Our old Fashioned Porcupine Meatballs are super easy to make and always bring the family to the dinner table in a hurry! The meatballs are made with beef and rice then simmered in a delicious tomato sauce. As the ground beef cooks, the meat shrinks down a little, and the little pieces of rice begin to stick out. Just like that, you have a meatball with something that looks like edible porcupine quills sticking out of it! Kids can’t get enough of these funny, spiky meatballs.
Looking for a different type of meatball? How about my Italian Baked Meatballs. These have amazingly authentic Italian flavor without all the mess and extra fat from frying. Looking for a meatball appetizer everyone loves? My Grape Jelly Meatballs are your answer. How about a unique take on meatballs for dinner? I promise you’ll want to add my Mexican Meatballs to your regular dinner rotation ♥
How To Make Porcupine Meatballs:
First, you mix all the meatball ingredients together in a large bowl. I like to do this with my hands as it makes quick work of the job. Then I roll the mixture into 1 1/2 inch meatballs and place them in a 12-inch skillet. When all of them are nestled in the skillet I mix together the sauce ingredients and pour it on top of them. All that’s left to do is cook them until the rice is tender and the meatballs are juicy!
What To Serve With Porcupine Meatballs:
Well, not to overdo a good thing here, but my favorite way to serve these is over a bed of white rice. Mashed potatoes are also a really great way to go! Whatever you decide, just make sure it’s something to catch all of the delicious meaty tomato sauce ♥
Porcupine Meatballs Slow Cooker
For folks who love their crockpots, with these porcupine meatballs, slow cookers can be very effective. To make Porcupine Meatballs Slow Cooker, in a large mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients for the meatballs and mix together well with clean hands. Roll into 20, 1 1/2 inch meatballs, and layer the formed meatballs into the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours or high for 3-4 hours. Serve over cooked rice
These meatballs are hearty and tender—perfect comfort food. Give them a try and let me know what your family thinks!
Recipe Notes For Porcupine Meatballs:
Meat: Ground turkey can be used in place of ground beef, but I don’t think that turkey meatballs hold together as well. So if you want to use turkey, I recommend adding 1 cup of soft breadcrumbs to your meatball mixture.
Size and Forming: Look, I love giant meatballs. I absolutely love them. Nothing makes me happier than sitting down to a plate of 2 or 3 giant meatballs—you know the size I’m talking about. But with this recipe, it’s imperative that you avoid making the meatballs too large. Reign in that urge for giant meatballs! The rice will not cook if the meatballs are too big, and crunchy rice is not what we’re going for in this recipe. This recipe should yield about 20 meatballs—if you have fewer than that, then you know you aren’t making them the right size.
In order to get a consistent size, I recommend using an ice cream scoop to form the meatballs. This is a great tool that turns out meatballs at the perfect diameter to cook the rice thoroughly.
Old Fashioned Porcupine Meatball Recipe! These super easy meatballs are made with beef and rice then simmered in a delicious tomato sauce. Always a family favorite! avoid meatballs that are too dense, try not to pack the meatballs too tightly. To avoid meatballs that are incredibly dry, make sure you don’t use a super lean ground meat. Fat helps to keep meat from drying out, so I like using 80/20 ground beef.
Betty Crocker’s porcupine meatballs use eggs and cereal to help them stick together—but I think this recipe does a darn good job of staying together on its own. No need for added binders.
Browning: The original recipe calls for you to brown the meatballs before adding them to the sauce. When my mom started making these meatballs, many decades ago, she says that she followed the recipe exactly and browned them, just as instructed. Somewhere along the way, she found that she could skip the browning step and make her prep time quicker and easier—plus, skipping the browning meant that there wasn’t any splatter over the cooktop, and left her with less to clean up. I follow my mom’s lead and skip the browning.
If you choose to skip the browning, here’s something you need to be aware of: the fat from the meatballs doesn’t get drained off. Instead, it sticks around in the sauce. Frankly, I consider that a good thing—that little bit of fat adds a whole lot of delicious flavor and makes this recipe even better in my opinion.
Rice: The original recipe called for uncooked long grain rice. But over the years, I’ve found that with porcupine meatballs, Minute Rice (instant rice) yields far more consistent results
If you happen to have leftover, cooked rice, you can use it instead of the long grain or minute rice. Honestly, I think there’s a bit of compromise in the texture but, hey sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do to use up leftovers!
Rice-a-Roni (or something similar) can be just as delicious as starting with uncooked rice! The problem with uncooked long grain rice is that it can be finicky. If the meatballs aren’t cooked perfectly or if the meatballs are rolled even a little too large, the rice doesn’t cook completely in the center of the meatball.
If you want to use uncooked long grain white rice in your meatballs, here are a few tips to help ensure the rice gets cooked all the way through the center of the meatball:
- Make sure you keep the skillet tightly covered while the meatballs are cooking. This will help ensure all the available heat is being used to cook the rice.
- Once the sauce has been brought to a boil, reduce the heat to its lowest setting, cover tightly, and cook until the rice in the center of the meatballs is soft and tender. The first few times you make this recipe, you’ll want to cut a meatball in half and check on the rice.
- Remember that every cooktop cooks at slightly different temperatures. On my cooktop, it takes about 45 minutes of simmering to completely cook through.
- Don’t form your meatballs too big! This recipe should produce about 20 meatballs.
Soup: In many recipes for porcupine meatballs, tomato soup is a key ingredient in the sauce. However, I love porcupine meatballs with cream of mushroom soup and a little dill instead of the tomato soup. I find that it’s heartier and more flavorful. Then I top it with 2 cans of Rotel tomatoes with the juice, which eliminates the need for water.
Toppings: My mother’s original recipe never included covering the porcupine meatballs with shredded cheese. But my family has come to love serving these wonderful meatballs with a healthy topping of delicious melted cheese. I photographed the meatballs without the cheese so you could see the fun texture of them.
Okay! I just can’t resist a few more Meatballs Recipes!
- Cranberry Meatballs -Warm and wintery, tender and tasty, cranberry meatballs scream holiday dinner party. But.. they’re just too good to limit yourself so serve them anytime!
- BBQ Meatballs -Tender, delicious meatballs smothered in a delicious, sweet homemade BBQ sauce
- Teriyaki Meatballs -Moist, tender, juicy, flavorful meatballs in a super easy, sweet, homemade teriyaki sauce!
- Easy Baked Sweet and Sour Meatballs – Perfect weeknight meal for the whole fam!
- Sicilian Meatballs– Infused with a combination of flavors to taste Italian and a bit Middle Eastern all at the same time!
Do you have one of those dishes that is like a time machine for you? It takes you back to your younger days. Maybe it reminds you of your mom or dad or aunt or uncle or grandma or whoever made it for you regularly. It reminds you of them and of the times you had together. For me, the porcupine meatball recipe is the ONE! If you love these as much as I do, I’d love to hear from you below!
- 1 Pound Ground Beef
- 1/2 Cup White Rice-Uncooked
- 1/4 Cup Ketchup
- 1/3 Cup Onion Finely Chopped
- 1 Large Egg Lightly Beaten
- 1/4 Teaspoon Celery Salt
- 1 Teaspoon Salt
- 1/4 Teaspoon Black Pepper
- 1 Teaspoon Dried Italian Seasoning
- 1/2 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
- 1 Can Condensed Cream of Tomato Soup
- 2 Teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce
- 1 Cup Water
- 1 1/2 Cups Cheddar Cheese Shredded
- 1-2 Tablespoon Flat Leaf Parsley Chopped
- In a large mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients for the meatballs and mix together well with clean hands.
- Roll into 20, 1 1/2 inch meatballs. Place meatballs in a large skillet.
- In a small mixing bowl, combine the ingredients for the sauce. Pour into skillet over meatballs. Bring sauce to a boil over medium heat and reduce heat and gently simmer for 15 minutes, covered. Very gingerly turn meatballs and continue to cook 25 minutes longer, or until meat and rice are cooked through.
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