A delicious Instant Pot Pasta recipe with homemade meatballs, this Instant Pot Meatballs and Sauce recipe is the perfect option for a busy weeknight when you want an amazing, comforting meal but are short on time.
Instant Pot Pasta and Meatballs Recipe
Pasta is always a special treat in our house.
It’s one of those classic comfort foods that is so perfectly satisfying and homey. While I love our homemade Sunday Gravy recipe, some days I want comfort food without having to put in a ton of effort – and this Instant Pot recipe is perfect for those occasions!
My grandmother was Italian, so homemade meatballs are the only way to go in this house. It takes literally 5 extra minutes of effort but after making (and tasting) homemade meatballs, you’ll have a hard time reaching for frozen meatballs ever again. (This recipe will also work for frozen meatballs, though, if necessary. Check out the recipe tips below for how to adjust this recipe for frozen meatballs.)
Our homemade meatballs are tender, flavor-packed and just melt in your mouth. You can also swap out the seasonings to your personal preferences – just keep the ratio of dry and wet ingredients the same and you’ll still have great results.
This recipe works for any pasta and meatballs, but I personally always want spaghetti with my meatballs – penne or butterfly pasta just don’t seem right with meatballs.
Note: For the pictures in this recipe, I did not cook the pasta in the Instant Pot. I’ve included instructions on how to do it in the recipe card below, but please note that pasta cooked in the Instant Pot will be thick and soft. If you like a bit of “chew” to your pasta, you’re best off cooking it the traditional way as your meatballs cook in the Instant Pot separately.
Can I use frozen meatballs for this recipe? Er, yes. But why would you want to skip these delicious, melt-in-your-mouth Italian meatballs?! If using frozen meatballs, just skip the browning step outlined in the recipe and cook in the sauce for 5 minutes.
Can I use canned tomato sauce for this recipe? Yes, but make sure to add 1 cup of water or broth to the recipe in place of the crushed tomatoes so that you don’t get a burn notice.
Can I freeze this recipe? Yes. Personally, I don’t like freezing pasta (I’d prefer to make it fresh) so I’d recommend freezing just the meatballs and sauce. Store in an airtight freezer bag or freezer container for up to three months. Allow to thaw before reheating.(This set of freezer containers is a crazy bargain.)
Ideas for Changing Up this Instant Pot Pasta Recipe:
- Add kalamata olives and some anchovy paste for a pasta puttanesca
- Add red chile pepper flakes and hot sauce to give it some heat
- Add a glug of red wine for a richer sauce (or add a couple tablespoons of balsamic vinegar)
- Stir in a cup of ricotta cheese for a cheater lasagna
- Swap out the Italian seasoning called for in the recipe for homemade cajun seasoning or homemade taco seasoning for a new flavor profile
- Save time rolling the meatballs and use this recipe to make a spaghetti and meat sauce
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).
Instant Pot Pasta and Meatballs Ingredients
For the Italian meatballs:
- Ground beef
- Garlic, minced
- Italian seasoning <– grab our recipe for homemade Italian seasoning
- Bread crumbs, to personal preference <– we always use Panko crumbs, no exception
- Tomato or BBQ sauce, optional
- Olive oil
For the tomato pasta sauce:
- Tomato sauce of choice <– I like using passata for homemade tomato sauces
- Italian-style crushed tomatoes
- Italian seasoning
For the pasta:
- Water or broth <– check out our recipe for Instant Pot Chicken Broth
Scroll down to the printable recipe card for full measurements.
Kitchen Tools You May Find Helpful
- 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.)
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Wooden spoon or spatula <– 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.
- Mixing bowl
How to Make Instant Pot Meatballs and Pasta
Combine the beef, minced garlic and Italian seasoning until thoroughly combined.
Add 1 cup of breadcrumbs and knead in until fully combined.
Knead in 1 egg. Adjust the texture to your personal preference with additional breadcrumbs or the addition of tomato (or BBQ) sauce.
Roll the meat mixture into 1.5 Tablespoon sized meatballs. (I used a cookie scoop to measure out the meat mixture.) Set each finished meatball in a clean container or on a plate.
Place the olive oil in your Instant Pot and set to “saute.”
Once the oil is hot, add the meatballs and brown well on each side.
To fully cook the meatballs, you need to cook for 6-8 minutes, however if you will be adding to sauce you can cook until just browned, about 4 minutes.
Brown all meatballs, then turn off the saute setting and remove meatballs from the Instant Pot.
In the Instant Pot, mix together the tomato sauce ingredients and then the meatballs back in.
(If cooking the pasta in the Instant Pot, place the uncooked pasta on top of the sauce and then cover with the water or broth.)
Select the “stew” setting and cook for 5 minutes.
Pin this Easy Instant Pot Pasta Recipe:
Grab your free printable for our Instant Pot Pasta and Meatballs recipe:
- 2 lb ground beef
- 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning <-- grab our recipe for homemade Italian seasoning
- 1 cup bread crumbs, or to personal preference <-- we always use Panko crumbs, no exception
- 1 egg
- 1 Tablespoon tomato or BBQ sauce, optional
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
For the tomato pasta sauce:
- 4 cups tomato sauce of choice
- 12 oz Italian-style crushed tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
For the pasta:
- 12 oz package of pasta
- 1 1/2 cups water or broth
- Combine the beef, minced garlic and Italian seasoning until thoroughly combined.
- Add 1 cup of breadcrumbs and knead in until fully combined.
- Knead in 1 egg. Adjust the texture to your personal preference with additional breadcrumbs or the addition of tomato (or BBQ) sauce.
- Roll the meat mixture into 1.5 Tablespoon sized meatballs. (I used a cookie scoop to measure out the meat mixture.) Set each finished meatball in a clean container or on a plate.
- Place the olive oil in your Instant Pot and set to "saute."
- Once the oil is hot, add the meatballs and brown well on each side.
- To fully cook the meatballs, you need to cook for 6-8 minutes, however if you will be adding to sauce you can cook until just browned, about 4 minutes.
- Brown all meatballs, then turn off the saute setting and remove meatballs from the Instant Pot.
- In the Instant Pot, mix together the tomato sauce ingredients and then the meatballs back in.
- (If cooking the pasta in the Instant Pot, place the uncooked pasta on top of the sauce and then cover with the water or broth.)
- Select the "stew" setting and cook for 5 minutes.
- Natural release.
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Muir Glen Organic Crushed Tomatoes With Basil, 28 oz
Bionaturae Strained Tomatoes
Amazon Brand - Happy Belly Cage-Free, Grade AA, Large Brown Eggs, 1 Dozen
Kikkoman Panko Japanese Style Bread Crumbs, 8 Oz
Spice World Chopped Garlic No Preservatives, 4.5 oz
Verde Farms Organic 100% Grass-Fed Ground Beef 80/20, 1 lb
Pompeian Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil - 24 Ounce
Instant Pot Duo 60 321 Electric Pressure Cooker, 6-QT, Stainless Steel/Black
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 546Total Fat: 26gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 125mgSodium: 985mgCarbohydrates: 39gFiber: 5gSugar: 9gProtein: 39g
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.
I hope your family loves this super simple Instant Pot Spaghetti and Meatballs recipe – it’s the perfect option for a low-key comfort food meal.