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Instant Pot Pasta With Tomato Meatballs

Instant Pot Pasta With Tomato Meatballs

  • Author: Instant Pot Eats
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: Main
  • Method: Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: Italian


This delicious Instant Pot penne pasta with tomato meatballs is a one-pot recipe perfect for the whole family. Use your favorite meatballs – beef, pork, chicken or vegetarian version – and ready-made tomato sauce for a fuss-free, easy meal.



2022 raw meatballs (less or more depending on size, see notes on options)
450 g /1 lb dry penne pasta
2.5 cups water (rinse the sauce jar)
2223 ounces / 600-650 g ready-made pasta sauce of choice (from a jar)
1.5 tsp Italian seasoning/herbs
1.5 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp salt


  • Add ingredients. Add the pasta and meatballs to the inner pot. Pour in the water (we like to rinse the sauce jar with the water we use) and stir through gently to allow the liquid to sink to the bottom. 
  • Pour the tomato sauce over the top covering all of the meatballs and pasta. Spread evenly but don’t stir! Sprinkle the herbs, garlic powder, salt and pepper over the top.
  • Set to cook. Secure and lock the lid. Make sure the pressure handle is pointing to Sealing on Duo Classic. Select Manual/Pressure Cook and use the + and – keys to adjust the time to 4 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. If cooking frozen raw meatballs, set to 6 minutes.
  • The Instant Pot will now take about 13-14 minutes to come to pressure. The more liquid/ingredients you have in the pot, the longer it might take. After 10 minutes, you might hear hissing and boiling sounds coming from the pot. Once the pressure is built up, the float valve will come to the UP position. Note, that the cooking begins during the pressurizing stage. 
  • Release: Once the timer is done, the Instant Pot will change to a natural pressure release stage. For things like pasta, you don’t want to leave it on natural release for more than about 5 minutes as the penne will keep cooking at a slower rate and can get too soft. We recommend releasing the pressure manually using Quick Release after about 3 minutes. Simply press the pressure release button down or point the steam release handle to Venting. Be careful to keep your hands and face away from the steam jet; you can hover a towel over it to catch any foam. Once all pressure is released, the float valve will go down again and you will able to open the lid.
  • Use a spoon or a spatula to stir the pasta, meatballs and the sauce, making sure to scrape all the bits from the bottom. Serve in bowls with shaved cheese and fresh parsley or basil. 


Pressurizing: 13-14 minutes | Cooking at HIGH pressure: 4 minutes | Release: natural release for 3 minutes, then quick release the remaining pressure.

You can add chili, fresh garlic instead of garlic powder, paprika or other spices.
Vegetable stock can be used instead of water, in which case you can omit any extra salt.
If you’re using simple unflavored tomato sauce rather than a ready-made, seasoned pasta sauce, add more salt and seasoning, including some onion powder.
Frozen pre-cooked meatballs can be used instead and the instructions and cooking time will remain the same. If the frozen meatballs aren’t cooked, change from 4 minutes to 6 minutes.  Vegetarian/vegan balls can be used instead of meatballs.
Other suitable pasta types for this recipe include medium-shaped fusilli, rigatoni, rotini, and farfalle.
You can add chopped carrots, celery, zucchini, olives, artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes, eggplant and other vegetables into the pasta.


  • Serving Size: 1 bowl of pasta with sauce + 4 meatballs
  • Calories: 658
  • Sugar: 9.9 g
  • Sodium: 489.7 mg
  • Fat: 27.1 g
  • Saturated Fat: 9.5 g
  • Carbohydrates: 68.4 g
  • Fiber: 6.2 g
  • Protein: 31.8 g
  • Cholesterol: 82.8 mg

Keywords: Pasta, Instant Pot, Meatballs, Italian, Penne, Pressure Cooking, Dinner