How to Make Meatballs in the Instant Pot Low Carb?

How to Make Meatballs in the Instant Pot Low Carb?

Juicy and tender, these easy low carb meatballs with sauce are made in just a few minutes in your Instant Pot!  These keto friendly Instant Pot meatballs are the perfect topping for cooked spaghetti squash or zoodles!  A Hungry family favorite!

This week is all about low carb Instant Pot recipes, and will end with a collection of my favorite keto friendly Instant Pot recipes on Friday.  I’m traveling in the states right now so hopefully I’ll be able to stay on schedule – if not I promise to post the rest next week instead!

It’s no secret that I love meatballs, so when I was brainstorming low carb recipes to make using the Instant Pot, this easy keto meatballs and sauce recipe was at the top of the list!  It’s a variation of the basic meatballs from my popular low carb Meatballs alla Parmigiana recipe, and I was really hoping that cooking them in the Instant Pot would be easy and yield good results.

Having never used an Instant Pot to make meatballs before, I wasn’t sure that they wouldn’t just turn to mush, leaving me with meat sauce when I opened it after cooking.  So it was with trepidation that I did the first test run, and I was ridiculously excited that they not only held together, but were so much juicier and more tender than my traditional method!

Usually it takes all day simmering in the sauce for them to get that gorgeous flavor and texture – but these meatballs cooked in my Instant Pot in just 10 minutes!

Typically I would saute my meatballs in olive oil to get a nice brown crust on them and then simmer them in my easy keto marinara sauce for a bit.  I considered sautéing that first batch in a nonstick pan and then finishing them in the IP, but that kind of defeats the purpose of the ease of using my Instant Pot to make meatballs.

Because the Instant Pot comes with the saute feature, I tried browning the meatballs in a little olive oil in the stainless insert that comes with it.  They stuck like crazy.  So after the initial batch was browned and left a lot of meat stuck to the bottom, I just layered the rest of the meatballs in raw and poured the sauce over them.

After cooking the Instant Pot meatballs on low pressure for 10 minutes and releasing the steam, I really did expect to find a meat sauce in there, but the meatballs were fully intact.  Be sure to leave space between them though and don’t jam them in too tight.

So you can brown the meatballs first, or not brown them first – the bottom ones that had browned didn’t taste any different than the others.  That being said, the bits of browned meat from the process did melt into the sauce, and probably added another layer of flavor to it that cooking all of them raw in it wouldn’t have.

No matter which method you use to make these low carb Instant Pot meatballs, I’m fully confident they will be delicious!

Another point I want to add is that I used the equivalent of 85/15 lean beef and there was definitely an oil slick at the top of the sauce.  I spooned some of it off and it wasn’t a problem.

You could probably get away with a leaner beef for this meatball recipe if you want to skip that step – I don’t know if it will make your meatballs less tender or not.  I suspect you’ll be fine either way – you can even use ground turkey for these Instant Pot meatballs if you prefer.

If you don’t yet have an Instant Pot and are wondering what all the fuss is about, you can get more information on why I love them over on the IBIH Pantry Recommendations Page!  It’s my hand’s down favorite appliance and I have gifted many of them to friends and IBIH readers at my own expense because of it!

Look for more low carb Instant Pot recipes coming soon!

Ingredients :

  • 1.5 lbs ground beef (85/15 or leaner)
  • 2 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • ¾ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup almond flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dried onion flakes
  • ¼ tsp dried oregano
  • 1/3 cup warm water
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 3 cups (or any sugar free marinara sauce)

Instructions :

  1. Combine meatball ingredients in a medium bowl and mix thoroughly by hand.
  2. Form into approximately 15 two inch meatballs.
  3. Coat the bottom of the Instant Pot insert with the olive oil.
  4. If you wish to brown them, turn on the saute function and brown on both sides – or brown in a separate nonstick pan first.
  5. Layer the browned or raw meatballs in the Instant Pot, leaving 1/2 inch of space between them. Don’t press down.
  6. Pour the marinara sauce evenly over the meatballs.
  7. Seal the Instant Pot according to the manufacturers instructions.
  8. Set the Instant Pot to Manual.
  9. Select low pressure.
  10. Set the cook time to 10 minutes.
  11. Once the timer goes off (it will be longer than 10 minutes total due to preheating time,) turn the valve to vent and allow the steam to dissipate completely.
  12. Remove the lid and serve the meatballs with sauce over zoodles or spaghetti squash if desired.

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