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Instant Pot Italian Tomato Meatballs (Whole30)

Instant Pot Italian Tomato Meatballs (Whole30, Paleo, 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 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 in the pot rather than using a pre-made jar variety. That means no added sugar!

Instant Pot Meatballs In Tomato Sauce

You can serve these over veggies or cauliflower rice for a paleo/Whole30 version, or over spaghetti, rice or fresh sliced baguettes topped with freshly grated cheese for a more decadent meal. We hope you enjoy this recipe!

Pressure Cooker Tomato Meatballs

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

Instant Pot Italian Tomato Meatballs (Paleo, Whole30, GF)

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


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. This recipe uses ground beef only and it is gluten-free, paleo and Whole30 friendly.



For the meatballs

  • 1.3 lb / 600 g ground beef (beef mince)
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons ground paprika
  • 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 brown 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 tinned diced chopped 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.
  6. Follow by a quick release to let out any remaining pressure.
  7. Serve over spaghetti, rice, sliced baguettes or with a side of cauliflower rice or steamed vegetables for a Whole30/Paleo friendly meal.

Keywords: Homemade Italian meatballs meat sauce easy quick ground beef gluten-free paleo Whole30


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


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  • Reply
    Loop Sunday Lunch – Homemade Italian Meatballs | Trini Talks
    August 27, 2017 at 1:40 pm

    […] Homemade Italian Meatballs, courtesy Instant Pot Eats, is ready in a mere 45 […]

  • Reply
    Cyndi Scher
    December 20, 2017 at 5:04 pm

    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!

    • Reply
      December 22, 2017 at 2:19 pm

      You can indeed stack the meatballs!

  • Reply
    January 23, 2018 at 2:14 am

    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

    • Reply
      February 2, 2018 at 4:25 pm

      What type of tomatoes did you use?

  • Reply
    April 7, 2018 at 3:20 pm

    This sounds amazing, could I substitute ground turkey?

    • Reply
      April 8, 2018 at 11:54 pm

      Yes, you can use any ground meat you have handy or enjoy eating!

  • Reply
    April 7, 2018 at 3:26 pm

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

    Thank you!

    • Reply
      April 8, 2018 at 11:54 pm

      Yes, they are the same thing.

  • Reply
    Sue Marie
    April 20, 2018 at 10:24 am

    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.

    • Reply
      April 22, 2018 at 7:15 pm

      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!

  • Reply
    April 30, 2018 at 9:13 pm

    Do you not have to brown the meatballs?

    • Reply
      May 7, 2018 at 4:45 pm

      Hi Debbie! You don’t have to brown them, but you can if you like.

  • Reply
    August 18, 2018 at 8:55 pm

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

    • Reply
      September 3, 2018 at 3:32 am

      Yes, you can!

  • Reply
    September 16, 2018 at 2:24 pm

    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?

    • Reply
      October 4, 2018 at 9:23 pm

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

  • Reply
    7 Whole30-approved meals you can make in your Instant Pot right now – An ordinary Girl
    May 11, 2019 at 5:02 pm

    […] 7. Italian tomato meatballs […]

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