Instant Pot Meatballs

4.99 from 121 votes

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These Instant Pot Meatballs are the easiest way to make meatballs, EVER. No browning or sautéing. Just throw them in the sauce uncooked and let the Instant Pot do the rest!

Spaghetti and Instant pot meatballs on a plate.
Featured with this Recipe
  1. Instant Pot Meatballs
  2. Instant Pot Meatball Ingredients
  3. How to Make Meatballs
  4. Put them straight in the Pot!
  5. Any Kind Of Pressure Cooker Will Work
  6. Avoiding The Burn Notice
  7. Quick Reference: How Long To Cook Meatballs in the Instant Pot
  8. Storing, Freezing, and Reheating Meatballs
  9. Tips for Cooking and Serving
  10. Frequently Asked Questions About Instant Pot Meatballs
  11. Want More Instant Pot Recipes?
  12. How to Make Instant Pot Meatballs
  13. Instant Pot Meatballs Recipe

Instant Pot Meatballs

Try this Instant Pot Meatballs recipe with some of our favorite side dishes or salads. If it’s bread you are looking for, you can never go wrong with Hot & Cheesy Garlic BreadBreadtwists, or our Parmesan Pull Apart bread.

Meatballs in the Instant Pot are THE way to go when it comes to meatballs. They really couldn’t be easier! When cooking meatballs in a pan, they can crumble and fall apart. Baking them can dry them out. Cooking them in the Instant Pot is easier AND tastes better. By cooking them in the sauce, the meaty flavor infuses the sauce and makes it so much more flavorful. Instant Pot Meatballs can be shaped, thrown in, and cooked without falling apart AT ALL. The meatballs stay tightly packed and don’t crumble in the sauce!

Instant Pot Meatball Ingredients

  • ground beef – You can also use a beef/pork mixture with lean ground beef and Italian sausage, or if you prefer turkey meatballs use ground turkey
  • onion – yellow or white will work best, finely chopped or grated
  • bread crumbs – seasoned or unseasoned is fine. We like using panko bread crumb
  • parmesan cheese
  • eggs – the “binder” that holds the meatballs together.
  • milk – adds more moisture to the meat while cooking and keeps them from drying out
  • seasonings – garlic, oregano, salt, and pepper (feel free to add or sub out other dried or fresh herbs like basil, parsley, or thyme)
  • spagetti sauce – you can use jarred pasta sauce or our recipe for canned spaghetti sauce

How to Make Meatballs

  • Combine all ingredients (except spaghetti sauce) in a large bowl until well mixed. Mixing together with your hands works great.
  • Form into 1.5 inch balls using hands or small ice cream scoop or cookie scoop. You want them to be slightly smaller than a golf ball. I like to set them on some parchment paper as I roll them.

Put them straight in the Pot!

See? Uncooked! Crazy right? The first time I made these, I was a little worried. I thought that the meatballs wouldn’t keep their shape and I would end up having meat sauce, which happens to me more than I would care to admit when I am sautéing meatballs in a skillet. I don’t know why they don’t fall apart in the Instant Pot. It’s like magic.

Raw Meatballs placed in an Instant Pot.

Any Kind Of Pressure Cooker Will Work

I also need to mention that this will work great in ANY kind of pressure cooker. No matter what you use, you will get the same results. Just make sure you have enough liquid in the pot so it will actually seal. You also don’t want to get a burn notice. Which brings me to…

Meatballs in an Instant Pot being served with a serving spoon.

Avoiding The Burn Notice

Tomato based sauces can be tricky in an Instant Pot because tomatoes have a tendency to burn easily. Make sure your sauce is thin enough to create steam and seal the pot. You can thin it out by adding a can of diced tomatoes or even just a little water. If you are worried about it being TOO thin, you can always add tomato paste or tomato sauce to your pasta sauce after the meatballs are done cooking. I like using my homemade canned sauce because the consistency is just right. If it seems too thin afterwards, I will add a few tablespoons of tomato paste and that usually does the trick.

Close up of an Instant Pot Meatball in a serving spoon to show detail of beef and sauce.

Quick Reference: How Long To Cook Meatballs in the Instant Pot

Cooking time (high pressure): 7 minutes
Slow release (natural release): 5 minutes

Storing, Freezing, and Reheating Meatballs

To store your meatballs after cooking, allow them to cool for 10-15 minutes, and then place them in an airtight container or freezer zip-top bag. Store them in the refrigerator for 3-4 days or in the freezer for 3 months. These meatballs are great for meal prep and you can make large batches at one time. To re-heat, place frozen meatballs in the fridge overnight to thaw and re-heat over the stove top or in the microwave until meatballs are cooked through and the marinara sauce is hot. 

Close up of a meatball to show texture.

Tips for Cooking and Serving

  • For this recipe I used our own Homemade Canned Spaghetti Sauce, but you can use your own recipe or just store-bought spaghetti sauce. No matter what you use, it is going to be awesome. Even store-bought spaghetti sauce will be kicked up a notch because the meatballs will be cooked in it, giving it an incredible flavor.
  • Not a huge fan of ground beef? Feel free to try ground pork, ground turkey, or ground chicken meatballs too! We will often do a mixture of both ground beef and pork to make them more tender.
  • These meatballs can easily be made gluten free if you want to switch out the Panko breadcrumbs for gluten-free breadcrumbs. You can also use gluten free oats if you don’t have breadcrumbs on hand.
  • Of course, you will want to serve these meatballs over gluten-free pasta if you have an intolerance to gluten. If GF pasta isn’t your thing, you can also use zoodles (spiralized zucchini), or you can use spaghetti squash.
  • Have leftovers? These meatballs make incredible meatball subs! Give them a try!
Top view of spaghetti with meatballs next to Parmesan cheese.

Read Next: 27 BEST Instant Pot Recipes

Frequently Asked Questions About Instant Pot Meatballs

How long does it take to fully cook meatballs?

It’s not the time as much as it is the temperature. The internal temperature should be 160-degrees. By following this recipe you will have perfectly cooked meatballs in 20 minutes.

Is it ok to cook raw meatballs in sauce?

Yes! The meat will heat up quickly in the Instant Pot, making it a safe cooking method.

How long do you cook pre cooked meatballs?

If cooking pre cooked meatballs and they are frozen, you can cook them on high pressure for 5 minutes and do a 5 minute slow release.

Can these be eaten without pasta?

Definitely, these are great used for a meatball sub sandwich, with toothpicks as an appetizer, or even as a main dish with a side of mashed potatoes and vegetables for a more low carb option.

Read Next: Pym Test Kitchen Impossible Spoonful

Want More Instant Pot Recipes?

Strapped for time? We have dozens of delicious dinners that come together in no time! Check out some of our Instant Pot favorites:

How to Make Instant Pot Meatballs

A plate of spaghetti and meatballs

Instant Pot Meatballs

4.99 from 121 votes
These Instant Pot Meatballs are the easiest way to make meatballs EVER. No browning or sautéing. Just throw them in the sauce uncooked and let the Instant Pot do the rest!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine American, Italian
Servings 6 servings



  • Instant Pot Pressure Cooker



  • Combine all ingredients (except spaghetti sauce) until well mixed. Mixing together with your hands works great.
    Form into balls using hands or small ice cream scoop. You want them to be slightly smaller than a golf ball.
    Instant pot meatballs being combined with two hands.
  • Spray bottom of Instant Pot with cooking spray and add spaghetti sauce.
    Place meatballs over the sauce, layering them if necessary. It's OK if they touch, just don't squish them too much.
    Meatballs in an Instant Pot.
  • Place lid on Instant Pot and switch valve to “sealing”. Press “Manual” and set to high pressure for 7 minutes.
    An instant pot with "On" in the settings.
  • After you hear the timer go off, allow to slow release for another 5 minutes and then do the quick release (you do this by carefully switching the tab to "venting").
    Remove lid from Instant Pot, stir, and serve over cooked pasta noodles.
    Instant pot meatballs on spaghetti.


Instant Pot Note: We use a 6-quart Instant Pot brand pressure cooker that we bought in 2016. Different or newer versions may be more sensitive to the “BURN” notice. If you are concerned about the burn notice, please refer to this article: “What Does ‘Burn’ Mean on My Instant Pot?

Nutrition Information

Calories: 411kcalCarbohydrates: 15gProtein: 28gFat: 27gSaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 141mgSodium: 1513mgPotassium: 911mgFiber: 3gSugar: 8gVitamin A: 850IUVitamin C: 12.7mgCalcium: 171mgIron: 4.5mg

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About the author

Erica Walker

Erica lives in Boise, Idaho with her husband, Jared, an attorney, and her three beautiful girls. Beyond the world of recipes, she loves adventuring with everything from kayaking, to cruising, to snowboarding and taking the family along for the thrill ride.

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  1. I followed the recipe using my Instant Pot and everything was still raw after 7min high pressure and 5 min natural release. What went wrong?! Had to then use the sauté function for half an hour to make sure everything was cooked through.

    1. Oh, shoot! Maybe your meatballs were a little on the big side? Sometimes Instant Pots vary in how much they heat up.

  2. 5 stars
    I make a dairy-free swap in this recipe and have made this at least 5x now. My substitution is 2 tsp of nooch and 1 tsp of onion powder for the 1/2 cup of parmesan. It’s a regular in my weekly meal plan, and it’s easy. I’m a huge fan!

  3. 5 stars
    I use a stainless steel pot with a lid inside the Instapot to avoid the “burn notice.” Two cups of water in the bottom, set the pot on a stainless steel trivet, and cook as usual, and it works like a charm.

  4. 5 stars
    Well I’m 61 never cooked for myself before tried the spaghetti and meatballs made it with egg noodles it turned out fantastic 1st thing I ever cooked In my instant pop I’m real proud of myself thank you very much I will have a full belly for a couple of days now

        1. You could try it! It might be a little on the wet side, so maybe add a bit more breadcrumbs? Let us know how it goes if you do try it!

  5. 5 stars
    Love this easy recipe and have been making it for several years now and my family absolutely loves! I made it with turkey meat as well and it’s just as delicious!!

  6. 5 stars
    I wanted spaghetti sauce but didn’t want to fool around pre cooking the meatballs. Your procedure description lead me to try raw meatballs. It’s quick, easy and I think I’ll be making these again. My sauce was a bit watered so I added a small can of tomato paste to thicken it up. I’m letting it Hold Warm as a faux simmer and marrying of meat and sauce. Thanks.

  7. This is a weird question, but my son can’t have tomatoes, so he can’t have sauce either. Can you make these in the IP without any sauce? Maybe with some broth or something?

    1. Oh, shoot! I am not sure. We haven’t tested it with any other sauces besides the tomato sauce.

    2. I would bet that a couple of cans of cream of mushroom soup would work well. You’ll likely need to make the soup by adding only one can or less of water. You’re trying to make a sauce so less is best. You can always add a bit of water at end of cooking. Should be tasty over noodles or spaghetti. Experiment and enjoy.

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