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These French onion chicken meatballs take the time tested CLASSIC french onion soup and rethinks it as a sauce for meatballs. Perfect for your next FANCY-TYPE party or a quick and easy dinner!

picture of pulling a meatball out of the instant pot

If you’d rather skip my essential cooking tips and tricks and get straight to this delicious recipe – simply scroll to the bottom of the page where you can find the printable recipe card.

You can make the meatballs french onion sauce in an instant pot or you can make them in a not so instant pot (otherwise known as a crock pot).

I prefer the instant pot. Not only because you get to eat sooner, which is awesome.

But a quick pot can fool the palate into thinking that you have been cooking for days. That is awesome times two.


In essence, the meatball is like the airport in Atlanta. Tons of flavors can fly in, make connections, then fly out to a completely unique destination.

With french onion meatballs, you charter all the great flavors of french onion soup. Then, you travel across a world of great flavors. 

One taste and you never want plain meatballs again!

Actually, I am pretty nuts about meatballs and I have a ton of great meatball recipes to check out.

Hold on. That sounds a bit saucy. But of course a great sauce makes the meatball.

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close up of meatballs on small plate


French onion soup is actually traditionally made with Gruyère cheese. Truth be told, Gruyère is actually a Swiss cheese, but don’t let that stop the French from laying claim to it.

French onion soup sounds a lot tastier than Swiss onion soup. 

That being said, french onion soup doesn’t necessarily require french onions either. You can do just fine with your basic yellow or white onion.

If you can get some of the Walla Walla sweet onions from Washington then those are great too. 


ONE: Caramelize the onions. Really any onion will do. The important thing is that the onion needs to be cooked fully until it is nice and brown, caramelized through and through.

Use a bit of stock to simmer the onion in after you brown them by using the sauté setting on your quick pot.

If you are not using an instant pot, then I suggest browning the onions first in a cast iron pan before you add them to the crock pot with some stock.

TWO: While the onions simmer away in the stock, build your meatballs. Make homemade meatballs or buy some already prepped.

You also want to brown the meatballs if you are using a freshly made homemade meatball recipe.

You don’t necessarily have to cook them all the way. When adding them into the french onion sauce then they can finish cooking in the instant pot.

overhead picture of french onion meatballs


The onions should be nice and brown, soft, and a bit translucent. If you are using frozen meatballs like me, because I love a great shortcut, then the onions have been your main focus this whole time.

THREE: Make a roux by adding flour to the onions. Cook the roux until it is nice and brown and smooth.

Roux of course is another great French cooking term. In this recipe, you cannot get enough French into the dish.

FOUR: Once the flour and spices coat the onions and start to thicken, add half the stock or broth, scrape down the sides of the instant pot and the caramelized bits on the bottom of the pot.

Stir the sauce to make sure the it thickens without lumps. Finally, add the remainder of the broth/stock and the rest of the sauce ingredients and stir to complete the sauce.

SIX: Balls time!!! Add in your meatballs and toss them in the sauce to coat. Turn the instant pot to pressure cook and cook at high pressure for 6 minutes.

SEVEN: When they are finished, slowly vent the pressure, turn the instant pot to “keep warm” if it isn’t already there, open the lid carefully, and add the shredded Gruyère cheese.

Cover with the lid for 5 minutes and let the cheese melt.

Voila! French Onion Chicken Meatballs as an appetizer.

For the full recipe and detailed instructions, please refer to the recipe card at the bottom of the post.

For more insider tips & tricks, and a candid behind the scenes look follow me on social media! Check use out on Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, & Twitter (yes, people still use Twitter, LOL!)

overhead picture of french onion meatballs in instant pot

You are going to want to serve them as an appetizer at every party from now on!

If you are craving them but need to serve an actual dinner, you are also welcome to serve them as an entrée.

If you go the entrée route, then you might want to serve them over mashed potatoes or pasta.

In terms of pasta, I would suggest using an egg noodle or other wide, fat noodle. However, if you want to use spaghetti then feel free! No noodle judgement here.

Bon appétit! (more french flavor for you!)

You might have to put up with people wondering why it isn’t a tomato based sauce. But just tell them to “French Off” and find another party. Problem solved.

close up of meatball on a stick


  • You don’t need long slices of onion since these are party meatballs so cut your onions in half before slicing so they are shorter.
  • If your instant pot gets too hot after making the French Onion sauce, pour out the sauce and let the pot cool off or prepare the sauce ahead of time and just pull it out of the fridge when you are ready to make the meatballs.
  • The melted Gruyère cheese is one of the best parts of this dish but it doesn’t take long to melt so you can sprinkle in on at the end.


If you love this recipe as much as I do, please write a five-star review in the comment section below (or on Pinterest with the “tried it” button – you can now add pictures into reviews, too!), and be sure to help me share on facebook!

cocktail meatballs on forks with text "instant pot french onion meatballs"


French Onion Meatballs

French Onion Meatballs

Yield: 15 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 6 minutes
Additional Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 26 minutes

French onion meatballs takes the classic french onion soup in a whole new direction. By adding meatballs to french onion soup, you create essentially french onion meatball stew. Instead of an appetizer soup, voila! Serve as a light entree instead!


  • 26 ounces frozen meatballs

French Onion sauce

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 medium onions, sliced thin
  • 1/3 cup white wine
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 4 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated


Make the French Onion Soup Sauce

  1. Gather all the ingredients
  2. Turn your instant pot to sauté.
  3. Add butter and melt.
  4. Add onions and cook for 5-8 minutes or until onions are tender and starting to brown.
  5. Add the fresh thyme, garlic, and flour to make a roux.
  6. Stir to coat.
  7. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently.
  8. Add 1 cup of broth and stir, scraping the brown bits off the bottom of the pot.
  9. Add in 1 cup broth, mustard, vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce.
  10. Stir to combine.

Make the French Onion Meatballs

  1. Add in the meatballs.
  2. Stir to coat the meatballs.
  3. Turn the Instant Pot to pressure cook, cover, and cook on high pressure for 6 minutes.
  4. When finished, vent slowly and turn the IP to keep warm.
  5. Sprinkle with the shredded cheese.
  6. Serve and enjoy!


*If you like this recipe, leave me a comment and rate it with some stars. Thank you!

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 15 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 220Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 49mgSodium: 583mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 1gSugar: 3gProtein: 10g

This nutrition information was generated via a third party, Nutritionix, and can not be held liable for any discrepancies in the information provided.

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Wednesday 1st of April 2020

Very tasty. I really enjoyed it with my Comte stuffed meatballs and put a little cheese on the top. Thank you.


Monday 17th of February 2020

I'm always looking for new IP recipes. My family loved all the flavors in this one!

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