Instant Pot Cranberry Orange Meatballs is an easy appetizer using frozen meatballs and a few other ingredients. Perfect for parties, holidays and game day!
Instant Pot cranberry orange meatballs are tart, sweet and absolutely delicious! It's one of the easiest Instant Pot recipes you can make and perfect for holiday parties, dinners or game day. Just dump everything into the Instant Pot pressure cooker, press start and go!
These cranberry meatballs are one of my family's favorite holiday appetizers. In fact, we even had them for dinner last Christmas Eve. It was kind of a last-minute decision, and since I normally make Crock-Pot cranberry orange meatballs, dinner was later than usual.
I could have made meatballs in the Instant Pot, but I was a total Instant Pot newbie then, and I chickened out. Fast forward to today, and I use my Instant Pot every chance I get! So, I tried making our favorite meatball recipe in the Instant Pot, and they were absolutely perfect!
How to Make Instant Pot Cranberry Orange Meatballs
I usually use my favorite frozen meatballs for this recipe, but you can use homemade meatballs, too. Just brown them first.
Place the meatballs in the Instant Pot, and add the water and remaining ingredients on top. Whatever you do, don't stir! We're using orange marmalade and cranberry sauce, and you don't want the sugars to burn.
It's also important to note that there is enough liquid for the pot to reach pressure, even though your're not using a full cup of water. Frozen meatballs add plenty of liquid as they defrost -- trust me on this!
How long do you cook meatballs in the Instant Pot pressure cooker?
These are small 1-inch meatballs, and they're already cooked, so they take just 5 minutes to cook in the Instant Pot. I've also used slightly larger meatballs and pasta and cooked them for the same time.
How long do you cook frozen meatballs in the instant pot?
Frozen meatballs take the same amount of time -- just 5 minutes. The pot just takes longer to reach pressure.
When the meatballs are done cooking, give them a good stir. The sauce will be thin at this point, but you can use the saute function to reduce the sauce and thicken it. It takes about 5 minutes, and the sauce it perfect!
You can either spoon the cranberry orange meatballs into a large serving bowl or use the keep warm feature and leave them in the Instant Pot. The meatballs will stay warm, and the sauce will get thick -- just like a Crock-Pot.
These cranberry meatballs take about 2 ½ hours in the slow cooker and about ½ hour in the Instant Pot -- so much faster and just as good! So, if you forget to plan ahead or you need a quick and easy appetizer, Instant Pot meatballs are the way to go!
Recipe for Instant Pot Cranberry Orange Meatballs
Instant Pot Cranberry Orange Meatballs
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 72 frozen meatballs
- ½ cup water
- 1 15-ounce can jellied cranberry sauce
- ½ cup orange marmalade
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon dried minced onions
- Spread the olive oil evenly on the bottom of the inner Instant Pot, and add meatballs to the pot
- Pour the water around and over the meatballs
- Add the cranberry sauce, orange marmalade, garlic powder and onions on top of the meatballs, but do not stir
- Place the lid on the Instant Pot, turn vent to Sealing position, and hit PRESSURE COOK for 5 minutes. Pot will take a few minutes to reach pressure, then cook for 5 minutes
- When pot beeps, do a quick release. When pin drops, remove lid, and stir meatballs. To thicken sauce, hit CANCEL, and SAUTE for about 5 to 10 minutes, or until sauce becomes as thick as you want it. To keep meatballs warm in the pot, hit CANCEL, then hit KEEP WARM.
Nutrition information is estimated. Please do your own calculation to fit special diets.
Do you think I could use ground chicken instead? I wonder if the flavors would mix well....
I think using chicken would be fine. Let me know how it goes. 🙂
Hi! Thank you for sharing this recipe. I don’t have 72 meatballs (I have about half that). Should I cut the recipe in half as well?
You'll just have extra sauce, so if it's easier, you can make it as is. 🙂
Thank you for responding on Thanksgiving Day. I really appreciate it!
No problem! I had some free time. 🙂
What brand of meatballs did you use? I can't seem to find mini meatballs.
I use Cooked Perfect. Target, Walmart and Fry's (Kroger) usually carry them. You can also use a larger size if you can't find the mini.
Hi. If I double the amount of meatballs, do I also double the water? Thanks!
No need to double the water - it's just for thinning the sauce out to reach pressure. 🙂
A couple of questions - I'm fairly new to the IP so I'm still getting the hang of it. I've been saving recipes that are similar (or the same) as some of my favorite non-IP recipes. I have a recipe for Sweet & Sour Meat Balls. This does not call for jelly, it tomato based. Although I'd like to try your recipe too. So, 1st question - if make my own meatballs for your recipe, should I add more water? You say the frozen ones add water. I would gladly use frozen but I can't find small ones like you used and I haven't found a store-bought frozen meatball that really tastes good. 2nd question - If I make my own meatballs, they would just be browned, not cooked the whole way, should the cook time be longer? And 3rd, If I tried my recipe, (which the sauce is made of Chili sauce, mustard, brown sugar, vinegar & lemon juice plus salt, pepper & onion), and it meant to be cooked at a simmer for 1+hrs, which cooks the sauce down, I fear the IP would not cook the sauce down and if I used the Saute after, that it would be too hot and may burn it. What would you think?
Hi Lisa. I would still use 1/2 cup water since your recipe calls for vinegar and lemon juice, which are thin, and the meatballs should still give off juice as they cook. You can always try more water and adjust the next time if you're worried it might not be enough. For the cook time, if the meatballs are browned enough, 5 minutes should be enough, but you can use a meat thermometer to test them after cooking or cook for a couple of minutes longer to be safe. If you use the saute feature after pressure cooking, that will cook the meatballs even more. As for the sauce, you can add a cornstarch/water slurry along with the saute time to thicken the sauce or try to saute the meatballs for about 5 minutes to see what happens. I can't say exactly what would happen since I'm not familiar with the recipe, but I found mine got a little thicker just by keeping them on the warm setting -- just like they would in a Crock-Pot. Hope this helps. 🙂
Miz Helen says
Pinning this special recipe! Thanks so much for sharing your post with us at Full Plate Thursday, we have really enjoyed it. Hope you have a great day and come back soon!
Had this for dinner last night. Awesome and super easy!
So glad you liked it, James! Thank you so much.
Haven't made meatballs in my IP yet! These have to happen soon!
These would be perfect for holiday parties!
Melanie Bauer says
Whoa! Seriously drooling over this meatballs, absolutely perfect for any occasions!
That sauce sounds scrumptious! These will be perfect for the holidays!
They are perfect for the holidays! Thanks, Alison. 🙂
Jocelyn (Grandbaby Cakes) says
These meatballs are seriously incredible. Love the unique flavor.
Thanks, Jocelyn. These are my favorite!
Party season is just about on us and this looks like a must have for all occasions. So flavorful!
Thanks, Demeter! They are so good!