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Easy Bison Meatballs (Instant Pot Recipe)

These easy bison meatballs make for the only bison meatball recipe you’ll need. Instant pot bbq meatballs are delicious as is, or paired with rice or pasta.

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Have you ever wondered, “Can you make meatballs in the instant pot?”

The answer is a resounding yes, you can. Just like pretty much everything else.

These ground bison meatballs will transform your life and add so much flavor to anything. They are so delicious!

We love our quinoa pizza bite meatballs and turkey meatballs for baby led weaning, but these are the first of their kind ground bison meatballs made in the instant pot.

Why We Love This Bison Meatball Recipe

These instant pot bison meatballs are an easy weeknight recipe. You can dump the ingredients into the instant pot and let it work its magic.

I also love this instant pot meatball recipe because it is a high-protein entree or appetizer, easy to pair with anything you enjoy.

  • Healthy after school snack – Make these as a back to school snack for when your kiddos get home! Pair with some chips and salsa to hold them over until dinner.
bowl of ground bison and ingredients for baked bison meatballs

Here’s what you need.

  • Ground bison – I purchase from Butcher Box seasonally, or I’ll use their ground beef on occasion with this recipe too. I usually thaw mine beforehand if it’s frozen
  • Panko or bread crumbs – You can use gluten free breadcrumbs if you need this to be gluten free
  • Egg – Our wonderful meatball binder!
  • Onion – I can’t imagine meatballs without onions, can you?
  • Barbecue (bbq) sauce – I take the shortcut and use storebought, but you can also make your own or use a really good quality BBQ sauce. I bet that would make these all the more flavorful!
  • salt, pepper – to taste
  • garlic powder – to taste
  • olive oil
  • water or broth – Either work, but if you want to keep the sodium low, opt for water or low-sodium broth.

If you’ve never had ground bison before, these bison meatballs are a great first opportunity to try them.

Or, if you’re more of a burger lover, you could try out these air fryer bison burgers instead. Bison is a leaner meat than ground beef.

According to the Bison Council, bison is up to 84% lower in fat than beef, with about half the calories.

Because of the lower fat content, bison has finer fat marbling, which usually translates to a softer and more tender meat.

instant pot meatballs in bbq sauce in bottom of instant pot

Bison has no added hormones, antibiotics, or fillers. It also offers more protein, omega 3‘s and iron than beef.

I wholeheartedly love my instant pot for the ease of dump-and-cook recipes, such as ground bison meatballs, chilis, and soups, like pumpkin sweet potato soup or instant pot creamy tortellini soup.

We also use our instant pot often for rice, frozen salmon and more. I use it so much!

Instant pot meatball recipes are also great for athlete meal ideas and busy families, alike. Two of my favorite groups!

Butcher Box sends you nourishing, grass-fed, organic meat and seafood. My personal favorites are the wild caught salmon, chicken drumsticks, and ground bison. We have so many recipes with these nutritious, delicious ingredients, like this salmon below.

Check out my favorite Butcher Box options

Butcher box salmon with sweetpotatoes and salad on blue plate

Plus, meatballs are a great protein source.

Protein is a macronutrient I’ve been focusing more on in my diet and with my clients. It’s great for longevity and promoting muscle mass, plus it helps keep you full.

We get our meat sources from Butcher Box, and I’ve tried these as instant pot meatballs with ground chicken and turkey also.

plate of ground bison meatballs on a fork

This is a forgiving bbq meatball recipe and they all taste great with the instant pot bbq sauce.

I recommend serving it with rice or pasta, and adding your favorite veggies (like air fried acorn squash!) for some complementary color and flavors. It’s a great one-bowl type meal.

How to Make Bison Meatballs

The prep time for these instant pot bison meatballs is little to none. The total time is under 20 minutes!

First, you’ll combine your ground bison (make sure it is thawed) with egg, panko and spices.

Make sure to use a gluten free bread crumbs blend if you need these to be gluten free.

Check the BBQ sauce too – it can sometimes be a sneaky source of gluten.

clear bowl with ingredients for bison meatballs

Next, roll them into balls. I prefer about 1-2 inches wide, making about 15-20 meatballs.

You can make larger or smaller meatballs, and you may have a different end number.

homemade bison meatball

Add water and bbq sauce to the bottom of the instant pot.

Add a trivet and pile the meatballs on top. It’s okay if they are touching!

bison meatballs in bottom of instant pot

Cook on manual pressure for 7 minutes on high.

Then, let the pressure release naturally for 4-5 minutes before manually releasing the remaining pressure.

instant pot turned to sealing

These are great to make ahead on Sundays, and then freeze in individual portions for quick dinners during the week or for the future.

Made with bbq sauce and panko, these meatballs are a combination of sweet and crispy, and leave you wanting more.

Meatballs are the perfect comfort food and this bison meatball recipe is no different.

I definitely recommend them as postpartum freezer meals because they’re quick and easy to freeze, which definitely comes in handy for the third trimester and for new moms.

Work smarter, not harder!

Tips For Cooking BBQ Meatballs in Instant Pot

When using the instant pot, first make sure to always have enough liquid in the bottom of the instant pot to prevent burning!

The 1/4 cup of water or broth and a cup of bbq sauce should be plenty, but if you find you need more, add it tablespoon by tablespoon.

BBQ sauce in instant pot

If you want to re-heat frozen bbq meatballs in the instant pot (let’s say you had previously cooked and frozen these), just add a 1:1 ratio of water and sauce, and cook on high for 4-5 minutes.

Let the meatballs naturally release for a few minutes before manually releasing the remaining pressure.

FAQ and Modifications

Can you use different ground meat?

Yes, but the taste may change slightly. Using ground beef, turkey or chicken can all be used instead of bison or other meats that might not be as accessible to everyone, though it may not taste as bold. I love ordering from Butcher Box.

How do you store ground bison meatballs?

Allow them to cool completely, and then place them in a tightly sealed glass container in the fridge. They will be good for up to 4-5 days.

Can you freeze BBQ Bison Meatballs?

Yes! If you don’t plan on eating them within a few days, or you cook extra for later, they are easily freezeable. Place in a freezer-friendly tightly sealed ziplock bag or container, and store in the freezer for up to 3 months.

bison meatballs on white plate with text overlay

What to Pair With Easy Bison Meatballs

Veggie Pasta Bake – a natural and delicious inclusion!

Sheetpan Maple Roasted Vegetables – add a baked potato and some veggies for an easy balanced meal.

Tropical Fried Rice – throw meatballs over any rice dish.

Frozen Green Beans in the Air Fryer plus a side of grains or rolls.

Herb Cheesy Quinoa – A great carb to pair with meatballs. Like rice, quinoa is bland on its own but the bbq meatballs will add loads of flavor.

Yield: 20

Bison Meatballs with BBQ Sauce

Bison meatballs in BBQ sauce on white plate

This BBQ Bison Meatball recipe is the only bison meatball recipe you need. Instant pot bbq meatballs are delicious as is, or paired with rice or pasta.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Additional Time 5 minutes
Total Time 22 minutes


  • 16 oz ground bison
  • ½ cup panko or breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ½ cup onion, diced
  • 1 cup prepared bbq sauce (I used storebought)
  • ¼ cup water or broth


1. Combine meatball ingredients in medium bowl and gently mix by hand or with a spatula or wooden spoon.

2. Form into small meatball shape, about 1-2 inches wide. Mine made about 15-20 meatballs.

3. Add bbq sauce and water to bottom of instant pot.

4. Add a trivet with meatballs on top, piling them if you need to.

5. Place lid on pressure cooker with vent knob sealed.

6. Cook on manual pressure on high for 7 minutes. The instant pot will take a few minutes to warm up and get going.

7. Let the pressure release naturally for 5-7 minutes before manually releasing the remaining pressure.


*You can swap ground bison for any other ground meat if you'd like.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 106Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 28mgSodium: 329mgCarbohydrates: 10gFiber: 0gSugar: 5gProtein: 7g

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