Porcupine Meatballs

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Porcupine Meatballs are a fun twist on a traditional meatball recipe. These tasty meatballs are made with ground beef, rice, onion and seasonings then baked in a rich tomato sauce. So zesty and delicious, and ready in only an hour!

Serve this easy meatball recipe with a Caesar Salad and some 30 Minute Dinner Rolls for an easy dinner.

A plate of tender meatballs in a zesty sauce - a family favorite meal.

Meals baked in the oven are so fantastic if you have a busy schedule (and who doesn’t)? These porcupine meatballs are perfect because they can be prepared ahead of time and while they bake, you can fix a classic wedge salad and pot of rice or some Mashed Potatoes for a complete, delicious and easy meal!

Porcupine Meatballs are similar to a classic meatball recipe, only with rice added to the meat mixture before cooking. When the rice sticks out, these meatballs resemble a little ‘porcupine’. I personally love the texture that the rice gives these meatballs. It makes them so soft, tender and juicy all the way through!

Baked Porcupine Meatballs in a pan - a family favorite meal!

How to Make Porcupine Meatballs

These meatballs are so easy to make, even your kids will love to help! A great way to encourage your kids to try new foods is to have them help in the preparation of the meal.

Not only is it help to you, your littles will feel a sense of satisfaction contributing to the work of feeding the family!

  1. Combine meatball ingredients together and form into balls. Place meatballs in a casserole dish.
  2. Combine sauce ingredients together and pour over meatballs.
  3. Bake for 1 hour at 350˚F

Many recipes use raw rice, I prefer cooked and use leftovers or even purchase pre-cooked rice. Any rice will work in this recipe.

Ground beef and rice make the best porcupine meatballs.

What do you Serve with Porcupine Meatballs?

My personal preference is to serve these meatballs over rice, but they are delicious served over mashed potatoes or with a side of Easy Oven Roasted Potatoes as well.

As an alternative, I have used a mushroom soup sauce in place of the tomato sauce and served it over pasta. Equally as delicious and a great way to utilize the same recipe, slightly altering it for something different or to satisfy your family’s preference.

  • Mushroom Soup Sauce: Combine 1 can mushroom soup, 1 cup beef broth, 1/2 cup milk, 1/2 cup sour cream and 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder. Mix together until smooth and pour over meatballs. Bake as directed.

Can you Freeze Porcupine Meatballs?

Yes! Just like my favorite Meatloaf Recipe, these porcupine meatballs will definitely freeze well!

You can prepare the meatballs and freeze before baking (make sure your rice is cold before combining). Simply roll the meatballs on a parchment lined cookie sheet and freeze. Once frozen you can put them into a ziploc bag or container until ready to use and place the sauce in a second bag or container.

Alternately you can bake them first, and then freeze them or freeze the leftovers.

A pan of Porcupine Meatballs - the perfect make ahead meal

Uber easy and super savory, these porcupine meatballs are a force to be reckoned with when it comes to taste! For the perfect weeknight meal that will satisfy even your hungriest guest, this porcupine meatball recipe will become a regular in your rotation!

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5 from 3 votes
Review Recipe

Porcupine Meatballs

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Author Holly Nilsson
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Tender rice-meatballs baked in a zesty tomato sauce. 


  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 cup cooked long grain rice
  • 1/4 cup onion diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons parsley fresh
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 egg
  • 1 can (10 oz) condensed tomato soup undiluted
  • 1 cup vegetable juice such as V8
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • chopped parsley, for garnish

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  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 

  2. In a large bowl, mix ground beef, rice, onion, garlic powder, parsley, worcestershire, egg, salt, and pepper until just combined. 

  3. Shape the mixture into approximately 20 balls. Place in a baking dish, approximately 2qt.

  4. Combine all ingredients for the sauce and pour over meatballs. 

  5. Bake for uncovered 1 hour. Garnish with parsley, salt, and pepper. Serve over rice or mashed potatoes.      

Nutrition Information
Calories: 294, Fat: 7g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 111mg, Sodium: 561mg, Potassium: 813mg, Carbohydrates: 27g, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 5g, Protein: 28g, Vitamin A: 990%, Vitamin C: 26.2%, Calcium: 52%, Iron: 4.3%

(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.)

Keyword porcupine meatballs

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Porcupine Meatballs served over a bed of rice

Porcupine Meatballs have onions, rice and ground beef formed into balls and cooked in a rich tomato sauce. I can't wait to make these for my family again! #spendwithpennies #meatballs #easyrecipe #easymeatballs #groundbeef #tomatosauce

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Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!

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  1. Easy and delicious! If I were to prepare and freeze the meatballs ahead of time, would I take them out to thaw and then proceed or could I do them from frozen and cook longer? If so, how long?

    1. Hi Deanne, if cooking ahead of time you just need to reheat until heated through. If freezing uncooked, you can bake from frozen, until it reaches an internal temperature of 160°F.

    1. Now wouldn’t that be something Martin! We prefer these delicious rice “quills” to real ones any day!

  2. Just cooked your porcupine meatball recipe for supper and am so pleased with the outcome. They taste even better than I imagined they would and are so easy to prepare. I’m especially
    Impressed by the simplicity of your creative baking sauce.

  3. Such a simple and delicious meal! I remember porcupine meatballs from my elementary school lunch days and this far exceeded my memories! It was a hit with the whole family! I used my cookie scoop to keep the size and shape uniform.
    Thanks for the recipe!

  4. This is our favorite recipe for porcupine meatballs!! Sometimes I substitute 2 cups of pasta sauce for the tomato sauce and V-8 juice. I then adjust the seasonings. Love the ease of baking them! Thank you!

  5. I made tonight came out wonderful. Next time I will double the sauce for it. I also used raw rice instead of cooked. I will put this into my monthly food rotation.