finish, add in a creamy herb cheese like Boursin, Alouette or even cream cheese…
Blending cream cheese into pasta
…and give it a final stir so it’s fully melded into the sauce.
Finished pasta
Now whether you serve it without the creamy touch…
Finished pasta with cream
…or with it…
Man eating pasta
…it’s going to taste…
If you want to make a Chili Mac, try my Chili recipe and serving it mixed in with some pre-cooked macaroni!
Instant Pot American Chop Suey (American Goulash)
Yield: 6

Instant Pot American Chop Suey

Instant Pot American Chop Suey

When you combine perfectly cooked Macaroni in an irresistible tomato-based meat sauce, you have what's come to be known as the classic American Chop Suey.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Additional Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes


  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef or meatloaf mixture (veal/pork/beef)
  • 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 8-ounce can tomato sauce (not the same as pasta sauce)
  • 3 cups low-sodium beef broth
  • 1-2 tablespoons hot sauce (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon seasoned salt
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni

For An Optional Creamy Finish

  • 5.2-ounce package of Boursin or Alouette (or 4 ounces of a brick of cream cheese), cut into cubes


  1. Add the olive oil to the Instant Pot, hit Sauté and adjust so it's on the More or High setting. After 3 minutes of the oil heating add the onion and pepper and sauté for 3-5 minutes, until lightly softened. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute more.
  2. Add the ground beef and, using a mixing spoon or spatula, break it up until the meat begins to crumble and lightly brown - about 3 minutes. It shouldn't be fully cooked at this point (that's what the pressure cooking is for). Do not drain any juices released - we want them in there for more flavor!
  3. Add in the crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, broth, hot sauce (if using), seasoned salt, Italian seasoning, black pepper, dried basil and nutmeg. Stir everything together well.
  4. Add in the macaroni but DO NOT STIR. (Why? Well, there's lots of meat in there already. If you stir the pasta in, you run the risk of clogging the pot when it tries to come to pressure.) Just smooth it out so it's lightly submerged in the sauce.
  5. Secure the lid, move the valve to the sealing position, hit Keep Warm/Cancel and then hit Manual or Pressure Cook for 5 minutes at high pressure. Quick release when done.
  6. Give everything a final good stir and, if you want that optional, subtle, creamy finish, stir in the Boursin or cream cheese now until melded. If you'd rather keep it dairy free and a bit lighter, forgo this and just serve as is!

Jeffrey's Tips

If you want to make a Chili Mac, try my Chili recipe and serving it mixed in with some pre-cooked macaroni!

The leftovers freeze great!

Reader Interactions


  1. DeeDee Brown

    Another wonderful recipe to add to the list!!!
    I always share your recipes with my sister to try.
    Thank you for teaching many of us how to use the InstantPot without failures!!

  2. Norina Bourget

    American chop suey, one of my favorite meals growing up… why didn’t I think of trying it in my instant pot?
    hubby was watching YouTube and said yum…why don’t we have this for supper? …and it’s in the pot!
    Thanks for the inspiration!

  3. Carey Daste

    Delicious! Except I got a food burn thing like I almost always do with things. I did not stir the pasta in. I patted it down. I don’t know what I’m doing wrong. But I love it! I added the Boursin cheese and it is fantastic!

    • Jeffrey

      Hmmmm. If your pot burns frequently, it may be faulty. This recipe should not burn as written. I suggest contacting IP customer care.

      • Carey Daste

        Thanks! I just might do that. Because I do get the burn thing fairly frequently, but I seem to be doing everything just as I should. Anyway I’m so thrilled to have found you and your recipes! 🤩

        • Tim

          Make sure you deglaze the pot after you brown veggies and meat. I usually do this with red wine but can also do with the beef stock. Bring to a boil on saute setting and scrap the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon until smooth. Then do everything else. Never burn for me.

      • Darrell

        Okay, made this gem tonight and my two teenagers are like piranhas shoveling it in.

        I asked, “On the regular schedule for meals?
        Unequivocal “Yes”
        Dad Win!

  4. Sirfuller

    This was really good and easy as I pretty already had most of the ingredients. My family always called this concoction or slum goulash.

    This also makes a lot. Very economical. I froze half of it. Thanks for all your hard work — love your recipes and cookbook. Looking forward to the cookbook in April. Need to get my beach body lol! 😆

  5. Tonya B Felder

    I made this today for my lunch and it is amazing! I used the bourin cheese but I didn’t have the nutmeg or green bell pepper but it still tasted great! I will definitely be making this again. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Jaime

    Really simple and so good. I forgot the hot sauce though I meant to use it and it was still good but I will be sure to add it next time. It made a lot, looking forward to leftovers tomorrow. The Boursin is a great addition! Thanks!

  7. David Gill

    Yet another great Instant Pot recipe from Jeffrey. So simple; yet, packed with flavor. Thank you Jeffrey for making meals in my home a hit. I take all the praise, but I always give the credit.

    Can’t wait to receive your cookbooks from Amazon. I am absolutely sure they be used a lot. They most likely will have signs of wear from my heavy usage and stains on the pages from my saucy fingers in no time.

  8. David Griffin

    Love this recipe! Amazing flavor! I might even add more cheese next time.

    Any suggestions for bell pepper substitutions? Peppers are not always very kind to my stomach. I could try omitting them but they added good flavor.

    • Susan

      I find that it is the skin of the peppers that causes me digestive issues. I recommend roasting your peppers either on a gas burner, a grill, or under your broiler. Keep turning until you get some char on all sides and then put in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap for about 5 minutes. Then you should be able to peel the skin off easily with a spoon or a butter knife. If you don’t have time to peel freshly roasted peppers, use a few jarred roasted red peppers instead. Yes, they will probably turn to mush or disintegrate BUT you will still get the pepper flavor. Or you may find that red, yellow or orange peppers are easier for you to digest instead of green.

  9. Marie

    I’m wondering is 1TBSP of seasoning salt too much? It seems like a large amount of salt! Making this tomorrow and don’t want to ruin it

  10. Jaime

    I just made this for the 2nd time. This is the best Goulash I’ve had. My kids have always eaten my goulash but this is the first time they’ve gone back for more. This is on repeat in my house. I used ricotta cheese this time at the end because it’s what I had, really good. Thank you so much for all of the great recipes.

  11. MaryAnn

    Just made, and ate, this. Delicious! The store was out of boursin so I used cream cheese, and their regular peppers weren’t that good, so I used the striking Aloha peppers instead. And I used casarecce pasta, which cooked perfect in the 5 minute cook time. Yum! Thanks for another great recipe.

  12. MaryAnn

    Making this for the 3rd time; used ground pork 2nd time, ground pork and turkey this time. It’s all been good. The elbows were a bit too soft for me at 5 minutes, but still tasted good, so I’m trying 4 minutes this time. And the Boursin puts it over the top!

  13. Jan

    Awesome stuff! I will probably cut the hot sauce in half next time, but dump in the whole 15 oz can of tomato sauce like I accidentally did this time! Really good!

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