Instant Pot Spaghetti and Meatballs is a one pot dump and push meal, using pantry items and frozen meatballs and ready in under 15 minutes. Meatballs can be bagged from the store, or homemade frozen meatballs.
Add olive oil to cooking pot and swirl to coat the bottom.
Add frozen meatballs to cooking pot, spreading out across the pot.
Break spaghetti in half and place over meatballs. Make sure spaghetti is spread out evenly.
Sprinkle salt and Italian seasoning over spaghetti noodles.
Dump in jar of spaghetti sauce, trying to keep the sauce over the broken spaghetti.
Fill empty spaghetti sauce jar with water or chicken broth and pour into the cooking pot. Make sure the spaghetti is submerged in the liquid.
If you are using chicken base instead of chicken broth, add the chicken base to the jar of water and shake to mix. Then pour the liquid into the cooking pot.
Lock on lid and close pressure valve. Cook at high pressure for 3 minutes.
When beep sounds, wait 5 minutes and then slowly release the rest of the pressure.
Remove lid and mix together, breaking up any pasta which has clumped together. The noodles will continue to soften and absorb the liquid and sauce.
If there is excess liquid (there shouldn't be), simmer to reduce.
Adding a little oil to the cooking pot will help keep the pasta from sticking.When cooking layered recipes in a pressure cooker, it is important to add the ingredient which takes the longest to cook into the pot first, before the other ingredients, like spaghetti, which is fast cooking.Salting the the pasta with the water before cooking is the best time to season the pasta with salt.Breaking spaghetti in half will ensure that the spaghetti is submerged in the liquid and will cook evenly.For a saucier spaghetti and meatballs, add more sauce to fit your tastes. Do not increase amount of liquid. Try to keep the sauce on top of the spaghetti, so that it does not totally drip to the bottom of the pot. This will keep the spaghetti from burning.If you prefer homemade meatballs, yet want a quick spaghetti and meatball recipe, buy meat when it is on sale and follow my Instant Pot Meatball recipe. Freeze the raw meatballs in 26 ounce packages and use them for this Instant Pot Spaghetti and Meatballs recipe.If there is any sticking of the spaghetti noodles, simply use a fork or spaghetti server/pasta fork and break up the clumps. Push the noodles into the liquid. My short cook time allows for extra mixing of the spaghetti, as the spaghetti will continue to absorb the water and the fettuccine will be perfectly al dente.Any type of pasta or semolina noodle is fine to use in this recipe. If using a different shape of pasta or noodle, your cook time may be different.
This Old Gal's Pasta Rule of Thumb
Look at package of pasta and find the variable cook time. Choose the lesser time given and then subtract 2 minutes. For example, if your package of pasta says "cook for 8 - 11 minutes," take that 8 minute number and cut it in half, which is 4. Then subtract 2 minutes from the 4 minutes and you will end up with the proper cook time. In this case the cook time will be 2 minutes.
After the 2 minute pressure cook time is up, wait 5 minutes and then release the rest of the pressure.
If the variable cook time on your package of pasta is 11 - 16 minutes, err on the lesser side. In this instance, the cook time would be 3 minutes. It is better to end up with overly firm pasta rather than mushy because you can continue to cook the pasta, but if it is mushy, there is nothing you can do to correct.
If the pasta is too firm or al dente for your taste, simply put the lid back on the pot and let the pasta sit in the hot pot. The residual heat will continue to cook the pasta. Check after a few minutes to see if the pasta has reached the perfect firmness for your liking. If not give it a stir and let sit some more.
This recipe uses a bit of a natural release and the total time is figured into that, so only the cook time needs to be adjusted. This allows for a little natural pressure release time, so that the starchy water can settle and not spit out through the pressure valve when the pressure is released.Originally published on April 16, 2016. Republished with new photos and video on May 22, 2019.