Instant Pot Spanish Meatballs (Albondigas) with Tomato Sauce


A bowl of Spanish meatballs (Albondigas) in tomato sauce, with a pressure cooker and smoked paprika in the background.
Instant Pot Spanish Meatballs (Albondigas) with Tomato Sauce

Instant Pot Spanish Meatballs (Albondigas) with Tomato Sauce. Spanish style meatballs make a great main dish or tapas style appetizer.

Albondigas! Here are Spanish meatballs, a variation on my pressure cooker meatball technique. I’m working my way around the Mediterranean. (Greece, Italy, and now Spain.) What’s next? Let me know in the comments if there’s a Mediterranean meatball you’re looking for.

Spanish smoked paprika, pimenton de la Vera, is one of my secret ingredients. (It is not that big of a secret – I talk about it all the time). It’s the main spice in these meatballs, and that’s part of why I love them so much. Other than the smoky paprika, this is a pretty standard meatball recipe. Mix the meat, spices, bread crumbs, and an egg, shape into meatballs, and cook in tomato sauce in the pressure cooker.

I serve them as a main course with rice, or Spanish Tapas style, 2 or 3 on a small plate, topped with tomato sauce, as appetizers for a dinner party.

Recipe: Instant Pot Spanish Meatballs (Albondigas) with Tomato Sauce

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Description

Instant Pot Spanish Meatballs (Albondigas) with Tomato Sauce. Spanish style meatballs make a great main dish or tapas style appetizer.


  • pounds meatloaf mix (1 pound ground beef, ½ pound ground pork)
  • ¾ cup plain bread crumbs
  • 1 small onion, grated or finely minced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, grated or finely minced
  • ¼ cup minced fresh parsley (or 2 tablespoons dried parsley)
  • 1½ teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika (Pimenton de la Vera)
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 egg, beaten

Spanish Tomato Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika (Pimenton de la vera)
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ½ cup red wine (or more chicken broth, or water)
  • 1 cup chicken broth, (homemade or low sodium store-bought), or water
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon (a splash) Sherry vinegar (optional)
  • Minced parsley for garnish


  1. Shape the meatballs: In a large bowl, break up the ground beef and pork. Sprinkle the bread crumbs, onion, garlic, parsley, salt, paprika, and oregano over the meat, then work the dry ingredients into the meat. Once everything is evenly mixed, add the beaten egg, and work it into the meat. Roll the meat mix into 16 golf-ball sized meatballs, each about 2 inches in diameter.
  2. Sauté the aromatics for the tomato sauce: Heat the olive oil an Instant Pot set to sauté mode (or other pressure cooker set to medium heat) until the oil starts shimmering. Add the onion and garlic to the pot. Sprinkle with the paprika and ½ teaspoon sea salt, then saute, stirring occasionally, until the onions soften, about 5 minutes.
  3. Simmer the wine: Pour the wine into the pot and stir, scraping any stuck bits of onion loose from the bottom. Bring the wine to a simmer, and simmer for 1 minute to boil off some of the alcohol.
  4. Everything in the pot: Stir in the chicken broth, scraping the bottom of the pot one last time to make sure nothing is sticking. Add the meatballs to the pot, trying for a single layer of meatballs. (I usually wind up with one that has to sit on top of the others). Pour the crushed tomatoes over the meatballs.
  5. Pressure Cook for 15 minutes with a Natural Release: Lock the lid and pressure cook at high pressure for 15 minutes (Use “Manual” or “Pressure Cook” mode in an Instant Pot), or for 13 minutes if using a stovetop pressure cooker. Let the pressure to come down naturally, about 20 minutes. (If you’re in a hurry, let the pressure come down for 15 minutes then quick release any remaining pressure.)
  6. Serve: Scoop the meatballs out of the pot with a slotted spoon. Stir the fresh ground black pepper into the tomato sauce in the pot. Pour a few ladles of sauce over the meatballs, and use the rest to sauce your rice or pasta. Enjoy!

Notes

Spanish olive oil and a Rioja red wine are traditional for this recipe, but I don’t worry about it, and use what I have on hand.

Can’t find smoked paprika? You can use regular paprika in this recipe. But, before you give up, check the spice aisle at your grocery store – you might be pleasantly surprised to find smoked paprika has snuck in while you weren’t looking.

Tools

6 quart or larger pressure cooker (I love my Instant Pot 6-Quart Pressure Cooker)

Flat edged wooden spoon

  • Category: Weeknight Dinner
  • Method: Pressure Cooker
  • Cuisine: Spanish

Keywords: Instant Pot Spanish Meatballs (Albondigas) with Tomato Sauce, Pressure Cooker Spanish Meatballs (Albondigas) with Tomato Sauce

What do you think?

Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.

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My other Instant Pot and Pressure Cooker Recipes

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