Hungry Runner? Subscribe to get your Hunger Scale for Runners


Bison Meatballs in the Instant Pot

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.

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

Bison meatballs in BBQ sauce on white plate

Instant pot bbq meatballs are easy to make ahead on Sundays and then freeze individual portions for quick dinners during the week or next month.

I definitely recommend them as postpartum freezer meals because they’re quick and easy to freeze.

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 great for athlete meal ideas and busy families, alike. Two of my favorite groups! You can use your favorite meat source for these – it’s a very forgiving recipe.

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

instant pot turkey meatballs in bbq sauce in bottom of instant pot

Ingredients For This Bison Meatball Recipe

These instant pot bbq meatballs are an easy weeknight recipe. You can dump it all 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. A great way to meet the high protein needs for athletes and runners.

  • 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
bowl of ground bison and ingredients for meatballs

I recommend serving with rice or pasta, and add your favorite veggies to add some complementary color and flavor.

And if baked bison meatballs aren’t for you, you can substitute with beef, turkey or chicken. All are delicious in this instant pot bbq sauce.

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.

clear bowl with ingredients for bison meatballs

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

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

Tips For Cooking Meatballs in Instant Pot

Always make sure you 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.

If you want to make frozen bbq meatballs instant pot style (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.

BBQ sauce in instant pot

If you’ve already added a bunch of sauce when previously making these bbq meatballs, you can add less and compensate by making up the difference with water.

I’ll then let it naturally release for a few minutes.

plate of baked bison meatballs with fork

FAQ and Modifications

  • Is Bison Meat Good for You? – Yes! 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. Bison offers more protein, omega-3’s and iron than beef.
  • 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.
  • To Make Gluten Free Meatballs: Use a gluten free breadcrumbs or panko mix, and follow all directions the same.

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.

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.

Recommended Products

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


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

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

Make This?

Tag @BucketListTummy on social media and Rate the Recipe

Join The Conversation

More For You!

Share Your Thoughts

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Skip to Recipe