Instant Pot Spaghetti and Meatballs (Gluten Free) - daniellewalker.com

Ok, technically this should be called Fusilli and Meatballs. Spaghetti noodles don’t fare as well in the Instant Pot as the shapes – fusilli, penne, shells, etc. But oh my word. This “one stop shop” Instant Pot Spaghetti and Meatballs has been a game changer for me over the past few months.

My kids straight up cleared out the entire pot the first night I made it. The next time, I doubled up and we had just enough to have a little leftover for lunch. I use a 6 quart pot, so this recipe below is the doubled one and should feed 6 to 8, depending on how big of eaters your family are.

Instant Pot Spaghetti and Meatballs in a white speckled bowl

So Fast!

With only 4 main ingredients, 6 if you count the salt and oil, this Instant Pot Spaghetti and Meatballs comes together in a matter of minutes, and only cooks for 6 minutes! All in all, with the time it takes to come to pressure and gather your ingredients, you’re looking at about 20 minutes flat. Plus there’s only 1 pot to clean up at the end. As a full-time working mom of 3, this is like a unicorn meal.

Having meatballs on hand and using store-bought sauce is what makes this quick, but you can easily brown 2 pounds of ground beef with some seasonings in the pot, and then drain it before adding the remaining ingredients.

The Meatballs

I love to make my meatballs homemade because I can control what goes in them, plus I know my kids love my homemade recipe. A few years ago, I found this meatball master tray online and while they don’t create perfectly rolled meatball shape, they cut the time (and mess!) in half. I just mix up the meatball mix, press it into two of these trays and pop them in the freezer. To save space and so I can easily dump 2 pounds of them into the pot, once they’re frozen I break them apart and store them in reusable airtight bags.

I keep 4 pounds of these meatballs in my freezer at all times. I prefer the coconut flour option texture wise and find they hold together best in the Instant Pot. I use this meatball master tray to make my life easier, freeze them raw, and just plop them into the pot uncooked and frozen! I haven’t tested it with cooked meatballs, but I think these. these, or these would work just fine if you don’t have any pre-made. Just note that they are not grain-free (they use rice) and some do contain dairy.

The Pasta

As you may remember from my Welcome post when this new blog launched last year, I’m excited to have the freedom to share more recipes containing gluten-free grains with you all. Especially because when polled, I was surprised  to see that nearly 80% of you answered that you or your family ate gluten-free the majority of the time, and grain-free on occasion. That’s how the rest of my family eats, so with that in mind, this is one of those few recipes that I used brown rice in.

See number 2 in my tips below for how to use cassava or chickpea pasta to keep this grain-free!

So let’s talk about some of the tips I have after testing this multiple times.

My Top 5 Tips

  1. The texture of this dish isn’t going to be as good as doing the pasta separately on the stove and adding the sauce and meatballs after. It just isn’t. BUT the convenience factor far outweighs that for me. The pasta still is cooked perfectly al dente, without a hint of mushiness. It’s just that the overall sauce at the end has a little more starch in it because the pasta is cooked in it, and nothing is drained out afterwards. Honestly? It tastes a little like the Spaghettios and meatballs from my youth. Raise your  hand if you’re a 90’s kid like me! Remember how the sauce was a tiny bit silky and just the slightest bit gummy? That’s kind of what you get here. But again – my family devoured, and the ease of this makes it worth it
  2. Brown rice noodles are the best, aside from wheat noodles, to cook in the Instant Pot. Chickpea (I prefer this one for the ingredients and how it holds up) and cassava (this one is the bestwill work, they just are a little bit temperamental and can go mushy more quickly. Jovial brand brown rice noodles delivered the most consistent results and held their shape nicely. Rule of thumb if you choose a different noodle- set your pot for 1/2 of the time called for on the box, minus 1 minute. So if your box calls for 12 minutes, set it for 5 minutes.
  3. Use frozen meatballs! This not only makes everything so much easier and saves time, but it helps the meatballs keep their shape and not break apart in the pot or stick to the bottom. I keep 4 pounds of grain-free meatballs (see notes in recipe) in my freezer, uncooked, at all times so I can just toss them into this in a moments’ notice.
  4. I have not tested this yet stove top but I’m 99% certain it can be done easily. If you test it, come back and let everyone know how long it took, and what temperature you set your stove to!
  5. Don’t walk away from the machine for more than 5 to 7 minutes after the timer has finished. Your pasta will overcook.

With that, here’s the recipe! This will forever be on rotation for us, and I plan to test some other types of sauces and proteins!

Instant Pot Spaghetti and Meatballs in a white speckled bowl with Instant Pot in background

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Instant Pot Spaghetti and Meatballs

Super easy, 6 ingredient spaghetti and meatballs that cooks 6 minutes!

  • Author: Danielle Walker
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Cook Time: 6
  • Total Time: 11 minutes
  • Yield: 6 to 8 servings 1x
  • Category: Easy
  • Cuisine: Italian

Ingredients

Scale

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 pounds frozen, uncooked meatballs*

1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning 

2 12-ounce boxes dried gluten-free fusilli noodles (see blogpost for other pastas)

4 cups store-bought marinara sauce

4 cups unsalted chicken broth 

optional garnish: Dairy-Free Parmesan Cheese (Eat What You Love, pg 315)

Instructions

  1. Add the olive oil to the pot of an electric pressure cooker, such as an Instant pot, and turn the machine to sauté mode on high. Add the meatballs, salt, and Italian seasoning. Stir to combine. The meatballs will be browned slightly, but not defrosted or cooked through.
  2. Add the noodles overtop. Layer the sauce over the noodles, but do not stir. Add the broth overtop, and again do not stir. Secure the lid and set the valve to sealing. Select manual pressure on high and set the timer for 5 minutes.
  3. When the timer is finished, manually (or quick) release the pressure. Remove the lid and stir the pasta well.
  4. There will be some extra sauce at the top, but as you stir, the pasta will continue cooking and absorb some of the liquid. Serve hot, topped with dairy-free Parmesan cheese if desired.

If needed to thicken, switch the pot back to sauté mode for 30 to 60 seconds, until the sauce has reduced.

Notes

*I keep 4 pounds of these meatballs in my freezer at all times. I prefer the coconut flour option. I use this meatball master tray to make my life easier, freeze them raw, and just plop them into the pot uncooked and frozen! I haven’t tested it with cooked meatballs, but I think these would work just fine if you don’t have any premade.

Keywords: east recipes, meatballs, instant pot recipes, instant pot, Danielle Walker, against all grain, family dinner, kid approved, Italian

7/24/21

Instant Pot Spaghetti and Meatballs

COMMENTS

  1. Amber Matzker says:

    I’m so excited to make this for my family! I’m using chickpea past which normally requires around 8 min cook time. So, by your calculation, it only needs 3 min in the pressure cooker. Is that enough time to cook the meatballs?

  2. Jessie says:

    I made this as a quick easy meal for a friend who’s recovering from surgery. They were floored that gf pasta could be so good! Jovial penne rice pasta make all the difference. I also did a quick release as soon as the cook time ran up. I transferred to a glass baking dish and sprinkled on some cheese. Texture was perfect, soft but not over done! Thanks for the inspiration!

  3. Marla says:

    What is the cook time if you half the recipe (the way you originally made it?)

  4. Kati says:

    My husband and I love this (& he doesn’t love marinara sauce!)! We struggled to find a 12oz box of gf pasta, they were all 16oz or 8.8oz (chickpea). We finally found a 12oz box of gf bowtie pasta, but both boxes made too much because there was very little sauce left. Still good, but not as saucy as I like it. I think next time we will try 1 16oz box and see how it goes. Overall, great recipe and one we will make again!!

  5. Mimi says:

    Hi Danielle, 1 st time using my Instant Pot 😁
    Was a little nervous at first! Nice & easy recipe to follow for a newbie!
    The pasta and meatballs were absolutely delicious. Will have to check more of your your Instant Pot recipe conversions. Thank you, Mimi (Glasgow , Scotland) – formally Novato, CA

    • Danielle says:

      so happy to hear you enjoyed it! You can just search Instant Pot on the blog and more recipes will come up, enjoy!

  6. Erica says:

    Can you explain why you say to not stir everything together? The first time I made this, everything stuck/burned to the bottom so stirring it together seems like the next step. Thanks for the great recipe!

  7. Amy says:

    My husband can’t stand pasta with tomato sauce, and one of my kids was also standoffish, but they both had seconds! My son and I both had leftovers and the Jovial fusilli was still a great texture. We loved it so much that we got a meatball master so that we can have the freezer stocked and ready to go! For convenience this time, I picked up Mulay’s meatballs. We have the pantry stocked with the fusilli and sauce now and we’re ready to go on a night where we need some comfort food but are short on time. I so appreciate your recipes that everyone can enjoy… they don’t taste good for being X free- they’re just tasty!

  8. LTodd says:

    Hi Danielle, do you think this would work with sliced Applegate Farms hotdogs? I would love to make this for my friends kids when I have everyone over for dinner, but they will not eat meatballs. Thanks!

    • Erica says:

      I think it would work just fine! The recipe seems to be very forgiving. I bet shredded chicken would be good also.

  9. Nicole says:

    Such a quick and easy recipe! I actually prefer this to regular spaghetti now because cooking the noodles in spaghetti sauce seems to add more flavor to them! This is now my go-to when I don’t feel like cooking.

  10. Jen says:

    I love this! So easy and delicious. I’ve made it several times already. Works great with cassava noodles. Thanks for the great recipe!

  11. Kat says:

    I tried this a couple of days after you posted it. Fantastic and tasted so good. I was very skeptical and pleasantly surprised. This is now in my regular rotation.
    Just one question about the Marinara Sauce. If I choose to use your Marinara recipe, what are done with the onions after removing them? It doesn’t specify. Thanks!

  12. Anne says:

    Super good, super simple. Doesn’t get much better than that! Thanks for sharing!

  13. Kelly says:

    I have a very picky family and everyone loved this! Will be making it many times!!!

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