The Most Delicious Turkey Meatballs: Cook in Pressure Cooker or Slow Cooker

Turkey Meat Balls Dinner


These meatballs are super tasty and they’re a favorite in our house!  The dinner picture above was actually leftovers from the night before.  This recipe is wonderful as a leftover (I believe it’s even tastier).

I usually made this recipe in my slow-cooker, but now that I have a pressure cooker, I have these ready in like 35 minutes.  I’ll post instructions for cooking with both methods.

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Stovetop Pressure Cooker and Slow-Cooker method-


For the Meatballs-

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (This is for browning the meatballs before adding to the sauce for cooking).

  • 2 pounds of ground turkey (lean)
  • 2/3 cups of cooked rice (I use leftover white Jasmine rice, but any rice will do)
  • 1 large yellow onion (chopped fine- I use a KitchenAid mini food processor– it’s awesome);
  • 3 Tbsps cold pressed olive oil
  • 1 tsp of sea salt
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper (fresh ground)
  • 1 large Egg

Combine all of the ingredients and mix thoroughly.  Beat the egg slightly and combine well with your meat mixture.

Prepare a large cookie sheet lined with parchment paper (you don’t need to use parchment but it’s something I like to do).

*I formed my meatballs in under 8 minutes (I timed it) by using an ice-cream scoop (they really don’t have to be perfect); set them pretty close together on your cookie sheet.

Browning:  Bake the meatballs at 425 degrees F. for 5 minutes (or until they’re slightly browned).

turkey meatballs in tray SS

**The reason for browning is so they don’t come apart once they’re in the sauce.

While the meatballs are browning, prepare your tomato sauce. (I use a timer so I don’t forget about them because 5 minutes can go by pretty fast),

For the Tomato Sauce, You Will Need the Following


  • 2 cans of Italian tomatoes- 28 fl-oz (796 ml) (I use Italian tomatoes but any can of tomatoes will work.
  • 2 teaspoons of dried basil
  • 3 teaspoons of sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup of Worcestershire Sauce (You can also make your own)
  • 4 teaspoons of cane sugar (or any sugar you have on hand)

Blend your canned tomatoes in a VitaMix (I love my VitaMix), but any blender will do, one can at a time until the texture like a nice, smooth sauce (long enough for the seeds to be pulverized).

  • Pour your blended tomato sauce into your pressure cooker or your slow cooker, add your basil, salt, garlic powder, Worcestershire Sauce and cane sugar (or other sugar you might use), and blend well.


  • Add the browned meatballs to the tomato sauce and ensure that each meatball is well covered with the sauce.

For the Slow Cooker Method:  Cover and cook on low heat setting for 6 hours.

For the Stovetop Pressure Cooker Method:

  • Cook time:  Close the cover tightly, make sure the pressure valve button is on food and not steam (this is the black button on top of the cover that turns either on steam or food setting.  When the valve is on steam, it means the valve is opened, allowing steam to come out of the pot.  You don’t want this when you’re cooking, you want to trap the steam to cook your food).  See picture below.

Pressure cooker buttons SS

  • Set a timer for 12 minutes on standby (you won’t need it right away, only once the red steam button reaches max steam);


  • Turn your burner to maximum heat and at the same time, turn on a second burner to medium-low heat (*number 2.5 on an electric range); This is necessary for quickly transferring your pot on a lower heat setting which will continue to maintain the steam inside the pressure cooker (not necessary to use the two burner method if you have a gas range– gas heat adjusts really fast and so, just put down your heat from maximum to medium-low on the same burner that you’re cooking with).  (Read about med-low heat variations in the Troubleshooting, section B. below and also section C).


  • Do not leave the kitchen.  You will need to keep an eye on the red button (on top of your cover- see picture above).  As your pot is heating up, steam is forming inside, you will notice the red button jumping up and down and eventually staying up.  Once the button stays up, transfer your pot to the second burner (which has been preheated) to medium-low, or 2.5.  (See troubleshooting, section A below).


  • As soon as you make the transfer to your med-low heat, put on your timer for 12 minutes.


  • Once the timer goes off, remove the pressure cooker from the heated burner and let cool down naturally until the red button on the cover drops down- see picture above).  If you’re in a hurry, you can slightly shift the steam pressure valve (just a bit, to slowly release the steam and once all of the steam is released, the red pressure button will drop and then open your pot and serve).

*Important:  Never open the cover when the red, pressure button is up (see picture above).  Always wait for the red button to drop first- Only then is it safe to open the cover because all of the pressure has been released.

There are two methods used to drop the red button:  the quick release method where you shift the pressure valve button to release the steam immediately (beware:  if you shift it all the way, it will be very noisy with a lot of pressure- I usually just shift it slightly and this permits steam to escape without it being too dramatic.  The second method is by removing the pot from the heat and let it cool naturally (it takes longer).

Troubleshooting A.:

If The Red Button Drops During Low Heat Time: After you transfer your pot from high heat to medium-low heat, the red steam button should stay up for the duration you timed (12 minutes in this case).  If the red button falls down during this time, this means you’ve lost your steam because the medium-low heat (2.5) wasn’t high enough to maintain the steam inside the pot (so, bring it up a bit) and repeat step 1 by placing your pot on a high heat burner once again until the red button pops up and transfer to your lower heat burner, and immediately time for 12 minutes.

Section B.

Medium-Low Heat Variations:  Of course, this depends on your stove.  The heat factor can vary from one stove to the next.  You might need to adjust your medium-low heat setting.  If the red button drops during the 12 minutes on medium-low heat, this means your low heat was too low and couldn’t maintain the steam inside the pot (see troubleshooting stovetop pressure cooker A.).

Once your pot adjusts to the med-low heat if you notice the pressure valve starts steaming just a little too much or it’s spitting out a bit, turn your medium-low heat down a bit (because it’s heating too much and the steam is building up inside).

At this point, you will discover the perfect medium-low heat setting for cooking with your pressure cooker.

Section C.

The reason for having a second burner ready is because an electric stove doesn’t adjust quickly enough to the temperature change and it will result in loss of steam inside the pot.  The key to successfully cooking with the stovetop pressure cooker is keeping your steam trapped for the duration needed.  Of course, if you have a gas range, you don’t need to shift your pot around.  All you need to do is reduce the heat from maximum to med-low and proceed.

Turkey Meatballs Pressure Cooker SS


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