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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 on plate with toothpick skewers

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!

cranberry orange meatballs in instant pot with seasoning

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.

cranberry orange meatballs on serving spoon in instant pot

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!

instant pot cranberry orange meatballs in serving bowl

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 1/2 hours in the slow cooker and about 1/2 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!

instant pot cranberry orange meatballs on toothpick in hand

Recipe for Instant Pot Cranberry Orange Meatballs

5 from 9 votes

Instant Pot Cranberry Orange Meatballs

By: Dee
Instant Pot Cranberry Orange Meatballs is an easy appetizer using frozen meatballs and a few other ingredients. Perfect for parties, holidays and game day!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
time to pressurize and sauce: 15 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 10


  • 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
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  • 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. 



Recipe was made in a 6-quart Instant Pot electric pressure cooker.
To make in the 8 quart, add 1 1/2 cups water, but keep other ingredient amounts the same.


Calories: 120kcal

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
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Recipe Rating


  1. Brandi says:

    These are so good! Made them for a work thanksgiving potluck and everyone loved the flavor!5 stars

  2. Natalie says:

    Do you think I could use ground chicken instead? I wonder if the flavors would mix well….

    1. Dee says:

      I think using chicken would be fine. Let me know how it goes. 🙂

  3. Erika says:

    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?

    Thanks!5 stars

    1. Dee says:

      You’ll just have extra sauce, so if it’s easier, you can make it as is. 🙂

      1. Erika says:

        Thank you for responding on Thanksgiving Day. I really appreciate it!

      2. Dee says:

        No problem! I had some free time. 🙂

  4. Liz says:

    What brand of meatballs did you use? I can’t seem to find mini meatballs.5 stars

    1. Dee says:

      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.