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A small bowl with a tower of Chinese meatballs, sprinkled with sliced green onions and sesame seeds for garnish, in front of an instant pot, a knob of ginger, and more scallions

Instant Pot Chinese Pork Meatballs (Lion’s Head meatballs)

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5 from 3 reviews

  • Author: Mike Vrobel
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 12 meatballs 1x


Instant Pot Chinese Pork Meatballs (Lion’s Head meatballs). Quick pressure cooker pork meatballs, Chinese style, and named after Foo Dogs. What else could you want?


  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 scallion, minced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼-inch piece ginger, peeled and minced
  • 2 tablespoons bread crumbs (preferably Panko bread crumbs)
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine (or dry sherry, mirin, or sake)
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup water (or low sodium chicken broth)
  • Thin-sliced scallions and sesame seeds (optional, to garnish the meatballs)


  1. Shape the meatballs: Put the ground pork in a large bowl, Sprinkle the scallion, garlic, ginger, bread crumbs, corn starch, sugar, and salt over the meat. Drizzle the soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, and toasted sesame oil over everything, then work the ingredients into the pork. Once everything is evenly mixed, put the egg on top and work it into the pork. Form the mix into 12 golf-ball sized meatballs, each about 2 inches in diameter.
  2. Everything in the pot: Place the meatballs into an Instant Pot or other pressure cooker, setting them in a single layer on the bottom of the pot. Pour the water over the meatballs.
  3. Pressure Cook for 10 minutes with a Natural Release: Lock the lid and pressure cook at high pressure for 10 minutes (Use “Manual” or “Pressure Cook” mode in an Instant Pot), or for 8 minutes if using a stovetop pressure cooker. Let the pressure to 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.)
  4. Serve: Scoop the meatballs out of the pot with a slotted spoon. Sprinkle with the sliced scallions and sesame seeds, serve and enjoy!


  • Cooked on a bed of shredded cabbage: Traditionally, these meatballs are simmered on top of a layer of shredded cabbage. If you want stewed cabbage as a side dish, seasoned by cooking with the meatballs, add a layer of shredded cabbage to the pot before you add the meatballs. A Napa cabbage, or other Chinese style cabbage, is the traditional choice, but I usually cheat and use a bag of pre-shredded coleslaw for the cabbage.
  • Browning the meatballs: I found it to be more effort than it was worth; it added a little bit of flavor, but the meatballs were more tender without browning. If you do want to brown them, heat a tablespoon of oil using Sauté mode and cook the meatballs, without moving, until they brown on the bottom, about 3 minutes. Then, flip them and brown them on the other “side”. After browning, add the cup of water to the pot and continue with the pressure cooking step.


  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Category: Sunday Dinner
  • Method: Pressure Cooker
  • Cuisine: Chinese