Instant Pot Chicken Ricotta Meatballs and Green Rice with Lemon Pickle Sauce

White bowl of green rice and chicken ricotta meatballs covered in a white sauce

5 from 1 reviews

Soft Chicken Ricotta Meatballs on top of Green Rice and covered in Lemon Pickle Sauce – this is a dinner to remember!



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


  1. To a large bowl, add meatball ingredients and use hands or a spatula to evenly combine.  
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment or nonstick foil.
  3. 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.
  4. To the pressure cooker pot add rice, chicken broth, salt, and butter.
  5. Arrange the meatballs on top of the rice in a single layer.
  6. Secure the lid and turn pressure release knob to a sealed position.  Cook at high pressure for 4 minutes.
  7. While the rice and meatballs cook, blend the greens in a food processor or blender until mostly smooth; set aside.
  8. To a small bowl, combine Lemon Pickle Sauce ingredients; set aside. 
  9. When pressure cooking is complete, use a natural release for 10 minutes, then release any remaining pressure.
  10. Use tongs to remove meatballs to a separate plate.
  11. Add greens to the rice and toss to combine the mixture into the rice.  Warning: aggressive stirring will make the rice mushy.
  12. To serve, place a scoop of green rice in a bowl, top it with a few meatballs, then drizzle with the Lemon Pickle Sauce.
  13. 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