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Instant Pot Meatballs

Craving meatballs and sauce but short on time? Make this instant pot meatball recipe that calls for ground beef. It only needs 12 minutes of pressure, and it makes the most tender meatballs cooked in red sauce: perfect in a meatball sub or for dinner, served over pasta.

Close up of two meatballs with pasta in the back
Photo Credit: Dishes Delish.

One thing I love about this recipe is cooking meatballs and sauce simultaneously in the pressure cooker, not in stages: it’s less work, takes less time, and makes the meatballs soft and juicy. Another thing I love is that these instant pot meatballs can be ready in a fraction of the time it takes than if you were slow cooking them most of the day.

I’ve mentioned before that my mom learned how to make meatballs and gravy from her mother. Gravy is what our family calls spaghetti sauce. My mom’s gravy would bubble on the stove for hours as the aroma permeated the air.

It was such a comforting smell and continues to be in our household. I just don’t take hours to create it!

You will love the flavor of the meatballs cooked in this sauce.

Want to use the meatballs in a recipe? Try my meatball sub recipe.

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Helpful tips

  • I like my tomato sauce on the chunky side, so I use one can of diced tomatoes and one can of crushed tomatoes, but if you want a smooth sauce, use two cans of crushed tomatoes.
  • I prefer to add my herbs and spices, so I buy cans of tomatoes without added ingredients like basil, etc. I suggest you do the same.
  • I sometimes make meatballs with a mixture of ground meats, such as beef and ground pork or beef and lamb; the rest of the recipe remains the same whether you use a single meat or a mixture.
  • You could use ground turkey or ground chicken if you prefer.
  • I use baby portobello mushrooms, but you can use white button mushrooms.
  • My mom used green bell peppers in her gravy, but I prefer red bell peppers. Use what you prefer.
  • I choose grass-fed beef whenever possible because it tastes better than conventional beef. Grass-fed is not much more expensive, so give yourself a treat and taste the difference.
  • I recommend you layer the ingredients in the order I give in the recipe card, so you don’t get a burn message on your pressure cooker.
  • Do not stir the ingredients together before cooking because you want the meatballs to be under the tomatoes; stirring them will disrupt that. You will stir it once it’s all cooked.
  • You can store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. And this recipe is very freezer-friendly and can be stored for up to 5 months.
  • Reheating these meatballs is easy; place them with sauce in a deep sauté pan or saucepan and heat them on low for 10 – 15 minutes.
A white deep bowl with curly pasta with meatballs and gravy
Photo Credit: Dishes Delish.

How to make instant pot meatballs and sauce

Pre-step

Get your pressure cooker or instant pot and a mixing bowl.

Step one

Gather the starting ingredients – medium/large onion, red bell pepper, and mushrooms. (A)

Step two

Chop the onion into medium chunks and add to the instant pot container.(B)

Left - onion, bell pepper, mushrooms, ground beef and other ingredients. Right - chopped onions in the pan
Photo Credit: Dishes Delish.

Step three

Chop the red bell pepper into chunks and add to the container. (C)

Step four

Gather the rest of the ingredients – grass-fed ground beef, eggs, herbs and spices, breadcrumbs, and canned tomatoes. (D)

Left - chopped red bell pepper in the pan. Right - ground beef, herbs and spices, eggs, tomatoes and bread crumbs
Photo Credit: Dishes Delish.

Step five

Add ground beef to the mixing bowl. (E) Add oregano, basil, salt, black pepper, and garlic powder. (F)

Left - ground beef in a glass bowl. Right, herbs, spices and salt on the meat
Photo Credit: Dishes Delish.

Step six

Add two eggs (G) and add breadcrumbs. (H)

Left - two eggs added to the meat. Right - bread crumbs added to the meat.
Photo Credit: Dishes Delish.

Step seven

Use your hands to mix the meat mixture. Roll them into meatballs once the meat is combined with the rest of the ingredients. I like bigger meatballs in my gravy, so mine are fairly big. I made 10 meatballs out of 1 pound of ground beef.

Place the meatballs into the instant pot container. (I)

Step eight

Add the crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, basil, oregano, thyme, salt and bay leaf. (J)

Left - meatballs rolled and put in the pan. Right - tomatoes and the herbs and spices added to the tomatoes
Photo Credit: Dishes Delish.

Step nine

Slice the mushrooms and add them on top. Don’t stir. (K)

Step ten

Place the lid on the instant pot and seal it. Make sure the venting knob is set to sealed and the pressure is set to high pressure and the mode to normal.

Press the pressure cook or manual button and set the timer to 12 minutes.

The pressure cooker will take around 20 minutes to come to pressure before the meatballs start to cook.

Step eleven

Once the Instant Pot beeps that it’s done cooking, either let the pressure release naturally, which will take around 20 – 25 minutes, or do a quick release after 5 minutes.

Remove the lid. (L)

Right - mushrooms added to the container. Right - the sauce and meatballs done
Photo Credit: Dishes Delish.

Now, you can stir the ingredients together. You can either serve the meatballs out of the instant pot container or transfer them to a serving bowl like I do.

A grey bowl with sauce and meatballs with pasta and bread behind
Photo Credit: Dishes Delish.

Yum, yum.

Overhead view of the big bowl with meatballs and sauce with some bread and pasta
Photo Credit: Dishes Delish.

Time to serve it.

A white deep dish with pasta, sauce and meatballs
Photo Credit: Dishes Delish.

Delicious! I hope you enjoyed these instant pot meatballs with sauce recipe. It’s so easy to make and super satisfying. It happens to be one of my favorite instant pot recipes.

Other sauce recipes

And as always, may all your dishes be delish!

If you’ve tried this recipe, I’d love to know what you thought about it in the comments below. I love hearing from you! You can also FOLLOW ME on FACEBOOKTWITTERINSTAGRAM and PINTEREST to see more of my delicious food and delightful cocktails!

White deep dish with two meatballs, sauce and pasta - square

Instant Pot Meatballs

You can serve spaghetti and meatballs on weeknights with this super easy recipe for instant pot meatballs made with ground beef. It only needs 12 minutes of pressure cooking in red sauce for moist and tender meatballs.
5 from 7 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: easy meatballs, instant pot meatballs, meatballs and sauce
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 22 minutes
Servings: 10 meatballs
Calories: 207kcal

Ingredients

For meatballs

  • 1 pound ground beef (grass-fed if you can get it)
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder (heaping or 2 teaspoons)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs (plain)

To layer

  • 1 medium onion (or large – chopped in medium chunks)
  • 1 medium red bell pepper (chopped in medium chunks)
  • 10 ounces baby portobello mushrooms (sliced)
  • 28 ounces crushed tomatoes
  • 28 ounces diced tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 2 teaspoons basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 bay leaf

Instructions

Make the meatballs

  • In a mixing bowl, add ground beef, oregano, basil, garlic powder, salt, pepper, breadcrumbs and eggs.
    1 pound ground beef, 2 teaspoons oregano, 1 teaspoon basil, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 2 large eggs, 1/2 cup breadcrumbs, 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Use your hands to mix the meat together with the other ingredients. Form the meatballs. I like my meatballs on the bigger size, so I ended up with 10 meatballs.

Start layering the rest of the ingredients

  • Place the onions in the instant pot container.
    1 medium onion
  • Add the red bell peppers.
    1 medium red bell pepper
  • Place the meatballs on the peppers.
  • Add the tomatoes, 2 teaspoons oregano, 2 teaspoon basil, 1/2 teaspoon thyme, 3/4 teaspoon salt and bay leaf.
    28 ounces crushed tomatoes, 2 teaspoons oregano, 2 teaspoons basil, 1/2 teaspoon thyme, 3/4 teaspoon salt, 1 bay leaf, 28 ounces diced tomatoes
  • Lastly, add sliced mushrooms. Important: do not stir the ingredients together. See notes on why.
    10 ounces baby portobello mushrooms
  • Seal instant pot, make sure the venting knob is set to the sealed position. Also make sure the pressure is set to high and the mode is set to normal.
  • Press the pressure cook button and set the timer to 12 minutes.
  • Once the pressure cooker beeps that it is done, either let the pressure release naturally or do a quick release after 5 minutes. Make sure to protect yourself from the steam by putting on a oven mitt before nudging the knob to the venting position.
  • Either serve the meatballs and sauce from the instant pot container or transfer to a serving bowl.
  • Eat
  • Smile
  • Enjoy
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Notes

Helpful tips
  • I like my gravy on the chunky side so I use one can of diced tomatoes and one can of crushed tomatoes, but if you like a smooth gravy, use two cans of crushed tomatoes.
  • I prefer to add my own herbs and spices, so I buy cans of tomatoes that don’t have any added ingredients like basil, etc. I suggest you do the same.
  • I alternate my meatballs with a mixture of ground meats – beef and pork or beef and lamb, but this recipe has just ground beef.
  • I tend to use baby portobello mushrooms, but you can use white button mushrooms if you prefer.
  • My mom used to use green bell peppers in her gravy, but I prefer red bell peppers. Use what you prefer.
  • I choose grass-fed beef whenever I can because it tastes better than conventional beef. Grass-fed is not that much more expensive, so give yourself a treat and try it and taste the difference.
  • You are going to layer the ingredients in the order I give in the recipe card. You do this so you don’t get a burn message on your pressure cooker.
  • You will also not stir the ingredients together before cooking because you want the meatballs to be under the tomatoes and stirring them will disrupt that.

Nutrition

Serving: 2meatballs | Calories: 207kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 69mg | Sodium: 597mg | Potassium: 687mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 711IU | Vitamin C: 31mg | Calcium: 93mg | Iron: 4mg
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From lighting up stages with her BA in theater to food journalist, Elaine Benoit's journey is a testament to passion's transformative power. As the CEO of Dishes Delish, she offers a blend of healthy, comforting recipes and exquisitely crafted cocktails. Beyond the kitchen, Elaine voiced her culinary adventures on her podcast, "Dishing," and co-owns Food Blogger Help, extending her expertise to guide budding food bloggers to success. Whether it's for a heartwarming dish or insights into food blogging, Elaine's diverse experiences make her a beacon in the culinary digital landscape.

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20 Comments

  1. I cannot resist a great meatball recipe. This sounds delicious. Stuffing them in subs, adding them to pasta, or using them as appetizers.

  2. I love finding new recipes that I can make in my Instant Pot to save time. I love that the meatballs and sauce are all cooked together in this dish.

  3. Oh my goodness, these meatballs were so good! I love quick delicious recipes. We all loved them, and I had dinner made in a jiffy! I am making these again and again!

  4. Moist and juicy is right, and really so quick and easy to pull together. Who doesn’t like meatballs and pasta.

  5. I’m all up for easy recipes and I love cooking in my Instant Pot! I can’t wait to try these, they sound so delicious!

  6. This looks really delicious. It’s definitely something I need to prepare for my family. They will love this. It has it all, meatballs, pasta and sauce. Everyone’s favorite.

  7. I haven’t met a meatball I didn’t enjoy but your variation on them was outstanding! This instant pot meatball recipe was as easy as pie and I swear I must have eaten three before serving dinner—lol don’t tell on me. Have a great day!!

  8. I love making meatballs they are super fun to make! This recipe looks super delicious and I love the ingredient combination. Thank you for sharing this recipe, I cant wait to try this out!

  9. These instant pot meatballs were super easy to make and so flavorful. They made the perfect weeknight dinner over spaghetti. So yummy!

    1. I’m so happy to hear that Anaiah! I love how quick and easy to use Instant pots are! Thanks for letting me know.

  10. I just love that these meatballs cook in the Instant Pot! It makes it so quick and convenient when you don’t have hours to let them simmer, and they came out so wonderfully tender. Delicious!

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