An easy recipe for instant pot cocktail meatballs. Delicious homemade meatballs cooked in a rich sticky sauce are juicy and flavorful. These pressure cooker cocktail meatballs are ready for serving in 30 minutes!
This time includes everything – the prep, the active as well as passive cooking time! The sauce for cocktail meatballs is easy to put together and compliments these homemade meatballs well.
Forget about boring frozen meatballs! Preparing homemade meatballs for cooking literally takes 10 minutes, so why not make them yourself instead of buying them? You know what you put in them, which means you avoid any preservatives or artificial flavor enhancers and other additives.
These Instant Pot cocktail meatballs are made from scratch and cooked in a rich BBQ sauce. They are juicy and flavorful with a light spicy kick thanks to jalapenos added to the meat mixture.
How to make cocktail meatballs in instant pot
In a mixing bowl, combine together ground meat, seasoning and spices, egg, fresh chives and finely chopped pickled jalapeno.
I prefer using my hand to do this as it is the best way to make sure all the ingredients are distributed evenly. The quickest way to make homemade cocktail meatballs is by using the smallest cookie dough scoop.
Simply fill the scoop with meat mixture (don’t overfill) and transfer onto a tray/baking sheet/plate. I like to line it with baking parchment for easy cleaning, but you don’t have to.
Then, you just roll these into balls and brown them in your pressure cooker. You should be able to fit all of them in 1 go when using a 6-quart/6-liter instant pot.
Sauce for cocktail meatballs
I mixed together BBQ sauce, ketchup, honey and water. It’s a simple yet delicious sauce that can be sweetened with more honey, if you like.
What to eat with cocktail meatballs
I recommend serving some kind of bread on side, my favorite is a sliced fresh French baguette.
Another alternative is serving these instant pot meatballs with a little sauce in a lettuce leaf. I would go for baby romaine leaves, but butterhead lettuce might work well too.
These instant pot meatballs can be easily turned into a main meal if you serve them with mashed potatoes (I highly recommend trying Irish colcannon).
How to keep cocktail meatballs warm
The best option is to transfer these meatball appetizers into a slow cooker and keep it on the WARM setting.
I also have a tasty recipe for slow cooker sweet & spicy meatballs, in case you would like to compare more homemade meatball recipes.
Tips for making the best meatballs
- If you like spicy, you can add some of the jalapeno juice to the sauce.
- Ground beef can be substituted with pork, chicken, turkey or a combination of these.
- Jalapenos can be completely omitted, if you don’t like spicy appetizers.
- I combined BBQ sauce with ketchup, water and honey, but you can just use the BBQ sauce as is, if you prefer (still you will need to add water).
Party menu ideas
If you are thinking of throwing a party or family gathering and looking for other affordable appetizer recipes, I have some easy finger food ideas for you:
- Air fryer sticky chicken wings are my favorites, because they are quick to make, and everyone loves them.
- Wasabi deviled eggs will be a hit among those who like spicy appetizers and they are easy peasy!
- Garlic cheddar cheese dip can be also turned into a spread! It’s so delicious on a crostini or fresh slice of French baguette. Plus, it literally takes minutes to put together.
- Ham & pickle roll-ups also tend to disappear from the plate fast, so why not give them a go!
Watch how to make instant pot cocktail meatballs
- 1 pound ground beef (450 grams), see note 1
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 1 egg, preferably small-medium
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped pickled jalapeno (optional)
- 1.5 tablespoons oil, see note 3
- ½ cup BBQ sauce
- ¼ cup ketchup
- ½ cup water
- 1 tablespoon honey
- In a mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients for meatballs. Use your hand for the best distribution of seasonings. With a small cookie dough scoop, scoop out the meat and place it onto a tray. Roll each into a ball.
- Turn on your instant pot and press SAUTE. Pour in oil. When hot, add meatballs add brown them for about 4-5 minutes (they don’t have to be completely brown on all sides). Pro tip: Lift the inner pot and shake it to save time turning each meatball over.
- Meanwhile, in another bowl mix the sauce ingredients and add the mixture to the pot with browned meatballs. If there are a lot of pieces stuck to the bottom of the pot, deglaze it (using the sauce to scrape off the pieces). Cancel the SAUTE program.
- Cover with a lid and lock it into its position. Turn the steam release valve to SEALING and set the timer to 4 minutes. When the cooking cycle is finished, manually release the pressure by turning the valve to VENTING (be careful, the steam is hot).
- Check the thickness of the sauce and reduce down if you like (see note 5). Transfer the meatballs onto a serving plate and pour the sauce over.
- Ground beef can be substituted with pork, chicken, turkey or a combination of these. Note that each meat has a different flavor and a different fat content. This means some meatballs may be less juicy than others.
- You can omit jalapenos completely, if you don’t like spicy food.
- Oil - you can use olive oil, sunflower or vegetable oil. You might need to add more oil, in case your ground meat is very lean. However, start with 1 or 1.5 tablespoons and add only if it is needed. It should be enough for browning the meatballs and there should not be any need to drain it, as only little should stay on the bottom of your pot.
- This recipe yields 21-22 meatballs when using a small cookie dough scoop. You might get more or less meatballs out of this recipe, especially if you are rolling them by hand or if you loosely fill each scoop with meat mixture. If you end up will less than 18 meatballs, I recommend increasing the cooking time to 5 or 6 minutes.
- You can reduce the sauce by letting it simmer away or you can thicken it with cornstarch or flour slurry. To make flour slurry, mix about a teaspoon of flour with 1 tablespoon of water (or more). Stir in some of the sauce (this will temper the slurry) and now you can add it to the sauce. I recommend adding a little at a time until it reaches the consistency you like.
- This recipe was developed for a 6-quart (6-liter) instant pot pressure cooker.
- The overall time does not include the time that the pot needs to come to its pressure. Count with an extra 8 minutes.
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 88Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 26mgSodium: 224mgCarbohydrates: 5gFiber: 0gSugar: 4gProtein: 6g