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Bison Meatballs in the Instant Pot

These delicious 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.

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.

This instant pot meatball recipe will transform your life because these little baked bison meatballs add so much flavor to anything, and are delicious as is. Next dinner party, anyone?

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

Ingredients For Bison Meatballs

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.

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 short cut 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

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.

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, soups, 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!

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.

Here’s an article on protein for runners, which breaks down what your daily needs are and how to get them.

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

What is Butcher Box?
Butcher Box sends you high quality, grass-fed, organic meat. If you want high-quality meats and cuts that taste unbelievable, you have to give this a try. Make sure to try out these air fryer bison burgers from your ground bison too!

Start eating quality meat!

butcher box subscription and meat box
Butcher Box delivery box

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

I recommend serving with rice or pasta, and adding your favorite veggies for some complementary color and flavors. It’s a great one-bowl type meal.

instant pot meatballs in bbq sauce in bottom of instant pot

How to Make Bison Meatballs

The prep time for these baked 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 bison meatballs are easy 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 these ground bison meatballs are no different.

I definitely recommend these instant pot bbq meatballs 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.

plate of baked bison meatballs on a fork

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 Baked BBQ Meatballs With

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.

Taco Beef Sushi – Another fun way to use beef or jerky.

Bison meatballs in BBQ sauce on white plate
Yield: 20

Bison Meatballs with BBQ Sauce

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

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.


  • 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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