Instant Pot Spaghetti and Meatballs (Gluten Free) - Danielle Walker

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


Instant Pot Spaghetti and Meatballs

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5 from 26 reviews

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



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)


  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.


*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.


Instant Pot Spaghetti and Meatballs


  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?

    • Laura Zapata says:

      I’m curious about this as well… thinking 4 min to play it safe?? 🙂

      • Angelika says:

        You only need 3!! 4 minutes will overcook it…..I know it seems crazy but don’t forget it’s cooking the whole time it’s coming to pressure as well!

  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!

  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!!!

  14. Alyssa says:

    Omg this is so good! I might up the cook time by a minute or so next time because the pasta wasn’t completely cooked but OMG this was so delicious and it SAVED me on a busy weeknight!

  15. Rebecca says:

    This recipe was easy to follow and the results were delicious! This is a great addition to our weeknight meal rotation!

  16. Natasha de Sousa says:

    Hi! The recipe says 2 pckgs of 12 oz fusilli (so 24oz in total) but the video says 12 oz. How much pasta should I put in? Thanks

  17. Kayla says:

    I decided to make this last night for supper because I made a huge batch of your meatballs on the weekend and froze in portions. The gf pasta I used only meant a cook time of 3 minutes and I was skeptical. But holy moly, this was incredible! The texture of the meatballs was fantastic and I actually prefer them to any standard, store-bought meatball! I am trying to be grain free 80% of the time and always gluten free, so these meatballs were perfect. They were even loved by my picky 21 month old—she gobbled up two good sized meatballs! This will definitely be in rotation. Thanks, Danielle! 😊

  18. Jessie says:

    Hi Danielle! We are a family of 6 so I am wondering, can I double your doubled recipe, and fit it in the 6 qt IP? In other words, 4 boxes pasta, 4lbs meatballs, etc. Let me know if you think this would work. Thanks!

  19. Lara says:

    I just made this! I made the meatballs last week and I have a Stashers’ bag of them in the freezer. I took out enough for two servings, I needed to also figure out the correct amounts of pasts, sauce, and broth! I just did the manual release and the pasta needs to cook a bit longer so I’m letting it sit in the pot with the lid on. I think it’s going to be great! Easy to do using the frozen balls. I wonder though how to figure out the cook time based on the pasta cook time…I’ll get it sorted out. Thanks Danielle, for this and all of the fantastic recipes and help. Lara

  20. Crystal Garcia says:

    I couldn’t believe this worked! I know it’s DW but…TBH, i was still skeptical. I used a batch of my own grandma Carvaggio’s frozen meatballs, 1# organic dried pasta, 2 jars of Roa’s (which was actually 5 cups of sauce-I couldn’t see leaving behind a cup of that delicious sauce!) and 4 cups of water (I didn’t have unsalted broth and I thought it would be too salty)- used the method provided in the recipe and…BANG!! Soooo tasty and perfect! THANK YOU

  21. Ester Fiedler says:

    We started eating vegan, so I had to see if this recipe, one of our faves, would work with beyond frozen meatballs & they do!! Worked like a dream!

  22. Larisa says:

    This is such a great and easy recipe. I make it weekly since discovering it on Danielle’s blog and it’s always a hit!

  23. Jeanette says:

    This is such a great and easy recipe! I make meatballs to freeze JUST so that I can make this recipe when I am short on time and need some good food quickly. I use already cooked ground turkey meatballs (1 lb. worth), 12 oz of pasta, 25 oz jar of marinara sauce, and 2 cups of broth and cook for the 5 minutes. It makes enough for 4 good serving sizes.

  24. DT says:

    This is amazing and my 3 kids beg me to make this at least once/week! Thanks for such a delicious and EASY recipe. 🙂 I’ve been using frozen organic meatballs from Whole Foods but would like to make yours. You mentioned you prefer your own meatball recipe with 3 T. coconut flour instead of 3/4 almond flour? (Your recipe lists you can use either.) Thanks for clarifying.

  25. Julie says:

    Our household is small, so I do this: 1 12 oz box GF rotini pasta; 1 jar Newman’s marinara; 1 box organic GF chicken meatballs (Jovial usually); 1 box GF chicken bone broth (for added nutrition). I saute the meatballs just like Danielle does for a bit, then pop it all in on high pressure for 5 minutes and do a quick release. It’s about 4 generous servings with these amounts, not dry AT all, and super yummy. Leftovers reheat well.

  26. Ashley says:

    I used red lentil fusilli and it was delicious! And so easy, oh my gosh. Can we get a 4 ingredient (or less) IP cookbook, please? 🥰

  27. mfd says:

    Delicious after a few attempts. I kept getting the burn warning (SO frustrating!), but finally added stock first, and stirred everything.

  28. Sara Compton says:

    This is a family fave for us! I add kale to the top before cooking. Turns out perfect every time!! Sooo easy on crazy nights and SO YUMMY!

  29. Kelly says:

    💯 stupid easy. On repeat in my house!

  30. Mandie Kolarik says:

    Made this tonight. Added fresh garlic and fresh oregano. So good and quick. Going in my rotation!!!

  31. Margaret says:

    HI Danielle,

    Do you think this would work with Beyond Meat sausages? My husband needs gluten free, dairy free, and no red meat.

  32. Margaret says:

    Hello Danielle,

    Do you think this receipe will work with Beyond Meat sausages?

  33. M Libby says:

    HI Danielle,

    Do you think this would work with Beyond Meat sausages? My husband needs gluten free, dairy free, and no red meat.

  34. ML says:

    HI Danielle,

    Do you think this would work with Beyond Meat sausages? My husband needs gluten free, dairy free, and no red meat.

  35. Tori says:

    Delicious! New family favourite. Super easy. Had to force myself to stop eating it!

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