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Make Instant Pot Meatballs and Sauce with this frozen meatballs recipe in pasta sauce. An easy meal perfect for meatball subs or as an appetizer. This is a great recipe for busy weeknights or game day!

instant pot meatballs in pasta sauce on wooden spoon

This super easy Instant Pot frozen meatball recipe is perfect when you want a “dump and start” dinner without any prep work. It’s a great starter recipe that is also easy on the budget and very kid friendly!

I love making baked meatballs from scratch. But, in a pinch, you can’t go wrong with this frozen meatballs Instant Pot recipe.

This simple recipe is perfect for game day or an easy dinner on busy weekdays. Of course, you can just enjoy the meatballs and sauce on their own, as well!

If you want more Instant Pot meatball recipes, check out my Sweet and Sour Meatballs over jasmine rice, Instant Pot Grape Jelly Meatballs and Cranberry Orange Meatballs — perfect for the Holiday season!


You only need a few simple ingredients for this instant pot meatball recipe. If you don’t have these pantry staples at home, you can find them in your grocery store.

  • Olive oil
  • Frozen meatballs — Italian meatballs or your favorite flavor
  • Water
  • Spaghetti sauce — jar or homemade sauce
  • Seasonings — garlic powder, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes 

How to Cook Frozen Meatballs in the Instant Pot

I used my 6 quart Instant Pot pressure cooker in this recipe, but you can use an 8 quart or larger. You’ll just need to add an extra cup of water.

First, add a little bit of olive oil to the bottom of the pot. It’s not totally necessary, but it does help prevent the sauce from sticking.

And when the sauce sticks, there’s a higher chance of the burn notice appearing on your electric pressure cooker.

Then, pour the water into the pot. Next, add your meatballs.

frozen meatballs in the instant pot

Pour the spaghetti sauce over the meatballs, but don’t stir. I used our favorite jarred sauce, but you can use homemade spaghetti sauce if you have it!

You can also throw in some seasoning for extra flavor. We added garlic powder, Italian seasoning and some red pepper flakes.

meatballs with spaghetti sauce and seasoning in the pressure cooker

Cook Time

It only takes 5 minutes to cook meatballs in the Instant Pot on high pressure! Note, that these are frozen precooked meatballs. You can use fresh homemade meatballs for the same time as long as they have been browned first.

The pot does take longer to reach pressure when you’re cooking frozen food. So, even though the cook time is only 5 minutes, it may take 15 minutes to come to pressure.

Once the pot reads zero, do a quick release of the pressure by turning or pressing down on the pressure release valve. Then, your pressure cooker meatballs are done!

I like to take my meatballs one step further by topping them with fresh basil and parsley. It’s a great way to add more flavor!

cooked meatballs in sauce in wooden spoon over instant pot

Of course, you can eat these as they are, but I love making meatball subs!

Just lightly toast some rolls, add mozzarella or provolone cheese and the meatballs, and broil until the cheese melts.

meatballs in spaghetti sauce inside instant pot

How to Store and Reheat

Store any leftover meatballs in an airtight container in the fridge. They will last for four to five days.

You can also place them in the freezer for longer storage.

Reheat in the microwave in thirty second intervals. Make sure to cut the meatballs in half so that the inside cooks.


For more flavor, substitute water with beef broth.

Use turkey meatballs instead of beef or pork.

Use homemade marinara sauce or tomato sauce instead of a jar of sauce.

If you want Instant Pot frozen meatballs and spaghetti or pasta, try my Instant Pot Pasta and Meatballs recipe.

Expert Tips

Make sure to layer the ingredients starting with the olive oil on the bottom of the pressure cooker. Then, add the water, then meatballs, then sauce in that order.

Don’t stir all of the ingredients together until after pressure cooking. This helps prevent the burn notice.

Remember to add water or broth. The Instant Pot needs thin liquid to build pressure.

5 from 9 votes

Instant Pot Meatballs and Sauce

By: Dee
Make Instant Pot Meatballs and Sauce with this frozen meatballs recipe in pasta sauce. An easy meal perfect for meatball subs or as an appetizer. This is a great recipe for busy weeknights or game day!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
pressure time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 6


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 36 frozen meatballs precooked
  • ½ cup water
  • 28 ounces spaghetti sauce
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder optional
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning optional
  • pinch red pepper flakes optional
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  • Add the olive oil to the Instant Pot liner
  • Pour in the water, and add the meatballs
  • Add the spaghetti sauce, garlic powder, Italian seasoning and pepper flakes (if using) Do NOT Stir
  • Place the lid on the Instant Pot, make sure seal is in sealing position, and hit PRESSURE COOK for 5 minutes
  • Pot will take a few minutes to reach pressure, then will cook for 5 minutes
  • When pot beeps, turn vent to release pressure. When pin drops, carefully remove lid, and stir meatballs. Serve immediately or leave on KEEP WARM until ready to eat


Recipe was made in a 6 quart Instant Pot electric pressure cooker. For an 8 quart or larger, use 1 cup water.
You can use 1/4 cup water for thicker sauce. Frozen meatballs release liquid as they cook.
You can use fresh meatballs, but be sure to brown and partially cook them first, or you may have to cook for more than 5 minutes.


Calories: 276kcal, Carbohydrates: 8g, Protein: 16g, Fat: 20g, Saturated Fat: 7g, Cholesterol: 60mg, Sodium: 742mg, Potassium: 685mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 6g, Vitamin A: 573IU, Vitamin C: 10mg, Calcium: 34mg, Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Appetizer, Main
Cuisine: Italian
Like this? Leave a comment below!

For reference, I use either Kirkland brand or Cooked Perfect frozen meatballs and Rao’s or Barilla sauce.

My whole family adores this instant pot meatballs recipe, and I hope you enjoy this simple dinner as much as we do!

Fore more easy instant pot recipes check out my Instant pot recipes archive. For more easy recipes and quick dinners, please follow me on social media and subscribe to the newsletter.

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Recipe Rating


  1. Katyana says:

    Could you make a marinara sauce in the instant pot, then vent, then add the water and meatballs and pressure cook again?

    1. Dee says:

      I haven’t tried this, so I can’t say for sure. I layer the sauce over the meatballs to prevent the burn notice.

  2. Fancy says:

    I loved this. It was my first instant pot try. The only thing , it said turn knob to venting and I did. Instead of the sealing. But fixed it and they came out good still.5 stars

    1. Dee says:

      Thank you so much! I just corrected that. So glad you enjoyed the meatballs!

  3. Ann says:

    I love this- so easy and delicious!

    1. Dee says:

      Thanks, Ann. I’m so glad you liked it!

  4. Cathy says:

    Such an easy upgrade for frozen meatballs!

  5. Toni says:

    This is really amazing! My kids loved it so much!5 stars

    1. Dee says:

      This made my day — Thanks so much!

  6. Sara Welch says:

    Another great recipe for the Instant Pot! So hearty and delicious!

  7. Beti says:

    We love meatballs so this is a great recipe for us! I love that I can make them in the instant pot!5 stars

  8. katerina says:

    mmm..these meatballs look SO GOOD!! Can’t wait to try!!5 stars

  9. Jacque Hastert says:

    These would be perfect for a sub sandwich! I love that you use frozen meatballs for an easy dish.5 stars

    1. Dee says:

      Thanks, Jacque! We love meatball subs!

  10. Beth says:

    Yum! The pictures are making my mouth water! I’m so excited to make these!5 stars

    1. Dee says:

      Thanks, Beth! Let me know how you like it!