Porcupine Meatballs are seasoned beef & rice meatballs slowly simmered in a savory tomato sauce in the oven! Serve over potatoes, rice, or pasta for a family-friendly and filling meal.
Have you ever tried Porcupine Meatballs? These tasty little meatballs are made with rice and ground beef covered in a tomato sauce and baked to perfection.
The original porcupine meatball recipe because popular during the Great Depression as a way to save money. The addition of the rice to the meat helps stretch your grocery dollars, which is always a good thing in my book!
- ground beef, low fat is better for this recipe
- instant or long grain rice
- onion & garlic powder season to perfection
- celery salt add a little something extra
- salt & pepper let you season the recipe to your taste
- tomato sauce provides the perfect base for this yummy sauce
- Worcestershire sauce gives a tangy, sweet and savory flavor to the sauce
- water thins the sauce so the rice can absorb it while cooking
Step by step
- Mix the meatballs and layer in a baking dish
- Add the 3-ingredient tomato sauce
- Bake for an hour and let the rice in the meatballs absorb all that delicious flavor!
While this dish bakes, the tomato sauce thickens, the rice within the meatballs cooks and the beef meatballs become fork-tender and delicious!
As you may have guessed, porcupine meatballs get their name because as they cook, the rice begins to poke out of the meatballs like porcupine quills. 🙂
How to double this recipe
These meatballs start with a few basic ingredients mixed into ground beef. My original recipes calls for one pound of ground beef, but since I am feeding 2 teenagers, I doubled the recipe and made 15 BIG meatballs in a 9×13 baking dish. If you stick with one pound of ground beef, you’ll get about 12 normal sized meatballs in an 8×8 baking dish.
I like to serve these nestled in a generous mound of mashed potatoes with extra sauce on the side!
If you are not a mashed potato person, you can spoon the meatballs and sauce onto additional rice, cauliflower rice or even plop them into a toasted bun for a twist on a meatball sub! Just definitely don’t let any of that rich, tomato-y sauce go to waste!
This is an easy recipe to customize, here are some ideas:
- use a different protein like ground pork, chicken, or turkey
- add finely chopped vegetables to the meatballs
- add your favorite shredded cheese to the meatballs or form the meatball around a cube of cheese for a surprise inside!
Yes! These freeze well! Simply prepare your meatballs and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and freeze. Once frozen, store in a gallon freezer bag until ready to bake, up to 4 months. You can also cook the meatballs first then freeze and store up to 2 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
Store in an airtight container up to 3 days in the refrigerator.
Reheat in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 20 minutes or until heated through.
- Use low-fat ground beef, I prefer 10% fat content.
- I usually use instant rice but you can use uncooked long grain rice if you prefer, the long baking time will allow the rice to cook regardless of which you choose.
Have you ever had Porcupine Meatballs? Do you call them something different in your family, like Rice Meatballs? I’d love to hear about some of your family’s favorite comfort food dishes, so leave a comment or pop over to Facebook to share them with me!
You might also like these comfort food recipes:
- Baked Brats & Sauerkraut
- Grandma’s Chicken Salad
- Crock Pot Breakfast Casserole
- Calico Beans – The Best Baked Beans Recipe
- Crispy Roasted Gemstone Potatoes
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Classic Porcupine Meatballs – beef & rice meatballs – are baked in a savory tomato sauce until they are fork tender and flavorful! This comfort food dish is one of our family favorites!
For the Porcupine Meatballs
- 1 – 1 ⅓ lbs. ground beef
- ½ cup instant rice
- ½ cup water
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon celery salt
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper or to taste
For the Sauce
- One 15 oz. can tomato sauce
- 1 cup water
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Prepare an 8×8 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, mix together the ground beef, rice, water and seasonings.
- Form mixture into 12 meatballs and place in the baking dish.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the tomato sauce, water and Worcestershire sauce and pour over the meatballs.
- Cover the baking dish with foil and bake meatballs for 45 minutes.
- Remove foil and bake up to an additional 15 minutes until meatballs are tender and cooked through.
- Serve over additional rice, mashed potatoes or in a toasted bun.
You can double the recipe and bake in a 9×13 baking dish as well.
Keywords: porcupine meatballs, beef and rice meatballs
This recipe was originally published in 2009 but was last updated in 2020 with new pictures and additional information.