These quick and easy tomato meatballs are a Serbian childhood favourite of mine growing up known as cufte. What I love about Instant Pot Meatballs is their simplicity. The tomato sauce is just a handful of ingredients that don’t require any chopping and the meatballs themselves are super flavourful. I hope this Instant Pot meatball recipe curbs any of your comfort food cravings.

The Ingredients

Traditionally these are eaten on mashed potatoes but feel free to have them with any of your favourite pasta. They’re super easy to make gluten-free by substituting the breadcrumbs with gluten-free bread crumbs. Passata is another great ingredient I think everyone should have in their pantry. They’re strained pureed tomatoes, different than any canned variety. They’re great for making this quick and easy tomato sauce as a base for these quick meatballs.

  • lean ground beef
  • eggs
  • red onion
  • breadcrumbs
  • olive oil
  • vegetable bouillon powder
  • paprika
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • passata
  • water
  • sugar
  • cooked mashed potatoes or pasta

Mix the Meatball Ingredients Together.

Combine the beef, eggs, red onion, bread crumbs, olive oil, bouillon powder, paprika, salt, and ground pepper together. You can test for seasoning here by frying a small piece in a frying pan to see if you like the taste. If it needs more salt or seasoning, add some!

all the ingredients are in a bowl ready to be combined into the seasoned meat that will become the meatballs.

Making Meatballs

Form them into balls and refrigerate them while you make the sauce. I like to have a tray set aside for me while I form the meatballs to make it easier to put them in the fridge. Bonus points if you have a medium-sized cookie scoop, makes meatball forming quick!

after mixing in your ingredients, you form the meat into a ball shape. This photo shows the meat ready to be added to the instant pot in ball form.

Make the Sauce and Pressure Cook

Add the olive oil to a warmed Instant Pot. Stir in the passata and seasonings and turn off the saute setting. That’s it! Then you can start fitting the meatballs in one layer as best as possible. Put the lid on and pressure cook your Instant Pot Meatballs on high for 5 minutes.

Eva Bee
Prep Time 15 minutes
Pressure Cooking Time 5 minutes
Course Dinner
Cuisine European
Servings 6 servings


  • 1 Instant Pot



  • 2 lbs lean ground beef
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 small red onion peeled and minced
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs or gluten free bread crumbs
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp vegetable bouillon powder low sodium
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper

Tomato Sauce

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 jar passata Italian strained tomatoes, around 650 ml
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Mashed Potatoes or Cooked Pasta for serving


  • Mix all of the meatball ingredients together. Roll into 1 1/2" balls. Place in the refrigerator.
  • To make tomato sauce, turn Instant Pot onto medium saute setting. Add olive oil. Let it heat up for 1 minute.
  • Carefully pour the jar of passata into the Instant Pot. Add water to the jar of passata. Cover the jar with the lid and shake to clean out the jar. Pour the liquid from the jar into the Insant Pot.
  • Add sugar and salt. Turn off the saute setting. Stir to combine thoroughly.
  • Carefully place meatballs into the tomato sauce in one layer.
  • Pressure cook on high for 5 minutes. Quick release.
  • Serve with cooked mashed potatoes or cooked pasta.

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Meatloaf Next?

Check out our Grandma’s Meatloaf
or our Quick and Super Easy Instant Pot Italian Meatloaf.

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