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Easy Porcupine Meatballs with Tomato Soup

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!

Porcupine meatballs cooking in a white pot.
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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!

I love that these easy porcupine meatballs are ready in under an hour. They’re simple to prepare and taste so delicious served over a bed of rice, cooked noodles or mashed potatoes. Yum!

Recipe Ingredients

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.

Porcupine meatball ingredients on a marble countertop.

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.

Variations

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!

The process of how to make porcupine meatballs in a 4 step collage.
  1. 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.
  2. Scoop and form. Use a medium cookie scoop or spoon to scoop the meat. Then form into 1 1/2″ balls.
  3. 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.
  4. 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

Expert Tips

  • 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.
Porcupine meatballs simmering in marinara sauce.

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.

Recipe FAQs

Why are they called porcupine meatballs?

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.

What does the rice do in porcupine meatballs?

It not only adds great texture but absorbs a ton of flavor as it cooks in the tomato sauce, making your meatballs extra delicious!

Is the rice cooked or uncooked?

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.

Freezing Instructions

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.
Porcupine meatballs and rice in a white bowl.

Craving more comfort food? Try my chicken pot pie with biscuits, albondigas soup or this easy slow cooker beef stroganoff.

More Meatball Recipes

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Porcupine meatballs simmering in marinara sauce.

Porcupine Meatballs

5 from 18 votes
↑ Click stars to rate now!
Author: Jamielyn Nye
These easy porcupine meatballs are made with a delicious mixture of ground beef and rice cooked in a creamy tomato sauce. Tender, moist and super flavorful!
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 40 mins
Total Time: 55 mins
Servings: 6

Ingredients 

  • 1 ¼ pounds lean ground beef (can use half ground beef and half ground pork)
  • 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

    Instructions

    • In a large bowl, stir together the meat, rice, egg, onion, garlic, salt, pepper and parsley until just combined. Be careful not to overmix. Add 1-2 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. 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.

    Video


    Notes

    Sauce: Switch up the sauce with a gravy (similar to Swedish meatballs) or a roasted tomato sauce.
    Freeze: After step 2, freeze raw meatballs about 1 hour, or until hardened. Transfer to a freezer bag or container and store in the freezer up to 3 months.
    Reheat: Thaw by placing the bag or container in the fridge overnight. Follow step 3. 

    Nutrition

    Serving: 4meatballs | Calories: 237kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 90mg | Sodium: 662mg | Potassium: 651mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 345IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 31mg | Iron: 3mg

    Nutrition provided is an estimate. It will vary based on specific ingredients used.

    Course: Main Dish
    Cuisine: American
    Diet: Gluten Free

    Did you make this recipe? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below!

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