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Instant pot spaghetti and meatballs: Easy Recipe!

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Welcome back to my culinary corner! If there’s one thing that fills my home with joy and delightful aromas, it's my all-time favorite - Instant Pot Spaghetti and Meatballs. And today, I’m here to share my easy recipe that revolutionizes the old-fashioned way of simmering for hours. Why spend all day when you can have a rich, homemade pasta sauce and tender meatballs in a fraction of the time?

In this journey through layers of savory sauce and juicy meatballs, we’ll discover just how an electric pressure cooker, like the Instant Pot, can make one of the easiest recipes an unforgettable experience for the whole family. So, if you’re looking for that perfect one-pot meal for a busy weeknight, you've come to the right place!

instant pot spaghetti and meatballs

Instant pot spaghetti and meatballs

Dive into the world of homemade delights with this Instant Pot Spaghetti and Meatballs recipe! Every bit of this dish, right from the pasta to the sauce, is handcrafted with love. While the traditional Italian gravy, known fondly as 'sauce' in many regions, demands hours of patient simmering, our trusty Instant Pot slashes that time down to a mere 30 minutes!

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The outcome? A sauce so flavorful, it'll make your taste buds dance in delight. While the entire preparation, from sauce to meatballs, clocks in around 2 hours (give or take based on your pace), the beauty of this recipe is its flexibility. Got a packed day ahead? No worries! Prep the sauce a day or even two in advance, pop it in the fridge, and whip up the meatballs when you're set to feast. For those with bustling schedules, you can craft this masterpiece in parts, culminating in a delectable dish your loved ones won't stop raving about. And, here's a personal guarantee: once you've had a taste, it'll be a regular on your dinner rotation!

spaghetti and meatballs ingredients

instant pot spaghetti and meatballs



1 large sweet onion chopped

3 cloves of garlic - pressed and minced

1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil

1 Tablespoon of butter

2 cans (about 28 ounce cans) of tomato sauce

2 cans of stewed tomatoes - 14 - 15 ounce cans

1 can of tomato paste (the small can, 5 - 6 ounces)

2 Tablespoons Italian seasoning

1 Tablespoon dried sweet basil

1 Tablespoon ground oregano

1 Tablespoon coarse ground garlic salt with parsley

1 Tablespoon seasoned salt

1 Tablespoon seasoned pepper

1/3 cup of brown sugar


1 1/4 pound of ground sirloin

1 1/4 pound of ground round

1 sleeve of Ritz crackers - crushed

1 sweet onion - chopped

1 Tablespoon of minced garlic

1 large egg

1/2 cup of Ketchup

2 Tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce

1 Tablespoon of Garlic salt

1 Tablespoon of seasoned salt

1 teaspoon of seasoned pepper

1 Tablespoon of Italian seasoning

1 teaspoon of chili powder

1 teaspoon of ground oregano

1/4 cup of brown sugar

1 cup of flour

Ziploc bag

2 Tablespoons of olive oil

1 Tablespoon butter

1 pound package of spaghetti

Pasta dish on plate

instant pot spaghetti and meatballs Directions

Instant Pot Tomato Sauce Recipe

  1. Prep Your Instant Pot: Set your Instant Pot to the Saute setting. Add the olive oil and butter.
  2. Onions First: Once the butter has melted, toss in the chopped onion. Saute until it reaches a golden brown, caramelized hue. This typically takes about 5 minutes.
  3. Garlic Next: Incorporate the minced garlic and allow it to cook for 1-2 minutes.
  4. Power Down: Switch off the Instant Pot.
  5. Add Tomatoes: Pour in the tomato sauce, stewed tomatoes, and tomato paste.
  6. Water: Add 1 1/2 cups of bottled water.
  7. Spice It Up: Introduce all the spices to the mix.
  8. Blend Well: Stir thoroughly, ensuring that you scrape the bottom of the stainless steel liner of the Instant Pot to free any onion or garlic bits. Ensure everything is well-combined.
  9. Seal It: Secure the Instant Pot's lid until you hear the locking beep. Double-check that the pressure valve is on the 'SEALING' setting and not 'VENTING'.
  10. Cook: Activate the manual setting and input a cooking time of 30 minutes.
  11. Natural Pressure Release: After the cooking cycle, allow the Instant Pot to naturally release its pressure. This is crucial as it allows the flavors to meld properly. Refrain from manually releasing the pressure.
  12. Final Check: After the Instant Pot beeps signaling it's done and the pressure button drops, use a pot holder to gently turn the pressure valve to 'VENTING', ensuring all the pressure is let out.
  13. Stir and Store: Uncover the Instant Pot and give the sauce a good stir. It should have thickened, especially at the pot's base. Blend any inconsistencies. Allow the sauce to cool down before transferring it to a covered container or glass jars. Depending on the jar size (if 16 ounces), you might need 4 jars or more.
  14. Storage: Refrigerate the sauce for up to 7 days. If you'd like, you can also freeze it, where it'll keep for up to 4 months.
spaghetti and meatballs

Meatball and Spaghetti in Instant Pot

Ingredients Preparation:

  1. Arrange a large bowl, a piece of waxed paper or foil, a Ziploc bag, and a large spoon for preparation.

homemade Meatballs Preparation:

     2. In the bowl, combine the sirloin and ground round thoroughly.

  1. Incorporate all ingredients, reserving the crushed Ritz crackers for last.
  2. Using clean hands, blend the mixture and shape into approximately 2-inch balls. Place these on your prepared waxed paper or foil.
  3. Pour flour into the Ziploc bag.

Meatball Cooking:

     6. Add around 10 meatballs into the flour-filled Ziploc bag. Shake gently to coat each meatball.

  1. Switch the Instant Pot to 'SAUTE'. Pour in olive oil and butter.
  2. As the butter melts, transfer the meatballs from the bag to the pot. Cook until browned on all sides, roughly 10 minutes (A curved fish spatula is helpful for turning).
  3. Once fully browned and cooked, move the meatballs to a plate.
  4. Continue the flour-coating and browning process until all meatballs are done.
  5. Turn off the Instant Pot.

Spaghetti Preparation:

   12. Pour 1 1/2 cups of water into the pot, stirring and scraping to loosen any attached bits from the pot's base.

  1. Mix in about 1/2 cup of tomato sauce.
  2. Snap the spaghetti in half and immerse in the pot, stirring to submerge the noodles as best as possible.
  3. Position the meatballs over the spaghetti. Pour roughly 1 1/2 cups of tomato sauce atop the meatballs, ensuring the sauce seeps down to the spaghetti.
  4. Close the Instant Pot's lid, ensuring it locks and the Pressure Valve is set to 'SEALING'.
  5. Manually set the Instant Pot for a 6-minute cycle and let the pressure both build and release on its own.
  6. Once completed, ensure the pressure button has dropped. Adjust the valve to 'VENTING', releasing any residual pressure.

Final Steps:

   19. Open the pot. Using a large utensil, transfer the meatballs and then the spaghetti to a platter.

  1. Stir the pot's sauce, adding more if needed. Saute for an additional 4-5 minutes until the sauce thickens.
  2. Pour the thickened sauce over the spaghetti and on top of the meatballs.

Serve and Enjoy your pressure cooker spaghetti!

plate of spaghetti

Key Takeaways:

  • Rule of Thumb: Instant Pots rely heavily on steam pressure to cook food quickly and efficiently. The liquid in the pot turns into steam, and this steam builds up pressure. Without enough liquid, not only is steam generation hindered, but there's also a risk of food sticking to the bottom and burning. The dreaded "burn notice" is a safety feature of the Instant Pot that alerts you when it senses a potential burn scenario. To avoid this, always ensure that there's a minimum amount of liquid, as recommended in the manual, especially at the pot's base.
  • Pasta Tips: Pasta needs adequate water to cook uniformly and achieve the desired texture. When making spaghetti in the Instant Pot, it's essential to ensure they're entirely submerged. This prevents them from sticking together and ensures each strand cooks evenly. An additional key point is the importance of a good stir. After adding the spaghetti, giving it a thorough stir can help distribute heat evenly, preventing clumping and ensuring every strand has access to the surrounding hot liquid, leading to uniformly al dente results.
  • Meat Sauce vs. Meatballs: The design of the Instant Pot offers a unique advantage when cooking dishes with multiple components, like spaghetti and meatballs. When meatballs are placed on top of the spaghetti, they're exposed to the steam, which acts similarly to a steamer. This not only ensures the meatballs remain juicy and tender but also safeguards the spaghetti underneath from getting overly saturated with sauce, thus preserving its texture. The result is a layer of perfectly steamed meatballs complemented by evenly-cooked spaghetti below.


1. Can I use ground turkey instead of beef for the meatballs?

Absolutely! Ground turkey can be a lighter alternative. If you're using turkey, you might want to add some additional seasonings or breadcrumbs for texture. Turkey meatballs might have a slightly different cooking time, so keep an eye on them.

2. What if my Instant Pot gives a burn notice during cooking?

The burn notice can sometimes appear if there's not enough liquid at the bottom of the Instant Pot or if something is sticking. It's essential to ensure there's enough liquid and that the bottom of the pot is scraped well after sautéing ingredients.

3. Can I use whole wheat pasta instead of regular spaghetti noodles?

Yes, you can! Whole wheat pasta offers a different texture and slightly nuttier flavor. Keep in mind, the cooking time might vary slightly. Always check for desired doneness before serving.

4. Can I freeze leftover meatballs and sauce for next time?

Definitely. This recipe is perfect for batch cooking. Freeze them in separate containers and remember to label them with the date. They should be good for up to 4 months.

5. Is there a vegan version of this Instant Pot Spaghetti and Meatballs?

You can always replace the meatballs with vegan alternatives available in the market. For the sauce, skip butter and ensure you’re using vegan-friendly ingredients.

Serving Suggestions and Pairings

Instant Pot Spaghetti and Meatballs isn’t just an easy dinner; it’s a culinary experience. Serve it with a side of crunchy garlic bread, a fresh green salad, or some steamed green beans. And if you're in the mood, a glass of wine pairs beautifully. Remember, for those keen on a little extra kick, a sprinkle of red pepper flakes or some freshly grated parmesan cheese can elevate this dish to a whole new level.

Concluding with Delicious Thoughts

From the rich layers of homemade marinara sauce to the delicate embrace of spaghetti noodles around juicy meatballs, this Instant Pot Spaghetti and Meatballs recipe is a testament to the wonders of modern cooking. The Instant Pot, or any electric pressure cooker, is a valuable ally in any kitchen, making easy Instant Pot recipes like this one a breeze even on the busiest of weeknights.

The next time you’re contemplating what to cook for dinner, let this delicious recipe come to your rescue. Here's to flavorful dishes, delightful evenings, and memorable meals! Until next time, happy cooking!

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