Instant Pot Cranberry Meatballs

Sweet and tangy cranberry meatballs made in the Instant pot. Use up that leftover cranberry sauce and make these homemade meatballs as a festive appetizer or a cozy meal.

Instant Pot cranberry meatballs perfect for a holiday party.

Tis the season for holiday parties! Whether it’s a work party, a family get together, or potluck, these tasty cranberry meatballs are going to be the star of the show! 

We made these meatballs after Thanksgiving when we had a bunch of leftover cranberry sauce in our fridge. I grabbed some chili sauce at the store and used a few ingredients we had on hand to make the meatballs from scratch. Since we wanted them for dinner we made them larger, but they make perfect appetizers when formed into smaller portions.

A skewer in a sweet and tangy Instant Pot cranberry meatballs.

To make the meatballs combine the breadcrumbs (panko or regular) in a bowl with milk (any kind will work) and an egg. Let the breadcrumbs absorb the moisture. They will help hold the meatballs together and create a soft interior.

Add the seasonings and the meat, mix with your hands until combined.

The filling for the Instant Pot cranberry meatballs.

If you plan on making these for a meal, you can use a standard size cookie scoop to portion the meatballs out. This makes it relatively quick. If you plan on making these as appetizers, you will want to use 2 teaspoons per meatball.

From scratch meatballs, rolled and ready to go in the Instant Pot.

While the meatballs are browning on SAUTE mode in the Instant Pot, whisk together the sauce.

For the sauce you’ll need four ingredients:

  1. Jellied cranberry sauce
  2. Chili sauce
  3. Brown sugar
  4. Water or orange juice

Pour the sauce over the browned meatballs and pressure cook on MANUAL for 12 minutes.

3 Ingredient tangy sauce for the Instant Pot cranberry meatballs.

Let the pressure come down naturally. Then remove the lid and stir. You can serve the meatballs right away or you can place the lid back on and leave the Instant Pot on KEEP WARM for up to 3 hours. 

The instant pot cranberry meatballs after being pressure cooked.

Wondering what to serve with these meatballs as a meal? Try mashed potatoes and roasted veggies!

Wondering how to serve these as an appetizer? Use toothpicks or tiny forks!

A pile of Instant Pot cranberry meatballs.

Our entire family loved these Instant Pot cranberry meatballs. They definitely going to become a holiday tradition! Easy, delicious, and perfect for feeding a crowd!


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Instant Pot cranberry meatballs.

Instant Pot Cranberry Meatballs

Sweet and tangy cranberry meatballs made in the Instant pot. Use up that leftover cranberry sauce and make these homemade meatballs as a festive appetizer or a cozy meal.
5 from 1 vote
Pin Rate
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 22 mins
Total Time: 37 mins
Author: Natalie Dicks
Print Recipe


For the meatballs:
  • 1/3 c. breadcrumbs - panko or regular
  • 1/4 c. milk
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tbsp. minced onion
  • 1/2 tsp. dried parsley
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. coarse kosher sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 tbsp. oil - olive, canola, vegetable, avocado
For the sauce:
  • 7 oz. jellied cranberry sauce
  • 6 oz. Heinz Chili Sauce
  • 1 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1/4 c. water or orange juice


  • In a medium mixing bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, milk, and egg. Let the mixture stand for 3 minutes or until the crumbs have softened. Add the onion, parsley, garlic, salt, and pepper, mix in. Using your hands, gently mix in the ground beef until well combined.
  • For dinner size meatballs, use a standard size cookie scoop to form meatballs. For appetizer size meatballs, use two teaspoons.
  • Turn Instant Pot on SAUTE mode. Once hot, add the oil. Cook meatballs until browned on all sides, working in two batches if necessary.
  • In a medium bowl or a 2 cup glass measuring cup, whisk together the cranberry sauce, Heinz sauce, brown sugar, and water. Pour over the meatballs.
  • Place lid on and lock. Turn on MANUAL mode with high pressure selected for 12 minutes. Once cooked, allow for the pressure to release naturally, this usually takes 7-10 minutes. Remove the lid and stir. Serve immediate or KEEP WARM for up to 3 hours.


-This recipe can be easily doubled. The meatballs could be made smaller too.

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