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Honey BBQ Instant Pot Cocktail Meatballs

4.43 from 7 votes

posted: 12/18/17

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy

Honey BBQ Instant Pot Cocktail Meatballs are the perfect party appetizer! Tender, savory meatballs dripping in the sweetest honey barbecue sauce you’ve ever tasted, they’re always first to be gobbled up!

A pile of Honey BBQ Instant Pot Cocktail Meatballs on a white plate and garnished with parsley.

Honey BBQ Instant Pot Cocktail Meatballs

Looking for a party appetizer that hits the spot but doesn’t take hours to make? Look no further than this super simple Honey BBQ Instant Pot Cocktail Meatballs recipe. The two-ingredient sauce is so yummy, and it enhances the flavor of the savory meatballs. Perfect for holiday parties, game day gatherings or even pair them with some rice and a salad for a quick dinner.

Working with an Instant Pot

You guys, an Instant Pot is so easy to work with and true to its name, food is done in an instant! I know, I was skeptical at first, too. If you’re nervous about working with one, try some recipes in this cookbook and then read this post and then get going!

An overhead photo of the Honey BBQ Instant Pot Cocktail Meatballs in a crockpot

Instant Pot Cocktail Meatballs from Scratch

There are two ways to make this recipe, one making meatballs from scratch and the other using frozen cocktail meatballs. If you’re in a hurry, frozen meatballs may be your best bet. Homemade cocktail meatballs take a few extra steps but taste scrumptious!

  • Use the Instant Pot the same way you would use your stovetop, with the sauté button.
  • Brown the meatballs in batches and then put them all back in the Instant Pot and finish off the cooking. It’s still fast and you still only dirtied one pot.
  • You can make these cocktail meatballs ahead of time and then freeze! Then when it’s time to toss together a quick appetizer, just follow the steps below.

Using Instant Pot Frozen Cocktail Meatballs

This popular appetizer comes together in less than thirty minutes if you use frozen meatballs. Here’s all you do:

  1. Combine frozen meatballs and sauce ingredients your instant pot.
  2. Seal the instant pot and select high pressure and five minutes cook time.
  3. After a moment the instant pot will beep, it will say “on” and it will begin to build pressure. Once the pressure has built, it will count down the time.
  4. After the time ends, turn off the instant pot. Use the quick release on time to vent the steam.
  5. When the valve drops, carefully open the lid and serve.
An overhead photo of the Honey BBQ Instant Pot Cocktail Meatballs on a white plate garnished with parsley.

Easy BBQ Sauce

Savory, tender meatballs pair beautifully with this simple and sweet barbecue sauce. And it’s only two ingredients!

  • Grab a bottle of your favorite sauce or use my delicious homemade BBQ sauce recipe.
  • Add some honey (about half of the amount of sauce you start with) and you have a simply sweet sauce perfect for these sizzling cocktail meatballs!
The Honey BBQ Instant Pot Cocktail Meatballs are on a toothpick lined up on a white plate.

More Instant Pot Appetizers

Once you get the hang of working with your instant pot, there are countless recipes you can make! I especially love appetizers since they come together so quickly. Try a few of these favorites:

More Mouthwatering Appetizers

Don’t have an instant pot? Try some of these no fail nibbles for your next get together.

These party meatballs are so easy! Make them from scratch or make them super easy using frozen meatballs!
4.43 from 7 votes

Honey BBQ Instant Pot Cocktail Meatballs

Serves: 20
(tap # to scale)
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 45 minutes
Total: 1 hour
Honey BBQ Instant Pot Cocktail Meatballs are the perfect party appetizer! Tender, savory meatballs dripping in the sweetest honey barbecue sauce you've ever tasted, they're always first to be gobbled up!



  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/2 yellow onion diced small
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder (not garlic salt)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/4 pounds ground turkey
  • 2 TBSPs butter more as needed



  • Combine all of the ingredients for the meatballs (except the butter).  Using a cookie scoop form them into 1 inch balls.
  • Select the sauté function on your Instant Pot. When it says that it is hot, add the butter and melt it.  Once melted, add the meatballs in batches (about three batches) to brown them.  Add more butter if necessary to brown all of them.  You do not need to cook them all the way through, just brown a little on two sides. After browning them all, remove any residual bits of meatballs.
  • Add the bbq sauce and the honey.  Return the meatballs to the Instant Pot. Make sure they are all covered by the sauce.  Lock the lid in place. Select high pressure and 4 minutes cook time.  The Instant Pot will beep and then it will begin to build pressure before it the timer starts counting down.
  • When the cook time is done, turn your Instant Pot off and manually release the pressure by turning it to vent on the top.  When the valve drops, gently remove the top. Serve meatballs!
Serving: 4meatballs Calories: 659kcal (33%) Carbohydrates: 105g (35%) Protein: 27g (54%) Fat: 17g (26%) Saturated Fat: 6g (38%) Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g Monounsaturated Fat: 5g Cholesterol: 132mg (44%) Sodium: 1572mg (68%) Potassium: 579mg (17%) Fiber: 1g (4%) Sugar: 89g (99%) Vitamin A: 80IU (2%) Vitamin C: 2mg (2%) Calcium: 75mg (8%) Iron: 6mg (33%)
Author: Lisa Longley
These party meatballs are so easy! Make them from scratch or make them super easy using frozen meatballs!

did you make this

Honey BBQ Instant Pot Cocktail Meatballs

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Hi! I'm Lisa Longley, and I am committed to giving you simple dinner ideas and recipes that are easy to make; recipes that will fill your home with joy. I am the owner and author of SimpleJoy.com and I'm so glad that you are here.

Reader Interactions


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  1. Bev says

    I have a question for you. I am 70 years old and have never heard of an “instant pot”. I do have a “crock pot”. Can you tell me the difference? Is the “instant pot” a pressure cooker? Thanks in advance. I am anxious to try this recipe this Christmas Eve for a party we are going to.

    • Lisa Longley says

      Hi Bev! An Instant Pot is a pressure cooker. If you wanted to make this in a slow cooker I would suggest with the frozen meatballs on low for four hours.

      • Dede says

        Yes I had no idea what an instant pot was…lol

    • DonnaRae Riley says

      I like honey and grape jelly. mix half and half.

  2. Alisa says

    If I doubled the meatballs, should I double the BBQ and Honey too or is there plenty of sauce for more meatballs?

    • Lisa Longley says

      I don’t think you would need to double it, maybe just 50% more. But I would cook it for longer.

      • Ben says

        4 stars
        I tried first with 2 lb frozen meatballs, and went with 3 cups BBQ sauce and 1.5 cups honey as your 50% more recommended. I cooked them for 8 minutes, but I’d probably go a little longer than that. The first taste test, my kids liked the sauce, but not the meatballs, so next attempt I will probably try to make my own.

  3. Ashley Toliver says

    Just tried this for the first time. IP never pressurized. Kept trying for about 40 min. I asked in the IP Community and they said water is also needed. Just in case anyone else ever has the same problem. The honey and bbq sauce is too thick to create steam. It did eventually just cook though since it did get hot.

    • Lisa Longley says

      What a bummer, I’m so sorry this didn’t work for you!

      • Sheila Cortes says

        Any suggestion for the problem above? I have the same issue when I only add thick sauces. Thanks

        • Lisa Longley says

          I haven’t had this problem, but I would suggest thinking the sauce out with a little chicken stock and seeing if that takes care of it.

    • Shannan says

      His match water did you add? I had the same problem.

      • Francie says

        I added 1/2 cup water to my 6 qt. cooker. After cooking a added more BBQ sauce to the meatballs. They came out very good.

  4. Arlene says

    Hi! I’m brand new to the instant pot. I know there’s a ton of tips and tricks, including timing, that I need to learn. So I’m wondering, is the 5 min cook time in step 2 a typo, since the cooking time at the beginning is 25? I feel like I’m missing something, lmao!

    • Lisa Longley says

      The 5 minutes is what you set your IP to, but it takes time for pressure to build. So it actually takes longer than 5 minutes to cook these. Does that make sense? Good question!

      • Barb arenal says

        What bbq. sauce do u use lisa

        • Lisa Longley says

          I use Sweet Baby Rays, but I also have a homemade BBQ sauce that would be delicious.

  5. Jen says

    Mine too never pressurized yet cooked through. It’s my first IP attempt, kinda feel like I failed already ????‍♀️ Lol

    • Lisa Longley says

      I’m so sorry, Jen. I wonder if it’s a difference in type of BBQ sauce that people are using.

  6. Viktoria says

    5 stars
    I’m not a huge meatball fan but my husband is. I tried this recipe and even I loved it!! I did have to add a bit of water to the sauce as the instant pot didn’t pressurize properly, but they still tasted amazing.
    Thanks so much for this recipe

  7. Katrina says

    I don’t have any ground turkey. Could I use ground beef instead?

    • Lisa Longley says


  8. Janie Pescara says

    5 stars
    These are SOOO great- Made them in a skillet, rather than my instapot, froze them, and decided they tasted so good plain put them out plain with sauce to the side ( one suggested here along with a ranch for variety) – Wonderful!

  9. Sheila Cortes says

    3 stars
    Hi, I have a question, it is 4 minutes cooking or 45 minutes cooking? I’m confused since on top of the recipe its says 45 minutes cooking but in the procedure it says only 4.
    Please let me know. Thanks

    • Lisa Longley says

      Four minutes is the time you set on the instant pot. The entire recipe takes 45 minutes as it will take time for the instant pot to come to to pressure.

  10. LaTonya says

    I’m gonna attempt 2 make these for my Son’s 34th B-day.
    I have italian style bread crumbs, will that be ok to use or should i get regular bread crumbs?

    • Lisa Longley says

      The Italian style breadcrumbs will add a slightly different flavor, but I think it will be delicious!

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5 Secrets to Stress Free Dinners