This easy Instant Pot frozen meatballs recipe cooks frozen meatballs in pasta sauce so you can get dinner on the table in just 20 minutes.
Instant Pot meatballs are a delicious appetizer, a tasty pasta topper, or the perfect juicy meatballs for meatball subs.
Made-from-scratch meatballs are great, but sometimes you need an easy dinner for the whole family that you can plate in no time. Frozen meatballs are faster (and less messy!) to make.
This is a great recipe if you want a flavorful Italian meatball recipe without the extra work.
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- Simple recipe: Only 5 ingredients! This is a great way to make a delicious pantry meal.
- Easy weeknight meal: This recipe takes only 20 minutes from start to finish in an electric pressure cooker.
- Pantry meal: Freezer meals with pantry ingredients make for quick dinners.
More frozen meatball recipes to bookmark:
This Instant Pot meatball recipe only call for five ingredients, and two I would say are optional if you're really in a pinch. This is an easy meal.
- Frozen meatballs: I use Kroger Italian Style Meatballs. They are fully cooked and are found in the frozen food section at the grocery store.
- Pasta sauce: I generally use store brand, but any 24 oz jar works.
- Water: The Instant Pot can give you trouble if you don't use enough liquid.
- Italian seasoning: For flavor.
- Parsley: For flavor.
See the recipe card for quantities.
Place a trivet in the bottom of the pot. Add water, meatballs, pasta sauce, Italian seasoning, and parsley. Smooth the sauce over the meatballs, mixing in the seasoning.
Tip: The half cup of water is important to avoid a burn notice. The sauce will thicken as it cooks.
Seal the pressure cooker and cook on high pressure for 5 minutes followed by a quick release.
Hint: Cooking time is only 5 minutes, but it takes up to 10 minutes for the pot to come to pressure.
Carefully remove the trivet and return the meatballs to the pressure cooker liner.
- Pressure Cooker: I use an older version of the Instant Pot Duo 6-quart. This is a small recipe, so you could absolutely make it in a 3-quart Instant Pot.
- Instant Pot trivet: My Instant Pot came with a trivet, but you can find trivets on Amazon. Just make sure they are the correct size for your pressure cooker.
Do I really need a trivet?
I use a trivet often (whenever it works for the recipe) because I used to run into the burn notice frequently, even when I used plenty of liquid. I've read that older models can have this issue if you're not careful.
Placing the trivet in the base of the pressure cooker is just added insurance that your meatballs won't burn to the bottom of your pot. Consider trivet use to be a best practice.
If you don't have a trivet, you may be able to get away with it. I've checked several other Instant Pot meatball recipes and trivet use is hit-or-miss. It's up to you!
This is a very simple and easy Italian meatball recipe, so the sky is the limit on substitutions and variations.
- Frozen meatballs: Frozen meatballs that are fully cooked are a critical component of this recipe. Raw, made-from-scratch homemade meatballs will not work for this recipe. However, you can use any kind of frozen, fully-cooked meatball. Try turkey meatballs or homestyle meatballs.
- Pasta sauce: Use any pasta sauce for this recipe. Vodka sauce would also be tasty. Canned tomato sauce could work in a pinch but may need to be seasoned to taste.
- Water: Do not skip the water or you may run into a burn error. Instead, you could use beef broth or another type of broth for even more flavor.
- Seasoning: You can absolutely skip this part altogether, I just find adding a few spices livens up generic pasta sauce.
For a potluck or party, serve on a platter with toothpicks or cocktail sticks.
For a main dish, serve meatballs over cooked pasta of your choice (spaghetti and meatballs).
Alternatively, serve the meatballs inside a hoagie roll or a brat and sausage bun with provolone cheese for meatball subs or in King's Hawaiian rolls for meatball sliders.
Garnish with shaved or shredded parmesan (pictured) and fresh basil or parsley (pictured).
Store leftover meatballs in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
To reheat, cover the meatballs with a paper towel and microwave in 30-second intervals.
Instant Pot Italian Meatballs
- ½ cup water
- 26 oz frozen meatballs fully cooked
- 24 oz pasta sauce
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 2 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
- Place a trivet in the bottom of the Instant Pot. Add water, meatballs, pasta sauce, Italian seasoning, and parsley. Smooth the sauce over the meatballs, mixing in the seasoning.
- Seal the pressure cooker and cook on high pressure for 5 minutes followed by a quick release. Carefully remove the trivet and return the meatballs to the pressure cooker liner.
Frequently asked questions
Cook frozen meatballs in the Instant Pot with pasta sauce and water on high pressure for 5 minutes followed by a quick release.
Cooked Perfect, Kroger brand, Farm Rich, and Nature's Rancher are great frozen meatball brands.
Fully-cooked frozen meatballs should be reheated to a minimum internal temperature of 165°F/74°C.
Lance Demers says
Very fast and so delicious. Thank you
Kelsey Smith says
Hi Lance, thanks for taking the time to let me know how it went. Glad you liked it!
Frozen meatballs are so fast in the IP.