Instant Pot Best Spaghetti & Meatballs

It’s sort of hilarious how I’m going on three years being an Instant Pot recipe maven and I STILL haven’t made Spaghetti & Meatballs…until NOW! 

Not only is this one of the absolute easiest recipes ever, it’s also the best Spaghetti & Meatballs I’ve ever twirled on a fork. I’m talking a sauce so outrageous, you can even customize it to be spicy, creamy or both! 

And did I mention it all happens in ONE pot with zero straining of the spaghetti and cooking the meatballs at the same time? The Instant Pot is worth getting to make this dish alone. 

Here’s How I Made It! (scroll to the bottom for the fully-written recipe): 

Begin by adding some butter and olive oil to the Instant Pot and give it some heat. 

Once the butter’s melted, add in some shallots and garlic. 

Sauté for just a few short minutes. 

If you want to add meatballs, now’s the time! Whether they’re full of meat or vegetarian; frozen from a bag or you’ve just made mine and they’re uncooked, add them into the pot now! If you don’t want meatballs, simply don’t add any. 

Now add in some broth… 

…marinara sauce… 

…and oregano. 

If you want your sauce spicy, feel free to optionally add in some hot sauce… 

…Cajun/Creole/Louisiana seasoning… 

…and crushed red pepper flakes. 

Give everything a good stir. 

Now take a box of spaghetti… 

…and break it in half so it fits in the pot. 

DO NOT STIR IT IN, but rather smooth it with a mixing spoon… 

…so that the spaghetti is mostly submerged under the broth. 

Top it off with some cherry or grape tomatoes, secure the lid and cook at high pressure. 

When the lid comes off, you’re gonna see a beautiful pot of pasta. 

But we aren’t done yet! Give it all a stir, freeing up any noodles that may have clumped together while cooking (don’t worry if the sauce appears thin – that will all change soon). 

Add in more marinara sauce… 

…and some grated Parmesan. 

If you want a nice, slightly creamy sauce that still has a dominant tomato base to it, add in some Boursin or cream cheese. 

Give it all a good stir so everything’s well-combined. 

After stirring, the sauce will have come together beautifully. Allow it to sit for 5 minutes before serving so it thickens up ever so slightly more. 

Serve in bowls… 

…top with additional Parmesan, if desired… 

…and dig in! 

Even though we broke the spaghetti in half, it’s still PLENTY long enough for us to look like a beast when eating. 

And prepare yourselves, for you’re going to have a moment of foodgasm. 

In fact, invite and instruct a friend and/or loved one to try it. 

And folks, the look on their face will say it all. 

The best and easiest Spaghetti & Meatballs on the planet – all done in one pot!

Yield: 6

Instant Pot Best Spaghetti & Meatballs

Instant Pot Best Spaghetti & Meatballs

Mama Mia! Spaghetti & Meatballs cooked together at the same time? In ONE pot?! You'd-a betta believe it! Not only is this spaghetti done to legit approval, it's customizable!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 16 minutes
Total Time 21 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) salted butter
  • 2 shallots or 1 yellow or sweet (Vidalia) onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon (3 cloves) garlic, crushed or minced
  • 1 – 1 1/2 pounds of meatballs about the size of ping-pong balls – any of your choice (either frozen or raw. Feel free to make mine here and follow Steps 1 & 2 and make them the size of ping-pong balls. Don’t want meatballs? Leave ’em out!)
  • 3 cups broth of your choice (I used 3 teaspoons Garlic Better Than Bouillon + 3 cups water)
  • 3 cups marinara sauce, divided (use your favorite – I like Victoria which many Costcos and markets carry. The better brand of sauce used, the better the final product)
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 lb (1 box) of spaghetti
  • 10 ounces grape/cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Optional for Spicy Spaghetti:

  • 1/2 cup hot sauce of your choice
  • 1 teaspoon Cajun/Creole/Louisiana Seasoning (I use Tony Chachere’s)
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (and you can add more to taste)

Optional for a Creamy Sauce:

  • 5.2 ounce package of Boursin cheese (any flavor) or 4 ounces (1/2 of a brick) of cream cheese

Instructions

  1. Add the oil and butter to the Instant Pot, hit Sauté and Adjust so it’s on the More or High setting. Once melted, add in the shallots and garlic and sauté for 3 minutes
  2. Add in the meatballs (frozen or raw) followed by the broth, 1 1/2 cups of the marinara sauce, oregano and the spicy ingredients (if using – if not, simply leave them out). Stir well.
  3. In batches, break the spaghetti in half and place in the pot (I know it’s a sin for some to break spaghetti, but for it to cook properly and fit in the pot, this needs to be done – it’ll still feel long, cook perfectly AND it creates more servings!)
  4. DO NOT STIR the spaghetti, but smooth it out with a spoon so it’s submerged under the broth.
  5. Top with the cherry tomatoes, secure the lid, hit Keep Warm/Cancel and then hit Manual or Pressure Cook at High Pressure and set the time for 8 minutes. Quick release when done
  6. Give the spaghetti a stir. If it appears to clump together a bit, it will quickly detach once stirred and while the noodles should be perfectly al dente, they will also soften in a few moments of resting. If the sauce appears a bit thin, not to worry as that will all change! Add in the remaining 1 1/2 cups of marinara sauce along with the Parmesan and the Boursin or cream cheese (if using) and give it a final stir and let rest for about 3-5 minutes before serving as the sauce will thicken even more.
  7. Place in bowl and serve with additional parmesan cheese if desired.
  8. Mamma Mia Mangia!

Jeffrey's Tips

You can literally use any kind of meatball that exists. If you’re a vegan/vegetarian, use one that suits you! BUT the best meatballs are my own. Make them here!

But if you’re feeling lazy (like I was in this recipe) and want a time-saver, any frozen meatball from the frozen section of the market will do (Costco has good ones as does Ikea!)

Don’t have spaghetti but only have a short pasta like penne, ziti, macaroni, rotini or campanelle? Go for 6 minutes instead of 8 (unless you’re using rigatoni – that’s also 8 minutes).

These Spaghetti & Meatballs are easily tailored to taste!:

  • If you want it creamy AND spicy, add all those optional ingredients
  • If you want just spicy, omit the Boursin or cream cheese
  • If you want just creamy, omit the spicy ingredients
  • If you want just classic spaghetti and no meatballs, leave the meatballs out
  • SAME COOK TIME NO MATTER WHAT YOU CHOOSE!



Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Jana

    Jeffrey, after seeing your recipes for months I *finally* got off my duff and made one – the spaghetti and meatballs – and yes, I used your meatball recipe too (although subbed turkey for beef). I don’t think my family will let me get away with making any other spaghetti recipe from now on. Meatballs are tender. The boursin is genius. Only thing I’ll do differently next time is make it more spicy (to hell with the kids!). Congrats on the launch of the new website.

  2. Kristen

    I’ve made this for my family several times and it is a huge hit. The kids have declared it better than our usual (stovetop) spaghetti and it most definitely is! The one pot clean up is worth it for me!

  3. Jen

    This is the best “go to” recipe. It is a staple on our menu as we always have the ingredients on hand. Thank you for sharing your recipes with us

  4. Peter

    Have to admit I did not enjoy this recipe. I found that doing it this way made the dish very starchy, and I can see why. When cooking the spaghetti in a pot with boiling water, most of the starch goes away when you drain it and by doing it in the IP then all that starch just remains.

    I have used a few of your recipes, but don’t think I would do this one again.

  5. Cindy MacArthur

    Oh. My. Gosh. This was hands down the best spaghetti I’ve ever made! Even my picky eaters loved it!!! I used Rao sauce and cream cheese and, yum. I may even have the leftovers for breakfast! lol

  6. Liza H

    I’ve made spaghetti in my IP before and it wasn’t great. Your recipe is delicious. My husband is obsessed. I didn’t add the cherry tomatoes because my kids are picky, but that sounds wonderful to me. Thank you!

  7. Tamara

    Ok, I broke down and bought your book – I’m a pro at making hard boiled eggs and oatmeal (ugh, the combination!) but not much else. I’ve printed out the spaghetti and meatballs (I have my own recipe, but it takes hours to make) and the pineapple upside down cake. I hope to add more recipes like those to my repertoire of the 2 other ones!

  8. Jen

    Hi!

    Have only used my new IP twice, both with your recipes. Just made the spaghetti & meatballs, and everything is great, however one minor issue. My spaghetti is a bit more al dente than I like. Even after letting it sit with the lid, it still is too chewy/firm.

    Any suggestions for my next attempt?

    Thanks,
    Jen

  9. Rebecca Mazon

    Amazing!
    My little backroads store didn’t have ground pork but had pork sausage so I gave it a go with 93/7 ground beef.
    Followed everything else to the letter and it is delicious!
    Kids like it so that’s even better. Thank you for this great recipe. 🥰

  10. Sean

    I just made this recipe and did a quick release at 8 mins as instructed but the noodles were too al dente for me and my family (and I love al dente). I will try a longer cooking time as noodles stuck together & were too hard.

  11. Kimmie

    My wife was afraid of pressure cookers for most of her life and refused to get an Instant Pot. Since Christmas everything has changed. There was a sale at work so we got an EVO DUO PLUS. She/we love it. We have made several of your recipes soon with this spaghetti and meatballs one. Your a hit in our home. I tell people at work about you too. In fact, we made pineapple upside down cake this week and then yesterday made split pea and ham soup. I took some to work for a gal and she loved both the cake and soup.

  12. Jim

    I’m no cook! That being said, I’m trying this recipe and super excited. One thing that I would recommend for dummies like me, is to include how many this will serve. I appreciate your help and will let you know how it goes.

  13. Beth

    This was so good! Our whole family loved it, including some picky eaters. We are calling it Restaurant Spaghetti because it was absolutely delicious!

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