Instant Pot Italian meatballs and sauce Subway copycat recipe is an easy crowd pleasing and versatile dinner option that you can serve with spaghetti, penne, or in a meatball sub or pizza.
I mean, who doesn’t love spaghetti and meatballs?
This dish is one of the most comforting foods. I have so many memories of spaghetti and meatballs, from childhood.
And in more recent years, I remember running a Super Bowl themed 5K race event in a cold February.
At the end of the race, the participants were provided with the most delicious Italian meatballs with marinara sauce served in a meatball sub.
After such a cold run in the snow, there was nothing better to warm up with than that meatballs and sauce recipe.
And I remember being so impressed that Italian meatballs and sauce were served after the race. I don’t think I had ever had such a satisfying post run meal as part of an event.
The sub was amazing, and it kind of made me want to have a meatball sandwich after every time I run in the cold, from that day forward.
Thankfully, with this recipe, it’s easy to make a big batch of meatballs and sauce.
Perfect over spaghetti or pasta (or spaghetti squash), in a meatball sub or as a meatball pita pizza.
Content in this Post
- Ingredients in Instant Pot Italian Meatballs and Sauce (Subway Copycat Recipe)
- Optional Variations and Substitutions
- How To Make Instant Pot Italian Meatballs and Sauce (Subway Copycat Recipe)
- STEP 1: Prepare the Eggs
- STEP 2: Mix the Ingredients
- STEP 3: Form the Meatballs
- STEP 4: Brown the Meatballs
- STEP 5: Pressure Cook the Meatballs
- STEP 6: Mix and Serve
- Crockpot Italian Meatballs and Sauce Subway Copycat Recipe
- What To Serve With Instant Pot Italian Meatballs and Sauce (Subway Copycat Recipe)
- Best Uses For Leftover Instant Pot Italian Meatballs and Sauce (Subway Copycat Recipe)
- Storage Tips For Instant Pot Italian Meatballs and Sauce (Subway Copycat Recipe)
- More Easy Instant Pot Dinners
- You’ll Also Love
Ingredients in Instant Pot Italian Meatballs and Sauce (Subway Copycat Recipe)
Although we are making Subway copycat, we have made some changes that we like in this recipe.
We’ve included parmesan cheese grated from a block of Parmigiano Reggiano, since my Nonna would always add parmesan cheese to meatballs.
Not only inside the meatballs, as part of the meat mixture, but also with a mandatory generous sprinkle of parmesan on top of the dish.
Instead of fresh breadcrumbs, we use panko crumbs as they are higher in fiber as well as being low in calories, fat and sodium in comparison with regular breadcrumbs.
Moreover, we add a bit of hot sauce to enhance the flavors.
- Beef Mince — We have incorporated half beef and half pork in the meat mixture, although you can use all beef if you prefer.
- Pork Mince — The texture with half pork and half beef is recommended, however, if you’d rather, you can stick with one type of meat or use different ratios.
- Eggs — two large eggs
- Parmesan Cheese — freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano from a block of parmesan cheese is preferred. We have incorporated parmesan cheese into the recipe although it is not in the traditional Subway recipe. You’ll love the flavor the parmesan cheese imparts into the meatballs.
- Panko — Japanese panko crumbs are used in place of fresh breadcrumbs here, although you can feel free to substitute fresh or regular breadcrumbs. We like panko for the light texture as well as being lower in calories, sodium and fat than regular bread. Panko has the additional bonus of being higher in fiber than breadcrumbs.
- Garlic — fresh garlic cloves, peeled and minced, or substitute some garlic powder if you don’t have fresh. Feel free to omit if you’re not a fan of garlic.
- Onion — white, red or yellow onion, diced or minced finely. If serving to kids be sure to puree the onions or mince them super fine, or omit.
- Hot Sauce — optional, adds a little kick to the mix.
- Italian Seasoning — dried Italian herbs blend, you can also include fresh finely chopped parsley and other fresh herbs, if you like them. The amount of dried Italian seasoning can be reduced to 1 tablespoon if you prefer less.
- Salt — we use ground Himalayan pink salt, but if you don’t have it you can use regular salt to enhance the flavors.
- Butter — a tablespoon of butter is used when browning the meatballs. You can sub avocado oil if you wish.
- Marinara Sauce — For convenience we use a good quality marinara sauce that we buy at Costco called Victoria White Linen. It is a thick sauce with chunks of tomatoes and garlic and it saves a lot of time since we don’t need to make our own sauce when we have this one. Feel free to substitute any homemade marinara sauce, such as Instant Pot marinara sauce with fresh tomatoes or a good quality store bought sauce.
Optional Variations and Substitutions
If you’d rather use another type of ground meat (chicken, turkey, sausage, etc.), you can follow the recipe steps as outlined below.
Although, the ratio of half beef and half pork lends the best texture that we’ve found so far.
How To Make Instant Pot Italian Meatballs and Sauce (Subway Copycat Recipe)
STEP 1: Prepare the Eggs
Crack the eggs into a small mixing bowl. Beat the eggs until mixed well.
STEP 2: Mix the Ingredients
Place all the ingredients except for the marinara sauce and water in a stan mixer bowl.
Secure the paddle to the stand mixer. Lower and lock the mixer head.
Blend the ingredients until a uniform mix.
STEP 3: Form the Meatballs
Wet your hands and roll the meatballs 1/8 cup of mix per meatball. This recipe makes about 30 meatballs.
STEP 4: Brown the Meatballs
Press Sauté on the Instant Pot. Place butter and half of the meatballs (about 15 meatballs) in the inner pot when the display reads “HOT”.
Brown the meatballs for 2-3 minutes before carefully turning them over using a spatula. When the meatballs are evenly browned, transfer them to a plate or bowl and brown the other half of the meatballs.
When all the meatballs are browned, add the water and deglaze the inner pot.
STEP 5: Pressure Cook the Meatballs
Place the trivet in the Instant Pot.
Place all the meatballs on the trivet.
Pour the prepared marinara sauce on top of the meatballs. Secure the lid on the Instant Pot and move the pressure valve to Sealing. Pressure cook on HIGH pressure, normal temperature, for seven (7) minutes. Quick release when the pressure cycle is completed.
STEP 6: Mix and Serve
When the pressure is released and it is safe to do so, carefully remove the lid and stir the marinara sauce so that all of the meatballs are covered. Serve with your favorite pasta.
Crockpot Italian Meatballs and Sauce Subway Copycat Recipe
In order to make this in a crockpot or slow cooker, all you need to do is follow all of the steps as provided.
EXCEPT that after the meatballs are browned, you will add them along with the marinara sauce to a slow cooker.
From there, you’ll cook on HIGH for up to four hours or on LOW for up to 8 hours.
What To Serve With Instant Pot Italian Meatballs and Sauce (Subway Copycat Recipe)
Serve Instant Pot Italian meatballs and sauce on spaghetti or pasta as well as Instant Pot spaghetti squash.
They are also great on top of zucchini noodles that you can learn how to make in our recipe for goat cheese sundried tomato pasta.
Italian meatballs and sauce are excellent with the following appetizers and side dishes:
- Spinach Artichoke Dip
- Marinated Olives
- Italian House Style Salad (Olive Garden Copycat)
- Asparagus Cucumber Tomato Salad
- Stuffed Mushroom Caps With Crabmeat
Best Uses For Leftover Instant Pot Italian Meatballs and Sauce (Subway Copycat Recipe)
- Meatball Sub (Subway Copycat)
- Meatball Pita Pizza (shown below)
- Meatball Open Face Sandwich – On one slice of bread, place a little mayo or a slice of cheese and top with meatballs that are cut in half. You can add some pickles and sprinkle on a little lettuce if you like it.
Storage Tips For Instant Pot Italian Meatballs and Sauce (Subway Copycat Recipe)
Refrigerate meatballs and sauce in a container with lid for up to three days for optimal flavor and freshness.
They are a great dish to freeze for another time, especially since this recipe makes a large batch. You can save a portion for another dinner in a freezer safe container for about two months.
More Easy Instant Pot Dinners
- Swedish Meatballs (IKEA Copycat) — shown below
- Pork Tenderloin With Gravy
- Fenugreek Chicken (Methi Murgh)
- Murgh Makhani (Butter Chicken)
- Mango Chicken Curry
- Better Than Takeout Beef and Broccoli
- Instant Pot Doner Kebab
- Eggplant Curry With Bell Peppers
- Eggplant Chickpea Stew (Maghmour)
You’ll Also Love
Instant Pot IKEA Swedish Meatballs with gravy are similar in preparation yet taste so different!
One of the toughest debates of all time, and especially when a Swede and Italian are married, is who has the better meatball recipe?
I don’t think we’ll ever really know the answer to this. Except for, quite logically, it seems Italian meatballs and Swedish meatballs must be equally delicious in their own ways.
Try both and let us know which ones you prefer so we can settle this friendly debate once and for all!
Instant Pot Italian Meatballs and Sauce (Subway Copycat Recipe)
- 1 pound Beef, ground
- 1 pound Pork , ground
- 2 Eggs, large
- 1 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated or shredded
- 1 cup Panko
- 2 Tablespoons Italian Seasoning, dried
- 2 teaspoons Salt
- ½ teaspoon Hot Sauce
- ½ teaspoon Garlic, fresh, minced
- ¼ cup Onions, diced finely
- 1 tablespoon Butter, or avocado oil, for browning the meatballs
- ½ cup Water, to bring Instant Pot to pressure and deglaze the pot
- 4 cups Marinara Sauce, homemade or prepared
- Crack the eggs into a small mixing bowl.
- Beat the eggs until blended well.
- Pour all ingredients except marinara sauce and water into a stand mixer.
- Attach the paddle, lower the mixer head and secure it in place.
- Blend the ingredients until a uniform mix. Unlock and lift the mixer head, remove the mixing bowl.
- Scoop up ⅛ cup meat mix and roll the meatballs using your hands. Tip: wet your hands to make the meat mixture not stick This recipe makes about 30 meatballs.
- Press Sauté on the Instant Pot. When the display reads HOT, place butter and half of the meatballs (about 14 – 15) in the inner pot.
- Brown the meatballs for a few minutes before carefully flipping them over using a spatula. Be careful to not break the meatballs. When the meatballs are browned all over, transfer them to a plate or bowl and brown the rest of the meatballs.
- Pour in a half cup of water. If needed, use a spatula to deglaze the pot. Make sure there are no stuck pieces on the bottom of the inner pot as it may cause it to burn during the pressure cycle.
- Add the trivet to the Instant Pot.
- Place all the meatballs on the trivet in the Instant Pot.
- Pour the prepared marinara sauce on top of the meatballs. Try to make sure most of the sauce stays on top of the meatballs and doesn't run down to the bottom of the pot as it may cause it to burn during the pressure cycle. Secure the lid on the Instant Pot and move the pressure valve to "Sealing". Pressure Cook on HIGH at Normal temperature for seven (7) minutes. Quick release when completed.
- When the pressure has been released and it is safe to do so, carefully remove the lid off the Instant Pot. Remove the trivet by letting the meatballs fall into the marinara sauce. Gently stir the marinara sauce so that all the meatballs are covered. Serve with your favorite pasta or together with Instant Pot Spaghetti Squash.
The above nutritional values are estimates and should only be used as a guide. If you are following a specific diet or have dietary restrictions, please use your preferred nutritional calculator. If you have a food allergy please ensure that none of the listed ingredients are part of your restrictions. As well, always use a food thermometer to ensure safe cooking temperature of the food items.