Instant Pot Meatballs

Flavorful, tender meatballs that can be made from fresh or frozen for a quick Instant Pot meal! And personalize this basic meatball recipe with your flavor of choice! 

I love serving meatballs over rice, in a sandwich, in pasta or as an appetizer! Some of my favorite meatball flavors/recipes are Pesto chicken meatballs, Grape jelly meatballs, and Greek meatballs with homemade tzatziki sauce!

Instant pot meatballs in sauce on plate

Meatballs in Instant Pot

Cooking meatballs in the Instant Pot is kind of a no brainer! All you have to do is saute and cook everything in the same pot, for a fraction of the time.

With the Instant Pot, you can cook frozen or fresh meatballs and you get tasty, moist meatballs every time! 

I also love that this recipe is for meatballs in marinara sauce, but that you can easily change it up and make a variety of flavors, with a variety of different types of meat! Use ground beef, pork, turkey or sausage! I am sure you will love each one as much as our family does!! 

Meatball mixture in glass bowl

How to Make Instant Pot Meatballs

Begin by Combining the bread crumbs and buttermilk and let them sit until the breadcrumbs are moist. Then combine all the ingredients and use your hands to mix it all together (don’t overmix!) 
Next, shape the mixture into balls– I like to use an ice cream scoop or cookie scoop so they are all about the same size!

You will want to Saute half of the meatballs in the Instant Pot and then do the other half (rotate each ball every two minutes or until brown on each side) so that the meatballs will hold their shape when cooking them with the sauce! 

Finally, pour half the sauce into the Instant Pot, add the meatballs and then cover with the remaining sauce. Manual cook for 7 minutes (high pressure) and natural pressure release! 

Cooking Tips

  • Crispy outer edge: You can broil the meatballs after pressure cooking them to give them a nice crispy outer edge. Broil for 1 minute on each side to crisp them up!
  • Cooking plain meatballs (no sauce):  You can place a cup of beef broth in the bottom of the instant pot and place the trivet over that. Then you place the meatballs over the trivet and cook on high pressure for 7 minutes before allowing it to naturally pressure release. 
  • Types of meat: Typically you use ground beef but can do ½ beef and ½ Italian sausage. You can also use ground turkey or chicken! 
  • Different flavors: You can mix your meat of choice with spices and even cheese if you wish. But no matter what mix-ins you choose you to need to have some binder ingredients like egg and panko breadcrumbs to hold the meatballs together. 
    • Minced garlic and parmesan cheese
    • Thyme, garlic, and shallots
    • Parmesan, garlic, onion, and oregano
  • Slow cooker: Broil the meatballs for 10 minutes before placing in the slow cooker and then cover in your sauce of choice before cooking on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours.

Instant pot meatballs on baking sheet

Meatball Variations

Who knew meatballs could be so versatile! From the main course to sandwiches to appetizers and don’t even try to count the number of flavors and varieties there are!! Here are a few of the most popular! 

  • Spaghetti: Place meatballs along the bottom of the instant pot. Break 8 ounces of dry spaghetti and lay across the meatballs. Then pour 24 ounces of spaghetti sauce and 3 cups of water over that before cooking on high pressure for 10 minutes. Quick-release and then stir everything together.
  • Turkey/chicken: You can make meatballs using ground turkey and chicken as a healthier option. The trick with turkey and chicken meatballs is to not overwork the meatballs. Overworked ground turkey and chicken end up getting tough and dries out. So gently mix and don’t overcook the meatballs!
  • Swedish: Brown your meatballs before removing and adding 2 tablespoons of flour to 2 cups of beef stock. Place meatballs back in instant pot and cook on high pressure for 8 minutes. Quick-release pressure. Remove meatballs and let the sauce thicken and reduce for 4-5 minutes while the instant pot is on the high SAUTE setting. Stir in a ½ cup of sour cream and serve sauce over meatballs.
  • BBQ: Form and brown your meatballs before adding in 2 cups of BBQ sauce and 1 cup of honey and pressure cook on high for 4 minutes. Manually release pressure. 
  • Grape jelly: Cook meatballs on an IP trivet over a cup of water or beef broth. Do a quick release and then take the trivet and meatballs out of the Instant Pot. Discard the excess water and add in 18 ounces of grape jelly and 18 ounces of BBQ sauce. Turn it to SAUTE until the sauce is fully combined. Mix in the meatballs and serve!

Homemade meatballs in instant pot

Storing, Freezing + Reheating Tips

Freezing Meatballs: You can freeze homemade meatballs uncooked or cooked. Frozen uncooked meatballs can last for 3-4 months and cooked meatballs can last for 2-3 months. Of course, stored in an airtight, freezer-safe container.

And no need to defrost the meatballs before cooking! Just stick them into the Instant Pot frozen and add a couple of minutes! 

Leftovers: Just store them in the fridge for up to 3-4 days and reheat either in the microwave or on the stovetop in a pot of sauce!

Instant pot meatballs recipe in dish with sauce

I hope you enjoy these tasty, tender meatballs and that you will give some of our other meatball recipes a try too!! 

For more meatball recipes, check out:


Instant Pot Meatballs Recipe

Flavorful, tender meatballs that can be made from fresh or frozen for a quick Instant Pot meal! And personalize this basic meatball recipe with your flavor of choice!
5 from 6 votes
Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 30 mins
Cook Time: 7 mins
Total Time: 50 mins
Servings: 8
Calories: 341kcal
Author: LifeMadeSimpleTeam
Print Recipe


  • 3/4 cup breadcrumbs - panko or Italian
  • 1/3 cup whole milk - or buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 lb ground beef
  • 1 egg - lightly beaten
  • 1/3 cup parmesan cheese - grated
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp parsley - freshly minced
  • 1 tsp coarse kosher sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cups marinara sauce - store-bought or homemade


  • For the meatballs: In a small bowl combine bread crumbs and buttermilk, stir and let sit for 5 minutes or until the breadcrumbs are a moist.
  • In a large mixing bowl combine the ground beef, ground pork, bread crumb mixture, egg, parmesan, onion powder, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, parsley, salt and pepper. Using your hands, gently mix the ingredients, being careful not to overwork it. Shape meat mixture into balls, approximately 2½ inches in size.
  • Turn Instant Pot on SAUTE mode. Once hot add olive oil. When oil is shiny and hot, add half of the meatballs. Quickly brown the meatballs on all sides, rotating every 2 minutes or so. Remove meatballs and place on a paper towel lined plate. Repeat with remaining meatballs.
  • Pour half of the sauce into the bottom of the Instant Pot. Add meatballs, then pour remaining sauce over top.
  • Secure lid and select MANUAL (high pressure) mode for 7 minutes. Once the meatballs are fully cooked, let the pressure come down naturally. This can take about 10 minutes. When the pressure valve drops, remove the lid and serve with spaghetti or on subs!


Calories: 341kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 20g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 85mg | Sodium: 983mg | Potassium: 575mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 477IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 114mg | Iron: 3mg

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