Instant Pot Sweet and Sour Meatballs is beginner friendly & has a crazy good sauce just like this Instant Pot Sweet and Sour Chicken. This dump & start Instant Pot Sweet and Sour Meatballs with frozen meatballs comes together under 15 mins. You’ll love making it time & time again.
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Instant Pot Sweet and Sour Meatballs with Frozen Meatballs
This is a 15 mins dump & start pressure cooker meatballs recipe that has the world’s best sweet & tangy sauce! The crisp tender bell peppers & the sweet pineapple chunks takes the dish a notch up.
Your whole family will totally enjoy this Instant Pot frozen meatballs recipe. The secret to the exploding good flavors is the sweet and sour sauce.
Tips & Tricks
- Frozen Meatballs: This recipe won’t work with fresh meatballs. Use frozen meatballs that are small in size. We used store bought meatballs.
- Dump & start trick: As this recipe is a dump & start instant pot recipe. We would recommend that you follow the order in which the ingredients are dumped. Otherwise you’ll end up with BURN error!
- Prevent BURN error: Dump the brown sugar at the end. It should be at the top of the dumping pyramid. DO NOT mix or stir anything. Stir the ingredients once the pressure cooking cycle is over. If you add the brown sugar in the beginning it might settle at the bottom of the pot and result in BURN error.
- Bell Peppers: If you prefer crisp tender bell peppers just like us, add them into the pot once the pressure cooking cycle is over. The residual heat will perfectly cook them down & keep them crisp tender. However, if you prefer well cooked soft veggies than pressure cook the bell peppers along with the frozen meatballs.
- Thickening sauce: We totally recommend thickening the sauce a bit with cornstarch slurry. It adds a lot of body and nice consistency to the sauce. Minus the thickener the sauce will be runny and thin! Simmer the sauce with the slurry stirring frequently to thicken it. We love a flowy sauce that would drip but still thick enough to coat the meatballs and veggies nicely.
- The sauce: The secret to this easy instant pot sweet and sour meatballs is the sauce. It’s sweet, tangy and loaded with outstanding flavors. Do not skip or reduce any ingredient amount.
Sweet and Sour Meatballs Ingredients
Find the Ingredients with actual measurements at the bottom of the post. The list below is just a reference.
- Frozen Meatballs: Use small frozen meatballs. You can also use homemade frozen meatballs. We used store bought.
- Onion: Yellow onion is a must. DO NOT use red onion. Dice the onion into big squares & separate the petals. Refer the picture above.
- Bell Peppers: Known as Capsicum outside the USA. Dice them into big squares. Refer photo above. We used red, green & yellow color. The red & the yellow pepper will add a subtle sweetness to the dish, whereas the green bell pepper would add so much freshness & crispness.
- Pineapple: We used canned & drained pineapple chunks. You can also use fresh pineapple, chop them roughly into 1/2 inch pieces. Refer the pic above!
- Cider Vinegar
- Brown Sugar
- Seasonings: Paprika (not smoked) and ground black pepper.
- Thickener: Cornstarch slurry. It’s equal amounts cornstarch and water mixed together to form a smooth slurry. This acts as a fabulous gluten free sauce thickener. It’s neutral in taste.
Find the detailed step by step recipe along with measurements + Video at the bottom of the post.
Step #1 Dump ingredients in order, pressure cook
- Dump ingredients in Order: Add the frozen meatballs directly from the freezer into the instant pot. DO NOT thaw them. Pour water, soy sauce, dump the onion, pineapples, ketchup at last add the brown sugar top of everything else. DO NOT stir or mix.
- Pressure Cook: Secure the lid of the Instant Pot, seal the valve and pressure cook on HIGH for 6 mins followed by 5 mins natural pressure release. Than release the rest of the pressure manually. Open the lid carefully.
Step #2 Thicken sauce
- Thicken Sauce: Stir everything in the pot to mix all the cooked ingredients well. Hit the SAUTE function and set it on LOW heat. Add the cornstarch slurry, stir to mix well and simmer the sauce for a few minutes to thicken it to your preferred consistency. Stir often.
- Add Bell Peppers: Turn off the instant pot. Now, add the bell peppers, stir to mix well. Put the instant pot lid back on and rest for 5-10 mins. The residual heat will cook down the bell peppers keeping them perfectly crisp tender. If you prefer well cooked tender bell peppers than do add them with the onions. Serve hot, enjoy!
What goes with sweet and sour meatballs?
Instant Pot sweet and sour meatballs tastes the best with steamed white rice. It also tastes great with a simple noodles like this Instant Pot Chili Garlic Noodles.
Can sweet and sour meatballs be frozen?
Yes, you can freeze sweet and sour meatballs for upto 3 months. Store in heavy duty freezer safe bags or containers. Thaw over-night in the fridge and follow the re-heating directions below.
Fridge: You can store this easy instant pot sweet and sour meatballs for upto 5 days in the fridge. Use air tight containers to store them well. Follow the re-heating directions shared below.
- Fridge: Sprinkle water on top of the meatballs to add some extra moisture before re-heating them. Than, reheat in the microwave oven until warm or hot.
- Freezer: Thaw the frozen sweet and sour meatballs over-night in the fridge. Than, re-heat following the directions above. Re-heating will further cook down the bell peppers and they might turn soft and lose their crispness.
How to make sweet and sour meatballs in slow cooker?
- Dump ingredients: Place frozen meatballs (do not thaw) in the slow cooker. Add all the ingredients in order as mentioned in today’s recipe. Give everything a quick stir.
- Slow Cook: Cover and cook on LOW for 2 hours.
- Thicken sauce: Once, the cook time is over add the cornstarch slurry. Also, add the bell peppers. Stir to mix well with all the ingredients in the slow cooker. Cover and cook for another 1 hour on HIGH. The sauce will thicken. Serve hot. Enjoy!
Instant Pot Sweet and Sour MeatballsPrint Recipe Pin Rate
Watch Recipe Video
- 1 pound Frozen Meatballs (**use small meatballs. You can use frozen homemade meatballs.)
- 1 cup onion (**yellow onion diced into 1 inch chunks and petals separated.)
- 1/2 green bell pepper (**diced into 1 inch squares. Large bell pepper.)
- 1/2 red bell pepper (**diced into 1 inch squares. Large bell pepper.)
- 1/2 yellow bell pepper (**diced into 1 inch squares. Large bell pepper.)
- 1 cup pineapple (**from the can. Drained. You can use fresh pineapple as well.)
- 1/2 cup Tomato Ketchup
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp Soy sauce (**low sodium variety would be best.)
- 1/2 cup water (**more sauce. For less sauce use 1/3 cup water only.)
- 2 tbsp Cornstarch (**mixed with 2 tbsp water to form a slurry.)
- Dump ingredients: Add the frozen meatballs first, than all all liquids like – water, soy sauce, cider vinegar. Than, add the onion, pineapple chunks, ketchup and at last add the brown sugar. DO NOT mix or stir anything.
- Pressure Cook: Secure the lid of the instant pot, seal the valve and PRESSURE COOK on HIGH for 6 mins. Once, the cooking cycle is over the Instant pot will begin to beep, wait for 5 mins natural pressure release and than release the rest of the pressure manually. Open the lid carefully and give everything in the pot a good stir to mix them well.
- Thicken Sauce: Hit the SAUTE function and set it on LOW heat. Add the cornstarch slurry. Stir well to mix well. Simmer the sauce for bit to thicken it to your preferred consistency. TURN OFF the instant pot.
- Add bell peppers: Finally add the diced bell peppers. Give a good stir to mix them well. Cover the instant pot and rest for 5-10 mins. The residual heat will cook down the bell peppers to the crisp tender consistency. If you prefer soft mushy peppers and do add them along with the onions and pressure cook them. Serve the sweet and sour meatballs hot and enjoy!
- I don’t have frozen meatballs can I use homemade meatballs? Yes, you can use homemade meatballs. However, use frozen homemade meatballs for this dump and start recipe.
- Is it spicy? No today’s sweet and sour frozen meatballs instant pot recipe is not spicy at all. It’s sweet and tangy with an incredible crispness from the bell peppers and the delicious sweet and sour pineapple chunks.
- Spicy sweet and sour meatballs: If you prefer spicy food add 2 tablespoon hot sauce along with all other ingredients and 1/2 tbsp red pepper flakes.
- Are the bell peppers crunchy? yes, they are crisp tender consistency. We added them at the end of the cooking cycle and allowed them to rest in the hot sauce for about 5-10 mins. The residual heat would help cook down the bell peppers keeping the nice and crisp. They are not soft or mushy in this recipe.
- Soft, tender, mushy bell peppers: Add them before the pressure cooking cycle along with all other ingredients and than pressure cook. They will turn tender and mushy.
- Can I use fresh pineapple? Yes, you can use fresh dice pineapple chunks. The recipe would remain the same and also the cook time.