Instant Pot Meatballs In Italian Tomato Sauce (Whole30, Paleo)

Italian tomato Instant Pot meatballs should be a staple in every kitchen. The pressure cooker makes this classic quick and easy and you can make it from scratch with all-natural ingredients and no added sugar. This recipe is Whole30, paleo, and gluten-free.

Homemade Italian meatballs are a staple in every kitchen, and making them in an Instant Pot skips the messy step of pan-frying the meat before it hits the sauce, making this dish even easier and quicker to prepare. While the more traditional Italian meatballs are made with half beef and half pork, this Instant Pot meatball recipe uses ground beef only.

We decided to make a gluten-free, paleo and Whole30 friendly version, so these meatballs contain no breadcrumbs or other fillers and the sauce is made from scratch in the pot rather than using a store-bought sauce variety. That means no added sugar!



You will find the full list of ingredients, instructions and nutrition breakdown in the recipe card below but here are some basic steps to follow:

  1. Dice the ingredients and mix the meatball mixture. 
  2. Roll the meatballs and set aside.
  3. Saute the onions, chili and garlic in a little oil in the Instant Pot. Add the meatballs and tinner tomatoes and stir through.
  4. Pressure cook on HIGH for 5 minutes with 10-minute natural pressure release. Total cooking time would be about 20-25 minutes with pressure build-up.

How to make tomato meatballs in Instant Pot


You can serve these over any steamed veggies, spaghetti squash noodles or cauliflower rice for a paleo/Whole30 version. Try making our Instant Pot green beans or broccoli as a side dish. There are lots of Whole30 noodle and pasta alternatives to make.

For a regular or more decadent meal, serve these over spaghetti, rice or freshly sliced baguette topped with freshly grated cheese for a more decadent meal. We hope you enjoy this recipe!

PS. Leftover meatballs can be frozen for up to 3 months.

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Instant Pot Italian Tomato Meatballs (Whole30, Paleo, Gluten-Free)

Instant Pot Meatballs In Tomato Sauce (Paleo, Whole30, GF)

  • Author: Instant Pot Eats
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 15 mins
  • Total Time: 30 mins
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Main
  • Method: Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: Italian


Homemade Instant Pot meatballs in Italian tomato sauce made from scratch. This is a healthy meatball recipe with no added sugar or breadcrumbs. It is gluten-free, paleo and Whole30 friendly.



For the meatballs

  • 1.5 lb / 700 g ground beef (beef mince)
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons paprika powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery salt (optional, if not using, add 1/2 tsp regular salt)
  • 1 teaspoon salt

For the sauce

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 long fresh red chili, chopped (or 1/2 tsp red chili flakes or powder)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large garlic cloves, finely diced
  • 1 can diced tinned tomatoes (400 ml)


  1. Combine the ground beef with the spices and salt in a bowl and mix through well using clean hands. Roll the mixture into small 2-inch balls and set aside.
  2. Press the Sauté key on the Instant Pot (it should say Normal, 30 mins). Add the olive oil, onions, chill and salt and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring a few times. Then press Keep Warm/Cancel.
  3. Add the meatballs, sprinkle with garlic and pour over the tinned tomatoes. Stir through and spread the meatballs evenly in the sauce.
  4. Place and lock the lid, making sure the steam releasing handle is pointing to Sealing. Press Manual, High pressure and set to 5 minutes. After 3 beeps the pressure cooker will start going.
  5. Release the pressure naturally, for about 10 minutes, which will finish cooking the meatballs. Follow by a quick release to let out any remaining pressure.
  6. Serve over spaghetti, rice, sliced baguettes or with a side of cauliflower rice or steamed vegetables for a Whole30/Paleo friendly meal.


  • Serving Size: 3-4 meatballs and sauce
  • Calories: 302
  • Sugar: 2.5 g
  • Sodium: 1285.6 mg
  • Fat: 12.5 g
  • Saturated Fat: 3.6 g
  • Carbohydrates: 7.2 g
  • Fiber: 2.5 g
  • Protein: 39.5 g
  • Cholesterol: 105 mg

Keywords: Italian, Ground Beef, Tomatoes


Instant Pot Italian Tomato Meatballs (Paleo, Whole30, Gluten-Free)

Instant Pot Recipes
By Instant Pot Eats

About us: We are a team of Instant Pot enthusiasts, who love good food and cooking. Our blog is dedicated to delicious Instant Pot recipes you can make using your trusted pressure cooker.
PS. This post may contain Amazon affiliate links, which means we receive a small commission for purchases made through these links. 

More about us here »


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  1. This is the first time using my new IP! I really liked how easy this recipe is, but my meatballs are a little dry. I’m wondering if this is because I took too long to release the rest of the steam? Any suggestions?

    1. Amber, that’s what I want to suggest. A quick release is often crucial for less tough meats like poultry or ground beef.

      1. So, Instantpoteats, are you suggesting to do a quick release instead of what the recipe read (10 minutes NR)? Thank you.

  2. Can I cook now and freeze once done, to throw into an Instant pot pasta recipe that calls for pre-cooked, frozen meatballs?

  3. Sorry, can’t find a way to contact you. I tried to save this recipe to Pinterest and the first image gives me an error. I tried 3x with the same result, then tried the 2nd image and that one worked. Hoping to make this soon.

    1. Hi Sue, thanks for letting us know. If you use the Pinterest button for your browser which can be installed as an add-on, you generally won’t receive that error. I am glad you found a way to save it and I hope you enjoy the recipe when you get around to making it. It’s a real winner!

  4. Does “tinned” tomatoes mean canned tomatoes? Sorry, I never heard of “tinned” tomatoes.

    Thank you!

  5. I just diced up my own tomatoes. My sauce was clear, didn’t look near as presentable as the picture. Meatballs were ok, but the sauce was not, not sure what I did other than not used can tomatoes

  6. do you stack the meatballs on top of one another? I have a 6 qt instant pot and was planning to use two pounds of ground meat…thank you!

    1. This is the second time I’ve made this and each time my instant pot says “burn”. Last time, the bottom of the pot did have some burnt tomatoes so this time I added some more water to boil off afterwards. Not sure if anyone else has experienced this

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