Pasta & Meatballs in the Instant Pot

My family loves spaghetti, or rotini, and meatballs. We have some sort of variation of pasta and marinara every week. After being part of the instant pot community group on facebook, which I talk about here, I decided to give it a try in the IP.  I found out later, that most everyone was basing their recommendations and recipes off of  This Old Gal Soccer Mom Spaghetti.

My first go didn’t do so well. If using spaghetti, it needs to be broken up super small or its still on the uncooked side of al dente. Nobody in my family likes al dente pasta. We like cooked. Really Really Cooked. But not mushy. It’s a science. Ha.

Here is what I use:


I use a family size bag of meatballs because my son doesn’t eat any of the pasta, so we need the extra meatballs. It takes longer for the IP to come to pressure with all those meatballs, but I know that, so I allow for the extra time. I have tried several brands of meatballs, and the Great Value Italian Style is my families favorite. As far as the pasta goes, same thing. I’ve tried all different brands and Barilla (rotini and spaghetti) cooks better and gets soft, without getting mushy.

My Steps:

  • Spray IP with Non-stick Spray
  • Pour in bag of meatballs
  • Pour in box of pasta – rotini stays whole, spaghetti I break in thirds or fourths
  • Pour 2 jars of sauce
  • Add seasonings on top of sauce – Use double what you would use on the stove. The IP seems to weaken spices in my experience.
  • Fill pasta jar 3/4 full of water, shake, pour around the edges of the pasta – just the edges, don’t want to mess with the sauce or spices

It should look like this:


Yes, it looks full (it will be less full with the regular bag of meatballs), and some people will tell you that it may be too full. I’ve never had a problem with it.

  • Put the lid on and make sure the release valve is set to closed
  • Hit Manual and set it for 9 mins – It takes 12 or so if you use Great Value brand Rotini.
  • Do whatever you want while its cooking.


It usually takes about 20 mins to come to pressure and then the 9 minutes to cook.  I let it NR (natural release) because I’m usually no where around. A lot of times I’ll make this before I take my daughter to dance. If everyone is bouncing around the kitchen ready to eat, I’ll QR (quick release) by turning the valve. WATCH OUT, STEAM IS HOT!  Take off the lid and stir it up. If you want the pasta more done, just put the lid back on and put it on for another 3 mins. Since it’s hot it will come to pressure quickly, and should only add about 10 minutes more cooking time.

Yum, Just look at that!


This really is the easiest thing to make, and it does make buying the IP worth it for us!

If you give it a try, let me know how yours turned out!


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