A New Orleans Classic Made Easy :: Instant Pot Crawfish Monica

If you are searching for things to do in New Orleans with kids, Jazz Fest is a fun and unique (though slightly expensive) event to consider. Jazz Fest features some of the country’s best live music, the most insanely delicious food and is definitely a family-friendly event if you would like it to be (though you can always leave the children with a sitter, if you prefer). Of course, attending New Orleans Jazz Fest in person is not always feasible! In those instances, New Orleans Mom recommends that you bring some of Jazz Fest and New Orleans into your own home by enjoying this easy crawfish bread or instant pot crawfish monica. 

A New Orleans Classic Made Easy :: Instant Pot Crawfish Monica

Mmm, Crawfish Monica. That decadently creamy pasta dish that Jazz Fest revelers stand in endless lines for.

I’ve made Crawfish Monica at home more times than I can count, always on the stovetop. But with the chaos that comes with being a full-time working mom with a busy 9-month-old and an even busier 2-year old, there’s hardly any time (or, let’s be honest, energy) to spend on standing at the stove, carefully watching a pot of cream sauce. So I wanted to see if I could find a way to convert my beloved recipe into an Instant Pot version.

And I did!

Now, before the Crawfish Monica purists come after me, this is NOT a true Crawfish Monica recipe as this recipe contains cream cheese and the original does not. That said, if you are looking for a creamy, easy *mock* Crawfish Monica that you can throw together from start to finish in less than 30 minutes, you’ve come to the right place!

After much trial and error, I found the best way to make those frozen bags of crawfish tails work in this recipe. Since the crawfish tails are already cooked, spending time in a pressure cooker turns them into little rubbery balls. But not cooking them with the onions, garlic and other spices tends to make them taste a bit fishy. To solve this problem, I season them *before* they go in the pot. I detail the steps below, but you’re basically just rinsing your thawed crawfish tails in a colander and then tossing them in a bowl with a little seasoning while the rest of the recipe is coming together. Later on, they go into the pot to heat up (not pressure cook). A little unconventional, but it’s got a big payoff in flavor and texture.

Instant Pot Crawfish Monica

  • 1 pound Louisiana crawfish tails, thawed
  • Tony Chachere’s to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 pound rotini pasta, uncooked
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 (8-oz) package cream cheese, cut into cubes
  • 2 cups shredded Italian cheese blend
  • Optional: Extra thinly sliced green onions for garnish

Rinse and drain crawfish tails, place in a bowl. Sprinkle with Tony’s (1-2 tablespoons – I use just over a tablespoon) and toss to coat. Set aside. (Keep in mind that the longer they sit, the spicier they’ll get.)

Preheat Instant Pot on “Sauté” setting and then add olive oil, onion, garlic, green onion, and 1 tablespoon Tony’s. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Cancel “Sauté” setting. Add uncooked pasta, chicken broth, and water to pot.

Close lid, lock pot, and pressure cook for 4 minutes. When time is up, carefully quick release the steam and open the pot. Add the cream cheese cubes to the pot and add crawfish on top but DO NOT STIR. Cover with Instant Pot lid again for 5-10 minutes for cream cheese to soften and for crawfish to heat through.

Very gently so as not to break the pasta, mix the softened cream cheese and the crawfish into the pasta. Gradually add in the shredded Italian cheese while stirring gently until melted and sauce is creamy and uniform.

Season to taste and serve immediately, topped with green onions if you desire.


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Joey Yearous
Joey is a New Orleans native, Dominican alum, and LSU grad who joined the ranks of motherhood in the summer of 2019. She and her Colorado born-and-raised husband, Phil, left their Mid-City apartment for a house on the Northshore about ten days before they welcomed their son, Sam, into the world. A short 19 months later, their daughter Sloane arrived and their caboose Nicholas completed their family 17 months after that. Though she’s always had a passion for writing, it’s her work in whole-home generator sales that pays the bills. Her 3 kiddos keep her busy, but when she’s got a free moment, you can find her cooking, trying new restaurants, and listening to true crime podcasts. A consummate Pinterest fanatic, she’s always looking for her next DIY project or recipe to try. She believes good senses of humor and random acts of kindness make the world go ‘round.


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