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

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 here in our household. I just don’t take hours to create it!

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

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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 sometimes make meatballs with a mixture of ground meats, such as beef and pork or beef and lamb; the rest of the recipe remains the same whether you use a single meat or a mixture.
  • 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 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 and stirring them will disrupt that. You will stir it once it’s all cooked.

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 in 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

Step three

Chop the red bell pepper in 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

Step five

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

Left - ground beef in a glass bowl. Right, herbs, spices and salt on the meat

Step six

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

Left - two eggs added to the meat. Right - bread crumbs added to the meat.

Step seven

Use your hands to mix the meat mixture together. Once the meat is combined with the rest of the ingredients, roll them into meatballs. 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

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 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

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

A grey bowl with sauce and meatballs with pasta and bread behind

Yum, yum.

Overhead view of the big bowl with meatballs and sauce with some bread and pasta

Time to serve it.

A white deep dish with pasta, sauce and meatballs

Delicious! I hope you enjoyed this instant pot meatballs with sauce recipe. It’s so easy to make and super satisfying.

Other sauce recipes

And as always, may all your dishes be delish!

If you’ve tried this recipe, I’d love the 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 even 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 11 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
  • 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, 2 teaspoons oregano, 1 teaspoon basil, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 cup breadcrumbs and eggs.
  • 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.
  • Add the red bell peppers.
  • 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.
  • Lastly, add sliced mushrooms. Important: do not stir the ingredients together. See notes on why.
  • 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.
  • Serve
  • 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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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!