Instant Pot Maple Bourbon Meatballs

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maple bourbon meatballs

What’s Up, Hungry People

Instant Pots are arguably the best kitchen device to come out of the last decade – mostly because they combine all of the best devices into one master cooking machine!

If you don’t have an Instant Pot for this recipe, have no fear. You can also make the same meatballs in a slow cooker or crockpot. Instead of using the Instant Pot to sear your meatballs, just toss them on a baking sheet and bake at 375°F for about 20 minutes to get some color on them first.

These meatballs are coated in a sweet apricot and maple bourbon BBQ sauce that’s made from scratch – and honestly, it’s quite addicting.

They’re sweet and savory, and the perfect finger food for any party!

instant pot meatball recipe

Here’s What You Need

  • Ground beef: Provides a rich and hearty base for the meatballs.
  • Breakfast sausage: Adds a savory and slightly spicy flavor.
  • Panko: Keeps the meatballs light and helps bind them together.
  • White pepper: Adds a subtle, spicy kick.
  • Egg: Helps bind the meatball mixture together.
  • Garlic powder: Adds a depth of flavor.
  • Salt: Enhances all the flavors in the meatballs.
  • Vegetable oil: Used for searing the meatballs.
  • Dark molasses: Adds a deep, rich sweetness to the BBQ sauce.
  • Ketchup: Adds a tangy base for the BBQ sauce.
  • Sriracha: Adds a touch of heat to the BBQ sauce.
  • Worcestershire sauce: Adds umami and depth to the BBQ sauce.
  • Apricot preserves: Adds a fruity sweetness to the sauce.
  • Honey: Balances the flavors with its natural sweetness.
  • Pepper: Adds a bit of spice to the BBQ sauce.
  • Water: Used in the Instant Pot for pressure cooking.
instant pot meatballs

Let’s Cook

First, let’s get those meatballs ready. In a large bowl, combine your ground beef, breakfast sausage, panko, white pepper, egg, garlic powder, and salt. Use your hands to roll the mixture into 1-inch round balls. This is where you can channel your inner chef – get in there and get your hands a bit messy!

Searing the Meatballs

Now, if you’re using an Instant Pot, put it on sauté mode and add the vegetable oil. Wait until the screen displays “hot” – just like when Monica Geller is ready for a challenge! Sear the meatballs on each side for about 2-3 minutes, until they’re nicely browned and cooked through. Remove them from the Instant Pot and set them aside.

If you’re using an oven, arrange the meatballs on a baking sheet and bake them at 375°F for 15-20 minutes, turning them halfway through. You want them to start browning – think of it as giving them a nice tan.

Preparing the BBQ Sauce

While your meatballs are getting their glow on, mix up your BBQ sauce. In a small bowl, stir together the dark molasses, ketchup, sriracha, Worcestershire sauce, apricot preserves, honey, salt, and pepper. This sauce is the star of the show – a sweet and spicy symphony that will coat your meatballs in pure deliciousness.

Cooking the Meatballs in the Instant Pot

Back to the Instant Pot! Turn off the sauté mode and arrange your seared meatballs in a single layer at the bottom. It’s okay if they overlap a little – they’ll still get along just fine. Pour in your BBQ sauce, making sure it covers all the meatballs, then add 1 cup of water. Seal the Instant Pot and set it to pressure cook for 10 minutes. After cooking, let the sauce thicken for about 20 minutes by letting it depressurize naturally.

If you prefer a slower method, skip the water and set the Instant Pot to slow cook mode for 2 hours.

Cooking the Meatballs in the Slow Cooker

For the slow cooker fans, after baking the meatballs, place them in the slow cooker and pour the BBQ sauce over them. Turn the slow cooker to medium/high and cook for 2 hours, giving it a stir occasionally to ensure all the meatballs are covered in that glorious sauce.

Serving Up the Goodness

These meatballs are perfect for parties. Serve them with toothpicks as an appetizer – they’re the perfect bite-sized morsels. Or, if you’re feeling a bit more substantial, pair them with mashed potatoes for a full meal. Either way, they’re going to be a hit.

maple bourbon meatballs

Extra Tips for Perfect Meatballs

  • Don’t Overwork the Meat: Mix the meatball ingredients until just combined. Overmixing can make the meatballs tough.
  • Uniform Size: Try to make your meatballs the same size so they cook evenly. Use a small ice cream scoop for consistent sizing.
  • Searing for Flavor: Don’t skip the searing step in the Instant Pot – it adds a lovely caramelized flavor to the meatballs.
  • Adjust the Heat: If you prefer your BBQ sauce less spicy, reduce the amount of sriracha.
  • Leftovers: These meatballs make great leftovers. Store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days, or freeze them for longer storage.
meatballs in the instant pot

These maple bourbon meatballs are sure to be a hit at your next gathering. With their sweet and savory sauce, they make the perfect appetizer or main course. Serve them with toothpicks for a party or over mashed potatoes for a hearty meal. Trust me, your guests will be asking for seconds.

Happy cooking, Hungry People!

easy instant pot meatballs

Maple Bourbon Meatballs | Instant Pot Recipes

The Starving Chef
These meatballs are coated in a sweet apricot and maple bourbon BBQ sauce, making them the perfect blend of sweet and savory.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 45 minutes
Course Appetizer, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine Instant Pot, Meatballs
Servings 24 meatballs





  • In a large bowl, combine the ingredients for the meatballs. Use your hands to roll the meat into 1-inch round balls. In a smaller bowl, stir together the ingredients for the BBQ sauce.


  • Put the IP on sauté mode. Add the oil and wait until the screen displays "hot." Sear the meatballs on each side, about 2-3 minutes per side until the meatballs are cooked through. Remove from the IP and set aside.
  • Turn off sauté mode. Arrange the meatballs in the bottom of the IP in a single layer. It's okay if there are a few overlapping. Pour in the BBQ sauce so that it covers the meatballs. Then pour in 1 cup of water. Seal the IP and turn on to pressure cook for 10 minutes. Let the sauce thicken for 20 minutes after depressurizing.
  • Alternatively, skip adding the water and put the IP on slow cook mode for 2 hours.


  • Arrange the meatballs on a baking sheet. Bake at 375°F for 15-20 minutes, turning halfway through, until the meatballs are beginning to brown.
  • Pour the BBQ sauce over the meatballs. Turn the slow cooker onto medium/high and cook for 2 hours, stirring a couple of times to make sure the meatballs are covered in sauce.
  • Serve with toothpicks as an appetizer or serve with mashed potatoes for a full meal. Enjoy!
Keyword bourbon, ground beef, maple, meatballs
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