Instant Pot Meatballs in Homemade Spaghetti Sauce (Pressure Cooker Recipe)

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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!

Instant Pot Meatballs in Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

First things first, let’s talk about this Instant Pot recipe.

Instant Pot Meatballs in Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

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.

Instant Pot Meatballs in Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

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.

Instant Pot Meatballs in Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

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.

Instant Pot Meatballs in Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

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.

Instant Pot Meatballs in Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

Before we get to the recipe, let me share a couple more things you should know about the meatballs.

Instant Pot Meatballs in Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

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.

Instant Pot Meatballs in Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

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

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Instant Pot Meatballs in Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

Homemade meatballs and spaghetti sauce made in the Instant Pot. 

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword Instant Pot, Meatballs
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 24 meatballs
Calories 119 kcal
Author Kristin Marr

Ingredients

Sauce:

  • 1 28-ounce can tomato sauce preferably no added sugar or salt
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 TB extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup water

Meatballs:

  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 3/4 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 medium white onion minced (about 1/2 cup once minced)
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano

Pasta of choice for serving

Special Equipment:

Instructions

  1. Add all the sauce ingredients to the Instant Pot. Stir to combine the ingredients.

  2. Add all the meatball ingredients to a large mixing bowl. Combine the ingredients by hand.

  3. 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. 

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. Boil water for your pasta. Add the noodles to the water once the Instant Pot timer beeps.

  7. Let the pressure release naturally from the Instant Pot for 10-15 minutes.

  8. Release any remaining pressure. Drain the pasta and serve. 

Instant Pot Meatballs in Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

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17 Comments

  • Can these be made larger than 1″ diameter? I come from a large Italian family and my grandmother always made larger meatballs, maybe 2″, at least? (think peach-sized) Would that change the time required in the IP? (She was old-school; would not be happy if she knew I was using something called an ‘Instant Pot’ for sauce and meatballs! 🙂

    • Hi Gina, yes, this isn’t old-school 😉 I’d probably cook for 10 minutes instead of the 6 in the recipe, but I haven’t tried. Just cut one in half to make sure it’s done to your liking. Let us know how it goes!

  • Hello. I usually don’t make meatballs for my spaghetti but just cook the meat. But I’m wondering though if I can mix in all the ingredients and just cook it the same way without making it meatballs.

    I also sometimes put in ground turkey instead of ground beef. If I wanted to make these into meatballs would the same ingredients apply?

    • I’m sure turkey would work instead of beef! Also, as long as your ground meat is thawed you could do it, like a bolognese. Saute your veggies, then add everything else and chop the meat up some, don’t leave it in the package shape 😉 I’m pretty sure it will turn out – let us know!

  • These sound and look so very delicious, I don’t have an instant pot, but I have a small 2 quart pressure cooker, so I could do this recipe on a much smaller scale and freeze some of the meatballs for later cooking. Thank you so much for taking the time to share this recipe.

  • These were great for dinner and I froze the leftover meatballs separately for the kids’s school lunches. I reheat them in the mornings and pack them with a little container of the spaghetti sauce for dipping 😉

  • What about putting dry pasta in? I just got an instant pot and see a lot of recipes for that. I don’t mind boiling it but was just curious. I have an 8 quart so lots of room!

  • This recipe is kid approved–to cook and eat! It is so super easy that my 6 year old prepared the majority of this recipe. And both my kids were happy to eat it for leftovers the following night!

  • Just got an electronic pressure cooker for my birthday and already I love it! Homemade meatballs and sauce done before the pasta!
    I also made your black beans last night, done in an hour and a half from dry beans!

  • Hi Kristin!

    To make these dairy free, can I use almond milk and skip the cheese? or will I lose too much flavor?

    Thanks!

    • Hey Stephanie, You’ll probably lose some flavor but not a ton. I think they’ll still taste good. You could also add in some nutritional yeast to add more of a subtle cheesy flavor. And yes to the almond milk. As long as it’s unsweetened and plain.

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