Instant Pot Spaghetti & Meatballs are a go-to family favorite dinner. Homemade meatballs bound together with a delicious tomato sauce and served on top of spaghetti.
Instant Pot Spaghetti & Meatballs
My Instant Pot Spaghetti and Meatballs recipe is homemade. You do this in steps, but you’ll have some left over so you can freeze some of the sauce for another day. Besides, the flavors are totally worth the time and effort in making a Homemade Spaghetti Sauce.
Where this authentic and delicious tomato sauce, or gravy as it’s referred to in Italy, would normally take hours and hours to simmer, the Instant Pot does it in 30 minutes! It literally bursts with flavor, it’s so delicious, everyone will be glad you made it.
Total cook time for this Instant Pot Homemade Spaghetti & Meatballs will take you about 2 hours. Perhaps a little more, depending on how fast you work. However, the sauce and meatballs can be made ahead so you can pull the whole dish together just when you need it!
With my step by step approach I show you just how easy it is to make Homemade Meatballs & Tomato Sauce in your Instant Pot.
How to make Instant Pot Spaghetti & Meatballs:
How to make Instant Pot Spaghetti Sauce:
I like to make my spaghetti meatball tomato sauce in bulk, that way I can store it and use it when I need to.
- Turn the Instant Pot to the “Saute” setting, and add the olive oil and butter. When the butter melts, add the chopped onion, and cook until it caramelizes, or is golden brown (about 5 minutes). Add the minced garlic, and cook 1 – 2 minutes. Turn off the Instant Pot.
- Add the tomato sauce, the stewed tomatoes, the tomato paste, and 1 1/2 cups of bottled water. Add all spices, and stir well, making sure to scrape the bottom of the stainless steel liner to the Instant Pot, to loosen any onion or garlic. Stir until all ingredients are well blended.
- Place the lid on the Instant Pot, until it beeps and locks, and MAKE SURE the pressure valve is set to ‘SEALING’, AND NOT VENTING. Press the manual button and set the timer to ’30’ minutes. Allow the Instant Pot to build and release pressure automatically, do not manually release pressure. This is what will infuse the flavors into the sauce.
Once the sauce has cooked:
- Once the Instant pot has released the pressure, and beeps, check to make sure the pressure button is down, and carefully, and with a pot holder, turn the pressure valve gently to VENTING, making sure all the pressure has been released. Remove the lid from the Instant Pot, and stir the sauce.
- The sauce will have thickened during cooking, and may be a little thicker in the bottom of the pot. Stir to blend. All sauce to cool, and pour into a covered container, or into glass jars. If you’re using jars, you’ll need more than 1 or 2, depending on how large the jars are. If they’re 16 ounce jars, you may need 4 or more.
How to make Instant Pot Meatballs:
- You’ll need a large bowl, a large piece of waxed paper or foil to put the meatballs on, the Ziploc bag, and a large spoon.
- In a large bowl, combine the sirloin and ground round, and mix well.
- Add all ingredients, except for the crushed Ritz crackers, adding those last.
- Blend altogether, using clean hands, and roll in balls, about 2 inch balls, and lay on waxed paper or foil.
- Add the flour to the Ziploc bag and set aside.
Cooking the meatballs:
- When you’re done rolling the meatballs into balls, and washed the tomato sauce from the Instant Pot liner, place about 10 of the meatballs in the Ziploc bag, and shake gently to coat the meatball in the flour.
- Turn the Instant Pot to ‘SAUTE’, and add the olive oil and butter.
- Working in small batches, when the butter melts, add the meatballs from the Ziploc bag to the Pot, and brown on all sides, about 10 minutes (I used a curved fish spatula to turn the meatballs). When they’re browned, and done in the middle, remove them to a plate, and set aside, and continue to coat the meatballs in the flour and brown and cook until all meatballs are done.
Once the meatballs are cooked:
- When the meatballs are all cooked. Turn the Instant pot off.
- Add 1 1/2 cups of water to the Pot, stir and scrape the bits that may be stuck on the bottom of the pot.
- Add about 1/2 cup of the tomato sauce to the water, and stir well.
- Open the package of spaghetti, and break it in half, and add it to the Instant Pot, placing it in the water, and stir well to cover spaghetti as much as possible.
- Place meatballs on top of spaghetti, and cover meatballs in tomato sauce, about 1 1/2 cups.
- Sauce will run down onto spaghetti, which will help keep it moist as it cooks.
- Place lid on Instant Pot until it beeps and locks, and make sure the pressure valve is set to SEALING. Press the manual button, and set the time to 6 minutes. Allow the Instant Pot to build and release pressure automatically. When Instant Pot is done, make sure pressure button is down, and turn valve to ‘VENTING’ to make sure all pressure has been released.
- Remove lid to Instant Pot, and with a large utensil, such as a large spoon, remove the meatballs to a platter.
- Remove the spaghetti to the same platter. Stir the sauce in the pot, and add additional sauce to the Pot and saute for 4 or 5 minutes, until the sauce thickens.
- Ladle the sauce over the spaghetti and meatballs. Serve immediately.
Sauce ingredients and substitutions:
- ONION & GARLIC: form the base of the sauce, I use 1 large sweet onion and 3 cloves of garlic.
- OIL: I use olive oil and some butter to give great flavor to the sauce.
- TOMATOES: I use a combination of canned tomato sauce, canned stewed tomatoes and canned tomato paste – this sauce is all about the tomatoes!
- SEASONING & HERBS: a combination of Italian seasoning, dried basil, oregano, garlic salt with parsley, regular salt and black pepper to season the sauce.
- SUGAR: some brown sugar is added to the sauce to balance out the acidity of the tomatoes. Don’t be tempted to leave the sugar out as it does make a big difference to the flavor of the finished sauce.
Meatball ingredients and substitutions:
- MEAT: I use a combination of ground sirloin and ground round beef for the best flavor.
- CRACKERS: 1 sleeve of Ritz crackers is crushed and added to the meatball mixture. The crackers result in a lighter textured meatball.
- ONION & GARLIC: is added to the meatballs for flavor.
- EGG: a large egg is added to the meatball mixture as the egg helps the meatball mixture to bind together, making it easier to roll.
- SAUCES: tomato ketchup and Worcestershire sauce add great savory flavor to the meatballs.
- SEASONING & HERBS: a combination of garlic salt, regular salt, black pepper, Italian seasoning, chili powder, and ground oregano season the meatballs.
- SUGAR: some brown sugar is added to the meatball mixture.
- OIL: I use olive oil and some butter to saute the meatballs.
- PASTA: I use spaghetti, but you can use any variety of pasta with the tomato sauce and meatballs. Fettucini, linguini, penne and fusilli would all work in this dish too.
This is a really rich and filling bowl of pasta, so I like to keep any side dishes simple. I serve my Instant Pot Spaghetti Meatballs with some a dressed green side salad, or some green beans. Crusty bread is ideal too for mopping up any spaghetti sauce.
Can Instant Pot Spaghetti & Meatballs be made ahead?
This is a great make ahead dish and both the spaghetti sauce and meatballs can be made ahead.
Make the sauce a day or two ahead, refrigerate it, and make the meatballs just before you’re ready to serve this dish.
The meatballs can also be cooked and stored in the refrigerator for a couple of days. Then when you are ready to serve the dish, finish it off and pull everything together before warming up and serving.
How to store spaghetti sauce:
This sauce can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator for up to 7 days. You can store the sauce for up to 4 months in the freezer, just make sure to label the pack.
Once cooked and cooled, store the meatballs in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months. When ready to use, remove the meatballs from the freezer and allow to defrost in the refrigerator before adding to the spaghetti and sauce to finish the dish.
- To keep your spaghetti from clumping together in the Instant Pot, make sure that you completely cover the pasta in sauce.
- Take time to properly season the sauce and the meatballs. Proper seasoning really does make a big difference to the finished dish.
Don’t miss my additional Beef Instant Pot Recipes here at When Is Dinner:
- 1 large sweet onion chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic - pressed and minced
- 1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil
- 1 Tablespoon of butter
- 2 cans about 28 ounce cans of tomato sauce
- 2 cans of stewed tomatoes - 14 - 15 ounce cans
- 1 can of tomato paste the small can, 5 - 6 ounces
- 2 Tablespoons Italian seasoning
- 1 Tablespoon dried sweet basil
- 1 Tablespoon ground oregano
- 1 Tablespoon coarse ground garlic salt with parsley
- 1 Tablespoon seasoned salt
- 1 Tablespoon seasoned pepper
- 1/3 cup of brown sugar
- 1 1/4 pound of ground sirloin
- 1 1/4 pound of ground round
- 1 sleeve of Ritz crackers - crushed
- 1 sweet onion - chopped
- 1 Tablespoon of minced garlic
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup of Ketchup
- 2 Tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce
- 1 Tablespoon of Garlic salt
- 1 Tablespoon of seasoned salt
- 1 teaspoon of seasoned pepper
- 1 Tablespoon of Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon of chili powder
- 1 teaspoon of ground oregano
- 1/4 cup of brown sugar
- 1 cup of flour
- Ziploc bag
- 2 Tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon butter
- 1 pound package of spaghetti
FOR THE SAUCE:
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 514Total Fat: 22gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 111mgSodium: 2155mgCarbohydrates: 47gFiber: 4gSugar: 19gProtein: 34g
These are a few items I find helpful in my own kitchen when preparing this Instant Pot Spaghetti & Meatballs Recipe:
Instant Pot DUO60 6 Qt 7-in-1 Multi-Use Programmable Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Steamer, Sauté, Yogurt Maker and WarmerGorilla Grip Original Reversible Cutting Board (3-Piece) BPA Free, Dishwasher Safe, Juice Grooves, Larger Thicker Boards, Easy Grip Handle, Non Porous, Extra Large, Kitchen (Set of Three: Black)J.A. HENCKELS INTERNATIONAL 31161-201 CLASSIC Chef’s Knife, 8 Inch, BlackOXO Good Grips Mixing Bowl Set with Black Handles, 3-PieceOXO 1190600 Good Grips Nylon Spoon, BlackOXO 1190900 Spaghetti Server BlackY YHY 8-1/4-inch Porcelain Soup Bowls/Rim Bowl Set, White, Set of 4