These tender and flavorful Italian style meatballs cooked in an Instant Pot are perfect for a tasty weeknight dinner!
Why this recipe works
In this recipe I'll show you how to make a large batch of Italian meatballs so you can cook a portion and save the rest for quick and easy freezer meals.
The versatility of an Instant Pot makes it perfect for cooking the meatballs. You can get a beautiful sear on the outside using the sauté mode. Then just add your sauce and pressure cook them through. It's a delicious, comforting one pot meal the whole family will love!
In this meatball recipe I use a blend of Italian sausage, ground pork, and ground beef that results in a delicious, flavorful meatball every time. If you can't find bulk Italian sausage you can use link sausage and remove the casing.
How to make meatballs
- Combine the breadcrumbs and milk and allow them to sit for 5 to 10 minutes until it thickens into a paste. This mixture is called a panade, and it helps to bind the ingredients and keep the meatballs moist. Meanwhile, grate your onion through the large holes of a box grater and finely mince the garlic.
- Add the three meats and the onion and garlic to a large mixing bowl.
- Add the breadcrumb mixture, chopped parsley, lightly beaten eggs, seasonings, and grated parmesan cheese and gently mix the ingredients with your hands until well combined, but avoid overworking the meat. If time allows, cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. Chilling the mixture will make it easier to form the meatballs.
- Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or foil then, using your hands, form into 1 to 1½ inch meatballs and set them on the prepared baking sheet.
- Optional - This recipe makes around 45 meatballs so, if you are not cooking all of them now, transfer the baking sheet to the freezer until the meatballs are frozen. Then remove then from the baking sheet to a freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months.
How to cook meatballs in an Instant Pot
Note: this recipe was developed on a 6 quart Instant Pot Duo Evo Plus.
This recipe makes around 40-45 meatballs and in my family we typically eat 3-4 per person, depending on what they are served with. So it works out to around 12 servings. I recommend 1 jar of marinara sauce for every 4 servings, or more if you like a lot of sauce.
- Set your Instant Pot to Saute and allow it to preheat. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and, working in batches, sear the meatballs until browned on all sides. Transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining meatballs.
- After searing all of the meatballs, turn off the Instant Pot. Add the marinara sauce. Add all of the meatballs back to the pot and give them a stir. Lock the lid and set to manual high pressure for 7 minutes.
- After the cycle competes allow a natural pressure release for 5 minutes, then vent any remaining steam and remove the lid.
How to serve meatballs
These meatballs are perfect with a big bowl of spaghetti or, my favorite, meatball subs. You can also serve them on their own with topped with fresh grated cheese and a side salad or vegetable.
They also make a yummy appetizer on their own or stuffed into small rolls and topped with mozzarella to make meatball sliders.
Recipe Tips and FAQs
This recipe works great on the stove top too! Heat a large skillet over medium high heat and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
Working in batches if necessary, sear the meatballs for around 2 minutes until well browned on all sides, then transfer to a plate and repeat with remaining meatballs.
Add the marinara sauce to a pot over medium low heat. then add the meatballs. Cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the meatballs are cooked through.
The panade mixture helps to provide moisture to keep the meatballs tender. Do not skip that step! It is also important to avoid over mixing the meat when combining the ingredients. Over mixed meatballs will result in a dense mixture and tougher texture.
Chilling the meat mixture before you form the meatballs will make the job much easier. Lightly coating your hands with olive oil also helps keep the meat from sticking to your hands.
Yes, the base recipe will be great with whichever meats you want to use. You can use all beef, or try ground veal for a different flavor. Ground turkey and turkey sausage works great too for healthier meatballs.
Instant Pot Meatball Recipe
- 1½ cups breadcrumbs
- ¾ cup milk
- ½ cup grated yellow onion
- 3 cloves garlic finely minced
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1 pound bulk italian sausage
- 1 pound ground pork
- 3 large eggs lightly beaten
- 1 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- marinara sauce see notes
Prepare the meatballs
- Combine milk and breadcrumbs in a small bowl and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile add the meats, grated onion and garlic to a large mixing bowl.
- Add the breadcrumb mixture and the remaining ingredients, except the marinara sauce, to the mixing bowl and gently combine with your hands. Avoid overworking the meat. If time allows, chill the mixture for 1 hour to make it easier to work with when forming your meatballs.
- Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. Using your hands, form 1 to 1½ inch meatballs and place them on the prepared baking sheet.
Cooking the meatballs
- Set the Instant Pot to saute and allow it to preheat. Add the olive oil and sear the meatballs, working in batches to avoid overcrowding the pot. Cook for around 2 minutes, stirring occasionally, until well browned on all sides. Transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining meatballs. Turn off the pot.
- Add the marinara sauce (see note) and meatballs to the pot then lock the lid. Cook on high pressure for 7 minutes. Allow a 5 minute natural release then vent any remaining steam.
* All nutrition information we provide are estimates based on third party calculators. We encourage you to calculate these on your own for accurate results.