Teriyaki Meatballs are sweet, savory and make a great appetizer or dinner option when you serve them over rice. Our Instant Pot Teriyaki Meatball Recipe comes together in minutes to make a flavorful family favorite.
Have you ever made teriyaki meatballs? Apparently, there are a lot of recipe variations out there.
We’re very familiar with making meatballs. In fact, we just updated our Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Meatballs recipe.
We’ve even made teriyaki sauce. However, we haven’t added the two together. Until now.
I’m not going to sugar coat things by saying these are the Best Teriyaki Meatballs or To-Die-For Teriyaki Meatballs. The truth is, I made this recipe multiple times, made lots of notes, and changed things along the way.
This meatball recipe is good, but with so many ways to make it, there’s no way I’m going to claim it as “the best.” There’s always room for improvement. Be sure to check out the different variations below, because I’ve listed a few.
If you’re looking for a side to go with these meatballs, try some homemade egg rolls. The two taste great together!
How to Make Teriyaki Meatballs:
Let’s start with the meatballs. This is where a lot of the variations come into play.
I chose to use ground beef, but chicken, turkey, or pork would also make good options. I’ve used both 93/7 and 80/20 ground beef, and prefer the 80/20 for this recipe.
The good thing about making meatballs from scratch is that they have a wonderful flavor that pairs well with the teriyaki sauce.
Another idea would be to purchase frozen meatballs from the freezer section of your local supermarket. You’d be able skip some of the steps below, and still have perfectly round, seasoned meatballs every, single time.
Start by placing the meat, breadcrumbs, egg, green onions, soy sauce, ginger, and garlic into a medium bowl. Use a spoon or your hands to mix the ingredients until well combined.
Next, shape the meat mixture into golf ball-sized balls. I was able to make about 12 to 14 meatballs depending on size.
Turn the Instant Pot on using the saute setting. Allow the liner to get hot, then add the cooking oil. Place the meatballs into the Instant Pot, and cook on each side about 1 to 2 minutes just until browned.
Here’s where another variation comes in.
If you’re using frozen meatballs, skip this part completely. There’s no need to saute them; frozen meatballs are pre-cooked then frozen. They just need to be reheated. That will happen during the pressure cooking stage.
After I’d tested and retested this recipe, then shot the photos and video, I had an idea. The meatballs could be placed in a foil bowl of sorts and placed on a trivet above the sauce. I DID NOT test this method; it’s just an idea.
Basically, instead of sauteing the meatballs, you’d make a bowl out of aluminum foil and place the raw meatballs into the bowl. Similar to the process you’d use to make a meatloaf in the Instant Pot, but the meatballs wouldn’t touch.
As you’re turning the meatballs in the Instant Pot, it’s best to use a silicone spatula to move them around. These had a tendency to come apart when I tried to pick them up with tongs. (Another reason using frozen is my preference!)
After the meatballs have browned, remove them from the pot. If there’s a lot of residual grease, clean out the Instant Pot before continuing. Otherwise, add the water used for sauce, and use a wooden spoon to deglaze the pot if needed.
Add the remaining ingredients for sauce, and whisk together to combine. Make sure that the brown sugar and honey are completely dissolved.
Place the meatballs back into the pot. If using frozen, add them in now directly into the sauce. If using the foil bowl method, place a trivet in the sauce high enough to sit above it. Then place the foil bowl on the trivet.
Close the lid, and set the valve to sealing. Use the manual (pressure cook) button to adjust the time to 5 minutes on high pressure. After the 5 minutes is up, turn the Instant Pot off, and allow a 10 minute natural pressure release before opening the valve to release any remaining pressure.
Open the lid, and remove the meatballs. Combine 1/4 cup of the sauce (or 1/4 cup of cold water) and 2 tablespoons of corn starch to make a slurry. Whisk it together until smooth.
(At this point, the sauce can be strained through a mesh sieve if desired. If you made meatballs from scratch, there may be beef or onion pieces in the sauce. It’s up to you whether or not you’d like to strain those out.)
Turn the Instant Pot back on using the saute function. Pour the slurry back into the pour while whisking. The sauce will turn a light brown color but will darken and thicken the hotter it gets. Continue to whisk for 3 to 5 minutes, then turn off the Instant Pot.
Add the meatballs back to the sauce or drizzle the sauce over the meatballs. Garnish with sesame seeds and green onions.
Tips for Successful Teriyaki Meatballs:
- Teriyaki sauce for meatballs is usually very thick, dark, and sticky. That’s due to the color of the dark soy sauce, carmelization of brown sugar, and most of the liquid being cooked out. The Instant Pot can easily give you a burn notice if there isn’t enough liquid in the pot or if food gets stuck to the bottom. For those reasons, I didn’t attempt to thicken the sauce to a sticky glaze. Expect more of a gravy consistency.
- It’s best to eat these teriyaki meatballs while they’re hot. We’ve tried reheating this teriyaki sauce, and it does not reheat well. The cornstarch slurry turns it to a gelatin consistency as it cools. The best way we’ve found to reheat the sauce is to slowly add hot water to it a little at a time. Whisk the hot water in until the sauce thins out and heats up.
- As I mentioned a couple of times above, my preference for this recipe is to use pre-cooked, frozen meatballs. That way you’re guaranteed a uniform size, and there’s no need to saute them. The only downside is that they won’t have the same seasonings as homemade meatballs. Using frozen does make this an easy teriyaki meatball recipe!
- Make sure to let the Instant Pot to complete a 10 minute Natural Pressure Release before opening the valve to release the remaining pressure. Otherwise, the meatballs will be tough, not tender and moist.
Looking for Other Instant Pot Recipes? We have a ton!
- Instant Pot Pulled Pork
- Instant Pot Penne with Vodka Sauce
- Instant Pot Clam Chowder
- Instant Pot Beef Stroganoff
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Teriyaki Meatballs are sweet, savory and make a great appetizer or dinner option when you serve the meatballs over rice. Our Instant Pot Teriyaki Meatball Recipe comes together in minutes for a flavorful family favorite.
- 2 Tablespoons Cooking Oil
- 1 Pound Ground Beef (We like 80/20.)
- 1 Large Egg
- 1 Clove Garlic (Minced)
- 1 Teaspoon Ground Ginger (Or 2 Teaspoons Fresh Grated Ginger)
- 1 Teaspoon Soy Sauce
- 1/2 Cup Green Onion (Thinly Sliced)
- 1/4 Cup Breadcrumbs
- 1 Cup Water
- 1/4 Cup Soy Sauce
- 5 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
- 1 Tablespoon Honey
- 1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
- 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Ginger
- 1/4 Cup Cold Water or Sauce from the Instant Pot
- 2 Tablespoons Corn Starch
- Sesame Seeds (Optional)
- Green Onions (Sliced) (Optional)
In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, breadcrumbs, egg, green onion, garlic, ground ginger, and soy sauce. Form the mixture into golf ball-sized balls.
Turn on the Instant Pot and choose the saute function. Allow the liner to get hot, and add the oil. Working in batches, place a few of the meatballs into the Instant Pot at a time. Brown the meatballs on all sides (about 1-2 minutes per side). Then remove them from the Instant Pot and set aside. Complete the process until all the meatballs have been browned.
Keep the Instant Pot on saute, and pour the water for the sauce into the liner. Deglaze the pot if needed. Use a wooden spoon and scrape off any bits that might be stuck to the bottom. *See notes.
After deglazing the liner, add the soy sauce, garlic powder, ground ginger, brown sugar, and honey. Use a whisk to combine until all the sugar and honey has dissolved. Turn off the Instant Pot.
Place all the meatballs back into the Instant Pot and close the lid. Make sure the valve is set to sealing, and use the manual (pressure cook) button to adjust the time to 5 minutes. After the time is up, turn off the Instant Pot (you don’t want the sauce to stick), and allow a 10 minute natural release before opening the valve for a quick release.
Carefully open the lid and remove the meatballs. Use 1/4 cup of the liquid from the Instant Pot (or 1/4 cup of cold water), and combine it with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch to form a slurry. Whisk until smooth. Turn the Instant Pot to saute, and add the slurry. Whisk to combine and thicken the sauce (whisk for 3-5 minutes).
Turn the Instant Pot off. The meatballs can be added back to the teriyaki sauce or the sauce can be drizzled over the meatballs on a serving platter. Serve with toothpicks as an appetizer or over rice for an entree. Top with sesame seeds and/or sliced green onions.
*Calories listed are an approximate and are based on a serving size of 2 meatballs.
*If there is excess grease in the liner after sauteing the meatballs, it may be best to clean the liner before making the sauce. If the liner is cleaned, there is no need to deglaze.
*Please see post for variations in ingredients and cooking methods for this recipe. They are not listed in the recipe card.
*Please see post for additional information, tips, and best practices for this recipe.