Instant Pot Chuckwagon Pasta

To get my wheels spinning I went to the market and pushed a wagon (cart/buggy) that’s seen better days down the aisles, toying with the idea of a pasta dish that would be kid and adult friendly. As the wheels made creaky sounds through the pasta aisle, the answer was right in front of me – wagon wheel pasta!

This one features wagon wheels in a tomato-based meat sauce with a smooth, cheesy finish and is made in your Instant Pot in under 20 minutes with less than 10 ingredients. It’s called Chuckwagon Pasta and it’s a bandwagon you’re about to get on.

Chuckwagon Pasta
Begin with an onion…
Diced onion
…and dice it up.
Adding olive oil to the pot
Add some olive oil to the pot and give it some heat…
Onion sautéing in pot
Once heated, add some yellow onion.
Adding ground meat to pot
Add a ground meat of your choice (in my case, ground chuck – hence, the “chuck” in the title).
Breaking meat up in pot.
Break up the meat in the pot with a wooden spatula or mixing spoon.
Browned & crumbled meat.
Once the meat is crumbled and lightly browned…
adding Worcestershire sauce to pot
…add in some Worcestershire sauce.
Deglazing bottom of pot
Take this opportunity to deglaze (scrape) the bottom of the pot.
Pouring broth into pot
Pour in some broth…
Adding marinara sauce to pot
…along with some marinara sauce (try to use one at room temperature to help speed the cooking process along).
Adding taco seasoning to the pot
Then, give it a bit of a Tex-Mex flair with some taco seasoning (if you so choose).
Stirring pot.
Stir everything well.
Adding wagon wheel pasta to pot.
Now it’s time do add the “wagon” portion to the pot – our wagon (or mini wagon) wheel pasta!
Smoothing out pasta in pot
After adding the pasta, don’t stir it! Just smooth it out…
Submerged pasta that the pasta should be mostly submerged in the saucy broth. Secure the lid and cook at high pressure.
FInished pasta
When done, you’ll see the pasta will have cooked perfectly and absorbed most of the saucy broth. Give it a good stir so mix with the meat.
Adding marinara to pot
It’s time to set this pasta over the edge with an extra saucy finish. Add in more marinara (room temp is best).
Adding shredded cheddar cheese to the pot
We’re gonna make it cheesy too! Add in some shredded Cheddar cheese.
Adding herb cheese to pot.
…as well as Boursin or my herb cheese.
Give that pot a good stir for a minute…
Mixed pasta
…until the cheese has melded into the sauce. (Drooling yet?)
Pasta in bowl
Dish some up into a bowl…
Man looking at pasta on fork
…get your wheels spinning…
Man eating pasta
…and park that delicious chuckwagon pasta in your mouth.
This is what pasta dreams are made of.
Yield: 6

Instant Pot Chuckwagon Pasta

Instant Pot Chuckwagon Pasta

This one features wagon wheels in a tomato-based meat sauce with a smooth, cheesy finish and is made in your Instant Pot in under 20 minutes with less than 10 ingredients. It's called Chuckwagon Pasta and it's a bandwagon you're about to get on.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 6 minutes
Additional Time 6 minutes
Total Time 17 minutes



  1. Add the olive oil to the Instant Pot. Hot Sauté and Adjust so it's on the More or High setting. After 3 minutes of the oil heating, add the onion and sauté for 2-3 minutes, until translucent. 
  2. Add the ground meat and break it up with a wooden spatula or spoon. Sauté for 3 minutes until it becomes crumbled and lightly browned.
  3. Add the Worcestershire sauce and deglaze (scrape) the bottom of the pot to get any browned bits up.
  4. Add the broth, 1 1/2 cups of the marinara sauce, and taco seasoning (if using). Stir well. Add the pasta but do not stir. Simply smooth out with a mixing spoon so it's submerged,
  5. Secure the lid, move the valve to the sealing position, hit Cancel followed by Manual or Pressure Cook at High Pressure for 6 minutes. Quick release when done.
  6. Add the remaining 2 cups of marinara, cheddar and Boursin. Stir for about a minute until the cheese blends into the sauce. Serve and enjoy!

Jeffrey's Tips

For the ground meat, I use ground chuck (hence the name of the recipe), but you can absolutely feel free to use any you wish, be it ground sirloin, turkey, veal, chicken, pork sausage or a plant-based "meat" (like Impossible or Beyond - which will keep it vegetarian).

If you can't find wagon (or mini wagon) wheel pasta, any short-form pasta (such as macaroni, bowties, gemelli, cavatappi, mezze penne or ziti rigate will do). Same cook time.

Reader Interactions


  1. JSG

    This is very similar to Spaghetti Sauces I’ve made. – but not in an instant pot. – I brown ground beef, drain the fat, add taco or chili seasoning then mix w/ tomato sauce. I haven’t tried adding Worcestershire sauce yet, though.

    I’ve made your cheeseburger pasta, except that I browned the beef in a pan, so I could drain the fat. — I may try that with this recipe.

  2. Angela

    This was really delicious. I used cream cheese because didn’t have the Bousin. I followed the recipe exactly as written except for the Bousin.

  3. Natalie

    I made this recipe using no salt beef broth, low fat cheddar cheese and whole wheat pasta. Although I really wanted to add the Borson cheese I didn’t because I’m trying to keep it a little lower calorie. Still a very satisfying and delicious recipe thank you Jeffrey

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