Forgot to take the meatballs out of the freezer? No problem! This instant pot frozen meatballs recipe will show you how to cook perfect tender, juicy meatballs from frozen in just 20 minutes.
Why you should try this recipe
- It's so easy
- No planning ahead - just cook the meat directly from frozen
- Perfect tender and juicy meatballs
- You can use store bought or homemade meatballs
- Adapt the recipe with any sauce that you like
- Hands off cooking - just add the ingredients to the pot and wait
Frozen meatballs: You can buy frozen meatballs (cooked or uncooked), or make your own. I always have my favorite beef and pork meatballs in my freezer ready for quick dinners like these.
Canned diced tomatoes: I use plain tomatoes, but seasoned tomatoes or even fire roasted tomatoes can be used to give the sauce a little extra flavor. Alternatively, use pasta sauce from a jar, or try my healthy spaghetti sauce.
Italian seasoning: Adds some flavor to the canned tomatoes. Substitute with a variety of dried herbs.
💡 TIP! This recipe shows you how to cook frozen meatballs in a tomato sauce, but you can actually use any sauce that you like, including BBQ sauce, mushroom sauce, or teriyaki. See the Variations section below for more ideas.
- Add the ingredients: Add the canned tomatoes and Italian seasoning to the instant pot, and stir to combine. Then, add the frozen meatballs on top. Don't stir.
- Cook the meatballs: Cover the instant pot with the lid, and turn the valve to sealing. Cook on the MANUAL or PRESSURE COOK setting for 8 minutes on high pressure. When the time is up, turn the valve to quickly release the pressure.
- Stir and serve: Stir the meatballs to coat them with the sauce, then serve.
- Add the sauce, with the meatballs on top. This is the best way to ensure an even cooking result, and to prevent the meatballs from burning at the bottom of the instant pot.
- You can add any seasoning to the canned tomatoes. Choose your favorites.
- If the meatballs are larger than the usual size, you will have to increase the cooking time.
Meatballs can be served as an appetizer, added to sandwiches or sliders, or more commonly, served as an entree for lunch or dinner. Here are some of the best side dishes that I love to pair them with:
- Arrabbiata Spaghetti - This simple spicy spaghetti is perfect with meatballs.
- Healthy Mashed Potatoes - Mash and meatballs is a family favorite, and you can't go wrong with this recipe.
- Healthy Spaghetti Sauce - If you want to use a flavorful sauce rather than canned tomatoes, I recommend this easy tomato sauce.
With pasta: Cook pasta in a pot on the stove top according to package instructions while the meatballs are cooking. Drain the water, and combine the cooked meatballs with the pasta in the instant pot before serving.
Thicker sauce: As the frozen meatballs release a lot of water during cooking, the sauce can be a little thin. Add some chunky pasta sauce after cooking to thicken it up.
With veggies: You can add some diced vegetables, such as zucchini, carrots, mushrooms or onions to the canned tomatoes before placing the frozen meatballs on top. This is a great way to add extra veggies to your meal.
Other sauces: Instead of canned tomatoes or pasta sauce, you can make the meatballs with a variety of other sauces. Try using canned mushroom soup, mushroom sauce, honey mustard sauce, BBQ sauce, teriyaki sauce, or any other cooking sauce of your choice.
Store leftover meatballs in a sealed container in a refrigerator for up to 4 days. The meatballs can be frozen again for up to 3 months, but keep in mind that they could be a little dry the next time you thaw them.
Heat up the leftovers in a microwave, instant pot or a regular pot on the stove top, and serve them warm.
Frequently asked questions
Yes! Since the instant pot cooks food under high temperatures, it's perfectly safe to cook frozen meat.
Serve store bought meatballs with a flavorful sauce or side dishes to make them a little more appetizing.
More instant pot recipes
- Instant Pot Chicken and Broccoli
- Instant Pot BBQ Chicken
- Instant Pot Asparagus
- Instant Pot Chicken and Rice
- Instant Pot Tuna Casserole
- Instant Pot Frozen Chicken Breast
Instant Pot Frozen Meatballs
- 1 ½ pounds meatballs
- 1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- Add the canned tomatoes and Italian seasoning to the instant pot, and stir to combine. Then, add the frozen meatballs on top. Don't stir.
- Cover the instant pot with the lid, and turn the valve to sealing. Cook on the MANUAL or PRESSURE COOK setting for 8 minutes on high pressure. When the time is up, turn the valve to quickly release the pressure.
- Stir the meatballs to coat them with the sauce, then serve.
- Store leftover in a refrigerator for up to 3 days.