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. Shirley

    Is there any way that the starch from instant pot pasta can be minimized? Will rinsing it first like rice help at all?

  9. 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

    • Lynn M Andreske

      Cook it an additional 2-3 minutes when you make it. I like mine more done so generally do any pasta dish 10 min.

  10. 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. 🥰

  11. 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.

    • Melissa

      My noodles were a little more al dente for my taste as well (I’m sure different brands have different results). I gave it a good stir, sealed the lid and put it on the warm setting for 10 minutes- that seemed to do the trick for me. Love Jeffrey and his recipes!

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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!

  15. Arlene

    I have to tell you that I made this yesterday and my spouse said that it was the best spaghetti that he ever had! He bought me my cooker for Christmas and said that if that was the only thing I ever cooked in it, it was worth it!

  16. Maggie Dennis

    Best spaghetti/meatball recipe that I’ve ever made and so easy in my new IP ..I put in a jar of Leggos stir thru’ sauce with the cream cheese at the end ( I didn’t have any more pasta sauce in cupboard) and was both amazed and delighted with the result, pasta was perfect and I’ve plenty left over to freeze so very economical too, ( only cook for myself)
    I bought the One step at a time book and found Pressure luck by chance … will be my go to site for IP now, thank you

  17. Lisa

    I have made this several of time. The first time I followed your recipe step by step. It was good and my family and daycare children loved it. The rest of the times that I made it I just used your recipe as my base, everytime it is delicious. Thank you for sharing. I made about 10 different recipes of your, my favorite is the spicy pasta, it is a hit at family gatherings.

  18. Donna

    This was delish! And I didn’t even use the Boursin or cream cheese! I would make this again in a heartbeat! And I will definitely keep a set of ingredients on hand for when the grandkids are here. Thank you.

  19. Krystina Fielder

    I have to admit, I didn’t see the need for a spaghetti and meatball recipe in the instant pot before. I totally get it now! My family loved the Boursin cheese in there. I didn’t have any cherry or grape tomatoes because we don’t really like tomatoes, but I think I will buy some next time to try in this.

  20. Toby Whitehead

    My grape tomatoes were bad so I just used a can of fire roasted diced tomatoes on top. Worked great!

  21. Laura

    Jeffrey, I have made this recipe and my husband likes it.
    Anytime my husband goes back for seconds or thirds you know it is a hit.

    Tonight I will be using your recipe but, I will be using Penne pasta and even adding some spinach.

    Thank you for the delicious meal ideas. Your mom should be very proud.

  22. Mary

    O am concerned about getting a burn notice because you added some of the sauce before the noodles. I have read to not put the sauce in until you put the noodles in and don’t stir it or you will get a burn notice. Will you please clarify this for me?

  23. Gary Human

    Will definitely try this. Any chance you can add nutritional information at the end? I am always counting calories so it would help.

    Thanks
    Gary

  24. Betty Tyler

    Delicious! I didn’t have regular spaghetti, so I used “bow tie” pasta, but it was only 12 oz., so I added half a box of Angel hair. For spices, I used oregano, Italian, harissa, red pepper flakes, and Sichuan green pepper oil. The pastas offered a choice of well-done and al dente, and the spice level was yummy. Thanks!

  25. Marquista

    My little 3 person household never agrees on the same dish. But this one is a winner for all of us. I’ve just made it for the 2nd time and my toddler loves it, she even asked for more. Which is amazing since she only eats her grandma’s spaghetti. Your recipes never fail! Thank you for making dinner time a little easier for this working mom.

  26. Vicky

    I made this tonight for me and my husband. I used a bow tie noodles and set it for 9 minutes. It was great! We both loved all of the flavors! Thanks, Jeffery 😃

  27. DeeDee Brown

    We always love your spaghetti and meatball recipe. I will never boil the pasta on the stove again. I did save my Boursin for your sausage and shells recipe though! Thanks for sharing your recipes with us!!!

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