Instant Pot Spaghetti and Meatballs

updated Jan 29, 2020
Instant Pot Spaghetti and Meatballs

Spaghetti and meatballs in the Instant Pot is an absolute game-changer when it comes to dinner.

Serves4 to 6

Prep15 minutes

Cook15 minutes

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Credit: Olive & Mango

Spaghetti and meatballs in the Instant Pot is an absolute dinner game-changer. Now that I’ve figured out how to make spaghetti with big ol’ juicy meatballs in a garlicky marinara sauce in the Instant Pot, I’m never making them any other way again.

Last year, I discovered just how good spaghetti and meat sauce could be in the Instant Pot. The high pressure combined with the pasta’s starches makes for the most luxurious sauce with minimal effort. Adding meatballs seemed like a no-brainer. It took some serious trial and error, but I can now confidently present to you this recipe for the very best Instant Pot spaghetti and meatballs.

Credit: Olive & Mango

Perfect Spaghetti and Meatballs In an Instant (Pot)

I initially tried a mash-up of our Instant Pot Spaghetti and our Instant Pot Meatballs, but this resulted in either overcooked meatballs or spaghetti, or the dreaded “burn” error. To solve for this, I adjusted the size of the meatballs and skipped the browning step, which helped with cooking times and ultimately made for juicer, better-tasting meatballs. Building a sauce with garlic, butter, and canned tomatoes (rather than starting with a canned sauce) gave me more control and prevented the burn warning. Here’s a quick rundown of the order of events:

1. Make the meatballs. You’ll start by making golf ball-sized meatballs (about 2 tablespoons each).

2. Build the sauce. You’ll build the sauce in the Instant Pot using the Sauté function, then add the meatballs. Avoid cramming them together, but don’t worry if they overlap or sit on top of one another. Add the dry spaghetti and cover with water.

3. Cook on high pressure. Cook on HIGH pressure for 8 minutes, then do a quick release. Don’t fret if the pasta looks a little watery when you first peek into the pot — as you stir everything together, the spaghetti will absorb more water and sauce.

4. Serve with lots of cheese. Serve each bowl with lots of Parmesan cheese and prepare to fall in love with this easy, delicious Instant Pot recipe.

Instant Pot Spaghetti and Meatballs

Spaghetti and meatballs in the Instant Pot is an absolute game-changer when it comes to dinner.

Prep time 15 minutes

Cook time 15 minutes

Serves 4 to 6

Nutritional Info


For the meatballs:

  • 2 ounces

    Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1/2 cup), plus more for serving

  • 1

    large egg

  • 1 pound

    lean ground beef

  • 1/3 cup

    plain breadcrumbs

  • 1/3 cup

    whole milk

  • 1 teaspoon

    Italian seasoning

  • 3/4 teaspoon

    kosher salt

For the tomato sauce:

  • 4 cloves


  • 1

    large shallot

  • 2 tablespoons

    olive oil

  • 1 (28-ounce) can

    crushed tomatoes

  • 1 tablespoon

    unsalted butter

  • 1 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1 teaspoon

    red wine vinegar

For the spaghetti:

  • 12 ounces

    dried spaghetti

  • 2 cups

    low-sodium beef broth


  1. Make the meatballs: Use the small holes of a box grater to finely grate 2 ounces Parmesan cheese (about 1/2 cup). Grate more Parmesan cheese for serving.

  2. Beat 1 large egg in a medium bowl with a fork until broken up. Add the 2 ounces grated Parmesan, 1 pound lean ground beef, 1/3 cup dry breadcrumbs, 1/3 cup whole milk, 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, and 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Gently mix with your hands until evenly combined, but do not overmix. Roll the mixture into 2-tablespoon balls and place on a plate or baking sheet.

  3. Make the sauce: Thinly slice 4 garlic cloves and finely chop 1 large shallot. Heat a 6-quart or larger Instant Pot or electric pressure cooker with the Sauté function for 2 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil, followed by the garlic and shallot. Cook, stirring regularly, until the shallot just begins to soften, about 4 minutes.

  4. Add 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes and stir to combine. Add 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar. Turn off the pressure cooker and stir until the butter is melted.

  5. Gently add the meatballs to the sauce. Don’t worry if they are snug in the pot or aren’t completely covered — stack a few on top of each other as needed but don’t smoosh them.

  6. Make the spaghetti: Break 12 ounces dried spaghetti in half with your hands and spread them in one or two layers over the meatballs. Do not stir from this point on. Pour in 2 cups low-sodium beef broth.

  7. Lock the lid on and make sure the valve is set to seal. Set to cook on HIGH pressure for 8 minutes. It will take 10 to 12 minutes to come up to pressure.

  8. When the cook time is up, quick release the pressure. Turn off the pressure cooker and uncover. The mixture might look watery, but stir the spaghetti into the sauce and it will soak it up. Serve immediately with a flurry of grated Parmesan cheese.