Looking for a fast, easy weeknight meal to make in your Instant Pot? Well you’ve come to the right place. Turkey Meatballs in Tomato Sauce to the rescue!
Meatballs in sauce are one of my pressure cooker go-to’s. There’s no need to sear or brown them — they absorb tons of flavor from the sauce as they cook.
My secret trick is to add (uncooked!) rice into the meatball mixture. It allows the meatballs to soak up a lot of moisture, and the tomato sauce ends up thick and rich as if it’s been simmering for hours. In fact, the meatballs only cook for 15 minutes at high pressure.
I add extra vegetables to my sauce to make these meatballs into a healthy, nutritious meal. You can serve them on their own, over pasta (that’s how my husband likes them), or in my favorite way, on top of spaghetti squash. Check out the recipe notes for instructions on how to prepare spaghetti squash in the microwave — it’ll cook to perfection at the same time you’re simmering the meatballs.
Instant Pot Turkey Meatballs in Tomato Sauce
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion diced
- 2 medium zucchini sliced
- 8 ounces crimini mushrooms sliced
- 1 24-ounce jar of your favorite pasta sauce (I use Trader Joe's Organic Marinara)
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 pound 93% lean ground turkey
- 1/2 cup long grain rice
- 1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning I use Penzey's Pasta Sprinkle
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil optional
- Press the "Sauté" button on the Instant Pot. Add the olive oil and onions, and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the zucchini and mushrooms and sauté until the mushrooms have begun to soften and give up some of their liquid, about three more minutes.
- Add the pasta sauce and water to the Instant Pot and stir to combine.
- While the sauce is coming up to a simmer, make the meatball mixture. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the ground turkey, rice, Italian herbs, and salt. Mix well and roll into a dozen meatballs, a little larger than golf ball-sized.
- Gently drop the meatballs into the simmering sauce in the Instant Pot, spooning a little sauce over the top of each one.
- Press the "Keep Warm/Cancel" button, then select the "Poultry" setting. Put the lid on the Instant Pot, making sure the pressure valve is set to "Sealing."
- When the program has finished, the Instant Pot will beep to let you know dinner is ready! You can serve them right away, but they will also keep warm in the pot for up to 10 hours automatically.
- Top with fresh basil (optional) and serve.
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Cooked or uncooked rice?
Oh, I see you included this detail in the introduction but not the recipe. I’ll try it tonight! Thanks.
Hi Vicki, I hope you enjoy it!
Tried this last night – very good thanks for sharing this recipe! So simple
You’re welcome! Glad you enjoyed it!
How long do you cook meatballs if you don’t have pressure cooker you are using. Mine just has timer but no different settings, like poultry, beef etc
The timing would be the same. Though the Instant Pot has many programmable settings, the Manual setting is really sufficient for most recipes, and it’s the same as any other electric pressure cooker!
I made these… simple, easy and delicious!
Would you adjust time for doubling the recipe?
Hi Rebecca, I’d keep the cooking time the same. Just make sure the pot is no more than 2/3rds full!
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I (obviously) didn’t read the full instructions that though typed throughout the article. I added cooked rice instead of uncooked rice. Will my meatballs still be ok? 🙁
This is my second Instapot meal. I used brown rice as that is all I had. The rice was just barely cooked and made the texture rather interesting. Would the wild rice cook better? Should I increase the cooking time? Other than a very al dente rice, the flavor was delicious. I served it over spaghetti squash.
If you’re using brown or wild rice, I would definitely par-cook it before making the meatballs! As you found out, it doesn’t cook through in this recipe. There is a variety of quick-cooking brown rice that might work without cooking in advance.