Learn how to make Instant Pot Italian meatball Caprese sandwiches. This recipe combines two Italian classics – tomato meatballs and Caprese salad – plus a soft bread roll or a baguette. These Caprese meatball sandwiches are great for a party, picnic, weekend family lunch or speedy dinner.
For the meatballs
1 lb / ~500 g ground beef (we used lean grass-fed beef)
0.5 lb / ~300 g ground pork or Italian sausage
1 teaspoon salt
1.5 teaspoons mixed Italian herbs
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup bread crumbs
2 cloves garlic, grated or minced
1/2 medium onion, finely diced
4 tablespoons water
For the tomato sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 onion, finely diced
1 large clove garlic, finely diced
1/4 cup water
1.5 can crushed tomatoes (14 oz)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon salt
8–10 soft bread rolls or buns (depending on how many serves you want to make and the size of the rolls)
1–2 large tomatoes, cut in halves and sliced thinly
1 cup basil leaves
8–9 oz / 250 g bocconcini or soft mozzarela sliced
Make the meatballs
- Combine beef and pork with the rest of the ingredients, including the water. Adding water to the meatball mixture makes them softer as it moistens the bread crumbs, which would otherwise absorb the moisture from the meat.
- Using wet hands, roll the mixture into small meatballs, about 1.5 oz or 50 grams each, and set aside on a plate.
Cook the sauce & meatballs
- Turn the Instant Pot on and press the Sauté function key. Once hot, add in the olive oil and onions and sauté for 2 minutes, stirring halfway. Add the garlic and stir; then pour in the water and use a spatula to scrape the bottom. Then press Cancel to stop the Sauté function.
- Layer the meatballs over the onions and water gently. Top with crushed tomatoes and tomato paste and spread roughly over the top of meatballs. Don’t stir through! Sprinkle salt on top evenly.
- Secure and lock the lid. Make sure the pressure handle is pointing to Sealing on Duo Classic. Select Manual/Pressure Cook and adjust the timer to 10 minutes on HIGH pressure. After a few beeps/seconds, the ON sign will come on indicating the pot is heating up and the pressure is building; pressurizing will take about 4-5 minutes; then the 10-minute timer will begin.
- Once the timer is done, allow the pressure to release naturally for 5 minutes. Then use the quick release method to let off the remaining pressure (press the steam knob down or point to Venting on older models).
- Open the pot and stir the meatballs through the sauce. Transfer meatballs to a large bowl with some of the sauce and pour any leftover sauce into a bowl to serve on the side.
Assemble the sandwiches
- Cut the oval bread rolls lengthways, almost all the way through. If using round rolls, cut them in two halves. Assemble these just before serving to avoid the bread from getting soggy too soon.
- Place a few basil leaves, tomato slices and cheese to one side and a couple of meatballs to the other; you can press the meat to break it apart slightly. Once you’re ready to serve these meatball sandwiches, scoop a spoonful or two of the tomato sauce on top of the meatballs.
Saute: 2 minutes | Pressurizing: 4-5 minutes | Cooking at HIGH pressure: 10 minutes | Release: 5 minutes natural release, then quick release the remaining pressure | Assemble: 15 minutes
Keywords: Instant Pot, Pressure Cooking, Meatballs, Italian, Sandwiches, Caprese, Mozzarella