Instant Pot Meatballs (with Marinara Sauce!) – Kristine’s Kitchen

Meatball recipe in pressure cooker

Instant dumplings are a quick and easy dinner idea. The tender beef dumplings are cooked in marinara sauce in the Instant Pot, perfect for serving with pasta!

<img src="" alt="three dumplings in a

serving spoon over an instant pot filled with marinara sauce and meatballs” />

Do you know what Instant Pot is really good at? Make quick and easy meals that do not intervene and are full of FLAVOR.

At least a couple of times a week, I use my Instant Pot to prepare dinner for my family. It makes making some of my favorite recipes easier, as I don’t have to look at a pot on the stove or check the foods being cooked in the oven. And I’m always amazed at the flavors that develop when food is cooked in a pressure cooker!

Many of our favorite dinner recipes are Instant Pot recipes, including Instant Pot Chili and Instant Pot Mac and Cheese, and these homemade dumplings.

To make these Instant Pot dumplings

, I started with my baked meatball recipe and adapted it to cook in the Instant Pot. Since my family loves our Italian meatballs with pasta sauce, I decided to cook the meatballs in a simple marinara sauce, based on my favorite recipe from scratch. Since you’re already cutting onion and garlic for the dumplings, it takes almost no longer to make the sauce from scratch.

Once you get the dumplings and sauce in the Instant Pot, your pressure cooker does the rest. You will be free to cook some pasta or prepare a vegetarian dish to accompany the meal.

The best thing about these Instant Pot dumplings is how tender they are. Cooking meatballs in a pressure cooker is certainly the way to go if you want them to be perfectly tender and tasty.

Instant pot dumplings and marinara sauce served over spaghetti and topped with Parmesan cheese and parsley

If you also want to

cook pasta in the instant pot (or don’t want to bother shaping the dumplings), you’ll love my Instant Pot spaghetti recipe. It’s made with ground beef and marinara sauce, and it’s a reader and a personal favorite!

Instant pot meatball ingredients

ingredients for instant pot dumpling recipe

Ground beef

  • : Use lean ground beef to get less fat in the finished dish. Pressure cooking makes meatballs very tender, even when made with lean ground beef. For an even leaner option, you can use ground turkey to make turkey dumplings.
  • Egg: The egg helps bind the meatballs together.
  • Onion and garlic

  • : Fresh onion and garlic add flavor and moisture.
  • Panko Breadcrumbs: Breadcrumbs help bind meatballs together. I like to use Panko breadcrumbs because larger crumb pieces trap more moisture in the dumplings, making them juicier.
  • Parmesan cheese:

  • Grated Parmesan cheese makes meatballs tastier
  • .

  • Condiments: The best meatballs are well seasoned. In addition to onion and garlic, we are using Italian seasonings, garlic powder, salt and pepper.

ingredients for instant pot marinara sauce

The meatballs are cooked in a simple homemade marinara sauce.

For the pasta sauce you will need:

  • Olive oil: To sauté the onion and
  • garlic. Onion and

  • garlic: These create a base layer of flavor for the sauce
  • . Crushed tomatoes:

  • Canned crushed tomatoes are convenient and make a delicious spaghetti sauce
  • .

  • Water: It’s important to add some water so you don’t get an instant burn message when the sauce and meatballs are cooked.
  • Condiments: The sauce is seasoned with dried oregano, dried basil, salt and pepper. I also add half a teaspoon of sugar to balance the acidity of tomatoes. For a little warmth, you can also add a pinch of red pepper flakes.

Find the complete printable recipe with ingredient quantities and instructions on the recipe card below


How to make instant dumplings

Start by preparing the marinara sauce:

  1. Sauté the onion in olive oil in the instant pot using the stir-fry function. sauté onion in instant pot
  2. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Turn off the Instant Pot.
  3. Add the remaining sauce ingredients to the pot. Stir and scrape off any pieces of onion or garlic that are stuck to the bottom of the pot. tomato sauce ingredients in the instant pot recipe for meatballs

Then make the dumplings:

  1. In a large bowl, beat an egg and 2 tablespoons of water
  2. .

  3. Add onion, garlic, panko, parmesan and seasonings. Mix with a fork. egg, panko, parmesan and bowl seasonings with fork for meatball recipe
  4. Add the ground beef and mix with your hands until
  5. combined.

  6. Form into 1 1/2 inch dumplings and place them in the sauce in the Instant Pot. dumplings and uncooked sauce in instant pot

It’s time for pressure cooking


  1. Pressure cook at high
  2. pressure for 9 minutes.

  3. When the cooking time is over, let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes. The natural release helps keep the meat tender.
  4. Then, carefully move the valve to the ventilation position to release the remaining pressure.
  5. Serve as you wish.

Instant Pot Meatball Recipe Tips

  • Chop once! You will need chopped onion and chopped garlic for both the meatballs and the sauce. For efficiency, chop the onion and chop the garlic for both the sauce and the meatballs at the same time.
  • Keep it thin. While I recommend using ground beef with some fat in my classic meatball recipe, when cooking Instant Pot dumplings in sauce, it’s best to use lean ground beef so you don’t end up with a greasy sauce. Even with lean ground beef, there may be some fat on top of the sauce, but you can use a spoon to skim most of it after cooking.
  • Don’t forget about water. Tomatoes are a food that can commonly give a burn warning, but I have tried this recipe several times on my 6-quart and 8-quart instant pots and have not received the instant pot burn message. Just be sure to add the amount of water listed in the recipe, and also scrape off any pieces of food that’s stuck to the bottom of the instant pot before pressurized.
  • Don’t overwork the meat. When making dumplings, mix the meat mixture until the ingredients are combined. Excessive mixing can lead to hard meatballs.
  • Want to cook dumplings in a slow cooker? Try my slow cooker meatball recipe.

meatballs and marinate sauce in a bowl to serve with a spoon

Serving Tips

For an easy and healthy dinner, serve these meatballs with whole-grain pasta and a salad or vegetable garnish. Or use them to make dumpling subs. For a low-carb meal, serve the dumplings with zucchini noodles. Here are some suggestions on what to serve with meatballs:

  • Pasta. Keep it classic with spaghetti, or enjoy it with your favorite short pasta shape.
  • bread. My family loves bread, so I usually make garlic bread or garlic knots to serve with our meatball dinner.
  • salad. Try an Italian salad or a simple green salad.
  • vegetables. Air fryer broccoli, roasted cauliflower, roasted broccoli or sautéed green beans are good choices.
  • Sub Meatballs. Instant Pot dumplings are perfect for making meatball sandwiches!

Storage and reheating tips

Once cooked, Instant Pot meatballs can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Or, they can be frozen for up to 3 months. Reheat the meatballs and sauce together in a saucepan on the stove over medium-low heat. Or, reheat the meatballs and sauce in the Instant Pot using the stir-fry feature. Individual portions can also be reheated in the microwave. If frozen, thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

fork grabbing a meatball from a plate of spaghetti and meatballs

More beef


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You can also enjoy these 28 instant pot ground beef recipes or instant pot ground beef recipes. Culinary specialist with more than 10 years of experience in the restaurant industry.

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