Meatballs are one of my favorite family meals. They’re a flavorful way to dress up ground beef, and everyone at my table — even the picky eaters — loves them. Until recently, classic meatballs simmered in rich tomato sauce remained a weekend-only project. But that was before I discovered Instant Pot meatballs, which are ready in under 30 minutes, thanks to my trusty pressure cooker and a supermarket shortcut.
These fast and flavorful from-scratch meatballs cook in just 20 minutes, and are the juicy, delicious dinner your whole family will love.
A Sausage Shortcut for Faster Flavor
These Instant Pot meatballs are already incredibly fast — you don’t even need to brown them before simmering — but a smart, meaty shortcut makes them even faster. Instead of using a combination of beef and ground pork, and then chopping lots of herbs or grating an onion for flavor, these meatballs use a mixture of ground beef and seasoned Italian sausage. The sausage brings flavor and fat to these meatballs and keeps them super juicy. As for the beef, lean or extra-lean ground beef works best in the Instant Pot.
Read more: Everything You Need to Know About Ground Beef
After shaping the meatballs, bring the marinara and some water to a simmer using the Instant Pot’s sauté function, then pile the meatballs into the sauce. You’ll need to stack the meatballs on top of one another, but do your best to avoid pushing them together. Once the meatballs are loaded into the Instant Pot, use the manual function to cook them for eight minutes on high pressure. The pressure cooker should reach pressure in less than 10 minutes!
After the cooking time is up, let the pot naturally release some pressure for five minutes before doing a quick release. Then, scoop up the meatballs and serve them over pasta, polenta, or into toasty sub rolls.
Instant Pot Meatballs
large egg, beaten
- 4 cloves
- 1 pound
lean or extra-lean ground beef
- 8 ounces
uncooked Italian sausage, casings removed
- 1/2 cup
finely grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/3 cup
fine, dry breadcrumbs
- 1/3 cup
- 1 teaspoon
- 1 teaspoon
- 2 (24 ounce) jars
- 2 cups
Lightly beat 1 egg in a large bowl. Mince 4 garlic cloves and grate 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, and add both to the bowl. Add 1/3 cup breadcrumbs, 1/3 cup whole milk, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning. Remove the casings from 8 ounces Italian sausage if needed, and add the sausage and 1 pound ground beef to the bowl.
Gently mix with your hands until well combined. Form and shape the mixture into 24 meatballs (about 2 tablespoons each), and place on a plate or baking sheet.
Bring 2 (24-ounce) jars marinara sauce and 2 cups water to a simmer in an Instant Pot or electric pressure cooker with the Sauté function. Add the meatballs, stacking them but avoiding pressing them into each other. Turn off the saute function.
Lock the lid on and make sure the pressure valve is set to seal. Set to cook on HIGH pressure for 8 minutes. It will take about 10 minutes to come up to pressure. When the cook time is up, let the pressure naturally release for 5 minutes. Quick release the remaining pressure, and serve the meatballs as desired.
Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 4 days.
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