Easy Instant Pot Spaghetti Sauce With Meat

This hearty, family-friendly Instant Pot spaghetti sauce with meat is ready in less than an hour–but tastes like you’ve been cooking all day!

If pasta with meat sauce is a family favorite but most jarred sauces leave you feeling “meh”, this recipe is for you!

This hearty, meaty spaghetti sauce recipe comes courtesy of my good friend, who simmers triple batches of it on the stove, then stashes dinner-sized portions in the freezer.

She’s gifted me so many tubs of it over the years that I finally asked for the recipe to make it myself.

Then I built in a shortcut: The Instant Pot!

This recipe makes about eight generous servings–in our case, it’s enough for one dinner (with two teenage boys) and one batch for the freezer for another week.

What You Need to Make Instant Pot Spaghetti Sauce With Meat

  • Olive oil: Use either extra-virgin or regular.
  • Onion: Use a yellow or sweet onion.
  • Garlic: I used whole cloves. If you’re using minced, jarred garlic, use 1/2 teaspoon in place of each clove (so you’d use 1 teaspoon jarred garlic for this recipe).
  • Ground beef: I used beef from the local farm. If buying at the store, choose a leaner option so you don’t have excess grease to drain.
  • Beef broth: I use Better Than Bouillon. You can also use chicken broth if that’s what you have.
  • Crushed tomatoes: This recipe makes a pretty smooth sauce, but you can use pureed tomatoes if you want an almost completely smooth texture.
  • Tomato sauce
  • Tomato paste
  • Spices + Seasonings: Dried oregano, basil, parsley, and thyme, plus granulated sugar, salt, and pepper.

How to Make Instant Pot Spaghetti Sauce With Meat

First, set your Instant Pot to Saute. Add the olive oil. When it’s hot and shimmery, add the ground beef and onion, stirring to break up the beef.

Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly to prevent scorching.

Add the beef broth to deglaze the pot, scraping any bits from the bottom. Add crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, and all spices and seasonings. Give it a good stir.

Close the Instant Pot. Make sure the top valve is set to “Sealing”, and turn to Manual. Set for 15 minutes. 

When time is up, do Quick release by moving the lever to “Venting” (I always place a kitchen towel over the valve to catch the steam). When the valve has dropped, open the lid and stir well. 

You’re ready for spaghetti night!

Help! My kids don’t like bits of onion.

My tester Cheryll opted for 1 teaspoon of onion powder and 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder because her crew likes a very smooth sauce.

Help! My Instant Pot won’t come to pressure!

Make sure you have scraped any browned bits from the bottom of your Instant Pot when you add the beef broth. I’ve learned the hard way that food stuck to the bottom of the pot can prevent the Instant Pot from coming to pressure.

How long does this sauce last in the refrigerator?

Leftover meat sauce kept in the refrigerator should be eaten within 3-4 days.

Can I make this recipe without an Instant Pot?

Yes, you can make it in a pot on the stove. Follow the instructions as listed, and simply simmer it on the stove for at least an hour, stirring occasionally.

How do I freeze spaghetti sauce?

Cool the sauce completely. (I typically stash the sauce in the refrigerator until it’s completely cold.) Then portion it into one of these options:

  • Freezer-safe ziptop bags. Squeeze all the excess air out. For easier stacking, lay the bag of sauce flat on a baking tray in the freezer until solid.
  • Freezer-safe containers. If using glass jars, opt for wide-mouth jars (jars with “shoulders” are more prone to cracking in the freezer). You can also use glass Pyrex dishes or freezer-safe plastic tubs.
Instant Pot Spaghetti Sauce With Meat

8 general servings

Prep Time:
15 minutes

Cook Time:
30 minutes

Total Time:
45 minutes


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound uncooked ground beef
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 28 ounces crushed tomatoes (1 large can)
  • 16 ounces tomato sauce (2 small cans)
  • 6 ounces tomato paste (1 small can)
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper


  1. Set Instant Pot to Saute. When it’s hot, add the olive oil. Add ground beef and onion, breaking up beef into small pieces and stirring frequently until browned. Add garlic and cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly.
  2. Add beef broth to deglaze pot, scraping any bits from the bottom of pot. Add crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, and all spices and seasonings. Stir well.
  3. Place lid on the Instant Pot. Make sure the valve is set to “sealing”. Set Instant Pot to manual for 15 minutes.
  4. When time is up, do a Quick Release by moving the valve to “venting” to release pressure (I place a towel over the pressure valve to catch the steam).
  5. When the valve has dropped, open the lid and stir well. Serve.


If you don’t have beef broth, you can use chicken broth.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield: 8
Serving Size: 1

Amount Per Serving:
Calories: 237Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 40mgSodium: 715mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 4gSugar: 11gProtein: 14g

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