When you need comfort food while losing weight, try this Instant Pot pasta recipe. Kids absolutely love how cheesy this is and you will love that it’s healthier (made with ground turkey).

I have a serious love affair with macaroni and cheese.  If you don’t believe me, look at this healthy macaroni and cheese with broccoli recipe, which is also delicious.

Watch this video to learn how to make this turkey pasta recipe

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But for this recipe, I wanted to lighten up the classic dish using my Instant Pot.  

What better thing to lighten things up than using ground turkey and mix it with pasta (it’s a twist on your traditional cheeseburger macaroni)?

This recipe is also a proven toddler favorite and a husband favorite. I had no idea how picky toddlers could really be until I had one and boy…he is one picky dude.

Are you on the fence with buying an Instant Pot? This guide on why the Instant Pot is a good investment is for you.

FAQs about this cheesy turkey pasta recipe

How long does it take to cook pasta in the Instant Pot?

You can cook it on MANUAL for 5 minutes. Remember that it will take about 10 minutes to reach pressure, and the 5 minutes doesn’t start until it’s at pressure. Then you can perform a Quick Release once it’s done cooking.

How do you not overcook pasta in the Instant Pot?

The key to not overcooking pasta is to perform a Quick Release after the pasta has cooked. If you used a Natural release, the pasta will continue to cook.

Using a Quick Release will stop the cooking process and keep your pasta from becoming overcooked.

Can I use whole wheat pasta instead?

Yes, you can. Any type of pasta will work with this recipe, but the consistency will be different.

I can’t Fontina at my grocery store. Can I substitute a different cheese?

Yes! You can use pretty much any type of cheese you want. However, Fontina (if you can find it, it’s worth buying). I have used Cheddar when I can’t find Fontina.

No Instant Pot? No problem! You can make this in the slow cooker

  1. In a non-stick skillet, heat over medium heat.  Add the oil and sauté the onion and turkey until it’s cooked, about 5-7 minutes.  Transfer the meat and cooked onions to your slow cooker.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients except for the noodles and cheese.  Cook on low for 6 hours.  About 30 minutes before the meal is finished cooking, add the noodles.  Cook on high for 30 minutes.
  3. Add the cheese and stir until it’s completely melted.  Serve immediately.

If I am being totally honest with you, sometimes you just want some comfort food.  

And the best thing is that even though you are on WW, you can definitely have that comfort food you crave while still losing weight.  I’m not even kidding!  

I don’t think I could manage if I didn’t have the option to eat comfort foods.  I have been able to maintain a 35lb loss for over a year because I don’t completely cut any food out. 

I cut back, but I don’t cut anything completely out.  I think it’s important to have anything you want within moderation.

Have you had macaroni and cheese since starting your weight loss journey?

instant pot cheesy pasta with ground turkey close up image

Instant Pot Cheesy Pasta with Ground Turkey

Dash of Herbs
When you need comfort food while on Weight Watchers, try this Instant Pot pasta recipe.  The kids will absolutely love how cheesy this is and you will love that it's made with ground turkey.
4.42 from 55 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Dinner
Cuisine Comfort Food
Servings 8 servings
Calories 332 kcal


  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound lean ground turkey
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 2 cups elbow macaroni
  • 3 cups beef stock
  • 8 oz Fontina cheese grated


Instant Pot instructions:

  • Heat the olive oil on SAUTE mode with the pressure cooker’s lid off.  Place the turkey into the cooker and cook until it’s browned, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the remaining ingredients, except for the cheese, to the cooker.  Securely lock the lid and set on MANUAL for 6 minutes at HIGH pressure.
  • Perform a quick release to release the pressure.  Add the shredded Fontina cheese and stir until it’s melted and creamy.  Serve immediately.

Slow Cooker instructions:

  • In a non-stick skillet, heat over medium heat.  Add the oil and saute the onion and turkey until it’s cooked, about 5-7 minutes.  Transfer the meat and cooked onions to your slow cooker.
  • Add the remaining ingredients except for the noodles and cheese.  Cook on low for 6 hours.  About 30 minutes before the meal is finished cooking, add the noodles.  Cook on high for 30 minutes.
  • Add the cheese and stir until it’s completely melted.  Serve immediately.



Calories: 332kcalCarbohydrates: 24.6gProtein: 23.3gFat: 15.8gSaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 74.8mgFiber: 1.1gSugar: 3.8g
Tried this recipe?Mention @dashofherbs or tag #dashofherbsrecipes!


  1. This is great – thank you for sharing. I don’t always have Fontina cheese (or I can’t always find it at the grocery store), so adding different kinds of cheeses is awesome.

  2. 5 stars
    This came out really yummy and creamy, and so quick to make since it’s done in the Instant Pot. I love that this uses Fontina cheese. Fontina is an excellent melting cheese and is what makes this dish so delicious.

  3. 5 stars
    I was happy to find this recipe and in getting ready to make it started adding and subtracting. We eat as heart-healthy as possible and we have some gluten issues. I sauteed the onions and ground turkey along with spices (no thyme so I used Italian Seasoning, garlic powder, salt & pepper). Then some jar spaghetti sauce I had in the fridge in place of the ketchup, chicken broth, and gluten free rotelli pasta (spirals). I stirred everything up, and pressure cooked it for 3 mins and natural release for 4 minutes (followed by quick release and open). Stir in any amount of cheese ( I used only a little) and serve with a veggie. It was so good; tasty and comforting. I had almost given up on gluten free pasta, but this was the best I’ve eaten; pressure cooking, especially in a flavorful sauce/liquid, is the way to go.

  4. 5 stars
    Wow!! So dang good! I just got an Instant Pot ( well, a Yedi… same manufacturer but you get all the accessories, ha!)

    This is fan- freaking- tastic! I did see the other comments and added about 2.5ish cups of pasta, and actually used the BJs ground turkey which I think is 1.33 lbs… so I upped the onion and spices a tiny bit and added like 4-5 minced garlic cloves because I like to ward off the devil. ( ha! Kidding… just loooooove garlic so much),
    Consistency is perfectamundo! ( thanks Fonzie! Lol).

    I did stir in a bunch of broccoli spears ( ya know… just enough so the hubby doesn’t see them, but us gals know they’re there, lol). Just perfect. I might try to hide more veggies in there next time when nosy hubby isn’t looking.

    Oh! And never used Fontina before, but oh my holy cheese lord… where have you been my whole life???!

    <slight disclaimer… I bought the required amount of fontina… and of course had to test it. Like yummm-o. So, needless to say I filled in the bit I ate with shredded cheddar.). Ha! So, I would say any mix of cheese stirred in is just fab.

    Thank you for a great recipe!

  5. 5 stars
    1st time cooking this receipe. Used the pressure cooker option. Delicious. I substituted medium chunky salsa for the ketchup and added a small amount of ketchup. We do not eat beef so I substituted homemade chicken broth. I added the cheese to the bowl after I filled it with the cooked turkey and pasta. Sprinkled parmesan over it and added a dollop of sour cream. Delicious. Thank you for this recipe. Will make it again. 5 stars

  6. Thank you so much! I’m so glad that you guys both loved this recipe. My husband recently said that this recipe is his absolute favorite of all the recipes I have made. I hope you eat this again and again.

  7. I actually don’t know about the Keep Warm feature (I don’t use mine much). So I am not sure how the cheese and everything will stay in it. I would imagine it would be fine, but I don’t know for sure if it would keep creamy.

  8. 5 stars
    I made it last night and used 2.5 cups of broth (beef Better Than Bouillon) instead of 3. And I sautéed the onions for a couple minutes after the turkey was browned. It was really good – flavors reminded us of eating a turkey burger but instead of bread, macaroni! Since Better Than Bouillon contains a good amount of salt, next time I’ll leave out the extra salt and maybe add a bit more pepper. And I’ll stir in some broccoli florets at the end too. Thank you so much for this unusual recipe – my husband said he’d eat it any time!

  9. Hi – Is there a problem leaving the IP on Keep Warm after mixing in the cheese? I love the Keep Warm feature and often use it for a few hours, because that way one of us can eat early and the other later, if our schedules don’t coincide. I know the IP keeps the food at a safe temperature; I’m only asking because the recipe says to serve immediately after mixing in the cheese. Also, does the size of the macaroni matter? It comes in a few sizes and we happen to have the smaller size. Thanks!

  10. 5 stars!! Kids and wife loved it. They said we have to make this again. lol I used ground beef and it was amazing.

  11. You are so welcome! I am glad that you loved it too. Isn’t it amazing that you can eat what you want even on Weight Watchers (or a “diet”)?

  12. 5 stars
    I honestly was not expecting “diet” mac and cheese to be life-changing, but oh my GOODness, this recipe is incredible. And I can easily budget enough points to enjoy it on the regular. Thank you for sharing this!

  13. 4 stars
    I made it in the instant pot and it worked just like instructed. I’ve never used fontina cheese but it was really good. Im on a diet so I couldn’t eat alot but it was very quick and easy.

  14. I made it the same way as Annie above on the stovetop and WOW soooo good!! Thanks for the amazing recipe!!

  15. Hi- yes, I believe you could make this in the crockpot. I would actually add the noodles later (like 30 minutes to 1 hour before the rest of the meal is done). hen you can add the cheese after it’s all done cooking. I’m also sure cheddar would work too, but I never tried that. I always find Fontina (at my grocery store it’s where they store the fancier cheeses), but I don’t see why it would be bad. It might not be as creamy as with Fontina, but it should work fine. I’ll add the crockpot instructions in just a minute to the recipe card.

  16. Hi, there!! I want to make this cheesy turkey pasta dish, but I don’t have an instapot. Can I make it in my crockpot? I’ve never put raw noodles in my crockpot before. I was thinking I could follow you above instructions and sauté the turkey and onion with the spices. Then transfer that to my crockpot, add the beef broth, ketchup and throw the noodles in and cook on high for a couple of hours. Do you think this would work? I know not to add the cheese before serving. Also, I couldn’t find fontina cheese at my local grocery store, so I was thinking I could use my craft fat free cheddar, instead. Does this sound ok? Can you tell I really want to make this?!!! HAHA. It sounds SO good

  17. Thank you for the feedback and I’m sorry that it didn’t turn out the way you were hoping. I actually just remade this recipe last week and followed the directions and ingredients exactly. Mine was a little soupy when it was done, but it wasn’t a huge soupy mess. I’m a little surprised, but I’ll remake this again to see if I can recreate your feedback. Thank you again.

  18. 2 stars
    I found this recipe on pinterest and had really high hopes for it but I was really disappointed. I’m not sure the quantities of ingredients are correct or not but when mine was done cooking there was a ton of liquid in the bottom. It definitely needed more than 2 cups of pasta. Just to confirm, is it 2 cups or 16 oz because that is a big difference. Mine turned into a cheesey soup mess because the pasta was overcooked from all the extra liquid and overall it just didn’t taste good. Might try again but it needs serious tweaks to make this edible.

  19. I think that could still work. I’m not sure what it will taste like, but I do think it’s a great alternative to beef broth. Especially if that is all that you have.

  20. I only have chicken broth in my fridge at the moment, do you think that would make a difference vs beef broth?

  21. How much water do you put in the instant pot to cook the macaroni? I read it twice feeling like I missed something lol.

  22. I couldn’t figure out how to link to my comment above…but I tried this without the instant pot and it was fantastic! I basically made it exactly like you would the grocery store boxed meals: I sautéed the onions for a minute or two, added the turkey and finished those two off together. I added all seasonings, pasta and three cups broth. Once boiling, I covered and simmered until pasta was done and liquid was minimal. Then I added the cheese. Viola! Super delicious!

  23. I think that might work. As long as it all stays warm enough, I think that could be a great option to make it without an Instant Pot. I didn’t test that, but if you try it and love it, please let me know! I can add a note about what you did in the recipe for those who don’t have an IP.

  24. How would one go about making this without an instant pot? I was going to boil the pasta in the broth while sautéing the onions and turkey. Then add those two to the tender pasta and remaining broth and all other ingredients. Would that work?

  25. It doesn’t matter (as long as you don’t include the cheese). You definitely could saute the onion with the turkey if you wanted to and then add in the other ingredients. Since it all gets mixed in together, I don’t see why that would be a problem.

  26. What order do you place the ingredients in the pot after the turkey? I’d probably saute the onions with the turkey too. Thanks!

  27. The only other thing I can think of is that are you in the US? Someone in Australia had an issue with the zero point food list because one thing didn’t list as zero when it is zero points in the US. Also, make sure that you are using 99% fat free lean ground turkey breast. That’s zero points and will bring the points down. I checked the recipe against the recipe builder recipe and they are the same.

  28. I have been using the “Create Recipe” function, and have put 8 under the “Serves:” section.

  29. Are you putting in the right serving sizes? The Turkey Burger recipe should serve 8 people, which brings down the points to 8. If I could attach a picture of what pulls up for me, I would, but it’s 8. If you are using the calculator, the points would be different.

  30. 2 stars
    I have noticed on several of the recipes that the SmartPoints are incorrect. I added each ingredient listed above into the WW recipe builder and came up with 13 SmartPoints, not 8. This makes a very big difference for people on WW and their daily targets. The same issue happened with the slow cooker beef stew and the baked sweet and sour chicken. I found that these recipes are at least 4-5 points lower than the actual SmartPoints value.

    Yummy recipes, but the SmartPoints values are wildly incorrect.

  31. This was super yummy!! I used Trader Joe Brown Rice Penne and it was cooked perfectly. I actually could have used more than 2 cups pasta

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