Soft, juicy Instant Pot Chicken Ricotta Meatballs over a bed of veggie loaded Green Rice all cooked at the same time in one pot! Drizzle the whole thing with a heavy hand of Lemon Pickle Sauce and go ahead and squeal with delight after every bite. This is an easy, one pot dinner that you'll be reminiscing about for days!
Ohhhhh do I ever have a treat for you today!!! I love love TRIPLE LOVE this dish and I am dying to jump through every one of your screens and make it for you.
Sometimes I get a block in my brain when it comes to creating recipes. It's almost always because I'm trying to force creativity and by doing so, I'm putting an abrupt halt to all progress.
So what to do in those moments when I'm aching to create something amazing and instead my thoughts start feeling with words like, “you're a lousy cook” “you don't know what you're doing” “you've created all you're capable of”, etc etc.
In those moments, I take a break from food (thinking about it at least, not eating it, that would be ridiculous), enjoy some time away from the screen and relax. Anyone who knows me personally is scoffing at the “relax” part because they know that relaxing stresses me out.
Basically I go get a pedicure and eat chocolate, okay!
Once my toes were pretty and my Homemade Chocolates were devoured, I started reminiscing about the Chicken Ricotta Meatballs that I love so much from this Spring Vegetable Soup.
This is when recipe creation gets fun for me. Hmm, what could I do with those . . .
OH!!! I could serve them over rice instead of soup, WAIT! But not just any rice, Green Rice!
Hmm . . . I need a sauce, and I want it tangy . . . YES! The Lemon Pickle Sauce from my cookbook (page 73, if you're curious – if you haven't had that Garlic Lemon Chicken Sandwich, get on it ASAP).
Now, like magic, I have a recipe in mind that I know is going to be amazing before I've even tasted it because I know each component well and am positive they are going to sing when they hit the plate together!
Some people go to movies for fun. I think those people are considered normal.
Big bowl of green rice, topped with chicken meatballs, drowning in pickle sauce – I had this image stuck in my head like a catchy song for 4 days straight.
I was bouncing out of my seat excited to finally eat it and it met my every expectation and then some.
WHY YOU WILL LOVE INSTANT POT CHICKEN RICOTTA MEATBALLS
- This is a one pot dinner that will reward you with incredible flavor and only a few dishes to wash, AKA, a weeknight dream.
- Super soft, juicy, lemony bright Chicken Ricotta Meatballs. The ricotta keeps them light and ground chicken allows all of those flavors to shine through.
- GREEN RICE! Have you tried this stuff yet? I originally served it with Kung Pao Meatballs, but I do believe that the herby lemon flavor of the rice pairs even more beautifully with these Ricotta Meatballs.
- Lemon Pickle Sauce – sounds so weird, I know, but this stuff is like your favorite tartar sauce on steroids. I've dipped everything from cauliflower tots to skillet fried halibut in it and it is a total keeper.
HOW TO MAKE CHICKEN RICOTTA MEATBALLS AND GREEN RICE IN THE PRESSURE COOKER
- Place all of the meatball ingredients in a large bowl
- Mix together until everything is well incorporated, but don't overmix
- Use a cookie scoop to make the balls
- Place them on a sheet pan and let them chill in the fridge to firm up
- Add rice to the pressure cooker pot and top with chilled meatballs and start cooking
- Blend up the greens for the rice in a blender or food processor
- Stir together all the ingredients for the Lemon Pickle Sauce
- When meatballs and rice are done, set meatballs aside on a plate
- Stir greens into the rice and serve!
SEE RECIPE CARD BELOW FOR DETAILED COOKING INSTRUCTIONS
TIPS FOR MAKING THE BEST CHICKEN MEATBALLS AND RICE
- I suggest sticking with lean ground chicken or turkey for this recipe. I worry ground pork will make the rice greasy and ground beef won't let the flavors shine through.
- Chill the meatballs! Because of the ricotta, the meatballs are very soft, so the chill time helps them to keep their shape when you cook them. However, if you're in a hurry, it won't be the end of the world if you skip this step.
- The meatballs, greens, and pickle sauce can all be made up earlier in the day or even a couple days in advance and stored in the fridge, if needed. A little prep ahead of time will make this meal come together in less than 20 minutes.
- Do not swap the white rice for brown, the cook time will not be long enough. If you want brown rice, cook it in a separate pressure cooker and cook the meatballs by themselves in about 3/4 cup chicken broth for the same time as instructed below.
- I like A LOT of sauce. This recipe below makes more than enough for this meal. The leftovers are great on sandwiches, for dipping fries and tots, or on any grilled meat. If you only want it for this one recipe, I suggest you half it.
- I did not brown the meatballs for this recipe because 1) I didn't want to smell like meat, and 2) I loved the flavor enough I didn't think the extra step was necessary. If you are someone who likes color on their meatballs, go ahead and saute them in a little oil before adding the rice.
HOW TO STORE, REHEAT, AND FREEZE CHICKEN MEATBALLS AND RICE
- Store: Leftover meatballs, rice, and sauce can all be covered and refrigerated for at least 5 days. I prefer to refrigerate them all in separate containers so I can add how much of each component I want to my own bowl.
- Reheat: Gently reheat meatballs and rice in the microwave or on the stovetop. Add a little splash of water or broth to the rice if it seems dry.
- Freeze: Place meatballs on a sheet tray and freeze. Once frozen, store them in a freezer-safe bag for up to 3 months. Rice can also be placed in a freezer-safe bag, pressed flat, and frozen for at least 3 months. Do not freeze the sauce. When ready to eat, take them out the night before, and once thawed, reheat as directed above.
VARIATIONS OF CHICKEN MEATBALLS AND RICE
- Pesto Rice: Instead of the blended greens, stir a couple spoonfuls of pesto into the rice.
- Marinara Meatballs and Rice: Instead of the Lemon Pickle Sauce, use your favorite marinara sauce to pour over the meatballs and rice. Here is my favorite Marinara Sauce recipe.
- Turkey Meatballs: Feel free to use ground turkey instead of chicken if you prefer.
- Chicken Meatball Sub: Instead of rice, serve the meatballs on a toasted sub, slathered on each side with the blended greens, top it with slices of provolone and melt it under the broiler. Top with Lemon Pickle Sauce. I've made this a couple of times and it is INCREDIBLE!
See what miracles can happen when you stop working so hard!?
If you're feeling a little stumped and road-blocked yourself, I invite you to put your feet up with a big bowl of Chicken Meatballs and Green Rice. Pour on some Pickle Sauce and I'll make a 99% guarantee that you might just come up with something pretty spectacular yourself.
Knock the Walls Down Meatballs and Rice – that will be its new name. Let me know if it works its magic on you too.
MORE INSTANT POT MEATBALL RECIPES
- Instant Pot Kung Pao Meatballs
- Instant Pot Greek Meatballs
- Instant Pot Turkey Meatballs with Cranberry Jalapeno Sauce
TOOLS/INGREDIENTS USED TO MAKE INSTANT POT CHICKEN MEATBALLS AND GREEN RICEPrint
Instant Pot Chicken Ricotta Meatballs and Green Rice with Lemon Pickle Sauce
Soft Chicken Ricotta Meatballs on top of Green Rice and covered in Lemon Pickle Sauce – this is a dinner to remember!
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 4 minutes
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 6 servings 1x
- Category: Entree
- Method: Pressure Cooker
- Cuisine: American
For the Meatballs:
- 1 pound lean ground chicken
- 1/2 cup whole wheat panko breadcrumbs (can substitute with any bread crumb)
- 1/2 cup ricotta cheese (I used part skim)
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (freshly grated is best)
- 1/4 cup minced chives
- 2 teaspoons dried parsley
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
For the Rice:
- 1 cup long grain white rice (I like basmati)
- 1 ¼ cup low-sodium chicken broth
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ tablespoon butter
For the Greens:
- 6 ounces fresh spinach leaves
- 2 green onions coarsely chopped
- 1 jalapeno, seeds and ribs removed (or leave them in for spicy rice)
- small handful of parsley
- juice of half a lemon
For the Lemon Pickle Sauce (can be prepared up to 3 days in advance):
- ¾ cup yogurt or light sour cream
- ¼ cup mayo (or more yogurt to keep it lighter)
- ¼ cup finely minced dill pickle (pickle relish works too)
- ½ teaspoon dried dill
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1 tablespoon finely minced onion
- pinch of Kosher salt
- juice of one lemon
- To a large bowl, add meatball ingredients and use hands or a spatula to evenly combine.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment or nonstick foil.
- Use a small cookie scoop (about 1 ½ – 2 tablespoon scoop) to make small meatballs and place them on the baking sheet. There will be 18 – 21 meatballs. If time allows, place them in the fridge for about 1 hour to firm. This will help them keep their shape when cooked.
- To the pressure cooker pot add rice, chicken broth, salt, and butter.
- Arrange the meatballs on top of the rice in a single layer.
- Secure the lid and turn pressure release knob to a sealed position. Cook at high pressure for 4 minutes.
- While the rice and meatballs cook, blend the greens in a food processor or blender until mostly smooth; set aside.
- To a small bowl, combine Lemon Pickle Sauce ingredients; set aside.
- When pressure cooking is complete, use a natural release for 10 minutes, then release any remaining pressure.
- Use tongs to remove meatballs to a separate plate.
- Add greens to the rice and toss to combine the mixture into the rice. Warning: aggressive stirring will make the rice mushy.
- To serve, place a scoop of green rice in a bowl, top it with a few meatballs, then drizzle with the Lemon Pickle Sauce.
- For a fancier presentation, scoop all of the rice onto a pretty serving plate, top with the meatballs and drizzle with a little Lemon Pickle Sauce. Serve with extra sauce on the side.
- The meatballs, greens, and Lemon Pickle Sauce can all be made ahead of time. Early preparation will make this an easy, 20 minute dinner.
- Do not swap white rice for brown. The cook time is too short for brown rice.
- This recipe makes a lot of Lemon Pickle Sauce. Feel free to half it if you’re not a sauce hog like me.
- If you prefer color on your meatballs, use the saute function to brown them in a little oil before you cook them.
Keywords: Instant Pot meatballs, Chicken Meatballs, Green Rice
This was absolutely delicious!!! Will be making it again and definitely will make it as a great show off dish for guests that like healthier meals!!! Thank you!!!
Laura, isn’t it fantastic!? I just love this meal and it looks so pretty too. I’m glad you could love it too!
I made this for my husband and I last night, at the suggestion of my daughter, Pamela Forbes who loves your recipes. We really enjoyed it and it’s one that we would do again, and again. The only problem I had, and I’m not quite sure why is the rice was burnt on the bottom which I’ve never had a problem with before.I cooked it for four minutes and natural release after 10 minutes and the bottom was brown. The rice didn’t taste bad because I didn’t scrape the bottom of the pan so it was still really good. Thank you so much for bringing recipes like this for us to try, and helping us to step outside our box.
Trisha, I’m glad you liked it and thank Pamela for me! That is weird, I’ve made rice with those ratios so many times. Rinsing the rice would make it less starchy and may solve the problem. Have you had problems with rice in the past? Is your pot a 6 or 8 quart?
I prepped everything (except for the sauce) in the evening and cooked in the morning for fresh lunches – very convenient and no hassle! I did not make the pickle sauce due to lack of time. The meatballs felt very moist and the rice perfectly cooked. My fear has always been that the meatballs dry out when pressure cooked, but this recipe proved me wrong. I am thinking to freeze raw meatballs in batches. Would you have any suggestions for cooking them from frozen? Thank you!
Olga, I’m so glad you liked this recipe! It’s my top favorite spring recipe of 2020. You must try the pickle sauce next time, it’s so so good! From frozen, I would add an extra minute. That should be enough to get them thawed and cooked through without overcooking the rice. Let me know if you try it, I haven’t tried it from frozen yet!
I made this today for Mother’s day–doubled the recipe and my family gobbled it up with abandon. Really yummy and i will definitely be making this again. Thank you for the fabulous recipe. We ended the dinner with a Lemon blueberry cake, that was also to die for–so good in fact, that i brought the extra pieces to the neighbors as I did not want to tempt myself!
Karen, Can I tell you how honored I feel that you made a new recipe that you’ve never had before for a special occasion – that just made my day 🙂
I’m excited you loved it, it’s my favorite recipe of spring. And your cake sounds incredible. I hope you had a beautiful Mother’s Day!
would it be possible to cook the meatballs alone, without the rice, and if so could you give the timing please?
Sybil, yep, that will work fine. Add some broth to the pot and cook them for the same amount of time.