This easy Instant Pot Italian meatball recipe only calls for five ingredients and uses frozen meatballs, meaning you can get dinner on the table in just 20 minutes. They're a delicious appetizer, a tasty pasta topper, or the perfect meatballs for meatball subs.
This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
I love made-from-scratch meatballs as much as the next person, but sometimes you need a dinner you can plate in no time. Meatballs are simple to make, but using your hands to ball the raw meat is messy, which isn't an easy thing with a baby roaming around. Frozen meatballs are faster (and cleaner!) to make.
You'll love this recipe if you want a flavorful Italian meatball recipe without the extra work. The Instant Pot warms through the frozen meatballs in no time.
My easy Instant Pot Italian Meatballs only call for five ingredients, and two I would say are optional if you're really in a pinch.
- Frozen meatballs: I use Kroger Italian Style Meatballs. They are fully cooked and are found in the frozen food section.
- 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: This is a good one to keep in your spice cabinet.
- Parsley: I always add parsley to my sauce because of an old lasagna recipe in my recipe binder.
See the recipe card for quantities.
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.
- Pressure Cooker: I have 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 is the only brand of pressure cooker I have experience with.
- 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 an Instant Pot trivet?
I use a trivet often (whenever it works for the recipe) because I used to run into burn notices 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.
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! Consider trivet use to be a "best practice."
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 meatballs will not work for this recipe. However, you can use any kind of frozen, fully-cooked meatball. Try turkey or homestyle.
- Pasta sauce: I will use any sauce for this recipe, but you know what the best type of pasta sauce is? The kind that's already in your pantry. I haven't tried it yet, but I'm thinking vodka sauce would also be super tasty.
- 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, these meatballs could be served with toothpicks or cocktail sticks.
For a main dish, serve meatballs over cooked pasta of your choice (spaghetti and meatballs, anyone?) and garnish with shaved or shredded parmesan (pictured) and fresh basil or parsley (pictured).
These easy Italian-style meatballs can also be used to make meatball subs. All you need are some hoagie rolls or brat and sausage buns and sliced provolone cheese.
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.
Note: Nutrition was estimated using WP Recipe Maker.