Instant Pot Meatballs

Last Updated on July 21, 2022 by Anne-Marie

You'll love how easy it is to make Instant Pot Meatballs. Super flavorful, 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.

How to make Instant Pot Meatballs

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!

But there are a few tricks to keep in mind.

What type of ground meat?

Use 1 pound of ground meat, like ground lean turkey.

Or you can use a combination of ground meat, like half beef and half pork.

You could mix in some homemade Italian sausage with the ground meat.

Since Italian sausage is already seasoned, cut back on herbs, black pepper, and salt.

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

What kind of breadcrumbs?

You can use plain or flavored breadcrumbs.

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

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

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

What kind of herbs?

You can use a combination of finely chopped fresh herbs like oregano, basil, and parsley. You'll need 2 tablespoons.

If you don't have any in your garden, you can use 2 teaspoons of dried herbs. Use a variety (oregano, basil, parsley, thyme, etc.) or 2 teaspoons of Italian seasoning.

What type of sauces?

You can use your favorite jarred sauce from the store, like a marinara sauce.

You can also use a homemade recipe. Or try my version of Alton Brown's Tomato Sauce if you have too many tomatoes in your garden.

Or make Crockpot Spaghetti Sauce. This makes enough sauce for meatballs and oodles of spaghetti (or another type of pasta. So don't worry about not having enough sauce.

Forming the meatballs

You can make the meatballs using your hands or a small ice cream scoop. You want them to be slightly smaller than a golf ball.

Making pressure cooker meatballs with an ice cream scoop.

How to cook meatballs in the 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 to pressure.

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

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

1. Prepare the pressure cooker. Make sure to place the trivet that came with your Instant Pot on the bottom of your pressure cooker.

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 Instant Pot spaghetti and meatballs.

8. Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator and reheated the next day.

Get more Instant Pot Tips at When is it Safe to Open my Instant Pot?

Meatballs in sauce in an Instant Pot pressure cooker.

Won't the meatballs fall apart?

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

When I first cooked them, I was sure I was going to end up with a pot of meat sauce. But I didn't. It was AWESOME!

When do you cook the pasta?

While your meatballs are cooking, prepare your pasta! You can serve this with regular spaghetti or other types of pasta.

If you're gluten free, try GF pasta or zucchini, or squash zoodles as a wholesome and gluten free alternative.

Spooning up meatballs in sauce from a pressure cooker.

Can you freeze the meatballs?

Of course! Here's how to freeze the meatballs and sauce:

1. Allow the meatballs to cool completely.

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

3. Label and date. Frozen meatballs will keep 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 with fresh cooked pasta or zoodles.

You may prefer to just reheat individual portions rather than the entire recipe depending on your needs.

Serve these with leftover Instant Pot Lasagna!

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

More tips for making pressure cooker meatballs

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

Egg substitutes

For years my family had to avoid meatballs and meatloaf due to my daughter's egg allergies.

If you have the same situation at your house, you can substitute the following for the egg:

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

Dairy free?

If you're dairy free, use your favorite milk substitute instead of cow's milk.

Use a vegan Parmesan cheese. There are several brands on the market, which you should be able to find at your grocery store or local health food store.

If you can't have both eggs and dairy, you can use the applesauce substitution for the egg or non-dairy yogurt.

Worcestershire sauce

If you have a shellfish allergy, you should avoid Worcestershire sauce. You can substitute soy sauce instead.


If you can't tolerate garlic, try finely chopped celery. I use it as a terrific substitute for onion.

A bowl of cooked turkey meatballs in sauce with pasta.

More easy meatball recipes

Who doesn't love meatballs? Here are some recipes you'll love:

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 makes an awesome appetizer.

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


Instant Pot Meatballs

Spooning up meatballs in sauce from a pressure cooker.

Instant Pot Meatballs are an easy weeknight dinner. This Instant Pot Meatballs recipe uses lean ground meat and spaghetti sauce. 

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


  • 1 pound lean ground beef, ground pork, or ground turkey – 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 garlic cloves, 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


  1. In a large bowl, mix together the combination of meat, if using.
  2. Add all other ingredients and gently mix them together, 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 trivet at the bottom of the Instant Pot.
  5. Then add jarred or homemade spaghetti sauce to the Instant Pot.
  6. Carefully place 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 leftovers in the refrigerator.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 498Total Fat: 26gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 198mgSodium: 657mgCarbohydrates: 14gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 50g

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.

9 thoughts on “Instant Pot Meatballs

  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!.

  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 🙂

  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.


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