Friday, May 17, 2019

Instant Pot Spaghetti and Meatballs

Instant Pot Spaghetti and Meatballs

Use the Instant Pot to make spaghetti and meatballs the easy way--simple ingredients and only one pot to clean! This is a terrific recipe for campus cooking as it uses few ingredients and simple prep.


image of a shallow pasta bowl with pressure cooked spaghetti and meatballs and a side of garlic bread


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Hi and welcome to the first post in a new series I've started called Instant Pot on Campus. This summer I'm teaching my son how to use an Instant Pot electric pressure cooker to make simple meals. Later I'll stuff an Instant Pot box* into the already overloaded car and send him off to school, confident that I've built a foundation for success in the kitchen. *Military spouse tip--save your boxes.

Each Instant Pot on Campus post will have the following categories:
  • What to buy at the store
  • What you need in the kitchen
  • How to Level Up
  • The Recipe
  • What to do when something goes wrong
Please share this post with folks who are just starting out in the kitchen. Thank you!

Let's get to the first post in the series, Instant Pot Spaghetti and Meatballs!


What to buy at the store

photo of the ingredients needed to make 2 batches of Instant Pot spaghetti and meatballs (meatballs, noodles, spaghetti sauce)

You might as well buy the ingredients for a double batch, otherwise you're left with half a box of spaghetti in the cupboard and half a bag of meatballs in the freezer. Avoid the temptation to just dump the whole box of noodles in--you'll get a burn error message and probably won't end up with an edible meal.
  • 1 pound box of spaghetti noodles (thin, thick, regular . . . your choice)
  • 1 bag (24-32 ounces) of frozen meatballs
  • 2 cans or jars (24 ounces each) of spaghetti sauce
Since you're going to use the whole can or jar of spaghetti sauce at one time, go with the can. It's usually a better deal--unless you don't have a can opener. Cheaper items are usually located on the lowest shelves in the grocery store since companies pay extra to have their products displayed at eye level (and their prices reflect that).

Use the Instant Pot to make spaghetti and meatballs the easy way--simple ingredients and only one pot to clean! This is a terrific recipe for campus cooking as it uses few ingredients and simple prep.


What you need in the kitchen

  • Instant Pot or other electric pressure cooker
  • liquid measuring cup (will have ounces on the side + maybe a pouring spout)
  • water
  • wooden stirring spoon (mine is $2 at Ikea)
  • can opener (if you're using canned sauce)
  • kitchen towel to protect your hand when you QR or quickly release the steam


Level Up

photo of additional ingredients you can use to enhance your Instant Pot spaghetti and meatballs meal (red wine, garlic bread, feta cheese)


Want to turn this into a fancy meal? Here are some tips:
  • Rinse the spaghetti sauce container with some red wine and dump that into the pot.
  • Make a salad after you program the pot. Eat it if you're hungry before dinner is ready.
  • Got garlic bread? When the Instant Pot reaches pressure, preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. By the time the oven is preheated, the IP should be about done. If you put some cheesy garlic bread to bake in the oven while you release the steam & stir the noodles, everything should be done at the same time.
  • Add cheese after cooking. Expand from the green can to try crumbled feta!

The Recipe


Recipe Notes:
  • Layer ingredients in order--starting with some of the water.
  • Fan the noodles out so they are not all in one clump.
  • Don't stir before cooking. Stir well after cooking.
  • Creamy sauces (vodka sauce, cheesy tomato sauces) are more likely to give a burn error.


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What to do when something goes wrong


You may get a burn error. It's ok--your meal is not ruined. If a burn error happens shortly after you're closed the lid, cancel the program, open the lid, try to lift the noodles to let the water flow to the bottom of the pot and restart the pot.
If the burn error happens after steam has been coming out of the vent hole or after the Pot has reached pressure (more common) simply cancel the program, release the steam, and open the lid. Taste a noodle--see if it's done. If it's tender just stir until the sauce is absorbed. If it's not fully cooked, press the Sauté button, set the timer for 5-10 minutes, and stir until the noodles are tender/sauce is absorbed.



Use the Instant Pot to make spaghetti and meatballs the easy way--simple ingredients and only one pot to clean! This is a terrific recipe for campus cooking as it uses few ingredients and simple prep.


Wondering where all the Community Supported Agriculture/CSA farm share recipes are? If you're canning or freezing quarts of your own spaghetti sauce feel free to use that in this recipe since a quart Mason jar is only 28 ounces anyway. For more farm share recipes, please see my Visual Recipe Index by Ingredient, a resource for folks like me eating from the farm share, the farmer's market, the garden, the neighbor's garden, and great deals on ugly produce at the grocery store.

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This recipe was inspired by this one.

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