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A plate of BBQ meatballs with frilly toothpicks, and an Instant Pot and more toothpicks in the background

Instant Pot BBQ Meatballs Recipe

  • Author: Mike Vrobel
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 40 meatballs 1x


Instant Pot BBQ Meatballs take the taste of barbecue and roll it into bite-sized meatballs, ready to eat in about 30 minutes thanks to pressure cooking.


  • pounds meatloaf mix (1 pound ground beef, ½ pound ground pork)
  • ¾ cup plain bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon BBQ Rub (see below)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon liquid smoke
  • 1 cup BBQ sauce (see below)

BBQ Rub (1 tablespoon of my Homemade Barbecue Rub), or use your favorite store-bought rub

  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt (or 1½ teaspoons kosher salt)
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder

Barbecue sauce (1 cup of my Easy BBQ Sauce), or use your favorite store-bought sauce

  • ¾ cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard (or cheap yellow mustard)
  • ½ teaspoon soy sauce


  1. Make the BBQ rub: In a small bowl, stir the barbecue rub ingredients: Fine sea salt, paprika, brown sugar, chili powder, ground black pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder. Stir and mix until thoroughly combined, breaking up any clumps of brown sugar with your fingers. Set aside for later. (Or, use a tablespoon of store-bought BBQ rub)
  2. Make the BBQ sauce: In a medium bowl, whisk the barbecue sauce ingredients: ketchup, brown sugar, cider vinegar, dijon mustard, and soy sauce. Whisk until smooth. Refrigerate for later. (Or, use a cup of store-bought BBQ sauce.)
  3. Mix and shape the meatballs: In a large bowl, break up the ground beef and pork. Sprinkle the bread crumbs and tablespoon of BBQ rub 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. Scoop the mix out 1 tablespoon at a time and roll into meatballs; I got about 40 meatballs from this batch of mix, each about 1½ inches in diameter.
  4. Everything in the pot: Put a pressure cooker baking sling or pressure cooker rack in the cooker, then pour in 1 cup of water and 1 tablespoon of liquid smoke. Stack the meatballs on the baking sling in 2 layers.
  5. Pressure Cook for 5 minutes with a Natural Release: Lock the lid and pressure cook at high pressure for 5 minutes (Use "Manual" or "Pressure Cook" mode in an Instant Pot) for both electric and stovetop pressure cookers. Let the pressure come down naturally, about 15 minutes. (If you're in a hurry, let the pressure come down for 10 minutes, then quick release any remaining pressure.)

  6. Serve: Gently lift the meatballs out of the pot with tongs or a slotted spoon and into a large bowl. (I use tongs because the meatballs tend to stick together.) Drizzle the sauce over the meatballs in the bowl and gently fold until the meatballs are coated with sauce. Transfer to a platter and serve; If you want to be fancy, poke a toothpick into each meatball to make them easy to grab.
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Category: Appetizers and Drinks
  • Method: Pressure Cooker
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Instant Pot BBQ Meatballs, Pressure Cooker BBQ Meatballs