Instant Pot Meatball Sandwich

meatball sandwich on a white plate with basil

5 from 1 reviews

Instant Pot Meatball Sandwich is quick, easy, and comforting.  Plus, homemade marinara sauce for ultimate flavor.


  • ½ cup whole wheat panko bread crumbs
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 pound lean ground turkey
  • ¼ cup finely chopped pancetta or bacon
  • ½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons dried onion flakes
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed by hand
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper

For the Sauce

  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • 1 28 oz can tomato puree
  • 1 28 oz can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • ½ cup fresh basil leaves, torn

For serving

  • Hoagie Roll
  • Provolone or mozzarella cheese sliced


  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine panko and milk and let it sit 1 minute to soak up a bit.  
  2. Add ground meat, pancetta or bacon, parmesan, egg, parsley, garlic, onion flakes, oregano, fennel, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper.  Gently mix by hand until combined.  
  3. Using a cookie scoop, form meat into loose balls; about 2-3 tablespoons each.  Set aside.
  4. To make sauce: Select saute on the pressure cooker and add oil.  When hot, add garlic and stir until aromatic, about 1 minute.  
  5. Add broth, tomato puree, and whole peeled tomatoes.  Sprinkle with salt. Do not stir.  
  6. Arrange meatballs in circular pattern on top of the sauce.  
  7. Secure the lid and turn pressure release knob to a sealed position.  Cook at high pressure for 5 minutes.
  8. When cooking is complete, use a natural release for 10 minutes and then release any remaining pressure.
  9. Give the meatballs a good stir.  Top with torn basil.  
  10. If a thicker sauce is preferred, use the saute function to simmer the sauce until thickened.
  11. To assemble the sandwich: Toast bread under the oven broiler for about 2 minutes until brown.
  12. Top with meatballs and a good amount of sauce.  Top with cheese and place back under the broiler to melt the cheese.
  13. Serve hot.


  • When forming meatballs, be careful not to pack them too tightly, this can lead to a tough meatballs.  Form them just tight enough that they will hold their shape when placed in the sauce.
  • Short cut tip:  Use a bag of frozen meatballs in place of the homemade or buy the premade meatballs at your favorite meat department.
  • Another short cut tip: Skip the “saute the garlic” step for the sauce.  The sauce gains an extra depth of flavor with the saute step, but in a pinch, throwing minced garlic in with the sauce ingredients will work too.
  • I use whole tomatoes because I love the large pieces on my sub.  You can substitute with diced tomatoes if you prefer smaller bites of tomato. 
  • Use a substantial hoagie so it won’t fall apart.  I like to pull out some of the insides of the roll so it will hold more meatballs and sauce.
  • There will be a lot of sauce, it can be used over pasta if you have extra or simply add more meatballs to the pot.

Keywords: instant pot meatball sandwiches, meatball sub, italian meatballs