Best Instant Pot Meatballs Recipe

Last Updated on January 13, 2023 by Anne-Marie

You'll love how easy it is to make this Instant Pot meatballs recipe. Super flavorful and simple to make, these pressure cooker meatballs taste like they've been cooking all day!

A large bowl of Instant Pot Meatballs in sauce, a large bowl of spaghetti, fresh sprigs of parsley and basil, serving utensils, and a blue cloth napkin.

Why this recipe works

The time-saving trick to this Instant Pot recipe? You don't have to brown or bake the meatballs before simmering them in the sauce!

Here are some rave reviews from my readers:

Leanna said she has made this 10 TIMES and her family won’t eat any other meatballs!

Amber said that it was super easy to make and extremely rare that she finds something that both of her boys and husband like!

Wendy said she made the recipe twice in two weeks and was glad she doubled the recipe!

Ingredients

  • ground meat (beef, pork, chicken, turkey, or venison - or use a couple in your meat mixture)
  • breadcrumbs (gluten-free, plain, or seasoned)
  • egg
  • milk (or milk substitute)
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • garlic cloves
  • grated fresh parmesan cheese
  • fresh herbs such as oregano, basil, and parsley (dried Italian seasoning works, too)
  • onion powder
  • sea salt
  • black pepper
  • your favorite spaghetti sauce from the grocery store.

You can also use a homemade sauce like my Crockpot Spaghetti Sauce or this version of Alton Brown's Tomato Sauce.

Spooning up meatballs in sauce from a pressure cooker.

How to make Instant Pot Meatballs

This classic meatballs with pasta sauce recipe makes a delicious dinner. It's the ultimate comfort food! 

1. Prepare the pressure cooker. Make sure to place the trivet that came with your Instant Pot on the bottom of your pressure cooker, so the meatballs don't stick during cooking.

2. Then add the spaghetti sauce.

3. Place meatballs in the sauce, close together.

4. Cover the pressure cooker. Then cook on High Pressure for 8 minutes cooking time.

5. Then perform a 10-minute Natural Release. Then do a Quick Release to vent any remaining pressure.

6. When cooking the performing the natural release, start cooking your pasta.

7. Serve up your batch of meatballs over pasta.

8. Leftover meatballs can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container and reheated the next day.

A bowl of Instant Pot Meatballs with spaghetti, parsley, basil, serving spoon and fork, and napkin.

FAQs

What size Instant Pot?

You can use any electric pressure cooker for this recipe, not just the Instant Pot brand.

However, if you use a bigger size, it will take longer to come under pressure.

I use a large 8 Quart Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker since I double my recipes to have leftovers.

But the 6 Quart Instant Pot Duo Pressure Cooker 7-in-1 is perfect for most recipes.

See What Size is Best? 6-Quart vs. 8-Quart Instant Pot to determine what size pressure cooker works best for your family when making homemade meatballs.

What kind of breadcrumbs?

You can use plain or flavored bread crumbs.

If you're gluten-free, use gluten-free panko breadcrumbs or gluten-free breadcrumbs. I also use these in my Easy Fried Air Fryer Ravioli Recipe.

Make homemade crumbs by toasting gluten-free bread. Then chop the toast in a blender or food processor until finely ground.

You can also use gluten-free oats. Chop these up in a blender or food processor until finely ground.

Meatballs in sauce in an Instant Pot pressure cooker.

Forming the meatballs

You can make the meatballs with your hands or a small ice cream scoop.

You want them to be slightly smaller than a golf ball.

Even though you don't brown or bake the meatballs before you put them in the Instant Pot, they won't fall apart during cooking.

So don’t worry! You’ll have tender meatballs and not tough meatballs every time.

Making pressure cooker meatballs with an ice cream scoop.

Can you freeze the meatballs?

Yes, you can freeze the cooked meatballs in sauce. Here's how:

1. Allow the Italian meatballs to cool completely.

2. Place in a freezer-safe Ziploc bag or plastic container.

3. Label and date. A frozen batch of meatballs keeps for up to three months.

How to reheat frozen meatballs

1. Let the meatballs defrost in the refrigerator overnight. (Or in a pan of water if you're in a hurry.)

2. You can reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave. Serve the meatballs over pasta or zoodles.

Depending on your needs, you may prefer to reheat individual portions rather than the entire recipe.

Serve these with leftover Instant Pot Lasagna!

A bowl of pressure cooker meatballs in sauce with pasta, napkins, dishes and forks.

Substitutions

Here are some meatball subs tips for those of you who may have food allergies:

Can I make this egg-free?

You can substitute the following for the egg:

  • 2 tablespoons buttermilk
  • 3 tablespoons plain yogurt
  • 1/4 cup ricotta cheese
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce

Can I make this dairy-free?

If you’re dairy-free, use your favorite milk substitute and vegan Parmesan cheese.

Seasonings

No herbs? Use Italian seasoning. Spice the meat mixture with pepper flakes.

No Worcestershire sauce? Use soy sauce.

Out of garlic? Use chopped celery.

What type of ground meat should I use?

You can use any type of ground meat to make these juicy meatballs!

  • 1 pound lean ground beef to make beef meatballs
  • 1 pound ground chicken to make chicken meatballs
  • 1 pound ground pork 
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 pound ground venison

You could mix in some homemade Italian sausage with ground meat. Since Italian sausage is already seasoned, cut back on herbs, black pepper, and salt.

Or use half pork and half beef in your meatball mixture. It's all good!

A bowl of cooked turkey meatballs in sauce with pasta.

More easy homestyle meatball recipes

Here are some family favorite meatball recipes:

This Zesty Slow Cooker Porcupine Meatballs recipe is made with red beans and rice.

These Gluten-Free Asian Meatballs with Hoisin Sauce can be served on rice noodles.

This Asian Style Gluten Free Meatballs Recipe are mini meatballs that can be served on rice noodles.

Finally, these Slow Cooker Turkey Meatballs are gluten-free and super tasty.

How often do you make homemade meatballs for dinner?

Yield: 4 SERVINGS

Best Instant Pot Meatballs

Spooning up meatballs in sauce from a pressure cooker.

You'll love how easy it is to make this Instant Pot meatballs recipe. Super flavorful and simple to make, these pressure cooker meatballs taste like they've been cooking all day!

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef, ground pork, ground chicken, ground turkey, ground venison, or a blend
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs (gluten-free, plain, or seasoned)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup milk (or milk substitute)
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1/4 cup fresh parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • 2 tablespoons fresh herbs, finely chopped – oregano, basil, parsley (or 2 teaspoons dried)
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 cups spaghetti sauce

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, mix together the combination of meat, if using.
  2. Add all other ingredients and gently mix them, but do not overwork.
  3. Form into meatballs using your hands or a small ice cream scoop. Meatballs should be the size of a small golf ball.
  4. Place the trivet at the bottom of the Instant Pot.
  5. Then add jarred or homemade spaghetti sauce to the Instant Pot.
  6. Carefully place the meatballs close together in the sauce.
  7. Cover and cook on High Pressure for 8 minutes with a 10-minute natural release.
  8. While meatballs are cooking, prepare spaghetti or other pasta noodles.
  9. Serve Instant Pot meatballs immediately with spaghetti or other noodles.
  10. Store leftover meatballs in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Recommended Products

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 757Total Fat: 40gSaturated Fat: 14gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 20gCholesterol: 247mgSodium: 1846mgCarbohydrates: 33gFiber: 6gSugar: 16gProtein: 62g

Nutritional information is automatically calculated per the ingredients list. Serving size may not be accurate. Please double-check with your preferred nutritional app for the most accurate information.

17 thoughts on “Best Instant Pot Meatballs Recipe

    1. Anne-Marie Nichols Post author

      I would add only a few minutes to the cooking time. You don’t want to over cook the Instant Pot Meatballs! But I would be more concerned that your Instant Pot wouldn’t hold that many meatballs!

      Reply
  1. Wendy Bastian

    Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    I don’t make meatballs any other way than this recipe. It couldn’t be easier to just put them in the instant pot and cook them for 8 minutes. Thank you!.

    Reply
    1. Leanna

      Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
      I have probably made this recipe 10x since finding it maybe a month ago. My family said they wouldn’t eat any other meatballs. They taste better than the Spaghetti Factory’s meatballs, in my opinion. (Popular Italian restaurant here.) Thank you for sharing!

      Reply
  2. Amber

    Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    Oh my goodness everyone loves this tonight! It is extremely rare that I find something that both of my boys and husband all like. And on top of that it was so easy! Thank you 🙂

    Reply
  3. Wendy Bastian

    Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    I’ve made this recipe twice in two weeks and both times I doubled the recipe, and very glad I did! I caramelize an onion to add to the sauce but otherwise follow the reciped exactly.

    Reply

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