Easiest Instant Pot Meatballs

4.84 from 83 votes
287 Comments

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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

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!

Raw Meatballs placed in an Instant Pot

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 sauteing meatballs in a skillet. I don’t know why they don’t fall apart in the Instant Pot. It’s like magic.

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

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! You don’t be sorry!
Top view of spaghetti with meatballs next to Parmesan cheese

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:

A plate of spaghetti and meatballs

Easiest Instant Pot Meatballs

4.84 from 83 votes
These Instant Pot Meatballs are the easiest way to make meatballs EVER. No browning or sautéeing. Just throw them in the sauce uncooked and let the Instant Pot do the rest!
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine American, Italian
Servings 6 servings

Equipment

  • 6-Quart Instant Pot Pressure Cooker (See Instant Pot Note Below)

Ingredients

Instructions

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Place lid on Instant Pot and switch valve to “sealing”. Press “Manual” and set to high pressure for 7 minutes.
  • 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.

Video

Notes

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 the Instant Pot webpage about Overheat Protection, found HERE.

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 beautiful three 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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Comments

  1. 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. 5 stars
    I love these meatballs. I make them with ground turkey and usually with only a pound of meat. They are so easy and quick to make and always a big hit!

  3. 5 stars
    I love these meatballs. I make them with ground turkey and usually with only a pound of meat. They are so easy and quick to make and always a big hit!

  4. I have made this with Turkey mince and been very successful! Thank you for sharing the recipe, I make it once a week now and sneak frozen chopped spinach into the mix to trick my daughter lol

  5. 5 stars
    This is my 2nd comment, but just wanted to say I added 1/2 cup water to some sauce & stirred, then added remaining sauce & meatballs on top. NO burn notice what so ever.

  6. Your meatballs are falling apart in the skillet because you’re using a recipe without egg, which acts as a binder. Two tablespoons of psylium husk in the mix will help a lot if you can’t cook with egg.

  7. 5 stars
    Fabulous! I’ve made the recipe with, beef, turkey, and veal – all amazing. Its a great “go to” meal and makes plenty for 2 dinners for our family.

  8. 5 stars
    I made this recipe for 20 people exactly as it was posted and it came out delicious & moist. I used jarred Prego Chunky Veggie Sauce and everyone loved them. Because of the amount of meatballs I made, I had to cook them on the stovetop but it was just as easy for me. Two thumbs up!

  9. This looks amazing! My daughter is highly allergic to milk protein, so we will have to omit the cheese. Will this affect how the meatballs cook? Would you suggest using anything in its place, or will it be fine without? Thanks in advance for the feedback!

    1. I think it would be alright without the cheese. If you want to, you could use some nutritional yeast as a substitute! Maybe not 1:1 exactly, a little less nutritional yeast and add some more breadcrumbs.

  10. 5 stars
    This recipe makes a very nice, moist meatball… so often meatballs can get dried out with just a bit too much cooking… not with these!

  11. 5 stars
    Greatings from Australia! New to Instant Pots and wanted to try this recipe. I have 4 young children ranging in age from 9 to 2 and all of them inhaled the dish. I loved the flavour also. So comforting. Thank you for posting this. Not a single meatball left.

  12. You can avoid the “burn” signal problem by putting the ingredients into a round Corningware casserole and placing the casserole into the Instant Pot stainless steel pot on the trivet with a cup and a half of water in the bottom of the pot (under the casserole). Put a glass lid on the casserole pan, and cook according the recipe instructions. This prevents the “burn” signal problem. Cleanup is much easier too!

  13. Instead of the spaghetti sauce could I use a brown gravy then put on top of mashed potatoes.

    1. I haven’t tried gravy in the instant pot, so I’m not sure. Usually gravy has some milk or cornstarch in it and those things don’t cook well in an IP.

      1. 5 stars
        My meatballs turned out great!! I followed the recipe and directions exactly. I have never gotten a burn notice when using tomato sauce, but I have an older IP Duo 5 qt. Thank you!!

    1. 5 stars
      This recipe turned out great! I ended up using Ragu instead of making my own sauce like i normally do, but even with jar sauce the meatballs were delicious! This is definitely my new go to meatball recipe. It was so quick and easy making them in the pressure cooker. Thanks

  14. 5 stars
    This recipe is fantastic. I love that in following all the instructions and measurements to a ‘T’, the outcome is exactly what you would hope for. The only substitution I made was onion powder in lieu of grating onion but that was only for the sake of convenience. I made the meatballs slightly larger than a golf ball and cooked them for 11 minutes instead of 7 but followed the other cooking instructions verbatim and the results were perfect and delicious. Unlike some reviews, I didn’t get a burn notice but I would emphasize the importance of spraying the bottom of the Instant Pot with the non-stick cooking spray to minimize the possibility of this happening. Needless to say, I’ll be making this again!

      1. Yes, you would probably have to cook longer. I don’t know exactly the time, you’d have to experiment with it!

    1. Ok so this was a fail for me. I got the food burn message. I even added water to the spaghetti sauce. When I got the error I scooped it all out and finished on the stove top. They tasted great but I need help to make this one work.

      1. The same thing happened to me tonight. I am not sure how to make sure that does not happen again.