Beef | February 16, 2012

America’s Test Kitchen Spaghetti and Meatballs

America's Test Kitchen Spaghetti and Meatballs

Who doesn’t love a good spaghetti dinner? TheAmerica’s Test Kitchen recipe for Spaghetti and Meatballs intrigued me because it calls for bread soaked in buttermilk, instead of the dried bread crumbs I use in my go-to recipe. The meatballs were extra tender, and the buttermilk added a bit of tang, as the Test Kitchen book promised. Yummy.
If you are looking for the perfect Sunday meal, (which in my opinion includes a good part of the meal prepared ahead) make these Saturday afternoon. After completely cooking the meatballs and preparing the sauce, let the meatballs bathe in the sauce overnight in the fridge.
Trust me, you’ll want to double this recipe.
One step closer to the day of rest.
America's Test Kitchen Spaghetti and Meatballs

5 from 1 vote

Spaghetti and Meatballs

adapted from America's Test Kitchen



  • 2 slices white bread crusts discarded, torn into small cubes
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk or 6 tablespoons plain yogurt thinned with 2 tablespoons sweet milk
  • 3/4 pound ground beef or 1 pound if omitting ground pork below
  • 1/4 pound ground pork to be mixed with ground chuck
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 small clove garlic minced (1 teaspoon)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • Vegetable oil for pan-frying

Simple Tomato Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh basil leaves
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • grated Parmesan for topping pasta


For the meatballs:

  1. Combine bread and buttermilk in small bowl, mashing occasionally with fork, until smooth paste forms.
  2. Mix all meatball ingredients, including bread mixture and pepper in medium bowl. Lightly form 2 tablespoons of mixture into 1 1/2-inch round meatballs; repeat with remaining mixture to form approximately 18-20 meatballs. (Compacting them can make the meatballs dense and hard. Can be placed on large plate, covered loosely with plastic wrap, and refrigerated for several hours.)
  3. Meanwhile, heat about two to three tablespoons vegetable oil over medium-high heat in 10- or 11-inch non stick saute pan. When edge of meatball dipped in oil sizzles, add meatballs in single layer. Fry, turning several times, until nicely browned on all sides, about 10 minutes, regulating heat as needed to keep oil sizzling but not smoking. Transfer browned meatballs to paper towel--lined plate; set aside. Repeat, if necessary, with remaining meatballs.

For the sauce:

  1. Discard oil in pan, leaving behind any browned bits. Add olive oil along with garlic; saute, scraping up any browned bits, just until garlic is golden, about 30 seconds. Add tomatoes, bring to boil, and simmer gently until sauce thickens, about 10 minutes. Stir in sugar and basil; add salt and pepper to taste. Add meatballs and simmer. Keep warm over low flame.

For pasta:

  1. Heat 4 quarts of water to boiling in a large pot to cook pasta. Add 1 tablespoon salt and pasta to boiling water. Follow package directions and cook until al dente, drain, and return to pot until serving.

Recipe Notes

This recipe serves about 6 adults.
- The longer the sauce simmers, the more flavorful the dish will be. Preparing the dish the day before allows for best flavor. This dish may be prepared up to five days before serving. On day of serving, cook pasta and heat up sauce on stove top over low to medium heat for about 45 minutes.

39 thoughts on “Instant Pot Beef Stroganoff

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Recipe Rating

  1. I am confused with the butter. It’s 4 tablespoons of butter but you only used 2? I may have missed something.

  2. I too, love Beef Stroganoff, I stopped making it because I could never get the meat tender. I tried this recipe last night in the pressure cooker and loved it. The meat could be cut with a spoon. Although, I do have to say that I missed the sour cream. I tried the healthier option, but I think next time I will use the sour cream.

    Keep up the good work! I love your blog and tell everyone about it!

    1. Kae Lynne,

      Isn’t it amazing how the Instant Pot cooking method tenderizes meat? Glad you loved this recipe. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the sour cream too!

  3. Just purchased my instant pot two weeks ago and this is my favorite recipe so far! (Just shared it with Erin over at! Was afraid the 3 T of Worcestershire Sauce was going to be too strong — it was absolutely delicious!

    1. Thanks Mary Ann! My daughter, Corrine, says this is their family favorite as well!
      Thanks for reading ABK

  4. I’ve made this twice and it’s so good that I HAD to come back and comment! The first time I made it with the round steak as per the recipe, but last night I used stew meat from Trader Joe’s meat section and it was even better! Both meats are awesome though. I love this recipe, and so did all my picky kids. 🙂

    1. Chelsea,
      Thank you so much for your positive comments! I’m glad this recipe got the “thumbs up” from your kids!
      Thanks for reading ABK!

  5. Don’t waste your time with this recipe. Betty Crocker on the stove takes 38 minutes. Instant pot 90 minutes, not including slicing and prepping time. If you like your stroganoff soupy, you will love this. It also dirtied an enormous amount of dishes, which I did by hand. I prefer the hamburger helper version of this.

  6. 4 stars
    Made this tonight and really enjoyed it. Meat was tender and I love that it calls for lots of mushrooms!

    The sauce was pretty thin and just wondering if that is how it is supposed to be? It was really too thin to serve on plates….we really needed bowls. Should I add more flour the next time?

    1. Julie,
      Some readers have commented that they have added more flour or cornstarch to the recipe to thicken a bit. Try that next time and let me know how it works for you.
      Thanks for your positive comments!

  7. 5 stars
    We LOVED this stroganoff!!! I used 2 lbs. of top round steak instead of just 1 1/2 lbs. and used 2/3 cup greek yogurt. I also used a little cornstarch at the end because I love a thick sauce. The flavors were so rich and delicious! I couldn’t stop sneaking extra bites as I was cleaning up dinner. Another amazing ABK recipe!

  8. 5 stars
    Grew up with the traditional hamburger/canned cream soup stroganoff. Believe me, I still love it, brings back so many memories. But last night, I wanted a step up from hamburger. Last minute decided to try this recipe. So glad I did! The meat was so tender and the gravy so creamy. My picky twins LOVED it. Easy to make with simple ingredients. Thank you!

  9. 5 stars
    Made this last week and it was a huge hit! Doubled it to freeze the rest and worked out great. For some reason it was a bit thin for me, so while heating it back up at the end with the yogurt I added a little bit of cornstarch and water. Thanks for the delicious, homey recipe! It’s a keeper for sure.

  10. I am dying to try this recipe! I have impressed many a friends and family with your instant pot beef stew recipe. Quick question, though. What happens if you omit the flour? I am trying to use only non-gluten grains. Thanks in advance!

    1. Hi Janine,
      You will need something to thicken the sauce, If you are gf, try removing about 1/2 cup of the liquid after cooking and then whisk in a tablespoon of cornstarch until smooth and then add back into the IP while it is on saute mode. It should thicken the sauce without using flour!
      thanks for reading ABK,

  11. 5 stars
    Great flavors and easy recipe! I love how tender the meat gets in the pressure cooker, and it tastes really good! My young children love it too. I add a small yellow onion when I sauté the mushrooms at the beginning because I like to taste both garlic and onion in my stroganoff.

  12. 5 stars
    Such an awesome recipe! It was so easy to make and the meat was so tender I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t have any cornstarch so I added some flour at the end to thicken the sauce just a little bit. It wasn’t really needed though, because the sauce is so good on its own. My husband asked for it twice in one week, it was that good.

    1. Chanel,
      I’m glad this recipe was a hit with your family! I love having a go-to recipe I know everyone will enjoy!
      Thanks for your positive comments and thanks for reading ABK.

  13. Hi there! So excited to try this… I don’t have a pressure cooker…do I just follow the instructions and cook it in the crock pot all day instead of the pressure cooker? I definitely don’t want my meat tough! Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Gina,
      You will need more liquid to cover this to a slow cooker recipe…and Ive found that beef stroganoff needs about 8 hours on low to produce a tender meat in the slow cooker!

        1. Jayme,
          I’d use 2 1/2 – 3 cups broth for a slow cooker recipe.
          Please write back and let me know how this recipe worked for you.
          Thanks for reading ABK.

  14. This was the first dish that I made in my IP. My IP sat in my cupboard for over a year because I was so intimidated to use it. This dish was so easy to make and the meat was so tender. I will definitely make this dish again. It is one of my families favorite dishes.

    Keep the IP recipes coming.

    1. Michelle,
      I’m glad you finally opened your Instant Pot and used it. Keep cooking with your IP and soon you’ll be wondering how you ever lived without it! Thank you for your wonderful feedback. I’d love to hear your thoughts on my other IP recipes.
      Thanks for reading ABK.

  15. 5 stars
    Thank you for the recipe. The flavors were point on! Followed some reviewers advice and added a cornstarch slurry but still was very thin. Next time will add more flour after neat browns. Also my meat was just in bits. I guess I will qr next go around.
    Thank you again

  16. 5 stars
    Oh my!!!! This is the best recipe!!!! I was worried that I had browned the meat to long and it was going to be tough but oh no it was so tender! I used petite sirloin steaks cut up as that is what I had and was so good! I added the 1 tsp cornstarch with water at the end and then let it boil for a bit then poured it over the noodles. My family all raved about it and my husband suggested I make it for our extended family dinner and my son requested to have it for school lunch tomorow. Thank you for sharing your yummy recipes with us!

    1. You’re welcome, Syndee, I’m so glad you and your family enjoyed it! It’s one of our favorites too, thank you for sharing!

    1. Hi Nadine, yes I would follow the cook time on the recipe, even if you’re using the stew meat. Thank you for asking!

  17. I am IN LOVE with this stroganoff recipe! So much so, that I made it a few weeks ago for the first time, and just got all of the ingredients to make for my family again this week. I used stew meat instead, and it came out fork tender. The only other change is we are not huge mushroom fans so I omitted those, but otherwise followed the recipe to a “T.” (Went the apple juice and sour cream route. Dried parsley instead of fresh. Used exact measurements for salt and pepper.) This would be a great meal to take in to another family! Just know that you will need a little more time to complete this instant pot meal. The meat takes some time to become tender. But it’s so worth the wait!