by Olena

Instant Pot Meatballs (Turkey or Beef, Fresh or Frozen + Video)

by Olena

5 from 6 reviews

These Instant Pot Meatballs are life changing! Make with any meat, no sauteing, with or no sauce, fresh or frozen, as an appetizer or even add pasta for a one pot meal.

As always, mind blown by Instant Pot. I could have never imagined meatballs in Instant Pot so juicy and easy without browning them first. And so healthy!!!

Instant Pot Meatballs

Meatballs in Instant Pot

Instant Pot meatballs come out just as good or may I say even better than regular meatballs. Especially, when it comes to meatballs with ground turkey.

I have a recipe for healthy turkey meatballs with necessary addition of zucchini to keep them moist. Meatballs in Instant Pot come out juicy with any meat thanks to the pressure cooking method. Steam and moisture simply do not escape the pot locking in all the juices in the meatballs.

Instant Pot meatballs – mind blown! No browning or sauteing, with or without tomato sauce, fresh or frozen, as an appetizer or even add pasta for a one pot mealInstant Pot Meatballs garnished with parsley

Ingredients You Will Need

Instant Pot meatballs ingredients are completely flexible. I was terrified I would end up with a meat sauce, for sure scary. At last, we are dropping balls of raw meat and cooking them on high pressure.

But none of that happened during 5 tests. I also have tested meatballs with different ingredients and have to say that meatballs cooked in a pressure cooker come out delicious every single time.

You will need:

  • 1 lb 3 oz any ground meat: Ground turkey, chicken, beef, pork, lamb, venison etc.
  • Fresh garlic and onion or garlic powder and onion flakes: I have to say that adding minced, pureed or grated fresh garlic and onion produced the tastiest meatballs and the sauce.
  • Dried oregano, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper: I find spices are so flexible. Use what you like or have on hand.
  • 15 oz can low sodium tomato sauce: If cooking in sauce.
  • Egg, oatmeal or breadcrumbs are completely unnecessary but can be used.

Instant Pot Meatballs with a toothpick served as appetizer in a baking dish

How to Make Meatballs Without Sauce

Are you new to Instant Pot? Check out my Instant Pot guide. Don’t have one yet? See which one I recommend to buy based on your lifestyle and family size.

  1. Mince fresh onion and garlic: Pureed fresh onion adds a ton of flavor and juiciness. You can finely mince it by hand, puree in a small food processor or grate on a box grater. Just don’t use blender – doesn’t work. Minced onion is the secret to my juicy ground turkey meatloaf.
  2. Shape meatballs: Combine ground meat, grated (pureed) onion and garlic, oregano, salt and pepper and roll into about 30 smaller golf size balls meatballs. Size doesn’t matter.
  3. Add 1/2 cup water and place a trivet or steamer basket inside in any size Instant Pot. Either works. I like to use a basket because a) I have it b) Poultry meatballs hold shape better.
  4. Add meatballs as you roll them. It is OK to stack meatballs and I find dipping hands in a bowl with water helps to roll turkey meatballs.
  5. Cook on High pressure for 7 minutes. Wait for 2 minutes and release remaining pressure using Quick Release method.
  6. Open the lid and voila. You might have to separate a few meatballs from each other.

Instant Pot Meatballs in a steamer basketInstant Pot Meatballs in a steamer basket

Instant Pot Meatballs held with tongs

How to Make Meatballs With Tomato Sauce

Cooking meatballs with tomato sauce is very similar to the ones without the sauce minus the trivet and water. Ha!

  1. Add 15 oz can of tomato sauce to any size Instant Pot. That’s right – no water. There will be no Burn problem – don’t worry. Juices from meat will dilute the tomato sauce enough not to overheat Instant Pot.
  2. Drop raw meatballs into the sauce as you roll them out. They should fit in a single layer in tomato sauce but packing them tight or on top is just as fine.
  3. Cook on High pressure for 7 minutes. Wait for 2 minutes and release remaining pressure using Quick Release method.
  4. Open the lid and voila. Meatballs in tomato sauce taste best if you let them stand open for 10 minutes.
  5. Then I toss them to coat in the sauce by shaking the inner pot and garnish with parsley or dill.

adding a can of tomato sauce to instant potmeatballs in instant pot in tomato sauce 4 instant pot meatballs in tomato sauce on a spoon

How to Make Meatballs and Pasta One Pot Meal

And last but not least – you can make a one pot meal. Are you mind blown yet?

  1. Cook meatballs with or without tomato sauce first as per directions above or in the recipe.
  2. Add 2 cups water and 3 cups any dry pasta. If you cooked meatballs without tomato sauce, add it now.
  3. Stir gently everything not to break meatballs. If you add long shape pasta like spaghetti, stirring will be hard. So just lay broken in half noodles in about 6 layers criss cross to prevent sticking. Top with tomato sauce, if not added yet. You shouldn’t worry about Burn here.
  4. Cook on High pressure for 5 minutes with Quick Release.
  5. Stir and serve.

instant pot pasta and meatballs

How to Cook Frozen Meatballs

Cook frozen meatballs in Instant Pot just like fresh. Instant Pot will take longer to come to pressure but cooking time remains the same. The beauty of a pressure cooker. 🙂

Freezing, Storing and Serving Meatballs

Freeze raw meatballs on a baking sheet for a few hours and then transfer to a Ziploc bag. Freeze for up to 3 months and cook from frozen.

Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days. If made with pasta, storing time is 2 days as pasta gets soggy.

instant pot meatballs in a baking dish

Serve as an Appetizer

This is my absolute favorite way to enjoy Instant Pot meatballs!

Transfer meatballs in a baking dish and stick toothpick into each one. Voila. Healthy and easy appetizer right there. Or serve right in Instant Pot (with toothpicks) while Keep Warm is on. Genius!

For a healthy dinner, serve with with desired whole grain like brown rice or quinoa and simple salad or a green smoothie.  instant pot meatballs with toothpicks in a baking dish

More Instant Pot Recipes

Did you know we have entire Youtube channel dedicated to healthy Instant Pot recipes and tips? My goal is to help you become confident with your Instant Pot by demonstrating each delicious foolproof recipe in step-by-step videos.

Print

Instant Pot Meatballs (Turkey or Beef, Fresh or Frozen)

5 from 6 reviews

These Instant Pot Meatballs are life changing! Make with any meat, no sauteing, with or no sauce, fresh or frozen, as an appetizer or even add pasta for a one pot meal. As always, mind blown by Instant Pot. I could have never imagined meatballs in Instant Pot so juicy and easy without browning them first. And so healthy!!!

  • Author: Olena of ifoodreal.com
  • Prep Time: 7 minutes
  • Cook Time: 7 minutes
  • Total Time: 14 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings (5 meatballs each) 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: Ukrainian
Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 lb 3 oz (one tray) ground turkey, beef, chicken or pork
  • 1 large egg (optional)
  • 1/4 cup any oats (optional)
  • 2 large garlic cloves, grated or 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp onion flakes (powder) or 1 small onion, grated (pureed in food processor)
  • 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp oregano, dried
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Ground black pepper, to taste
  • 15 oz can tomato sauce, low sodium (optional)

Instructions

  1. Instant Pot meatballs without tomato sauce: In any size Instant Pot, add 1/2 cup water and place trivet or steamer basket inside. Set aside.
  2. Instant Pot meatballs with tomato sauce: Add a can of tomato sauce. No water. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, add ground meat, grated (pureed) onion and garlic, oregano, salt and pepper.
  4. Mix well with a spatula or hands.
  5. Using small cookie scoop, form 30 meatballs (it helps to dip hands in a bowl with cold water occasionally) and place them one by one inside prepared Instant Pot. It is OK to stack meatballs or just arrange them in a single layer in tomato sauce.
  6. Close the lid, turn pressure release valve to Sealing and pressure cook on High pressure for 7 minutes.
  7. Wait for 2 minutes and release remaining pressure using Quick Release method.
  8. Open the lid and voila.

Meatballs with Tomato sauce

Meatballs in tomato sauce taste best if you let them stand open for 10 minutes. Then I toss them to coat in the sauce by shaking the inner pot and garnish with parsley or dill. Serve with desired whole grain and salad or dinner.

Appetizer

Transfer meatballs in a baking dish and stick toothpick into each one. Voila. Healthy and easy appetizer right there. Or serve right in Instant Pot (with toothpicks) while Keep Warm is on. Genius!

Meatballs with Lean Ground Beef

I wouldn’t worry about this step if I had extra lean ground beef. But with lean beef or pork here is what I do:

  • Cook meatballs on a trivet with water first.
  • Drain liquid (broth basically) to a bowl.
  • Remove trivet from Instant Pot and add tomato sauce (or not).
  • And serve leaner and less saturated fat meatballs.
  • Next day I skim and discard solidified fat from the bowl with liquid and use it as a broth in recipes. Can refrigerate or freeze.

How to Cook Frozen Meatballs

Cook frozen meatballs in Instant Pot just like fresh. Instant Pot will take longer to come to pressure but cooking time remains the same. The beauty of a pressure cooker. 🙂

How to Make Meatballs and Pasta One Pot Meal

And last but not least – you can make a one pot meal. Are you mind blown yet?

  1. Cook meatballs with or without tomato sauce first as per directions above or in the recipe.
  2. Add 2 cups water and 3 cups any dry pasta. If you cooked meatballs without tomato sauce, add it now.
  3. Stir gently everything not to break meatballs. If you add long shape pasta like spaghetti, stirring will be hard. So just lay broken in half noodles in about 6 layers criss cross to prevent sticking. Top with tomato sauce, if not added yet. You shouldn’t worry about Burn here.
  4. Cook on High pressure for 5 minutes with Quick Release.

Notes

Pictured are meatballs made with turkey and no egg and no oatmeal. I use oatmeal for beef meatballs as poultry is quite dense when cooked. I find meatballs taste amazing and come out juicy with all these variations depending what I have on hand or how tired I am.

 Did you make this recipe? Please give it a star rating in the comments.

olena osipov in the studio

Hello and welcome to iFOODreal.

My name is Olena Osipov. I'm a mom to 2 boys and a wife to Alex. And this is our healthy family recipes blog. I grew up in Ukraine on real food. As an adult, I tried many diets without results. Now for over 10 years, I cook quick and easy healthy meals for my family. I can help you with “What’s for dinner?” too.

What You Will Find Here

Healthy family recipes with simple ingredients. Many are inspired by my Ukrainian heritage. I share mostly dinner recipes because it just never ends... I’m obsessed with healthy freezer meals. And more than in love with my Instant Pot.

A Little More About Me

Originally from Ukraine, I now reside on magic Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada with my family. I started this blog in 2012 when I ended up at home with 2 small kids unemployed and a wee bit chubby.

11 comments on “Instant Pot Meatballs (Turkey or Beef, Fresh or Frozen + Video)

Our “happiness” software deletes rude comments without publishing, so we can keep on happily cooking delicious recipes for you. Please see our full comment policy:).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  1. I just made them and waiting for them to finish cooking! Question… I made mine bigger, is it still the same cooking time? Thank you!!

    1. Depends how much bigger. IF double my size then might have to add 3-5 mins cook time. Less than that could have turned out fine. Hope they did. IP cook time depends on thickness of food not the amount, so yeah…

  2. I have not tried this yet, but I love the idea of not having to brown the meatballs first! My instant-pot steaming basket is not as mesh-like as yours is. Mine looks more like a strainer, I think the Amazon description is “sturdy steamer”. The metal material is thicker and appears to have less holes. Curious if anyone has tried it using that type of steaming basket, as opposed to the mesh-type basket?

  3. Oh my gosh, I was so skeptical of not browning and just putting the meatballs into the sauce on top of each other. It was perfect beyond belief, over thin spaghetti. I used pasta sauce with spices added instead of plain tomato sauce, but added all the spices you recommended and a few more (red pepper flakes, umami spice, nutritional yeast, because I like umami/savory) and it was delicious. I added quite a bit of oatmeal, and it was still a bit gooey, but the meatballs cooked up okay. I let it come to a complete release. Texture and flavor – fabulous! Thank you for encouraging me make a recipe out of my comfort zone. It was amazing.

      1. I agree, not browning them in oil left me with less calories, and as you said, they were perfect without it. I had leftovers tonight and they were equally delicious. Thank you so much for the wonderful recipe, and your reply.

  4. These are such a hit, so quick and delicious. I cooked them in the sauce in the instant pot and added some chopped spinach after opening the lid which simply wilted and added some greens.

  5. Hello Olena,
    I made your Mexican Cauliflower Rice recipe and it was so flavorful! My husband loved it. By the way, I just put in the ricedcauliflower raw and the steam from the dish cooked it. Saved me a step. We are eating Keto so this was a recipe I will be using again. I did add some shredded cheddar cheese to our helping. Yummy! Thank you for sharing this delicious recipe.

    1. I’m so happy to read this! Thanks for your positive feedback, Mary Rae! Yes, basically that’s what I do – add even frozen cauli rice and it just warms through. The best!!!

The information on this website is for educational purposes only. It has not been evaluated by the FDA and is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure any disease. You assume full responsibility and liability for your own actions.

This page may contain affiliate links. ifoodreal.com is a participant of Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. If you make a purchase, we will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. It helps keep iFOODreal recipes free. Thanks for your support!