This tasty Instant Pot Meatball Soup consists of beef meatballs, carrots and potatoes all cooked in a tomato broth. It is an easy to make Italian inspired dinner that you can have on the table in 40 minutes, a perfect hearty and satisfying meal for a busy day.
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Soups and stews are some of my favorite family dinners. The combination of meat with lots of vegetables makes filling and satisfying comfort food.
Advantages of a Pressure Cooker for Soups and Stews
The biggest advantage of a using a pressure cooker like the Instant Pot for making soups and stews is that it is so much quicker. To make stew meat tender can require a couple hours of simmering or all day slow cooking.
In the Instant Pot you can have a tasty soup or stew done in 30-45 minutes, depending on the ingredients. And the soup will have the depth of flavor of a soup that has simmered all day.
Looking for an Instant Pot for your family? Here are few that might be a good fit, whether you are looking for budget options or one for a big family.
Instant Pot Meatball Soup Ingredients
This Instant Pot soup recipe has tender Italian style beef meatballs cooked with carrots, celery and potatoes. The soup broth is made from beef broth and tomato paste for a thick, tomato flavored broth.
One thing this recipe doesn’t have that is frequently found in meatball soup recipes is pasta. I’m not a big fan of pasta in soups, so I don’t usually put it in. In addition soups with pasta don’t reheat or freeze as well as soups without it.
Making the Meatballs
I like to make fresh homemade meatballs for this soup. But you can use frozen meatballs and those instructions are below.
The meatballs in this recipe aren’t browned or cooked before cooking. They cook in the pressure cooker as the stew cooks. It wouldn’t hurt to brown them, but in my experience that just adds time to the recipe and makes the meatballs more likely to fall apart.
But because the meatballs aren’t browned before cooking it makes sense to use lean ground beef in this recipe, 90% fat free or 95% fat free. The fat will not be drained after cooking, so fatty ground beef will make for a greasy stew.
To make fresh meatballs combine the ground beef, bread crumbs and egg in a bowl and add in some salt and garlic powder. You can stir the meatball mixture with a spoon, but I find it easier and quicker to squish it with my hands.
Once the meat mixture is well mixed shape the meatballs into balls about 3/4 of an inch to 1 inch in diameter. Larger meatballs will take longer to cook, so don’t make them huge.
The meatballs will have a better texture after cooking if they aren’t tightly squeezed. This recipe will make 12-15 meatballs.
Can I Use Frozen Meatballs?
You can use frozen, cooked meatballs in this recipe without making any changes. Sometimes it is convenient to buy a bag of frozen, cooked meatballs and that will work fine in this Instant Pot meatball soup.
Frozen, uncooked meatballs on the other hand, would need extra cooking time. That would make the vegetables overcooked and mushy.
Prepping the Vegetables
One thing to keep in mind when making soups and stews in the Instant Pot is that vegetables will cook more quickly than meat. My family likes their soup vegetables crisp, not mushy.
So I cut my carrots and potatoes in large chunks for this recipe so they will cook more slowly and still be crisp. The celery and carrots I dice into small pieces so they will kind of dissolve into the soup, but the carrots and potatoes are cut into 1 inch pieces.
How to Make Instant Pot Meatball Soup
1. Saute the Onions
Put a small amount of olive oil to the Instant Pot. Set it on Saute and let it heat for 2-3 minutes. Add the onions and stir for 2-3 minutes to soften.
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2. Deglaze the Instant Pot
Turn the Instant Pot off. Add the beef broth to the Instant Pot and stir, making sure no bits of browned onion are stuck to the bottom. This will make getting an Instant Pot Burn error less likely.
3. Add the Vegetables and Seasoning
Add the celery, garlic, carrots, potatoes, Worcester sauce, oregano, basil, salt, pepper and tomato paste to the Instant Pot. Stir well to mix everything thoroughly.
4. Add the Meatballs
Use your hands to push the meatballs down into the broth in the Instant Pot. You don’t want to stir the soup at this point because stirring is likely to break up the meatballs. Distribute the meatballs evenly and push them down so they are mostly covered with broth.
5. Pressure Cook
Put the lid on the Instant Pot and set it on Manual, high pressure for 8 minutes. It will take about 10 minutes for the Instant Pot to reach pressure.
6. Release Pressure and Serve
Once the cooking time is done let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes. Then release the remaining pressure.
Instant Pot Meatball Soup Variations
You could substitute ground turkey, ground chicken or ground pork in making the meatballs. Frozen meatless meatballs would also work well in this recipe if you want to make the meal vegetarian.
Can I Freeze This Meatball Soup?
This soup freezes very well. Freeze the soup in freezer containers or bags and it will keep for about 3 months. The soup will reheat best if you thaw it before reheating.
What to Serve With Instant Pot Meatball Soup
This is a full meal that doesn’t need any side dishes, it is hearty enough for a complete meal. But I love to serve it with a loaf of Italian bread on the side.
And it is delicious with parsley or Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top. If you want to stretch the meal further you also serve it over pasta or rice.
- 3/4 pound lean ground beef
- 1/3 cup bread crumbs
- 1 egg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 cups beef broth
- 2 celery ribs, chopped
- 1 carrot, cut into 1 inch pieces
- 2 cups potatoes, cut into 1 inch pieces
- 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 Tablespoons Worcester sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon basil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 4 ounces tomato paste
Make the Meatballs
- Put the ground beef in a bowl and add the bread crumbs, egg, salt, and garlic powder.
- Mix with your hands or with a spoon until it is all mixed together.
- Gently shape the mixture into balls about 3/4 of an inch in diameter.
Make the Soup
- Turn the Instant Pot on Saute. Add the olive oil to heat.
- Add the chopped onion and saute for 2-3 minutes to soften.
- Turn the Instant Pot off. Deglaze it by adding the beef broth. Scrape the bottom of the inner pan to make sure no bits of browned onion are stuck to it. This will reduce the chances of getting a Burn error notice.
- Add the celery, carrots, potatoes, garlic, Worcester sauce, oregano, basil, salt, pepper and tomato paste to the Instant Pot. Stir well.
- Use your hands to gently push the meatballs down into the broth. Don't stir with a spoon as that will likely cause the meatballs to break apart.
- Put the lid on the Instant Pot, making sure the pressure valve is closed. Set it for Manual, high pressure, for 8 minutes. It will take about 10 minutes for the pressure cooker to reach pressure.
- Once the cooking time is done let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes. Then release the remaining pressure and serve the soup.
You could use frozen pre-cooked meatballs instead of making fresh meatballs. No change in cooking time would be necessary.
This recipe also is delicious with turkey, pork or chicken meatballs. It would also be good with meatless meatballs if you want to make it vegetarian.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 395Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 122mgSodium: 1218mgCarbohydrates: 35gFiber: 5gSugar: 7gProtein: 33g