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Instant Pot Turkey Meatballs With Japanese Gravy

Instant Pot Japanese Turkey Meatballs (Gluten-Free, Real Food)

These delicious Instant Pot turkey meatballs are inspired by the classic Japanese teriyaki chicken dish.  Instead of using chicken, I opted for simple and affordable ground turkey. The meatballs are cooked in a savoury broth full of umami flavours. And unlike the teriyaki sauce, this gravy is a little lighter in colour and milder in flavour (as in not as sweet).

You can serve these ground turkey meatballs with a side of steamed or stir-fried vegetables, white rice or cauliflower rice, or some buckwheat or rice noodles. The meatballs are great the next day too, so you can pack them into kids lunch boxes. I also like to dice up the leftover cooked meatballs and throw them in a stir-fry or a simple chicken soup. Some people even add them to sandwiches or wraps. Which ever way you like to eat your meatballs, this is a great pressure cooker recipe to try.

Find more delicious Instant Pot ground turkey recipes here.

Instant Pot Japanese Turkey Meatballs (Gluten-Free, Real Food)


Ground chicken meat can be used instead of turkey. The sauce would also work well with fish cakes or mixed seafood balls.

Mirin is a sweet cooking rice wine commonly used in Japanese cuisine. It’s fantastic in stir-fries, where you would add a little honey or sugar, and it adds a little more depth and some acidity as well. You can use it in salad dressings and marinades for the meat or seafood, too. If you can’t find mirin, simply add a little more honey or brown sugar to this recipe. Try to buy decent quality mirin, such as this brand.

Tamari is a wheat-free (gluten-free) naturally brewed soy sauce. It’s a slightly healthier version and I love using it in Asian cooking. It can be purchased on most large supermarkets health food stores and online. I use Kikkoman brand.

Arrowroot starch (or tapioca starch) is used to thicken the sauce. This gluten-free and grain-free starch flour can be purchased from most health food stores and online. Both can be used in baking or to make gravies with. We use this brand quite a lot. Of course, regular soy sauce can also be used.

Paleo version: use a little more honey instead of mirin and coconut aminos instead of tamari or soy sauce.


Japanese Turkey Meatballs – Instant Pot

  • Author: Irena Macri
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 15 mins
  • Total Time: 30 mins
  • Yield: 3-4 1x
  • Category: Main
  • Method: Instant Pot Pressure Cooker
  • Cuisine: Asian


These delicious Instant Pot turkey meatballs are inspired by the classic Japanese teriyaki chicken dish.  Instead of using chicken, opted for simple and affordable ground turkey. The meatballs are cooked in a savory broth full of umami flavors. And unlike the teriyaki sauce, this gravy is a little lighter in color and milder in flavor (as in not as sweet).



For the meatballs

  • 500 g / 1.1 lb ground turkey meat (I used 2% fat mince)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (coriander)
  • 1/2 long red chilli, finely diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper (black is okay but white has a more oriental flavour)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2/3 teaspoon onion powder (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon Tamari or soy sauce (see notes)
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil

For the sauce

  • 1/2 brown onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, grated
  • 1 teaspoon of grated ginger
  • 2/3 cup chicken stock
  • 3 tablespoons Tamari or soy sauce (see notes)
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 3 tablespoons lime or lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons mirin (see notes)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon arrowroot starch or tapioca starch (see notes)
  • Black and/or white sesame seeds for garnish


  1. Add the meatballs ingredients to a bowl and combine together using your hands. Make sure to mix the meat through really well to incorporate all of the flavours.
  2. Wet your hands and roll the mixture into small meatballs (about 12-14 balls). Set aside.
  3. Turn the Instant Pot on and press Sauté function key (it should say High, 30 mins). Add the onion and coconut oil to the pot and cook for 3-4 minutes, until softened slightly. Add the garlic and ginger and stir through for 30 seconds to a minute. Then turn the Sauté off by pressing the Keep Warm/Cancel button.
  4. In the meantime, combine the chicken stock with the Tamari, fish sauce, lime or lemon juice, sesame oil, mirin and honey in a small bowl and whisk together. Add to the onions, garlic and ginger in the pot. Add the meatballs and stir through gently through the sauce, bathing the meatballs with the liquid using a spoon.
  5. Place and lock the lid, make sure the steam releasing handle is pointing to Sealing. Press MANUAL (High Pressure) and set to 7 minutes. After 3 beeps the pressure cooker will start going.
  6. Once the time is up, let the pressure release naturally for 2-3 minutes, then use the quick release to let off the rest of the steam.
  7. When it’s safe, open the lid and remove the meatballs to a bowl. Press the Sauté function key again and cook the sauce, stirring frequently, for 6-7 minutes. This will thicken the sauce and make it nice and glossy. Press Keep Warm/Cancel.
  8. Add a few tablespoons of the sauce to a small bowl and whisk in the arrowroot starch or tapioca starch until dissolved. Return this liquid to the pot and stir through. This will further thicken the sauce and turn it into a gravy. Return the meatballs to the sauce and stir through.
  9. Serve sprinkled with sesame seeds, and a side of white or brown rice or your favourite steamed vegetables.

Keywords: Japanese Turkey Meatballs Cilantro Sesame Oil Ground Turkey

Instant Pot Turkey Recipe

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Japanese Turkey Meatballs (Instant Pot , Gluten-Free, Real Food)


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  • Reply
    Family Friendly Instant Pot Meals – Cardio Win
    June 25, 2017 at 9:14 am

    […] These Turkey Meatballs are cooked in a savory, umami gravy inspired by teriyaki sauce. Kids won’t know the […]

  • Reply
    Jamie Shifley
    January 9, 2018 at 12:29 am

    Delicious! Will definitely make again!

  • Reply
    January 27, 2018 at 11:35 pm

    The meatballs were the tiniest bit bland (I might add some minced shiitake mushrooms, garlic, and green onions to the meatballs just based on my preferences, and egg + breadcrumbs to stretch the meat a little further), but the BROTH WAS AMAZING! I wish I had quadrupled the batch. It was so delicious both over rice as a gravy and with noodles like a noodle soup (pre-thickener). Thanks for the great recipe!

    • Reply
      February 2, 2018 at 4:22 pm

      You are so welcome! I am glad you enjoyed it, and I think bulking up the meatballs and adding spices is a great idea! Meatballs are a blank canvas – get creative 😉

  • Reply
    Marcy Smith
    December 13, 2018 at 5:39 am

    This was a keeper! My little didn’t like it, but she wants nuggets every meal 🙁 . My middle said it was a little spicy and I left out the chili and the onion! So next time I guess I have to cut the pepper in half, too. But I loved your creativity, when I told hubs I was making Japanese meatballs, he did not make a good noise. But he and I both really enjoyed it! I pulled a little sauce out for myself and added honey at the end for everyone else since I am keto. But it worked out great! I had it with cauli rice, they with jasmine. Thanks for sharing a great recipe!

  • Reply
    March 22, 2019 at 1:58 am

    Turned out delicious! Very easy to follow directions.

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