The Best Instant Pot Meatballs are pressure cooked for just 3 minutes in tomato sauce and covered in parmesan cheese – no sautéing required!
Ingredients for Instant Pot meatballs
Often meatballs are a combination of ground beef and pork. However, I prefer to make mine solely from ground beef.
I use extra lean ground beef. This is 96% lean and 4% fat. It’s best to use lean meat when you will be unable to drain off the drippings like in this recipe. You don’t want your meatball sauce to be greasy. Lean meat does dry out faster, but you are cooking your meatballs in the tomato sauce to prevent this.
In order to make the meatballs you will also need:
- Yellow onion
- Parmesan cheese
- Dijon mustard
- Worcestershire sauce
How to make Instant Pot meatballs
In just 30 minutes, you can have homemade meatballs, thanks to the quick cooking of the Instant Pot.
- Mix together all the ingredients for the meatballs and form them into balls. Try to make them all about an inch in diameter. They will cook evenly if they are all close to the same size. Don’t over mix them at this stage. The less you handle them, the more tender the meat will remain.
- Spray the Instant Pot with cooking spray.
- Put the tomato sauce in the bottom of the Instant Pot.
- Place the meatballs in the sauce.
- Cook for five minutes on high pressure.
- Do a quick release of the pressure. This stops the cooking process immediately so the meatballs don’t dry out. The interior temperature of the meatballs should be at least 140F.
Can you saute ahead of time?
If you would like, you can saute the meatballs before cooking them in the Instant Pot. This will help them keep their shape better, and will allow you to drain off the fat if using anything but extra-lean ground beef. However, you do not need to do this in order for them to be fully cooked, and honestly I think that it’s an inefficient way to cook this meal.
If you’d like to saute your meatballs ahead of time, you can use the saute function on your Instant Pot and still do this all in the same pot. You can also put them in the oven for a few minutes to brown them. Just searing the outside without fully cooking will work. If you have a few extra minutes, you can also put them in the freezer for about ten minutes to help them maintain their round shape – only do this if you’re super picky about your meatballs!
If you would like to meal prep this recipe, you can lightly saute the meatballs and refrigerate them for up to one day until you are ready to prepare them completely.
What tomato sauce should I use?
You can use any tomato sauce you like for this recipe. If you want a blank canvas, use a plain tomato sauce. This way, the meatballs can be used for anything from pasta to sandwiches!
Ideas for seasoning the sauce include:
- Bay leaves
If you’re low on time, I suggest using a jarred spaghetti sauce as I have done with this recipe. That way, you keep things simple and these meatballs are ready in under 30 minutes!
What to serve with meatballs
These Instant Pot meatballs can be served with a variety of other food. It’s a great way to add some protein to a meal. Try them with any of these dishes:
- Mashed potatoes
- Mixed greens salad
Cooking meatballs with pasta
You can even cook Instant Pot spaghetti and meatballs at the same time. No need to cook the meatballs first!
Simply layer the sauce, meatballs, then the pasta, and some water. You’ll need to add three cups of liquid total for every eight ounces of uncooked pasta, so if you’re using 2 cups of tomato sauce you’ll need about 1 cup of water in addition to pour over the pasta. Cook it all in the Instant Pot for five minutes on high pressure then do the quick pressure release and you’re good to go!
You can try this meatball Instant Pot recipe with any kind of ground meat. Chicken, turkey, bison, pork and even ground lamb will all make uniquely delicious meatballs.
You can also alter the tomato sauce. To make it more Italian, add extra garlic and thyme. Or spice things up by adding chile peppers.
If you need a gluten free meatball recipe, substitute almond meal for the breadcrumbs.
Storing and reheating
These Instant Pot meatballs will last for up to five days in the refrigerator once they are fully cooked.
This means that they are great for meal prep! Prepare a large batch and divide them into individual portions. Mix and match the sides to create unique and satisfying lunches for a whole week.
To reheat, simply pop them in the microwave for 2-3 minutes, sprinkling some water overtop first or placing a damp paper towel overtop to retain moisture and prevent splattering.
Freezing Instant Pot meatballs
These meatballs can be frozen cooked or uncooked.
To freeze uncooked meatballs, form the balls then place them on a tray in the freezer for an hour. After they have frozen, transfer them to a freezer bag or container. This way they won’t stick together. Uncooked meatballs will last for three to four months.
To freeze cooked meatballs, allow them to cool completely first. They will last for two months in the freezer.
Once you have a stash of frozen meatballs, it’s quick to grab a few to accompany a meal. As a result, you can cook meatballs directly from frozen without thawing them!
To reheat cooked meatballs from frozen, just sprinkle some water overtop and microwave for 3-4 minutes, checking on them halfway through the cooking time. I recommend only reheating 4-6 meatballs at a time.
More Instant Pot comfort food
Meal prep tools for this recipe
- Grab some glass meal prep bowls if you plan on turning these meatballs into your weekly lunches.
- I get all my grass-fed ground beef from Butcher Box, conveniently delivered to me frozen.
- Use these Ziploc bag holders if you’re adding meatballs to freezer bags then freezing them
Instant Pot resources
If you’d like some more help with your Instant Pot, then you’ll love my free resources! Sign up for free below when you get my weekly newsletter:
The Best Instant Pot Meatballs
- 1 lb extra-lean ground beef
- 1 yellow onion, grated
- 1/3 cup breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 egg
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 tsp each salt & pepper
- 1 (680mL) jar tomato sauce
- Parmesan cheese & parsley, for garnish
- Mix together the ingredients for the meatballs in a large bowl. Roll each meatball into 1-inch balls.
- Spray Instant Pot with cooking spray and add tomato sauce. Carefully add in meatballs one by one. Place lid on Instant Pot and make sure valve is set to seal. Press the pressure cook button and set to high, then cook for 5 minutes. Instant Pot will take about 5-10 minutes to come to pressure then pressure cook for 5 minutes.
- Do a quick release of the pressure on the Instant Pot by flicking the switch at the top with a spoon. Open the lid when pressure gauge has dropped and the lid opens easily.
- Garnish meatballs with parmesan cheese and parsley. Serve and enjoy!