Instant pot turkey meatballs are classic comfort food. Simple and quick, this is a delicious recipe for homemade meatballs that your whole family will love.
Pasta night is my boys’ favorite family dinner tradition. We have pasta night about once a week in our house. If I forget pasta night, I am promptly reminded. Usually, we serve a couple of different sauces on pasta night (walnut basil pesto sauce is my personal favorite). We ALWAYS serve meatballs. Meatballs actually cause my kids to fist pump and shout with joy, so they are not negotiable. Pasta night without meatballs is a very sad night indeed.
This instant pot turkey meatballs recipe is a family favorite. Made with lean turkey and a handful of other simple ingredients, it is one of my kids’ favorite recipes. It’s also versatile! Serve this is over whole wheat spaghetti with a Greek yogurt Caesar salad on the side for a healthy and delicious complete meal. Or, scoop the meatballs onto an Italian roll with melted provolone and add a side of sautéed broccoletti for an equally perfect dinner. And, of course, don’t forget a glass of red wine for the adults!
You Will Love This
- This tasty recipe is perfect for busy weeknights – mixing up homemade meatballs only takes about 10 minutes, and the rest of the cooking process is completely hands-off. This is one of those easy recipes that will make a homemade dinner attainable even on the busiest nights.
- Pressure cooker meatballs are juicy perfection!
- Turkey meatballs are a great recipe for meal prep. They store well, and are healthy and delicious. For a low carb option, serve these meatballs with zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash.
Gather up your ingredients. For these simple instant pot meatballs, you will need the following (exact measurements in the recipe card below):
- Ground turkey: I use 93/7 lean ground turkey for this recipe. I have tried 99/1 ground turkey, but I found it was too dense, and didn’t have right texture for meatballs. You could certainly try another type of ground meat for this recipe, like ground chicken or lean ground beef.
- Spices, including garlic powder, onion powder, basil, oregano, Kosher salt and black pepper
- Olive oil
- Panko breadcrumbs: I use plain, unseasoned panko bread crumbs. You could substitute Italian seasoned bread crumbs, but reduce the spices accordingly.
- Marinara sauce: Homemade or store-bought. Rao’s Marinara is my favorite store-bought marinara sauce.
- Chicken stock: This is a really important ingredient to keep your meatballs from burning to the bottom of your instant pot and causing a dreaded burn notice. You need the extra liquid, so don’t skip it. You could use chicken broth, turkey broth, vegetable broth or water. If you add water, taste the sauce after cooking, and adjust seasoning as needed. You may want to add some additional salt or herbs like fresh basil or fresh parsley if the marinara tastes watered down.
Step One: In a large mixing bowl, add ground turkey, spices, 1 tablespoon olive oil, beaten egg, panko breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese. Mix until all ingredients are well combined.
Step Two: Using a medium cookie scoop or large spoon, scoop about two tablespoons of the meat mixture for each meatball. This recipe makes about 16-18 meatballs. Use clean hands to form meatballs into a tight ball.
Step Three: Add a generous layer of olive oil to the bottom of the instant pot. Put about half of the marinara sauce on top of the olive oil, and add the chicken stock. Place each meatball in the bottom of the instant pot in a single layer. Pour the remaining marinara sauce over the meatballs.
Step Four: Set the instant pot valve to “Sealing” and cook the meatballs on high pressure for 8 minutes. When the meatballs are done cooking, quick release the pressure. Taste the marinara, and add additional seasoning if necessary. Sprinkle with some Parmesan cheese and serve!
Should I brown my instant pot meatballs?
Some recipes for instant pot meatballs call for browning the meatballs with the instant pot’s sauté function prior to pressure cooking. Browning the meatballs adds some depth of flavor, but I have found that it sets off the burn notice warning on my Instant Pot frequently. It’s also more work, so I usually skip it! If you want to brown the meatballs, here is the method I have found the most success with:
- Make sure you have plenty of olive oil in the bottom of the pot.
- Carefully brown the meatballs on the “Normal” sauté setting.
- After browning the meatballs, remove them from the instant pot. Then, add the chicken broth to the instant pot and use a wooden spoon to scrape any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Cancel the sauté.
- Add the marinara sauce to the chicken stock, and stir well. Return the meatballs to the instant pot in a single layer, and continue on with Step Four of the instructions above.
Help! I got a burn notice!
If you got a burn notice, your meal is not lost. First, press cancel on your instant pot to stop cooking. Carefully quick release the pressure by turning the pressure valve to “Venting.” Once all the pressure is released, remove the lid from the instant pot. Use a wooden spoon to gently stir the meatballs and scrape any brown bits off the bottom of the pot. Now, start a new sauté cycle, and let the meatballs finish cooking by just simmering in the marinara sauce, as if you were cooking them on the stove top.
Meatballs are great for meal prep! Store leftover meatballs in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
Instant Pot Turkey Meatballs
- 1 pound ground turkey 93/7
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- fresh ground pepper to taste (3-4 grinds)
- 1/3 cup Panko bread crumbs plain
- 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 egg beaten
- 3 tablespoons olive oil divided
- 1 24 ounce jar marinara sauce
- 1 cup chicken stock
- In a large mixing bowl, add ground turkey, spices, panko bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, beaten egg, and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Mix until all ingredients are well combined.
- Using a medium cookie scoop or large spoon, scoop about two tablespoons of the meat mixture for each meatball. This recipe makes about 16-18 meatballs. Use clean hands to form meatballs into a tight ball.
- Add the remaining olive oil to the bottom of the instant pot. Put about half of the marinara sauce on top of the olive oil, and add the chicken stock. Place each meatball in the bottom of the instant pot in a single layer. Pour the remaining marinara sauce over the meatballs.
- Set the instant pot valve to "Sealing" and cook the meatballs on high pressure for 8 minutes. When the meatballs are done cooking, quick release the pressure. Taste the marinara, and add additional seasoning if necessary. Sprinkle with some Parmesan cheese and serve!