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Frozen Instant Pot Barbecue Meatballs

Frozen Instant Pot barbecue meatballs with bbq sauce or grape jelly and chili sauce are cooked to tender quickly and the perfect appetizer! This is how to cook Instant Pot frozen meatballs with a sweet and tangy sauce as well as other quick snacks you can serve!

instant pot dr pepper barbecue meatballs

Do you love getting together with friends and/or watching the big game, this party appetizer is amazing. When you have kids sometimes it is easier to let’s say homegate rather than tailgage. These Dr Pepper Instant Pot barbecue meatballs are the perfect snack!! Sponsored by FarmRich (affiliate links present) It’s one of our favorite side dish Instant Pot recipes.

Ninja Foodi Frozen Meatballs and Sauce

Let’s say it’s football season and you need the best Super Bowl appetizer ever. Starting off with frozen meatballs right out of the bag and adding a fabulous sauce is where it’s at y’all.

Now let’s make it an Instant Pot appetizer on top of that so you can spend less time in the kitchen and enjoy your football party too! You can make these in any brand of pot you have. Mealthy, Crockpot Express or make as an easy Ninja Foodi recipe too. They all work the same really.

If you are new to pressure cooking we have a lot of easy one pot meal recipes for you here. To begin with let’s start with a few basic tips:

For reference, this is the pressure cooker I have (a 6 quart) and use for all recipe creations.

star wars instant pot

How to Cook Frozen meatballs in Instant Pot with Sauce

Of course you could use your own version of sweet and spicy barbeque sauce but many times I am in a hurry and making multiple dishes at once so I err on the side of easy peasy. Sweet Baby Rays has a ton of varieties, I just wouldn’t choose the honey style or it may trigger the burn notice. Just combine, toss, pressure cook for 5 minutes!

Instant Pot BBQ Meatballs Ingredients

  1. Frozen meatballs, we used Italian style
  2. Your favorite barbecue sauce

Instant Pot BBQ Meatballs with Grape Jelly

If you wanted to make a few different versions I would stick to simple, this just requires 2 ingredients for the sauce but they are both bottled and found at the store. Just combine 1 jar of grape jelly and chili sauce together until smooth and then fold with your meatballs out of the freezer and cook the same time.

Can I use an Instant Pot without pressure cooking?

Yes! you can leave the lid off and just use the saute function for about 10 minutes until tender to make these too. We shared how to cook meatballs on the stovetop recently, you can use that method too, this is faster. Over medium heat that will take 30 minutes to a quick 5.

instant pot dr pepper barbecue meatballs 3

Frozen Meatballs Instant Pot BBQ

It’s sweet with a bit of spice to it and pairs with meatballs perfectly! There is something totally unique about Dr Pepper as it is a blend of 23 flavors and makes every sip and recipe you make with it truly unique! We will show you exactly how to cook frozen meatballs in this “magic machine” of yours below. And we’re not even bother to defrost them first!!

What goes with barbecue meatballs?

Mozzarella sticks come out perfectly crispy in the oven after only about 8 minutes, and putting these meatballs into our pressure cooker makes this yummy appetizer even quicker to make! Frozen mozzarella Sticks in air fryer come out even better, super crispy and in the same time as this one.

  1. Serve on top of a Football field tablecloth to jazz things up for your football party
  2. Ingredients to make this homemade Dr Pepper barbecue sauce + 1 can to drink!
  3. Or you could make air fryer frozen meatballs and just toss with spaghetti sauce for a quick one

Another great benefit is that the flavor is really locked in while they bubble and simmer for their 5 minute trip inside our pressure cooking pot. 😉

instant pot dr pepper barbecue meatballs 4

How long to cook meatballs in Instant Pot with sauce

Pressure cook Instant Pot barbecue meatballs for 5 minutes. After that you can keep plugged in and it will still stay warm, especially if you keep the lid ajar. If you wanted to cook them on the stovetop you are looking at about 20 minutes. With the time it takes to come to pressure initially the timing is about the same really. In a pot you would;

  • Just add your frozen meatballs into a pot
  • Whisk your sauce together and pour in it
  • Stir so meatballs are covered
  • Set to low/medium heat
  • Allow to boil until meatballs are as tender as you’d like them
  • Serve

Instant Pot Sweet and Spicy Meatballs

To either one of these methods you can add some heat with red pepper flakes, chili sauce or a few tbsp of Sriracha. Taste along the way and adjust. Sweetness can be adjusted with a tbsp of brown sugar at the end too. You could make a second batch with a jar of spaghetti sauce too like you see here.

air fryer frozen meatballs

Of course if you’re sitting down to watch the game, and/or having people over you need more than one thing to snack on. So frozen Mozzarella sticks are a great duo. Just pop them in the oven and they are perfectly crispy on the outside and ooey gooey on the inside after only about 8 minutes!

Instant Pot Turkey Meatballs and Sauce

If you wanted lower fat versions you can find turkey vs. beef at the store, almost everywhere too. I preheat the oven once I set the time on my pressure cooker which makes everything done around the same time. Eat as is or serve with a side of marinara sauce or ranch dressing. O h they are so good!

  • Add sauce ingredients into your pot and whisk together until smooth (if using just a bottle of bbq sauce by itself don’t use honey style sauce, and use same amt of soda)
    • a jar of pasta sauce works too
  • Dump frozen meatballs on top and gently stir so all meatballs are coated with sauce.
  • Set pressure cooker to manual cook on high pressure for 5 minutes cooking time or low for about 8. Times vary according to how tender you like and how large your meatballs are, them but this works for us. 
  • Do a quick release.
  • Allow to cool so sauce thickens a bit, serve!

How do you thicken bbq meatballs?

If you think the sauce isn’t thick enough for you then remove the meat, set pot to saute and in a small dish whisk together 1 tbsp of cornstarch + 3 tbsp of your soda or water until smooth. When it bubbles pour this in and stir. It will get thicker for ya’. 😉

frozen instant pot meatballs bbq

If you wanted to make our basic meatball recipe with ground beef, bread crumbs, parmesan cheese etc… in a bowl mix together and saute with a bit of oil first, then follow the rest of these instructions.

How to save leftover cooked meatballs

Wait until they are cooled and then transfer to a sealed container. You will want to keep as much sauce inside as possible so they remain moist and don’t dry out. Store in fridge for up to 3 days and reheat in the microwave when you’re ready. Jump to recipe and let us know what you think!!

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5 from 3 votes

Instant Pot Barbecue Meatballs

Instant Pot barbecue meatballs with bbq sauce or grape jelly and chili sauce. Ninja Foodi pressure cooker appetizer for the big game!
Course Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine American
Keyword appetizer, barbecue, easy, instant pot, meatballs, pressure cooker
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 10
Calories 329kcal
Author The Typical Mom



Barbecue Sauce Meatballs

Grape Jelly Chili Sauce Meatballs

  • 10 oz grape jelly
  • 1 jar chili sauce 12 oz.
  • 1 tbsp Sriracha optional if you want heat
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp red pepper flakes if you want to make it spicy, omit for mild/medium heat and just add sriracha only


  • Pour your sauce ingredients (one of the choices above, not both) into pot and whisk together so it is smooth. Add meatballs and toss so they are all nicely coated.
  • Set Instant Pot – pressure cooker to manual, pressure, high, for 5 minutes or low for about 8 (times vary according to how tender you like and how large your meatballs are, them but this works for us). 
  • Do a quick release.
  • Check meatballs and make sure they are cooked thru (if very large may need to put on saute just until done but 5 min should be adequate to cook most frozen meatballs in a pressure cooker).


Nutrition Facts
Instant Pot Barbecue Meatballs
Amount Per Serving (2 oz)
Calories 329 Calories from Fat 126
% Daily Value*
Fat 14g22%
Saturated Fat 5g31%
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 6g
Cholesterol 49mg16%
Sodium 218mg9%
Potassium 244mg7%
Carbohydrates 37g12%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 27g30%
Protein 12g24%
Vitamin A 30IU1%
Vitamin C 9mg11%
Calcium 20mg2%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
instant pot barbecue meatballs
instant pot dr pepper barbecue meatballs 4
Recipe Rating

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Friday 26th of August 2022

I keep coming back to this recipe time and time again for parties. So simple and so good!


Friday 26th of August 2022

Easy dishes like this are my absolute favorite. My family loves eating these over rice for dinner, but I'll definitely be making it again next time we throw a party.

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