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Instant Pot Spaghetti and Meatballs

This Instant Pot Spaghetti and Meatballs is an easy, one-pot meal that is ready in 30 minutes! It is crazy delicious and there is no need to boil the pasta separately.

Instant Pot Spaghetti and Meatballs on a white plate with cheese and parsley on top.

Instant Pot Spaghetti and Meatballs

Craving spaghetti for dinner and don’t want to dirty up multiple pots and colanders? This Instant Pot Spaghetti and Meatballs is exactly the recipe you need, just set it and walk away! You can also use ground beef instead for a more traditional American version of Spaghetti!

We use onion, garlic and a good quality spaghetti sauce (I like to use Rao’s Marinara sauce) to give our Spaghetti and Meatballs the best flavor. Top it with some grated Parmesan cheese and a side of good garlic bread and watch it disappear.

This is one of those meals that is so good the entire table is quiet…because they are too busy diving in to chit chat! Bonus: You only need one pot so dishes are a breeze!

Overhead image of spaghetti and meatballs with a fork and garlic bread.

Why make spaghetti in an instant pot?

A lot of people like to claim they use the instant pot because it is quicker, but honestly, it’s takes about the same amount of time as cooking spaghetti on the stove top.

However there are many bonuses to cooking spaghetti in the instant pot! First, you do NOT have to stand over the stove watching the pots and waiting for things to cook. Instead, you add everything to the instant pot, seal it up and let it do it’s thing, while you grab a glass of wine or go yell at your kids for fighting again (lovingly of course).

And for me, an even bigger bonus, you only need one single pot – the instant pot. Everything cooks together all in the one pot, even the pasta! You don’t need a colander or anything like that.

Ingredients for spaghetti with an instant pot in the background.

Easy Ingredients

You only need a handful of ingredients for this Instant Pot Spaghetti and Meatballs and you probably already have most of them on hand:

  • Marinara Sauce: we highly recommend Rao’s sauce. Delicious flavor and no added sugar.
  • Spaghetti: buy the pot-sized to save having to break it to fit yourself!
  • Frozen Meatballs: beef, pork, turkey or a mixture. Whatever you like!
  • Olive Oil
  • Water
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Italian Seasoning

Do I have to use frozen meatballs?

I tested this recipe with fresh meatballs and frozen cooked meatballs. The fresh meatballs fall apart in the pressure cooker and do not hold up. You can use them, but they will be in much smaller chunks by the time everything is done. I highly recommend grabbing a bag of already cooked frozen meatballs instead!

Can I use ground beef instead?

Yes, absolutely! Sauté the ground beef and onion in the instant pot until it is no longer pink. Add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds more. Then continue on with the rest of the steps for the recipe!

Spaghetti and meatballs in an instant pot pressure cooker.

How to make Instant Pot Spaghetti and Meatballs

Sauté: Set your instant pot to the sauté setting. Sauté the onion in olive oil until translucent. Add garlic and sauté for 30 more seconds. Add seasonings: salt, pepper and Italian seasonings. Turn off the sauté setting.

Layer: Add frozen meatballs to bottom of instant pot and arrange them in as flat a layer as you can. Place pasta on top of meatballs and gently spread it into a flat layer. Drizzle pasta with olive oil — this will help prevent the pasta from sticking.

Pour: Pour the marinara sauce on top of the pasta. Then refill the pasta jar with water (3 cups of water) and pour the water on top of the marinara sauce.

Pressure: Seal the Instant Pot and turn up the pressure! Cook on manual pressure – on high – for 9 minutes. Then do a manual quick pressure release. Toss spaghetti and meatballs together with sauce, using tongs. Serve!

Instant Pot Tips: If you aren’t familiar with your instant pot, just watch the video in this post or in the recipe card below. I show you in the video what settings I used for cooking this Instant Pot Spaghetti. Make sure to do a quick pressure release (once the instant pot is done cooking, manually release the pressure by pushing the knob on top of your instant pot) or the pasta will become very overcooked.

Up close image of spaghetti being twirled on a fork.

Tips for the best results:

  • Too much water? When you open the instant pot, your spaghetti may look a little soupy, but once you start tossing it all together with the tongs, it will absorb the extra water and be perfect! Just be patient and stir it and give it a minute or two if needed.
  • Use a good quality spaghetti sauce for optimal flavor. We personally like Rao’s spaghetti sauces because they are low in sugar and high in flavor! Use whatever your family likes, just make sure it’s 24 ounces!
  • Do not add more pasta. This recipe uses 12 ounces of pasta. I know it is tempting to add the entire 16 oz package of pasta, but everything in this recipe is done in perfect ratios for the right liquid to pasta. If you use more pasta, you will have spots where the noodles will be dry and not cooked.

Can I make or prep this ahead?

No, not really. This recipe is best served fresh, so I would not recommend making it ahead. Like any spaghetti dish, the pasta will be a little gummy the next day when reheated. It’s still enjoyable — my kids love the leftovers! — but it’s just not as good as it is fresh.

As for prepping it ahead, you can go ahead and sauté the onion, garlic and add the seasonings ahead of time if you would like. However, this part of the process takes about 5 minutes, so it’s really not saving you much time.

Thankfully, this Instant Pot Spaghetti and Meatballs recipe only takes about 30 minutes total to make and only 10 minutes of that time is active cooking time. So don’t worry, it’s easy enough to make just about any busy weeknight!

Overhead image of spaghetti and meatballs on a plate with a side plate of garlic bread and a bowl of parmesan cheese.

This easy Instant Pot Spaghetti and Meatballs is a family favorite of ours and we enjoy it almost weekly! My kids gobble it up and even enjoy any leftovers the next day.

Serve it with a side salad, garlic bread and a healthy sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese on top for a wonderful easy dinner.

Looking for more easy Instant Pot recipes? Try out these reader favorites:

Yield: 4 servings

Instant Pot Spaghetti and Meatballs

Instant Pot Spaghetti and Meatballs on a white plate with cheese and parsley on top.

This Instant Pot Spaghetti and Meatballs is an easy, one-pot meal that is ready in 30 minutes or less! It is crazy delicious and there is no need to boil the pasta separately.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 9 minutes
Additional Time 15 minutes
Total Time 29 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 lb frozen Italian meatballs
  • 12 oz pot-sized spaghetti
  • 24 oz spaghetti sauce
  • 3 cups (24 oz) water

Instructions

1. Set your instant pot to the sauté setting. Sauté the onion in 1 tablespoon of olive oil until translucent. Add garlic and sauté for 30 more seconds. Add salt, pepper and Italian seasonings, stirring to combine. Turn off the sauté setting.

Chopped onion is being added to an instant pot.

2. Add frozen meatballs to bottom of instant pot and arrange them in as flat a layer as you can, on top of the onion mixture.

Frozen meatballs are laid in the bottom of the instant pot insert.

3. Place pasta on top of meatballs and gently spread it into a flat layer. Drizzle pasta with 2 tablespoons olive oil — this will help prevent the pasta from sticking.

4. Pour the marinara sauce on top of the pasta. Then pour the water on top of the marinara sauce.

5. Place the lid on the Instant Pot and set the steam release knob to the sealing position on top.

6. Press the Pressure Cook (Manual) button or dial and then select 9 minutes of cook time. Press start if your pot requires you to press start (some start automatically and some will require you to press start).

7. The pot will take several minutes to come to pressure, mine took about 12 minutes to come to pressure. Once the Instant Pot reaches pressure, the cook time (9 minutes) begins.

8. After cook time has finished, turn off the Instant Pot and do a quick release of pressure. To do a quick release: turn the steam release knob on top of the Instant Pot to the venting position.

Spaghetti and noodles in water in instant pot.

9. After the pin in the lid drops down, open the lid. Stir and toss the spaghetti and meatballs together with tongs. If any noodles stuck together, use your tongs or a fork to separate them.

10. The Spaghetti and Meatballs will appear to be too soupy at first, but the noodles will continue to absorb any extra liquid as you toss them in the broth-y mixture for about 2 to 3 minutes. Serve immediately!

Notes

I used an 8 Qt Instant Pot in this video. I also tested this recipe with a 6 Qt and it worked as well, but I would not recommend using anything smaller.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4 servings

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 591Total Fat: 28gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 17gCholesterol: 105mgSodium: 969mgCarbohydrates: 44gFiber: 5gSugar: 12gProtein: 40g

19 Comments

  • Kerri
    August 11, 2020 at 1:38 am

    I can’t believe how easy this is! This was a hit with the whole family!

    Reply
  • Kimberly
    October 18, 2020 at 7:39 pm

    Can this recipe be doubled in an 8 quart Instant Pot?

    Reply
    • Jessica
      November 4, 2020 at 4:49 pm

      I only have a 6 quart and can’t promise that it will work. Sorry!

      Reply
  • Theresa
    October 29, 2020 at 1:44 am

    My noodles weren’t quite done- not sure that 9mins was enough time….

    Reply
  • MB
    November 26, 2020 at 12:27 am

    Love how crazy easy this recipe is. I work long hours and this makes my life easier when I come home to hungry teens. Thank you!

    Reply
    • Jessica
      December 29, 2020 at 7:04 pm

      So glad to hear you all enjoyed it!

      Reply
  • Evelyn
    December 9, 2020 at 12:25 am

    My noodles weren’t quite done either, next time I’m gonna do 10 minutes and only use half of the Italian seasoning. This dish turned out delicious thou. Such a easy and hearty meal.

    Reply
  • Michelle
    December 9, 2020 at 11:42 pm

    This was the best instant pot spaghetti and meatballs recipe I have made – and I’ve tried quite a few. Thanks for the yum!!!!

    Reply
    • Jessica
      December 29, 2020 at 7:03 pm

      So glad you enjoyed it Michelle!

      Reply
  • Jennifer
    January 12, 2021 at 2:53 am

    Super easy and turned out great! Had no issues with my noodles as others mentioned. Mine were cooked perfectly. Delish!

    Reply
  • rt
    January 21, 2021 at 1:36 am

    I read comments before hand about the pasta not being quite done. I wanted to give it a chance and make the recipe as is thinking that pasta usually takes about 10 minutes to cook and i couldn’t see it wouldn’t be done in 9 minutes in a pressure cooker. The only small changes i made was to used jarred garlic and they didn’t have “Pot sizes” spaghetti so i just used regular spaghetti and broke it in half. So, in fact. the pasta was not done at the end of the cook. It was a little crunchy. What i did to fix it was to put the lid of the instant pot back on (but don’t seal) and hit the saute button and cooked it for ~4 minutes longer. What you could do so you don’t have to mess with this is either pressure cook it for 1 minute longer or when its done pressure cooking wait 3-4 minutes before you release the pressure (this is probably what i will try next time). It was generally good and EXTREMELY easy. I might try next time to throw some mushrooms in or maybe some Italian sausage (i like Italian sausage in my spaghetti).

    Reply
  • Nicole Tierheimer
    January 25, 2021 at 1:14 am

    If you live in high altitude ( I am in Colorado) cook this for more like 2 or 3 minutes longer. It was delicious but had to put back in for 2 minutes as noodles were still kind of tough. Used the half noddles of pot noddles from Walmart. Fantastic!

    Reply
  • Luna
    February 3, 2021 at 9:25 pm

    Can you use other noodles (other than spagetti), in this dish? Would it be the same amount of time?

    Reply
    • Ellen
      February 5, 2021 at 2:05 pm

      Hi Luna, Yes! You can use other pasta in this recipe. You will need to adjust the cooking time. Typically to cook pasta in a instant pot, cut the pasta time in half. So if the directions call for 10 minutes you will cook it for 5 minutes. Hope this helps! Would love to hear if you try with a different pasta.

      Reply
  • Joe
    February 22, 2021 at 7:52 pm

    I always get a burn notice

    Reply
    • Ellen
      February 25, 2021 at 12:11 pm

      I am sorry Joe. Have you tried adding more liquid? Instant Pots are wonderful……until we get the dreadful burn notice.

      Reply
  • Bren
    February 24, 2021 at 9:29 pm

    I needed this to feed 3 teens and 2 adults, so I adjusted the amounts to use 1 lb spaghetti, 32 oz spaghetti sauce and 32 oz water, and everything else pretty much the same, just a little heavier on the spices and garlic. I cooked it in my 6qt instant pot for 10mins, with 4 mins NPR (only because it took me that long to get to it), then quick release. It turned out great! Probably could cook a little less time, but it was fine, and we had leftovers too. Thanks for the easy, delicious recipe!

    Reply
    • Ellen
      February 25, 2021 at 12:09 pm

      So glad you and your family enjoyed!

      Reply
  • TANIA P.
    March 8, 2021 at 10:40 pm

    If you are using a 6 qt and will use the 16oz of spaghetti go ahead and use 4cups of water and a 48oz jar spaghetti sauce. Up time to 10min and maybe wait about 2min then QR. I only used 3 cups of water and it was almost a little dry and pasta wasn’t quite done.

    Reply

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