If you love quick and easy healthy appetizers, these gluten free barbecue turkey meatballs have a special ingredient that makes them hard to resist!! All you need are simple ingredients to make these BBQ turkey meatballs in an Instant Pot or stovetop!

A grey bowl filled with BBQ meatballs.

Do you have an Instant Pot or pressure cooker? It makes cooking a total breeze! This Instant Pot meatball appetizer recipe is perfect for a party. Don’t worry. I also include stovetop directions for those who don’t have an Instant Pot.

This is the easiest gluten free barbecue meatball recipe ever! There is no precooking needed to make this family-favorite recipe.

You may also love these Gluten Free Swedish Meatballs!

Why These BBQ Turkey Meatballs Are Great:

  • These Instant Pot BBQ meatballs are juicy, sweet from the barbecue sauce, and absolutely delicious. Ground turkey can turn out moist and delicious!
  • Bacon. Yup, these turkey meatballs are also loaded with turkey bacon inside. Take a bite and try not to eat the whole batch of gluten free BBQ meatballs in one sitting! They aren’t kidding when they say bacon makes it better.
  • If you haven’t used a pressure cooker yet, wait until you see how fast it works to cook your food…without heating your whole house! Now you can use your stove and oven for other food!
  • They make great high-protein snacks for the kids and are also the perfect appetizer for a get-together or game day. They are perfect for all good times!

Appetizers are our thing here, and they make the best party foods. Here are more delicious gluten free appetizer recipes to try. I also have an awesome Gluten Free Sweet and Sour Meatballs recipe to try.

Ingredient Notes:

barbecue turkey meatballs ingredients photos.
  • Ground Turkey – I used ground turkey breast, but you can use dark meat ground turkey or ANY ground meat like ground beef or pork.
  • Bacon – I used turkey bacon, but regular bacon is also delicious.
  • Egg – Use one egg, size large.
  • Barbecue Sauce – I used First Street brand barbecue sauce for this recipe. There are quite a few great store-bought gluten free BBQ sauces. Always read the labels to see which is gluten free! I include a list of my favorite gluten free BBQ sauces in the FAQ section below.
  • Jam – I absolutely love adding apricot jam to my recipe. It adds the right amount of tangy sweetness and helps keep the meatballs moist.
  • Bread Crumbs – You can use a store-bought bread crumb like Ians or make these Gluten Free Bread Crumbs. Making your own crumbs is a lot less expensive than buying them!
  • Paprika – I used regular paprika, but smoked paprika also works well in this recipe.

If you enjoy meatballs, try my Grandma’s Cabbage and Meatballs recipe, too! It can also be made in the Instant Pot. If you prefer homemade BBQ sauce, try this BBQ Sauce Recipe!

Recipe Step-By-Step Directions: 

Making the meatballs photos of steps 1 and 2.

Step 1: Grab a dishwasher-safe cutting board and a sharp knife. Chop your uncooked turkey bacon or regular bacon into small pieces. Add the bacon and ground turkey meat to a large mixing bowl.

One of the things I love about bacon is that it adds a smokey dimension and extra moistness to these meatballs.

Step 2: Add the bread crumbs, seasonings, minced garlic, and egg to the ground meats. Mix the meats to combine all of the ingredients. For best results, I like to use my hands because it really gets all of the seasonings mixed into every bit!

Top Pick
Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker, 8 Quart

This is the Instant Pot that I own and it is the perfect size for a family of four. It holds a lot of food and is really easy to use. Clean-up is easy as well.

Buy Now
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
Making the meatballs steps 3 and 4 photos.

Step 3: Pour half of the barbecue sauce and apricot jam into the pressure cooker. Stir them to mix them. Use your hands to roll/form mini meatballs out of the meat. Drop the raw meatballs into the Instant Pot.

Step 4: Pour the second half of the barbecue sauce and jam over the meatballs to submerge them. This pressure cooker is going to cook these meatballs in just 20 minutes!

Step 5: Close and lock the lid on your Instant Pot or pressure cooker. Cook for 20 minutes on the beef stew setting. You can do a quick-release or slow-release to let the pressure out when they are finished cooking.

Double-check the internal temperature with a digital thermometer. Ensure they are 165º F. Serve them hot.

Stovetop Directions:

Make your meatballs the same way. Instead of an Instant Pot, add the barbecue sauce and meatballs to a pot. Add ¼ cup of water. Cover and bring to a boil over medium heat.

When the mixture begins to boil, turn the heat down to simmer. Cook for 20-30 minutes until the meatballs are done. (Actual cooking time will depend on how large you make your meatballs.

Check the internal temperature of a few meatballs and make sure they are 165º F.

A large grey bowl full of meatballs. They are garnished with scallions.

This will be a huge timesaver if you have an Instant Pot or pressure cooker! If you love using ground turkey, next time, try my Gluten Free Turkey Meatballs with Italian Seasonings. It is amazing for sub sandwiches!

Tips and Recipe FAQ:

What barbecue sauces are gluten free?

Many gluten-free barbecue sauces include Stubbs, Annie’s, Sky Valley, Bone Sucking Sauce, Lillie’s Q, Organicville, and Kraft. They all have great flavors of BBQ sauce.

How do you keep these turkey meatballs moist?

Dry meatballs tend to be overcooked or cooked dry (not covered in liquid.) Cooking these meatballs submerged in the barbecue sauce will help them stay moist and delicious.

How long will these BBQ turkey meatballs keep in the fridge?

These gluten free barbecue meatballs will keep for up to 4 days in an air-tight container or for up to 4 months in the freezer. I freeze them in a zip-style freezer bag.

More Party Appetizer Recipes:

a grey bowl filled with BBQ meatballs

Easy Gluten Free Barbecue Turkey Meatballs

Sandi Gaertner
How to make gluten free BBQ turkey meatballs in a pressure cooker.
4.78 from 36 votes
gluten free allergy icon
nut free allergen icon
soy free allergy icon
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Gluten Free Appetizer Recipes
Cuisine American
Servings 12 people
Calories 158 kcal


  • Instant Pot


  • 1 ½ pounds ground turkey * see note
  • 6 slices raw turkey bacon * see note
  • ½ cup gluten free bread crumbs * see note
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 cup apricot jam
  • 1 bottle honey barbecue sauce


  • Slice up the turkey bacon into small pieces.
  • In a large bowl, add turkey bacon, ground turkey, bread crumbs, garlic and other spices. Mix well.
  • Spray cooking oil in the internal pot in the pressure cooker. Add jam and barbecue sauce.
  • Use your hands to roll small meatballs with the turkey meat mixture.
  • Add the meatballs to the pressure cooker.
  • Follow the instructions for operating your pressure cooker. I used on by Corsori, so I chose meat as my cooking option.
  • Cook for 20 minutes.
  • Allow pressure to ease before opening your pressure cooker. If in doubt, refer to the instruction guide that came with your pressure cooker.
  • Enjoy the meatballs!

Stovetop Directions

  • Make your meatballs as directed above.
  • Add the barbecue sauce and meatballs to a pot with ¼ cup of water. Cover and bring to a boil over medium heat.
  • When the mixture begins to boil, turn the heat down to simmer. Cook for 20-30 minutes until the meatballs are done. (Actual cooking time is going to depend on how large you make your meatballs.
  • Check the internal temperature of a few meatballs and make sure they are 165º F.


  1. You can easily substitute ground beef, chicken, or pork if you prefer.
  2. You can buy gluten free breadcrumbs/panko, or make your own gluten free breadcrumbs.
  3. Gluten free barbecue sauce brands include Stubbs, Annie’s, Sky Valley, Bone Sucking Sauce, Lillie’s Q, Organicville, and Kraft. (There are others so always check the labels!)
  4. These meatballs will keep up to 4 days in an air-tight container, or up to 4 months in the freezer.


Please know that every gluten free flour blend has a different starch to grain ratio. If you use a blend I didn’t test, you may need to adjust your moisture levels in your baked goods.


Serving: 1gCalories: 158kcalCarbohydrates: 16gProtein: 16gFat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 52mgSodium: 397mgPotassium: 219mgFiber: 1gSugar: 9gVitamin A: 156IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 9mgIron: 1mg
Tried this Recipe? Pin it for Later!Mention @FearlessDining or tag #FearlessDining!

Nutrition Disclaimer

Nutritional information is an estimate provided to you as a courtesy. You should calculate the actual nutritional information with the products and brands you are using with your preferred nutritional calculator.

(*this post was updated from an older 12/2017 post with more details.)

Leave a Reply

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

Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    These are excellent and a real crowd pleaser! I made mine in my crock pot (slow cooker). I cooked them on low for 4 hours and they were perfection. I used ground turkey as my meat base. YUM!!!

  2. Sandi, do you add the apricot jam and the BBQ sauce into the Instant Pot or do you add it to the meatballs when they are done cooking? Thanks!

  3. Cook on high or low for 30 minutes if using an Instapot? Thank you for clarifying. We were guessing 20 min on high would be enough?

  4. These look wonderful! How many little meatballs do you usually roll out in a batch? Do they all fit on the bottom of the pan or do you need to stack them somehow? I’m a (gluten-free) Instant Pot newbie so excuse my questions and thank you for the recipe!

    1. Hi Paula, thank you so much. Sorry for the delay, we were out of town. I stack the little meatballs on top of each other. The sauce flavors cooks= into each meatball beautifully. Thank you so much for reaching out, I hope you like these as much as we do.

  5. 4 stars
    If I dont have a pressure cooker, do you know how much time I would need to add to cook this on the stove?

    1. Hi Trish, you will want to simmer on low for about 45 minutes. Be really careful stirring them until they cook a bit first so they don’t break apart. Also, liquid evaporates more when cooking stovetop so make sure it doesn’t get too dry. Alternatively, you can make these in a slow cooker too. Take care.

  6. 5 stars
    This is an interesting recipe using pressure cooker and then the apricot jam combining savory and sweet flavors. I love the idea of turkey meatballs.

  7. These turkey meatballs look so delicious and full of smoky and sweet flavours! You had me at bacon! I love that Smart & Final donates back to charity too!

  8. 5 stars
    Oh wow, I didn’t know that you can prepare meatballs in a pressure cooker too, Thanks for sharing this tips.

  9. I didn’t realize you could make this in a pressure cooker. Passing this on to my sister. Thanks!

  10. 5 stars
    I’m giving you props — because that truly was a drool shot in the beginning of this post! I’m going to a friend’s for dinner tomorrow and I’m supposed to bring the appetizer…. soooooo…….

  11. 5 stars
    You are speaking my language! Instant pot and turkey bacon loaded turkey meatballs??! Sounds lovely!