This Instant Pot spaghetti and meatballs recipe is an easy one pot dinner! Fresh homemade meatballs are combined with spaghetti sauce and pasta in the pressure cooker for an easy all in one meal.
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The Instant Pot is amazing for making one pot dinners. You can saute, braise and cook all together, for easy set it and forget it meals.
In this recipe the meatballs are browned right in the Instant Pot and then the sauce, pasta and meatballs are all pressure cooked. It is a quick and easy dinner, perfect for a busy weeknight.
Pasta dinners are among my family’s favorite and making them in the Instant Pot is quick and easy for meals like Instant Pot Beef Stroganoff and Instant Pot Gnocchi. This spaghetti and meatballs is another easy family dinner idea!
Homemade or Store Bought Meatballs?
I like to make my own meatballs, sometimes making them in the Instant Pot, as in this recipe, and sometimes making air fryer meatballs. I think homemade meatballs taste better than store bought ones.
But it does take more time to make homemade meatballs, and sometimes time is at a premium! So I also include instructions for using store bought or frozen meatballs in this recipe.
If you use frozen or premade meatballs this recipe is even quicker to make, and can be ready in about 30 minutes.
Homemade or Store Bought Sauce?
I love homemade marinara sauce and have a great recipe for making it in the Instant Pot. But this recipe just calls for using your favorite marinara sauce, whatever that might be.
For me trying to make fresh homemade sauce and fresh homemade meatballs all at once would make this a recipe that was no longer quick and easy!
I prefer to make one thing at time. So if I have marinara sauce in the freezer I will use it in this recipe, but if not I will use a jar of sauce.
The ingredients in the meatballs are:
- Ground beef and ground pork – I like the combination of the two meats in my meatballs. But you can use all ground beef or ground turkey or sausage or whatever works best for your family.
- Slices of Italian bread – Save the rest of the loaf to serve with dinner!
- Bread crumbs
- Parmesan cheese
- Seasoning – parsley, oil, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, black pepper, red pepper
To complete the dinner you need:
- Marinara sauce
Step by Step Instructions
1. Soak the Bread
Take 2 thick slices of Italian bread and soak it in 1/4 cup of water for about 3 minutes. Then break the bread into small pieces.
2. Mix the Meatballs
Get out a large bowl and beat the egg. Add the soaked Italian bread, bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, oil, parsley, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, salt and black and red pepper.
Mix everything together well to distribute the spices. Then add the ground pork and ground beef and mix everything.
I usually use my hands to mix everything together. But you could use an electric mixer or a potato masher if you prefer.
3. Make Meatballs
Shape the meat into balls about the size of a golf ball. Put the meatballs aside on a tray as you shape them.
4. Brown the Meatballs
Turn the Instant Pot on Saute and let it heat for 2-3 minutes. Then add oil to the bottom and start to brown the meatballs.
You will need to brown these in batches. If you try to brown them all at once you will end up breaking them apart and making spaghetti with meat sauce, not spaghetti with meatballs!
Once the meatballs are brown take them all out of the Instant Pot and turn it off. Then set them aside for a couple minutes.
5. Clean out the Instant Pot
There will be a lot of grease in the bottom of the Instant Pot from the meatballs. So take the pot out, drain the grease and wipe it out. Make sure there are no bits of meatball stuck to the bottom.
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6. Layer the Spaghetti and Meatballs
Return the meatballs to the Instant Pot. Add about 1/3 of the jar of sauce on top of the meatballs. Then break the spaghetti in half and scatter it on top of the meatballs.
You want the pasta to be randomly distributed, going in all different directions. This will help prevent it from sticking together.
Pour the rest of the spaghetti sauce over the noodles. Then pour the water over top of that. DON’T STIR the ingredients together.
It seems counter intuitive, but stirring will make you more likely to get a Burn error and have pasta that sticks together.
7. Pressure Cook
Seal the Instant Pot by putting the lid on, making sure the sealing ring is in place and the pressure valve is closed. Then set it for High pressure, 7 minutes.
It will take about 10 minutes for the Instant Pot to reach pressure.
8. Release Pressure
Once the pressure cooker is done do a quick, manual release of the pressure. Then gently stir the ingredients and serve.
Modification for Frozen or Store Bought Meatballs
If using store bought or frozen meatballs just start the recipe with layering the meatballs, spaghetti and sauce in step 6.
Using Other Pasta Types
You can easily make this with other types of pasta too! My husband always wants us to make this with shells, while my kids argue strongly for spaghetti.
You might need to modify the cooking time depending on the type of pasta that you choose. The general rule of them is to cook pasta in the Instant Pot for 1/2 the time called for on the pasta box.
However the meatballs in this recipe need to cook for 7 minutes so the pork and ground beef are cooked through. So you can’t change the pasta to something quick cooking like angel hair pasta and only cook them for 3 minutes.
But shells will work fine, as will thicker pasta like rigantoni or penne. You can use any pasta shape that can handle at least 7 minutes of pressure cooking.
How to Serve
When you first take the lid off the Instant Pot this dish might look a little watery. But stir it gently with a pasta scoop and it will thicken up within a couple minutes.
The meatballs are tender and juicy and the pasta absorbs the flavor of the sauce, for a delicious and easy comfort food dinner.
Serve this Instant Pot Spaghetti and Meatballs topped with more Parmesan cheese. I love to serve it with a loaf of Italian bread or a green salad.
Find More Instant Pot Dinner Recipes
- 2 slices Italian Bread thick slices, about 3-4 inches
- ¼ cup water
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup Panko bread crumbs
- ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
- 2 Tablespoon fresh flat-leaf parsley, minced
- 2 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon Italian seasoning crushed
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1/2 pound ground pork
- 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 32 oz jar pasta sauce or homemade if you have it
- 2 c water
- 8 oz spaghetti noodles
- Soak the Italian bread in the ¼ cup of water for 3 minutes. After soaking, break the bread into small pieces.
- Beat the egg in a large bowl. Add in the bread crumbs, soaked Italian bread pieces, chopped onion, parmesan cheese, 2 tbsp. water, olive oil, parsley, garlic, black pepper, red pepper, and Italian seasoning. Stir well.
- Mix in the ground beef and ground pork. You can use your hands, a mixer or a hand potato masher .
- Shape meat into balls, about the size of a golf ball.
- Add 2 Tablespoons of olive oil to your Instant pot. Set to saute and brown the meatballs on each side. You will need to work in batches to avoid smushing the meatballs.
- Take all the meatballs out of the Instant Pot and wipe grease out of the bottom of the pot.
- Pour 1/3 of the jar of spaghetti sauce into the pot. Lay meatballs on top of sauce.
- Break the spaghetti noodles in half. Lay them on top of the meatballs in different directions. This helps to prevent sticking.
- Pour remaining spaghetti sauce over top of noodles.
- Fill the sauce jar with the 2 cups of water. Shake to mix in any sauce that is left in jar. Add this water to the top of noodles.
- Seal Instant Pot on Manual, high pressure for 7 minutes. It will take about 10 minutes for it to reach pressure.
- When it is done cooking do a manual fast release. Remove lid, stir carefully to avoid breaking up meatballs and ready to serve.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 843Total Fat: 45gSaturated Fat: 14gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 25gCholesterol: 211mgSodium: 1532mgCarbohydrates: 48gFiber: 6gSugar: 14gProtein: 57g
Nutrition facts are estimates.