These easy porcupine meatballs are made with a delicious mixture of ground beef and rice cooked in a creamy tomato sauce made with tomato soup. Tender, moist and super flavorful!
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Perfect Comfort Food Skillet Meal
Porcupine meatballs are one of my favorite skillet meals to make for dinner. They’re simple, delicious and ready in less than an hour. Some other stove top favorites are classic spaghetti and meat sauce, goulash and sloppy joes.
Porcupine meatballs are a fun twist on the classic meatball recipe, as they have rice cooked inside of them. They simmer in a creamy tomato soup sauce and are very easy to make. They’re tender, moist and super flavorful.
This recipe is passed down from my mom and reminds me of my childhood. She would usually make them once a month and we all loved them. Now they’re one of my family’s favorites and my kids eat them right up!
An easy homemade meatball recipe paired with a creamy tomato soup sauce is all that’s needed to make these porcupine meatballs. Check out all of the ingredients below.
Find the full printable recipe with specific measurements below.
- Beef: I prefer to use 80% lean ground beef so that the meatballs aren’t super greasy, but will still stay juicy and moist.
- Rice: Uncooked long grain white rice adds great texture to the meatballs and gives them their “porcupine quills”. It’s added into the meat mixture dry and will get tender and fluffy as the meatballs cook in the sauce.
- Egg: A whisked egg acts as the binder that holds the meatballs together.
- Aromatics: You can’t have homemade meatballs without freshly chopped onion and minced garlic. Both add fresh and delicious flavor.
- Spices and herbs: A simple sprinkle of salt and black pepper is all that’s needed to season these porcupine meatballs. I also love adding Italian flat leaf parsley into the meat mixture for extra flavor, but this is optional.
- Sauce: A thick and rich tomato sauce made with a can of tomato soup mixed with water and Worcestershire sauce for some tang and umami flavor.
- For moister meatballs, use half ground beef and half ground pork.
- For a leaner alternative, you can use turkey meatballs or chicken meatballs. They won’t be as juicy, but the flavor will still be delicious.
- Feel free to switch up the sauce. You can use a gravy or bechamel sauce (similar to Swedish meatballs) or a roasted tomato sauce.
- If you don’t have fresh garlic and onion on hand, you can use minced onion and garlic powder instead.
How to Make Porcupine Meatballs
Made in less than an hour and in just one skillet, this porcupine meatballs recipe is the ultimate comfort dinner that your family will love!
- Combine meat mixture. In a bowl, combine meat, rice, egg, onion, garlic, salt, pepper and parsley. Stir just until combined, don’t over mix. Add 1-2 Tablespoons of water as needed to keep the mixture wet.
- Scoop and form. Use a medium cookie scoop or spoon to scoop the meat. Then form into 1 1/2″ balls.
- Brown in skillet. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-heat. Cook the meatballs about 2 minutes per side to lightly brown the outsides. Then pour in tomato soup, Worcestershire sauce and water.
- Simmer and cook. Bring to a simmer and then cover with a lid. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 35-45 minutes, or until rice is tender.
5 star review
These are the yummiest, easiest meal I make – with no complaints for all 4 kids!!– Melanie
- Half and half. For super moist porcupine meatballs, use a mix of half ground beef and half pork. Pork is a bit more fatty, which creates a juicer texture.
- Don’t over mix. This causes the beef to toughen up, so your meatballs won’t be as juicy and moist. Once the meat mixture is just combined, then stop mixing.
- Add water. To keep the meat mixture wet and easy to form into balls, add 1-2 Tablespoons of water. If it still feels a little dry, add more so that it’s easier to handle.
- Scooping. Use a medium cookie scoop to scoop out meatballs so that they all are evenly sized and cook uniformly in the pan.
What to Serve With Porcupine Meatballs
Rice, potatoes, noodles, vegetables or a chopped salad all taste delicious served alongside this delicious porcupine meatball recipe. Finish it off with a homemade dinner roll or breadstick for the ultimate comfort meal.
- Rice: Serve over white rice, brown rice, cauliflower rice or a flavorful rice pilaf. The tomato sauce soaks into the rice, making it extra tasty and delicious.
- Potatoes: For the ultimate comfort meal, serve the porcupine meatballs with tomato soup over a bed of creamy mashed potatoes or garlic mashed red potatoes.
- Noodles: This dish tastes great served over cooked egg noodles.
- Vegetables: Serve with a side of oven roasted vegetables, green beans or roasted asparagus.
Their name comes from the way they look once cooked. As you can see, the cooked grains of rice poke out of the actual meatball itself, resembling the spiky quills on porcupines.
It not only adds great texture but absorbs a ton of flavor as it cooks in the tomato sauce, making your meatballs extra delicious!
We use uncooked long grain rice in this porcupine meatballs recipe. The dry rice gets mixed into the raw meat mixture and will become tender and fluffy as the meatballs cook and simmer in the sauce.
Another plus about this recipe is that it makes a great freezer meal! I’d recommend freezing the meatballs uncooked because the rice isn’t cooked when added to the meatball mixture, so it needs to simmer in the sauce in order to get tender.
- To freeze: Form meat mixture into meatballs, then place on a baking sheet. Freeze for about 1 hour, or until meatballs have hardened. Transfer to a freezer bag or container and store in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- To reheat: Place the bag or container in the fridge overnight to thaw. Then cook the meatballs in a large skillet over medium-heat, about 2 minutes per side to lightly brown the outsides. Pour in the tomato soup, Worcestershire sauce and water and bring to a simmer. Cover with lid and cook on medium-low heat for 35-45 minutes, until rice is tender.
More Meatball Recipes
- 1 ¼ pounds lean ground beef (can use 1/2 ground beef and 1/2 ground pork)
- ⅓ cup long grain rice
- 1 large egg , beaten
- ¼ cup finely chopped onion , or 1 Tablespoon minced onion
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic , or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh Italian flat leaf parsley , optional
- 1-2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 (10-ounce) can tomato soup
- ½ Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 cup water
For serving: Fresh parsley, Rice, Mashed potatoes, or Cooked noodles
- In a large bowl, stir together the meat, rice, egg, onion, garlic, salt, pepper and parsley until just combined, being careful not to overmix. Add 1 to 2 Tablespoons water, as needed to keep a wet mixture.
- Using a medium cookie scoop or spoon, scoop the meat and roll with hands to form into 1 1/2-inch balls.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, add olive oil. When hot, add meatballs and cook 2 minutes per side or until lightly browned all over. Pour in the tomato soup, Worcestershire sauce, and water. Bring to a simmer and cover with a lid. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook 35 to 45 minutes, or until rice in the meatballs is tender.
Nutrition provided is an estimate. It will vary based on specific ingredients used.
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