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Porcupine Meatballs

Flavorful and tender, Porcupine Meatballs are a simple and filling go-to dinner. They’re versatile, hearty, and oh-so-delicious!

SUPER EASY FLAVORFUL MEATBALLS

Have you ever had or heard of porcupine meatballs? Imagine the flavor of juicy beef and rice cooked together with zesty spices – all bundled up neatly in bite-sized morsels. The perfect meal; hearty and filling without being too heavy. These tender Porcupine Meatballs are extremely flavorful that you will keep going back for more!

A plate of white rice and porcupine meatballs.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

What are porcupine meatballs?

Porcupine meatballs are a traditional dish made from ground beef or pork mixed with rice and seasonings, formed into balls, and then simmered in a tomato-based sauce. The name “porcupine” comes from the way the rice in the meatballs resemble the quills of a porcupine. The dish is believed to have originated during the Great Depression, when people used rice as a filler to stretch their meat supply.

What should I serve with these?

We like to serve them over a bed of rice, mashed potatoes, or egg noodles with some of the sauce drizzled over the meatballs. You can also serve some vegetables, like steamed carrots, peas or broccoli with these meatballs to round it out. Or maybe serve a colorful side salad!

Do I have to use ground beef?

No, you can certainly swap the beef out for other ground meat. Try using ground turkey, ground chicken, ground sausage or ground pork. Or any ground meat combination mixture you want to make from any of these would work also.

What if I don’t have a cast iron skillet?

No worries! Just use any oven-safe skillet you have. Or, if you don’t have an oven-safe skillet, you can put the meatballs in a baking dish, bring the sauce to a simmer on the stove and pour it over the meatballs. Then cover the dish and bake following using the rest of the instructions.

How do you keep porcupine meatballs from falling apart?

Using a binding agent helps keep the meatballs from falling apart. In this recipe, I use a well beaten egg as the binding agent. Just like when you’re making meatloaf.

How to store leftovers?

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Keep them even longer, by freezing them for up to 3 months.

How to reheat leftovers?

You can use a microwave to reheat your meatballs, or use the stovetop or oven to reheat the meatballs until they’re warmed all the way through before enjoying.

A cast iron skillet with Porcupine Meatballs and homemade sauce.

INGREDIENTS NEEDED: (FULL RECIPE AT THE BOTTOM OF THE POST)

  • ground beef
  • uncooked long-grain white rice
  • egg
  • sweet onion
  • worcestershire sauce
  • garlic powder
  • onion powder
  • Italian seasoning
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • can of condensed tomato soup
  • beef stock
Ground beef, long-grain white rice, large egg, small-diced sweet onion, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, Italian seasoning, kosher salt, black pepper, vegetable oil, can of condensed tomato soup, beef stock, and fresh chopped parsley.

HOW TO MAKE PORCUPINE MEATBALLS 

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Mix the ground beef, rice, beaten egg, onion, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper in a large bowl.

A glass mixing bowl of ground beef and other ingredients needed to make meatballs all mixed together.

Roll into 2 tablespoon-sized balls and place them on a plate.

A plate of raw porcupine meatballs.

In a large oven-safe skillet over medium heat, add the vegetable oil. Once hot, fry the meatballs for a few minutes on each side until golden brown.

A cast iron skillet with freshly cooked meatballs.

Wipe out any excess oil. Mix together the tomato soup and beef stock, pour over the meatballs, and bring to a simmer. Take off the heat.

A glass container pouring a tomato sauce over top of the Porcupine Meatballs in a cast iron skillet.

Cover with foil or a lid and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 30 minutes until the rice is tender.

Looking down on Porcupine Meatballs with sauce in a cast iron skillet.

Add fresh chopped parsley for garnish if using, and serve immediately.

A plate of rice with meatballs on top and one bite taken out of one.

CRAVING MORE RECIPES?

A closeup of a skillet of homemade meatballs in sauce.

Porcupine Meatballs

Flavorful and tender, Porcupine Meatballs are a simple and filling go-to dinner. They're versatile, hearty, and oh-so-delicious!
5 from 13 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • ½ cup uncooked long-grain white rice
  • 1 large egg, well beaten
  • ½ cup finely diced sweet onion
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 10.75 ounce can condensed tomato soup
  • 1 ½ cups beef stock
  • fresh chopped parsley for garnish, optional

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Mix the ground beef, rice, beaten egg, onion, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Roll into 2 tablespoon-sized balls and place them on a plate.
  • In a large oven-safe skillet over medium heat, add the vegetable oil. Once hot, fry the meatballs for a few minutes on each side until golden brown.
  • Wipe out any excess oil.
  • Mix together the tomato soup and beef stock, pour over the meatballs, and bring to a simmer. Take off the heat.
  • Cover with foil or a lid and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 30 minutes until the rice is tender.
  • Add fresh chopped parsley for garnish if using, and serve immediately.

Notes

  • We like to serve these meatballs over steamed rice, but they are also good over egg noodles or mashed potatoes. 
  • You can use ground sausage, ground turkey, ground chicken, or ground pork in place of the beef, or any ground meat mixture you would like.
  • Keep leftovers in the fridge for up to 3 days, or freeze them for up to 3 months.
  • Reheat leftovers in the oven, microwave, or on the stove until heated through.
  • I used a cast iron skillet to make mine, but you can use any oven-safe skillet. I love this recipe because you only have to dirty one pan. However, if you don’t have an oven-safe skillet, you can place the meatballs into a baking dish, bring the sauce to a simmer on the stove top and pour it over the meatballs, then cover and bake as directed.
Course: Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine: American

Nutrition

Calories: 511kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 31g | Sodium: 1003mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 8g

Nutritional Disclaimer

“The Country Cook” is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories and other nutritional values can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.

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3 Comments

  1. love this recipe, will be making it, grew up eating this as a kid, my grandmother would make this, thank you.