A simplified Sunday Gravy meat sauce is easy to make in an Instant Pot with just a few paleo pantry staples. This Whole30-, paleo-, and keto-friendly meat sauce recipe is a fantastic make-ahead dish, and perfect for serving over vegetable noodles. It’s a healthy and easy “spaghetti and meat sauce” that you can enjoy anytime!
I love sharing shortcuts to deliciousness, and this easy Instant Pot Meat Sauce is one of my favorite hearty comfort foods! This streamlined Sunday Gravy isn’t a super fast recipe because it still takes about 90 minutes from start to finish—but the actual hands-on time is pretty minimal. Plus, you can program your Instant Pot in the morning and it’ll keep the meat sauce warm until you get home in the evening!
How do you make this easy meat sauce Whole30-compliant?
If you’re on a Whole30, the two ingredients in this recipe that can be tricky are the Italian sausage and store-bought marinara sauce—you have to make sure they’re both Whole30-compliant. Personally, I like to get the 365 Everyday Value Mild Italian Pork sausage that comes in fat tubes near the cooked sausage at Whole Foods Market. You can also ask your local butcher if they carry Italian sausage made with compliant ingredients. If you can’t find any, just use plain ground pork and add a compliant Italian herb blend and/or Magic Mushroom Powder.
The marinara sauce is even easier. When I did my first Whole30 years ago, there was only one jarred marinara sauce made with compliant ingredients AND tasted really good: Rao’s. Nowadays, there are plenty of Whole30-compliant marinara sauces available at most grocery chains. Just check the label and find one that fits your taste!
Key cooking tips for this Instant Pot Meat Sauce
- You don’t need to add extra liquid! The meat and marinara sauce will release enough liquid for the Instant Pot to reach high pressure. If you add extra liquid, the sauce will be diluted and bland, and you’ll have to reduce it even longer at the end.
- If you have a newer Instant Pot that gets the “Burn” error message easily, don’t stir in the marinara sauce and diced tomatoes—just pour it on top of the meat before cooking it under high pressure.
- Reduce the sauce on the Sauté function after it’s done cooking. In other words, cook it down to thicken the sauce and concentrate the flavors. (Of course, if you’re in a rush to eat, it’s totally okay to skip this part!)
What do you serve this on?
To make a Whole30-friendly supper, serve the sauce on noodle imposters made with vegetables! Some of my favorite veggie noodles include roasted spiralized sweet potatoes (a.k.a. swoodles), raw spiralized zucchini (zoodles) or summer squash, and Instant Pot steamed spaghetti squash. I like to roast the swoodles in the oven with some olive oil and salt before I top them with the sauce. Sometimes I just ladle the sauce on top of roasted broccoli or cauliflower rice!
What if you don’t have an Instant Pot?
You can cook the sauce on the stovetop in a Dutch oven or in a slow cooker!
For the stovetop method: Increase the amount of marinara sauce to 3 cups and simmer partly covered for about 3 hours or until the chuck roast is tender.
For the slow cooker: Add the sautéed sausage and onions into a slow cooker, along with the other ingredients. Increase the amount of marinara sauce to 2 cups and cook on low for 8 hours.
How do you save leftovers?
Any leftover Instant Pot Meat Sauce can be kept in a sealed container in the fridge for up 4 days or frozen for up to 6 months. FYI, my favorite leftover makeover to cook with Instant Pot Meat Sauce is to make a hearty soup! Dilute the meat sauce with broth (a 1:1 ratio of sauce to broth works great) and bring to a simmer with extra veggies. Boom!
Let’s make Instant Pot Meat Sauce!
- 1 pound bulk mild Italian sausage
- 1 small onion, diced
- 6 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
- 2½ pounds beef chuck roast, cut into 1½-inch cubes
- Magic Mushroom Powder or Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- 1 cup marinara sauce (I like Rao’s brand)
- 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced roasted tomatoes, drained
- Italian parsley (optional garnish)
- All of my recommended kitchen tools are listed here.
- My recommended Instant Pot models are listed here.
Turn on the sauté function on the Instant Pot. When it’s hot, add the sausage and diced onions.
Break up the sausage with a spatula and cook until it’s no longer pink and the onions are softened. Stir in the garlic and cancel the sauté function.
Add in the cubed chuck roast and sprinkle on 1 teaspoon of Magic Mushroom Powder or Diamond Crystal kosher salt. Stir well to combine.
Pour the marinara sauce on top and add the diced tomatoes. No need to stir at this point or add extra liquid!
Lock the lid on the Instant Pot and program it to cook under high pressure for 35 minutes. When the meat sauce is finished cooking, let the pressure drop naturally or release it manually after waiting 15 minutes.
At this point, stir the sauce. Then, turn on the Sauté function and bring the sauce to a rolling boil. Cook, reducing the sauce for about 15 minutes or until you cook off 0.5 liter or about 2 cups. (You can skip the reduction part if you don’t mind a thinner sauce.)
While the sauce is simmering, use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to smush and shred the chuck roast against the side of the pot.
When the sauce has reduced and thickened, taste it and adjust the seasoning with Magic Mushroom Powder or salt if needed.
Serve over cooked spiralized sweet potato noodles (swoodles!), spiralized zucchini noodles (zoodles!), or cooked spaghetti squash! Sprinkle on minced Italian parsley if you’re feeling fancy!
Looking for more Whole30 Instant Pot recipes?
Click here for my ever-growing list of easy, Nomtastic, and Whole30 Instant Pot recipes!
Looking for more recipe ideas? Head on over to my Recipe Index. You’ll also find exclusive recipes on my iPhone and iPad app, and in my cookbooks, Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2013), Ready or Not! (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2017), and Nom Nom Paleo: Let’s Go! (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2021).
PRINTER-FRIENDLY RECIPE CARD
Instant Pot Meat Sauce
- 1 pound bulk Italian sausage
- 1 small onion diced
- 6 garlic cloves smashed and peeled
- 2½ pounds beef chuck roast cut into 1½-inch cubes
- Magic Mushroom Powder or Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- 1 cup marinara sauce I like Rao’s brand
- 14.5 ounces canned diced roasted tomatoes drained
- ¼ cup chopped Italian parsley optional garnish
- Turn on the sauté function on the Instant Pot. When it’s hot, add the sausage and diced onions.
- Break up the sausage with a spatula and cook until it’s no longer pink and the onions are softened. Stir in the smashed garlic and cancel the sauté function.
- Add in the cubed chuck roast and sprinkle on 1 teaspoon of Magic Mushroom Powder or Diamond Crystal kosher salt. Stir well to combine.
- Pour the marinara sauce on top and add the diced tomatoes. No need to stir at this point or add extra liquid!
- Lock the lid on the Instant Pot and program it to cook under high pressure for 35 minutes. When the meat sauce is finished cooking, let the pressure drop naturally or release it manually after waiting 15 minutes.
- At this point, stir the sauce. Then, turn on the Sauté function and bring the sauce to a rolling boil. Cook, reducing the sauce for about 15 minutes or until you cook off 0.5 liter or about 2 cups. (You can skip the reduction part if you don’t mind a thinner sauce.)
- While the sauce is simmering, use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to smush and shred the chuck roast against the side of the pot.
- When the sauce has reduced and thickened, taste it and adjust the seasoning with Magic Mushroom Powder or salt if needed.
- Serve over cooked spiralized sweet potato noodles (swoodles!), spiralized zucchini noodles (zoodles!), or cooked spaghetti squash! Sprinkle on minced Italian parsley if you’re feeling fancy!
Mrs Brown says
Can I use organic ground Bison? Is it same cooking time?
Jennifer Bryan says
Can you prepare in a slow cooker?
Heather Buentello says
I make this about twice a month. We love it over spaghetti squash! I do not have a saute function on my instant pot so I brown the sausage with the onions in an enameled cast iron pot while cooking the cubed chuck roast with the garlic and diced tomatoes (I used the fire-roasted) in the pressure cooker. Then I throw it all together with the spaghetti sauce in my enameled cast iron pot and let it simmer for a few hours. We also add a ton of cut baby bella mushrooms! Thanks for another awesome recipe!
This recipe is DELICIOUS and so, so simple! Reducing the sauce in the instant pot created a big burned stuck layer of stuff on the bottom, so I think next time I will transfer to a pot to simmer on the stove.
Love, love, love the website and recipes! A question–Can the recipe be made with Hamburg instead of chuck roast? If so, how would it change the recipe for both the Instant Pot and stove-top versions? Many thanks.
Michelle Tam says
You can use ground beef in place of chuck roast. If so, decrease cooking time to 15 minutes under high pressure in the Instant Pot.
Stephanie Lai says
Do you think pork shoulder could be substituted for the chuck roast? I have pork shoulder! Too porky?
Michelle Tam says
Did you know the Instant Pot you recommend is not available at Amazon? Do you know why?
Love your recipes.
Michelle Tam says
Not sure why it isn’t available. Maybe it’s just temporarily out of stock.
Donna in Brooklyn says
So delicious! I don’t eat pork so I used one pound of ground turkey (dark meat) instead of the sausage, adding salt and Italian seasoning to it beforehand. I added a small amount of avocado oil in the pot to saute, since I assume turkey — even the dark meat — won’t have as much fat as pork sausage. Otherwise i stuck to the recipe, though I am reducing it in a dutch oven on the stovetop since other posters had not great luck doing the reduction in the Instant Pot. I suspect the saute temp on the Instant Pot is too high, and on my machine at least, it is not variable. One temp fits all. Anyway thanks for this recipe!!!
David Churchill says
Just made this for Sunday family dinner and it was a huge hit. This is making the regular rotation. The only tweet I did an eight ounce pork chop in there because I needed to cook it. Fantastic.
Didn’t have sausage or chuck roast, used 2 lbs of grass fed/finish ground beef instead, cooked in the Instant Pot. Still delicious