Instant Pot Meatballs

So you want one of the most outrageous, flavorful and tender meatballs around that are CRAZY EASY to make, eh?  And what’s that?  You want to do it in half the time it would take on the stove by doing it in your Instant Pot instead? Well, LOOK NO FURTHER.

I am KNOWN for these babies and always make them at any gathering (always by popular demand).  Meatballs serve so much more purpose than just being paired with its lover, spaghetti.

They also taste amazing on their own with some Marninara sauce (or gravy), or as I love them most, as a MEATBALL HERO PARMIGIANA!  This thing is on another level and will rival those you’d find at an Italian street food festival.

Yeah, you’re going to be singing some Bonnie Tyler after you eat these.

Here’s How I Made It:

We’ve gotta start by creating the perfect meat mixture for some tender meatballs that pack some seriously delicious flavor.  One that Nonna would approve of!

So let’s start with a ground chuck beef that’s not TOO lean (with meatballs, the less lean the meat, the better!)

And add some ground pork as well!  These two meats doe wonders when they work together!

Follow that with some grated parmesan…

…some breadcrumbs…


…seasoned salt (USE SEASONED SALT!)…

…black pepper…

…parsley flakes…


…and an egg!

Now mix that all up together by hand REAL good.  I’m talking so good it feels like your smushing the face of someone you love (or hate).  Just make sure it’s all mixed together and totally combined into a giant meatball.

Now from the giant meatball, we’re going to pinch off some of the meat of a typical meatball size…

…and roll it in our hands…

…so that it looks like a perfect meatball when done!

Pour some really good marinara sauce into your Instant Pot (you can make your own or use a really good jarred one!  Everyone knows how much I love Victoria White Linen!)

Carefully place the meatballs in the sauce… (You may also rest the meatballs on top of the trivet in the pot if you don’t want some slightly charred meatballs from the ones resting on the bottom!)

…add a little water for pressure cooking purposes (don’t worry!  It won’t water it down at all!) and cook on high pressure.

Once done, transfer the meatballs to a serving bowl.

If you wish to make it a meatball hero parmigiana, grab a long loaf of Ttalian bread (WITH sesame seeds of course!)…

…slice it in half…

…and sideways, leaving the bottom in tact to hold the cheese, meatballs and sauce.

Line the inside of the bread with a few slices of provolone cheese…

…add in the meatballs and sauce…

…and top off with a few sprinkles of shredded mozzarella and some parmesan.  Broil in an oven or toaster for a few minutes until melted (but keep an eye on it so it doesn’t burn!)

Take em out when done an enjoy the best meatball hero/sub/grinder/hoagie/sandwich you’ve EVER had!

Instant Pot Best Ever Meatballs
Yield: 6

Instant Pot Meatballs

Instant Pot Meatballs

These meatballs are special. The flavor and tenderness is off the charts and you can have them in pasta, in a cheesy, hero or on their own!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes


For the Meatballs:

  • 1 lb of ground beef (85%-90% lean – the less lean, the better for meatballs!)
  • 1/2 lb of ground pork
  • 1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup of breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp of crushed garlic
  • 2 tsp of seasoned salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp of dried oregano
  • 2 tbsp of dried parsley
  • 1/3 cup of whole milk
  • 1 large egg, slightly beaten
  • 4 cups marinara sauce of your choice (I like Rao's or Victoria)
  • 2 cups of water (use 3 cups if using an 8qt)

For the Hero:

  • A few 12” hero rolls (like semolina or Italian bread)
  • Provolone cheese slices, for the hero
  • Shredded Mozzarella, for the hero


  1. In a large mixing bowl, take ALL of the ingredients (except the sauce, water, hero bread, Provolone and Mozzarella) and mix together well by hand. Everything should form together into one huge meatball.
  2. From the giant meatball, take some meat and roll into about the size of a golf ball. For reference, this should make about 12 when all’s said and done.
  3. Pour the marinara sauce into the Instant Pot and carefully place each meatball (as they are uncooked and still impressionable) in the sauce so they are all on layer on the bottom of the pot. Take the other jar of sauce and pour just enough to cover the tops of the meatballs and then pour in the water (no – the water will not make the sauce too thin nor will it “water it down.” It is essential for the proper pressure to build and you’ll have no idea you ever added it in the first place). Note: You may also rest the meatballs on top of the trivet in the pot if you don’t want some slightly charred meatballs from the ones resting on the bottom!
  4. Secure the lid and hit “Manual” or “Pressure Cook” High Pressure for 10 minutes. When done, perform a quick release.
  5. After removing the lid, transfer the meatballs and sauce to a serving bowl and serve however you wish! They’re so superb, eating them as is with some sauce and parmesan cheese will be more than satisfying. BUT since I’m in the mood for a meatball parm hero, that’s what we’re gonna do so read on!
  6. Cut one 12” hero bread in half and then cut each half sideways, being careful not to cut all the way through so we can leave one end in tact to support the cheese and meatballs and allow for easy resting once in the broiler. Layer each half of bread with 2 slices of Provolone each, 2 meatballs each with sauce spooned over it and finished with as much shredded Mozzarella you desire. Pop into the toaster oven (or regular oven) and set to broil.  Keeping on eye on it so it doesn’t burn, let cool for 5 minutes until the cheese is all melted/slightly browned and the bread is slightly toasted.

Jeffrey's Tips

You may also rest the meatballs on top of the trivet in the pot if you don’t want some slightly charred meatballs from the ones resting on the bottom!

So you wanna make it with spaghetti instead of a hero and cook the noodles IN the pot with the meatballs?  I got you covered. After you add the meatballs to the pot and cover with sauce, add 1 box of spaghetti with noodles broken in half and cover with additional sauce and another cup of water.  Add an additional 5 minutes so it’s a 15 minute cook time and allow a 5 minutes natural release followed by a quick release.

Or, if you’d rather leave the meatballs to cook on their own in the pot (which I suggest), just boil the spaghetti separately and add to the sauce and meatballs once it’s all done.

NOTE: If you wish to bake these in your oven instead of making in the Instant Pot, simply place the balls on a non-stick sprayed foil-lined baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes! Then, place in a pot with about 4 cups of marinara sauce and keep it on low heat for about 15 minutes before serving so the sauce really seeps into the meatballs and the meatballs really infuse the sauce!

Reader Interactions


  1. patricia brennan

    I’ve made these many times and they are delicious. They are tender and moist. I use an ice cream scoop to make sure that they are all the same size. I usually double the recipe.

  2. Kendra

    Delicious and so easy to make!
    Made a double batch of these meatballs tonight and they were a huge hit with the family! I am going to freeze the second batch to make spaghetti and meatballs for dinner next week. Thanks Jeffrey!

  3. Jocelyne Comeau

    Hi Jeffrey

    They were amazing – they are a keeper at my place
    Will be making them again soon

    Thank you.

    PS – I bought both your books – and I’m happey they have pictures

  4. Jen

    Hey Jeffrey,

    I’m excited to try these. If I was to double the recipe, do I need to change the amount of sauce, water or cooking time?

    Thanks so much!

  5. Judy

    I have read that you have to put the water in the bottom of the pot and the sauce on top or you will get a burn message. Why don’t you get a burn notice, doing it this way?

  6. Melissa

    I made this today and added a huge bunch of fresh mushrooms. Just add them with the onion and saute until all the liquid cooks off and then proceed with the meatballs and the rest of the recipe. You could also just use the mushrooms and make it vegetarian if you wanted. Delicious!

  7. Stacey B

    Love these just made them tonight we didn’t have ground beef but we had mild Italian sausage our own homemade sauce yum

  8. Cynthia A Patrick

    Excellent idea! Going to double it…..reminds me of your meatloaf recipe….which I love….Jeff you’ve changed my life. Thank you!

  9. Rosie

    I am making these tonight and am so excited to try them. They smell soooo good already. My only question is that in the video you say to use 1 cup of water but in the instructions, it says 2 cups of water, which is the correct amount?

  10. Linda

    Love the meatball recipe! Just made it today and got the infamous burn notice. Yes, I measured the ingredients correctly. However, I used a marinara sauce that has tomato chunks so I’m thinking it’s those buggers. Next time I’ll use a no-chunk sauce or blitz the ones that are chunky in the food processor.

  11. Sherry Stone

    Hey just wanted to say that I’ve made these meatballs several times. the only thing I’ve changed is that I’ve doubled the recipe and I believe I’ve added bell pepper a couple of times. it always turns out fabulous. Thanks for the great recipes!

  12. BillD

    I follow my wife’s mother’s meatball recipe, and I prefer using 80% lean ground beef for its richer flavor. Before using the Instant Pot, I bake the meatballs in the oven for 15 minutes to reduce some of the grease before transferring them to the Instant Pot.

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