These classic Porcupine Meatballs are hearty, delicious, super easy to make, and the perfect home cooked meal. Can you guess how this recipe got its name?
I love a great versatile meatball. One that can be baked, fried, slow cooked, and just goes great in everything. I originally discovered this recipe when doing a Meatball Mania challenge and got this recipe from a reader! This recipe is so tasty and easy, cooked in a tomato sauce that’s only made up of 2 ingredients.
But first of all, I would like to thank Laura, one of my dear readers who was kind enough to send me this recipe. She’s been reading all my posts and asked me if I had heard of porcupine meatballs and gave me her recipe. See, this is why I love you guys, I really love it when I hear from each and every one of you, especially when you share your recipes with me. So Laura, thank you again!
What are porcupine meatballs?
You’re probably wondering what porcupine meatballs are and what that secret ingredient is. Well let me put your mind at ease and tell you that there is no porcupine meat here at all.
The secret ingredient is the long grain rice. As the rice cooks in the meatballs, it will stick out all over like quills, making them look like little porcupines. I know, it’s too cool and trust me, it works. This porcupine meatball recipe is perfect for people who are gluten free as the rice acts as a binder in place of breadcrumbs.
Keep scrolling down to the printable recipe card for FULL ingredient amounts and instructions or click the “Jump to Recipe” button at the top of the page!
- Beef – I used extra lean so that I wouldn’t have to worry about draining the meat.
- Onion – This recipe calls for white onion but yellow will work too. We want something that mellows out and cooks well.
- Seasoning – Poultry seasoning first and foremost, then salt and pepper to taste.
- Cloves – Ground cloves are such an aromatic spice, I love to keep them in my pantry for recipes like this. If you don’t have any clove an equal amount of all spice will work too.
- Thyme – I prefer dried thyme for recipes like this as it holds up better to the heat in a saucy dish such as this one.
- Baking powder – Did you know you can use baking powder outside of, well, baking? This ingredient will help tenderize the meat and make the meatballs lighter.
- Rice – Long grain rice is the key to ensuring that you get the cute little quills we’re going for. Make sure you add it in uncooked as the sauce will puff up the rice as it cooks, ensuring it absorbs all that delicious flavor.
- Milk – Any fat content will do for this recipe.
- Tomato soup – Just one tin of concentrated tomato soup with water is all that’s needed for our sauce.
How to make porcupine meatballs
- Preheat your oven: Set your oven to 350 F degrees.
- Prepare the meatballs: In a large bowl add your meatball ingredients and mix well with clean hands. The mixture should be soft and loose at this point. Wet your hands and form scoops of the mixture into medium sized balls. You should get around 30 meatballs.
- Combine the meatballs: Drizzle olive oil in a 9 x 13 casserole dish and place meatballs in said dish, evenly spaced. In a separate bowl combine the tomato with water and mix well. Pour this mixture over the meatballs, sprinkle with parsley, cover with foil and place in the oven.
- Finish your dish: Bake for 35 minutes covered, then remove the foil and cook for another 30 – 35 minutes or until the rice pokes through. Sprinkle with more parsley and serve!
- I love to serve these over pasta, mashed potatoes, or even creamed corn. Try any of these combinations and you’ll thank me later!
- If you find the meatball mixture sticks to your hands too much while forming them, try spraying your hands with a quick coat of cooking spray.
- Don’t have tomato soup on hand? Substitute it for cream of mushroom soup and enjoy a creamy sauce.
- If you use ground beef with a higher fat content you may want to brown them on the stove first to drain that excess fat.
- Looking for something even leaner? Ground Turkey can be used instead of beef.
Other ways to cook them
Follow the instructions for forming the meatballs but place in your slow cooker instead. Cover with the sauce and cook on low for 6 – 8 hours.
Add your sauce to the pot first, followed by the meatballs. Cook on the manual setting on high for 7 minutes. Allow the pressure to release naturally before removing the lid, this step takes about 10 minutes. If you find that this method doesn’t work with uncooked rice you can substitute cooked rice in its place.
These meatballs can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 – 4 days. This recipe also freezes quite well so just be sure to separate the balls from the sauce in airtight containers and store. Each should last around 3 months frozen.
Looking more meatball recipes? Try these:
- Swedish Meatballs
- Salisbury Steak Meatballs
- Indonesian Meatballs
- Chimichurri Meatballs
- Philly Cheese steak Meatballs
- Instant Pot Swedish Meatballs
- Sweet Potato Turkey Meatballs
- Firecracker Chicken Meatballs
Looking for more recipes? Follow on…
- 2 cans condensed tomato soup (10.75 oz cans)
- 2 cans water (use soup can to measure)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp parsley finely chopped
- Preheat your oven to 350 F degrees.
- In a large bowl add the meatball ingredients, and mix well using your clean hands. The mixture will be quite soft and loose, but they will cook into firm meatballs.
- Wet your hands and form the mixture into medium size meatballs. You should end up with about 30 meatballs. Drizzle the olive oil in a 9×13 inch casserole dish then place the meatballs in the dish.
- In another large bowl mix the soup and water together, then pour over the meatballs. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and cover with aluminum foil.
- Bake covered for 35 minutes then remove the foil and cook for another 30-35 minutes, or until the rice pokes through the meatballs.
- Serve with mashed potatoes and enjoy!
- To make it easier to shape the meatballs you could use a small ice cream scoop, this will also ensure all your meatballs are the same size.
- Recipe should yield about 30 meatballs.
- Nutritional information is based on 5 meatballs per serving.
- These meatballs freeze well right in the sauce, in an airtight container.