This recipe for Instant Pot spaghetti and meatballs makes tender meatballs and perfectly cooked spaghetti, all in one pot!
You might be wondering why you'd want to cook spaghetti and meatballs in a pressure cooker. It's a good question! I wondered too, but now I've become a convert. My family loves Instant Pot Spaghetti and Meatballs!
Why Use a Pressure Cooker for this Recipe?
- Less mess. The meatballs, pasta and sauce all cook in one pot, at the same time.
- Less hands-on cooking. Get the meatballs and sauce in the pot, then let dinner cook while you do something else (like toss a salad, or just relax)
- The flavors meld. Pasta really absorbs the flavor of the sauce in a pressure cooker, making the whole dish more flavorful.
- Richer flavor. Not only do the flavors meld, but the pasta tastes rich and silky when cooked directly in the sauce.
This recipe includes instructions for beef meatballs. You can use my recipe, or use any of your own favorite meatball recipes to make spaghetti in your pressure cooker. You can even use pre-cooked store-bought meatballs to make life easier.
Common Questions About Making Spaghetti and Meatballs in a Pressure Cooker
Yes. Otherwise, the noodles won't fit in the pot. The noodles need to lie flat so they're underneath the sauce and water and not poking out.
It's better that you don't, as 12 ounces is the perfect amount of pasta for this recipe. I don't bother measuring the pasta exactly, just eyeball
¾ of a box.
I don't recommend using a full box of spaghetti (16 ounces) for this recipe. There will be too much pasta and not enough sauce, making the flavor a little bit bland.
You can try making this recipe using 8 ounces of pasta - I've haven't tried yet because it's not enough to feed my family. I'm guessing it will work fine, but if you try it let me know!
Add dry spaghetti in 4 to 6 layers, criss-crossing each layer in a cross-hatch pattern so that the noodles are lying in many different directions. This helps prevent the noodles from clumping together.
Even so, the spaghetti will stick together a little bit. What really helps is using a fork to immediately stir and separate the cooked noodles when you open the lid. Then, when I scoop the spaghetti and meatballs into a serving dish, I use a fork to separate the noodles again.
I've tried using olive oil to keep the noodles from sticking together, and it doesn't seem to help at all.
I find that many Instant Pot spaghetti recipes cook the noodles too long. I prefer a shorter cooking time (8 minutes) which insures that the noodles won't be mushy. I like "al dente" noodles, so sometimes I even cook this recipes for just 7 minutes.
Remember, even after the cooking time is complete and you release the pressure, the noodles will continue to cook in the hot marinara sauce and continue to absorb any water that remains in the pot.
If you cook the noodles until they're completely soft, then they cook some more in the residual heat, you'll end up with mushy noodles. They'll be especially mushy the next day if you're eating leftovers.
When you first open the lid, the noodles will still be fairly firm. Don't worry; the noodles will continue to cook while they rest in the pot and absorb the sauce and liquid.
I find that it usually takes 5 to 7 minutes after the pressure is released and you've opened the lid for the pasta to be perfectly "al dente" and ready to eat.
I've made this recipe many times, and I've found that 2 ¼ cups water is the right amount of water to add, along with one 24-ounce jar of marinara sauce.
It's enough water for the pasta to cook and for the sauce to spread evenly over the noodles without diluting the sauce. And, it doesn't leave too much water still sitting the pot when the cooking time is done.
It's also enough water to prevent the meatballs or sauce from burning to the bottom of the pot. I have never had a burn notice when I cook this pasta.
You can, but I honestly don't think the recipe comes out quite as good. Using crushed tomatoes or canned tomato sauce gives the spaghetti a stronger tomato flavor - it kind of reminds me of SpaghettiOs!
Also, you'll need to doctor up the sauce a bit. At the very least, add sauted garlic and Italian seasoning to the tomatoes.
Sure! You can use any type of meatballs for this recipe, made out of any type of ground meat. The meatballs can be raw, frozen, homemade or store-bought. The cooking time stays the same.
Just make sure the meatballs aren't too big. I find that golfball sized meatballs cook best in 8 minutes at high pressure.
More Instant Pot Pasta Recipes
If you'd like to try cooking different types of pasta in your Instant Pot, try Instant Pot Chicken Parmesan Pasta which uses penne or Instant Pot Bowtie Pasta with meat sauce. Instant Pot Artichoke Spinach Dip Pasta is another popular Instant Pot pasta recipe on Kitchenskip.Print
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