A delicious homemade spaghetti sauce, this Instant Pot Meat Sauce is super simple and flavorful way to get some much needed protein and vegetables into the kids’ day.
Instant Pot Spaghetti Sauce Recipe
I’m a bit of a pasta sauce snob.
I grew up like most of us, being served slippery spaghetti with canned tomato sauce and “parmesan cheese” that was easily 90% sawdust. It was a quick meal at the end of a busy working day for my parents, and hey, at least that sodium-filled tomato sauce made a nod to attempting to get a vegetable on our plates.
It can be so hard to get our kids to eat the right amount of vegetables and protein, especially if they eat like birds at school or there are strict rules on what your child is even allowed to bring to school, so I really try to ensure that I put a filling, healthy supper on the table, despite a busy work day myself.
Using my Instant Pot and just a few simple ingredients, I’m able to transform a handful of vegetables and a pound of beef into a delicious meal that delivers so many nutritional benefits, without the kids being any the wiser.
This sauce is so flavorful, it tastes like it’s been simmering away all day, but it only requires 10 minutes of active time and can go from raw ingredients to on the table in less than 30 minutes.
Of course, if you think your children won’t appreciate the whole tomatoes in this recipe, feel free to substitute with crushed tomatoes – or even pureed tomatoes. As long as it’s real tomatoes, they are getting the nutrients and vegetable fibre that they need.
How to Serve this Instant Pot Meat Sauce
Sometimes I serve this homemade meat sauce on spaghetti squash for an even more veggie-packed meal, but I don’t feel bad on nights that we indulge and have the real stuff.
Of course, you can cook the pasta in the instant pot along with the sauce – I just find that the pasta is a bit overdone if you do, so I cook it separately and combine afterwards.
However, this sauce isn’t limited to just being used with pasta (or pasta substitutes)! You can use it for an Italian-style Sloppy Joes, serve on roasted vegetables, use as a base for a flavorful Shepard’s Pie, or top cornbread or potatoes with it. (We may or may not have used this meat sauce to top homemade french fries…)
Can this Instant Pot Meat Sauce be Frozen? Yes! We have doubled this recipe and frozen half. Portion the sauce into a freezer-safe ziptop bag and ensure it is airtight, or use freezer-friendly glass containers – this set is a crazy bargain. Freeze for up to three months and allow to defrost in the fridge before rewarming.
Also, my friend Corinne just put out an Instant Pot ecookbook for just $4.99! I have tried a few of the recipes myself and they are delicious and family friendly. I highly recommend it for a reliable collection of Instant Pot recipes to help you fall in love with your IP (if you haven’t already).
What to Serve with this Instant Pot Meat Sauce:
Other than a generous amount of parmesan cheese, here are some ideas to help round out your meal:
- Pull-apart Garlic Bread
- Brussel Sprout Salad
- Cucumber Avocado Salad
- Garlic Knots
- Crusty French Baguette Recipe from Baking a Moment
- Garlic Green Beans with Parmesan from Cafe Delites
Instant Pot Spaghetti Sauce Ingredients
- Olive oil
- Onion, minced
- Garlic cloves
- Minced beef
- Italian seasoning <– grab our recipe for homemade Italian seasoning
- Tomato paste
- Canned whole tomatoes
- Red wine, optional
Scroll down to the printable recipe card for full measurements.
Tip: swap out the canned whole tomatoes for canned crushed tomatoes or even fresh tomatoes, if desired.
Kitchen Tools You May Find Helpful
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Instant Pot <– I’m so excited to upgrade to this one with air fryer capacities soon! (You can also just buy the lid which adds the air fryer capacity to your standard IP.)
- Spatula or Wooden Spoon <– I like these spatulas because they are one solid piece and don’t have removable heads for bacteria to get trapped underneath. Plus they are heat-resistant and have a lifetime warranty.
How to Make Meat Sauce in an Instant Pot
Place the olive oil in the Instant Pot and select the Sauté setting.
Once the oil is hot (takes just a minute), add the onions and cook until translucent, about 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly to prevent burning.
Add the sliced garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Stir at least once through this minute.
Add the minced beef and cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Stir occasionally – about once per minute, breaking up any clumps as you stir.
Turn off the Sauté setting.
(If not using lean beef, feel free to carefully strain off any grease at this point. The easiest way to is to use a colander or fine mesh sieve and just pour the contents of the Instant Pot in and then place the drained beef-onion-garlic mixture back in the Instant Pot.)
Add the whole garlic cloves, seasoning, tomato paste, whole tomatoes and red wine (if using – see tip above if you don’t want to use red wine).
Secure the lid on the instant pot and select the Meat/Stew setting for 10 minutes. Natural release.
NOTE: I’ve found a huge “liquid” difference depending on the canned tomatoes used. If you have a lot of standing liquid, you can use this to cook your spaghetti (see below) or just select “saute” after the initial cooking is done and cook off the liquid. (It shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes.)
Grab your free printable for our Instant Pot Spaghetti Sauce recipe:
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion, minced
- 8 cloves garlic - 2 minced, 6 whole
- 1 lb beef, minced
- 2 Tablespoons Italian seasoning
- 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 28oz cans whole tomatoes
- 1/2 cup red wine, optional
- Place the olive oil in the Instant Pot and select the Sauté setting.
- Once the oil is hot (takes just a minute), add the onions and cook until translucent, about 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly to prevent burning.
- Add the sliced garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Stir at least once through this minute.
- Add the minced beef and cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Stir occasionally - about once per minute, breaking up any clumps as you stir.
- Turn off the Sauté setting.
- (If not using lean beef, feel free to carefully strain off any grease at this point. The easiest way to is to use a colander or fine mesh sieve and just pour the contents of the Instant Pot in and then place the drained beef-onion-garlic mixture back in the Instant Pot.)
- Add the whole garlic cloves, seasoning, tomato paste, whole tomatoes and red wine (if using - see tip above if you don't want to use red wine).
- Secure the lid on the instant pot and select the Meat/Stew setting for 10 minutes. Natural release.
Swap out the whole tomatoes for crushed, if desired.
If you'd like to use fresh tomatoes, you'll need about 12 medium-sized tomatoes.
I've found a huge "liquid" difference depending on the canned tomatoes used. If you have a lot of standing liquid, you can use this to cook your spaghetti (see below) or just select "saute" after the initial cooking is done and cook off the liquid. (It shouldn't take more than 15 minutes.)
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Muir Glen Organic Crushed Tomatoes With Basil, 28 oz
Pompeian Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil - 24 Ounce
Medium Garlic, One Bulb
Verde Farms Organic 100% Grass-Fed Ground Beef 80/20, 1 lb
Apothic Red Blend, 750 ml
Instant Pot Duo 60 321 Electric Pressure Cooker, 6-QT, Stainless Steel/Black
New Star Foodservice 42917 Stainless Steel Measuring Spoons and Measuring Cups Combo, Set of 8
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 483Total Fat: 27gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 99mgSodium: 97mgCarbohydrates: 22gFiber: 6gSugar: 12gProtein: 35g
Sugar, Spice and Glitter uses an auto-generate nutrition calculator. Nutrition information isn’t always accurate unless analyzed in a scientific lab, so these should be considered more of a guideline than medical information.
This hearty meat sauce is incredibly rich and delicious, ready in less than 30 minutes and a total hit with the entire family. It’s everything you could ask for from a busy weeknight meal!