Instant pot Spaghetti and meatballs anyone? Saucy, juicy delicious and perfectly al dente. My instant pot pressure cooker is fast becoming my favorite kitchen gadget, forgive me dear cake mixer. If you haven’t made spaghetti and meatballs in your instant pot then you are in for a pleasant surprise. Ready in 7-8 mins after the IP comes to pressure of course. You will be getting dinner on the table in 30 mins. Read along and find out how to make the best instant pot spaghetti in words, pictures, and a short video.
Instant pot Spaghetti and Meatballs Recipe
My daughter says this is ‘saucy’ and she can’t get enough of it. I understand her, no one should ever have to deal with a dry spaghetti and meatballs.
You can make this easy dinner recipe in your instant pot with frozen or thawed/ meatballs, homemade or store bought it doesn’t really matter.
What’s important is the cooking time in the instant pot and the spaghetti and sauce ratio. That’s all you need to make the best instant pot spaghetti and meatballs that’s saucy and absolutely delish.
Size of Instant pot to use
I have a 6 Qt. If you have the 3 Qt you might need to adjust the recipe to half and if you have the 8 Qt you can cook this recipe as is. You can also double the recipe for more people or as to store as a make ahead meal.
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Ingredients needed for my Instant Pot Spaghetti and Meatballs recipe
- Meatball (Frozen or thawed is fine)
- Dry Spaghetti
- Pasta sauce or Marinara (homemade or store bought works well)
- Olive Oil or your favorite cooking oil
How to make Instant Pot Spaghetti and meat balls from scratch
This is an overview of the recipe, full ingredient list and recipe instructions can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of this page.
The best way to make instant pot Spaghetti and meatballs is to use the layering method of cooking which means you put each ingredient in layers like when you make lasagna. (Make sure to watch the video to see how I did it)
Layering method requires that you don’t stir the ingredients after layering because this reduces the chances of getting a burn error message.
Pic 1-3; Place ingredients in the following order. Frozen meatballs first, next the dry spaghetti then water or meat/vegetable stock
Pic 4-6; Add homemade sauce*, cover instant pot and set valve to sealing position. Set timer to 7 mins for Al dente texture and 8 - 9 mins for a softer texture ( start with 8 mins the first time you make it. If you want it softer, increase to 9 mins on your next rotation)
Do a quick release after cooking cycle is complete. Pic 6 shows how the spaghetti and meatballs look after cooking and before you stir.
* If using store bought sauce add two table spoons of oil after the layer of sauce.
Pic 7-9; Stir to combine ingredients. Serve and enjoy.
What is the burn error message?
The dreaded IP burn error message happens when food in the instant pot sticks to inner pot and begins to burn. It means the food at the bottom is overcooked and is drying out or dried out.
When this happens, the instant pot automatically switches off to prevent further damage to food and to itself.
What to do when you get the instant pot burn message
This burn error may happen when the sauce is too thick or when you used the sauté function of the instant pot and didn’t ‘deglaze*’ the inner pot.
When the burn message comes on, first thing to do, don’t panic, and follow the steps below.
- Press cancel to cancel the cooking cycle.
- Reach to the bottom of your inner pot with a wooden or silicon spoon, if you feel some burnt food, gently scoop out the food into a dish carefully avoiding the burnt bottom.
- Wash the pot making sure to remove any food stuck at the bottom.
- Transfer the food back into the clean pot if you didn’t transfer to a second inner pot. If the reason for the burn was that the sauce was too thick add more water and start the cooking cycle. If the sauce is not too thick and the cause of the burn error was that the pot wasn’t deglazed after using the sauté function, washing the pot will solve it then start the cooking cycle.
*What does deglaze mean? To Deglaze means using some form of liquid to release the pieces of meat or food debris that’s stuck in the bottom of the pan after sautéing.
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Instant pot Spaghetti and meatballs
- 1 lb frozen meatballs
- 8 oz uncooked spaghetti
- 24 oz Pasta Sauce
- 3 cups water or meat/vegetable stock
- 1 teaspoon pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon onion powder or onion flakes
- ½ teaspoon ground rosemary optional
- ½ teaspoon bouillon powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- Parmesan cheese
- Chopped Fresh Parsley
- 1 tablespoon Cooking Oil of choice
- Put the frozen meatballs in one layer at the bottom of the inner pot
- Break the spaghetti into half and layer the pieces in a random fashion to reduce chances of sticking together (see video for illustration)
- Add the water or stock see notes for instructions on meat/￼vegetable stock.
- Add the Pasta Sauce then sprinkle the spice blend, and finally add the oil.
- Cover the instant pot and set sealing valve to sealing position.
- Set instant pot to manual pressure cook, set timer to 7 minutes for al dente and 8 mins for a softer texture.
- When the cooking cycle is complete, do a quick release, open instant pot when the float valve is down. Stir to combine.
- Cover pot with Instant pot glass lid and let rest for about two minutes to thicken.
- Serve and enjoy.
- If using chicken/vegetable stock instead of water, you may not need the spice blend. Skip it completely or adjust accordingly.
- You can serve as soon as you stir after cooking. But I like to give it about a minute or 2 of rest. This helps thicken the dish and the sauces sticks to the pasta better.
- If you like a softer spaghetti cook for 8-9 mins but bear in mind that it softens some as the pot fully depressurizes which may make it softer than you would like. I would suggest you try this recipe as is.