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You all have been loving the Instant Pot recipes. You’ve been loving them so much that I asked Helen (the Live Simply Instant Pot Recipe Testing Guru <–That’s your official title now, Helen!) to work on creating more Instant Pot recipes. She’s been hard at work, and my family’s been reaping the benefits of testing and photographing the recipes she’s completed.
I’ve actually been holding on to today’s Instant Pot spaghetti and meatball recipe for quite some time. In fact, we photographed this recipe before we left for Alaska. And while that may feel like just a few weeks ago, we’ve been home for almost two months now. Where does time go? I feel like I’m constantly making statements about time passing too quickly, but seriously…time passes too quickly. There are so many recipes, like today’s sauce and meatball recipe, that I want to share during this comfort/fall/winter food season. I need to work a bit faster so I can get all these delicious recipes shared with you. They’re coming, my friend, they’re coming!
First things first, let’s talk about this Instant Pot recipe.
Spaghetti and meatballs are one of my family’s favorite meals, but this meal rarely makes my weekly meal plan. Why? Because homemade spaghetti and meatballs can be a laborious task. A bit more laborious than I envision for a weeknight meal.
The Instant Pot is the appliance to simplify a complicated or time-consuming meal. Of course, not all meals can be converted over to Instant Pot meals, but most sauce or water based recipes can be. Meatballs, that are cooked in a homemade sauce, definitely fit this category.
The most time consuming part of this whole recipe is making the meatballs. If you’d like to simplify this hands-on time, I recommend prepping them a day in advance and storing the meatballs in the fridge. Or, you can freeze them for a future dinner. The meatballs can be stored on a parchment-lined sheet pan in the fridge (and covered) up to 1 day before cooking, or stored in the freezer for a couple of months.
Once the meatballs are formed, the hard part is done. When you’re ready to make the spaghetti and meatballs, simply cook your pasta noodles on the stove-top, and place the spaghetti sauce ingredients and meatballs in the Instant Pot. That’s it! Just put them in the pot and let the pot do its thing. Roughly 20 minutes later, you’ll be opening your Instant Pot to a complete homemade meatball (with sauce) dinner.
Before we get to the recipe, let me share a couple more things you should know about the meatballs.
First, these meatballs are about as simple as meatballs get. The meatballs were purposely made with dried spices and simple ingredients. The only ingredient you may not have in your pantry is quick oats. Rolled oats just won’t work the same way as the quick oats in this recipe, so I recommend picking up a small bag in the bulk section (or oat section) at your local grocer and keeping it around for these meatballs.
Second, this recipe makes a ton of meatballs. 24 to 30 meatballs, to be exact. I know what you’re probably thinking (unless you have a bunch of kids to feed)…What in the world am I going to do with that many meatballs? Well, friend, think of this meal as the meal that just keeps on giving. Plan to make the spaghetti and meatballs one night, serve them in lunchboxes the next day (don’t forget to make extra noodles, if everyone wants noodles again), and then plan to use them again to make meatball subs another night (you may need extra sauce, so maybe open the sauce jar in your pantry for this).
If you want to make meatball subs, I recommend picking up a baguette (or you could make open-face meatball “subs” on sandwich bread). Heat the meatballs and sauce in a saucepan until warm, adding a bit of water, if needed. Add the meatballs and sauce to the bread and top with cheese. Broil the sandwiches until the cheese melts.
Instant Pot Meatballs in Homemade Spaghetti Sauce
Homemade meatballs and spaghetti sauce made in the Instant Pot.
Pasta of choice for serving
Add all the sauce ingredients to the Instant Pot. Stir to combine the ingredients.
Add all the meatball ingredients to a large mixing bowl. Combine the ingredients by hand.
Roll the meatball mixture into 1-inch balls, making them tight (approx. 24-30). I use a cookie scooper to form the meatballs and then roll each one in my hand.
Add the meatballs to the sauce, starting in a circle around the outside and working in. Keep the meatballs in as close to a single layer as you can.
Close the lid on the Instant Pot. Set the Instant Pot for 6 minutes on Manual, High Pressure. The valve on top should be set to Sealed.
Boil water for your pasta. Add the noodles to the water once the Instant Pot timer beeps.
Let the pressure release naturally from the Instant Pot for 10-15 minutes.
Release any remaining pressure. Drain the pasta and serve.
Batch Cooking and Freezing: Make double the meatballs--freezing the extra meatballs on a parchment-lined cookie sheet before transferring them to a bag.
As far as freezing goes, I don't recommend cooking the meatballs from a frozen state. In a frozen state, the Instant Pot may not properly come to pressure. Thaw any frozen-in-advance meatballs before cooking them in the Instant Pot.
If you make this recipe, be sure to snap a photo and hashtag it #LIVESIMPLYBLOG. I'd love to see what you make!