Instant Pot Meatballs in Tomato Sauce (Paleo, Whole30)

These Instant Pot Meatballs in Tomato Sauce are the ultimate comfort food that’s paleo, Whole30, and kid-friendly! Enjoy it over zucchini noodles or cauliflower rice to keep it low carb.

I can’t believe I haven’t had a classic Italian meatballs recipe on my blog until now. It’s mostly because my husband isn’t a huge fan of tomatoes or tomato based sauces, but I love them. I still make them and he’ll eat them, but I try not to make it too many times in the week for his sake.

However, these Instant Pot Meatballs in Tomato Sauce might be on regular rotation because they are SO comforting and delicious, so I’m planning to make them again and again (sorry, Charlie!).

Instant Pot Meatballs in Tomato Sauce Recipe

With the weather cooling down and the days getting shorter, I’ve been craving comfort food more and more. These Instant Pot Meatballs in Tomato Sauce fit the bill and are great for the entire family, even kids will go crazy for these! Best of all, it’s easy to make a large batch of (takes only 30 minutes!) and easy to cleanup since it’s all made in the Instant Pot, so it’s a good one to make on a busy weeknight.

With spices like oregano, garlic, and onions, it has all the familiar and cozy flavors that everyone loves!

Instant Pot Meatballs in Tomato SauceInstant Pot Meatballs in Tomato Sauce

Instant Pot Size

This recipe was made in a 6 qt Instant Pot, with just enough liquid to cover the bottom of the pot. If you have one that’s larger, it may not come to pressure and you’ll have to add more liquid so be prepared to adjust the recipe accordingly, or water down the liquid to make sure it’ll cook.

Keeping it Whole30 or Low Carb

These Instant Pot Meatballs in Tomato Sauce are fantastic on their own, but they are saucy enough that you can serve over your favorite gluten free pasta or some white rice.

However, if you are doing the Whole30 challenge or you want to keep low carb, you can serve them over:

  • zucchini noodles,
  • spaghetti squash,
  • or cauliflower rice.

These options are also a great way to add some extra veggies into your diet. These meatballs also freeze and defrost beautifully without changing the texture or flavors so go make them a big batch to enjoy for days!

Instant Pot Meatballs in Tomato Sauce

Instant Pot Meatballs in Tomato Sauce

Instant Pot Meatballs in Tomato Sauce (Paleo, Whole30)

These Instant Pot Meatballs in Tomato Sauce are the ultimate comfort food that's paleo, Whole30, and kid-friendly! Enjoy it over zucchini noodles or cauliflower rice to keep it low carb.
4.59 from 12 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 22 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 388kcal
Author: Jean Choi



  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast optional
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper

Tomato Sauce

  • 2 tbsp avocado oil or coconut oil
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 onion diced
  • 28 oz canned crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • Optional: Chopped parsley and red pepper flakes for garnish


  • Combine all ingredients for the meatballs in a large bowl and mix together. Do not overmix.
  • Roll into balls the size of golf balls and set aside.
  • Set a 6qt Instant Pot on Sautè and add avocado oil.
  • Once the Instant Pot signals that it's "hot,' add onion and garlic and cook stirring for 5 minutes until soft and fragrant.
  • Press Cancel on the Instant Pot, and then add crushed tomatoes, water, tomato paste, and sea salt, and stir together.
  • Remove about 1/3 of the sauce and set aside.
  • Gently add the meatballs to the Instant Pot over the sauce.
  • Pour 1/3 of the sauce that was previous removed back in, covering the meatballs from the top. 
  • Close the lid, make the sure the pressure valve is set to Sealing. 
  • Cook on Manual on high pressure for 7 minutes.
  • Once the Instant Pot beeps to a finish, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes.
  • Open the lid and serve over cooked spaghetti squash, zucchini noodles, or cauliflower rice!
Nutrition Facts
Instant Pot Meatballs in Tomato Sauce (Paleo, Whole30)
Amount Per Serving (1 serving)
Calories 388 Calories from Fat 243
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 27g 42%
Saturated Fat 9g 45%
Cholesterol 121mg 40%
Sodium 1273mg 53%
Potassium 720mg 21%
Total Carbohydrates 11g 4%
Dietary Fiber 3g 12%
Sugars 5g
Protein 23g 46%
Vitamin A 6.7%
Vitamin C 14.2%
Calcium 7.5%
Iron 22.7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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19 thoughts on “Instant Pot Meatballs in Tomato Sauce (Paleo, Whole30)

  1. Emily @ Recipes to Nourish

    Gotta love how fast this cooks in the IP! These meatballs are so perfect and the homemade sauce is so yummy. Such a fun comfort food meal!

  2. Joni

    These meatballs are THE PERFECT size and so juicy! Love the addition of nutritional yeast! I’m one of those ‘weird’ people who always have it in my pantry!

  3. Jackie

    Good quick but I’d sear the meatballs the next time because they were falling apart and weren’t completely cooked.

    1. Jean Choi Post author

      Oh no – sorry they fell apart! You have to be really careful with the meatballs when you toss them with the sauce. I’ve never had it not completely cooked so I’m not sure what happened.

    2. Julia

      Mine fell apart too :/ and I kept getting the burn message. Next time Ill try adding the meatballs a few at a time and stirring them around as I add. Hopefully that will prevent the breaking and the burn notice

      1. Jean Choi Post author

        I’m so sorry! I’ll revisit this recipe soon and see if I made a mistake on the instructions. Thanks so much for letting me know!

  4. Ross

    Does anyone else have problems with the IP not coming to pressure? I have made this recipe twice and both times I’ve had to add more water and by the time one done the meatballs are overcooked because of the extra time simmering prior to it actually coming to pressure. Other than that it’s great recipe. Just wondering what the right amount of water is.

    1. Jean Choi Post author

      Not sure since I eat high fat, but you can try putting the whole things in the refrigerator and chilling it overnight after cooking it. The fat should float to the top and harden. You can the take that off and reheat it.


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