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Porcupine Meatballs

Porcupine Meatballs

Tender and flavorful PORCUPINE MEATBALLS with seasoned ground beef and rice mixture simmered in a simple yet delicious tomato sauce. Perfect for serving on top of pasta, mashed potatoes, or rice. A hearty, filling, and scrumptious dinner in only an hour!
Course Main
Cuisine American
Keyword meatballs, porcupine meatballs
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 12 - 16 meatballs
Calories 133kcal
Author Imma


  • large mixing bowl 
  • Large cast-iron or skillet


Porcupine Meatballs  

  • lb (453.59g) ground beef 
  • ½ cup (98.5g) uncooked white rice 
  • ½ cup (118.5g) water 
  • ¼ cup (28.75g) finely diced onion 
  • 1 tablespoon (8g) minced garlic 
  • ½ teaspoon (0.5g) minced thyme 
  • 2 tablespoons (8g) parsley 
  • 1 teaspoon (5g) salt  
  • pepper to taste 
  • 2 tablespoons (28ml) cooking oil

Porcupine Meatball Sauce

  • ½ - ¾ cup (57.5g-86.25g) diced onion  
  • 2 teaspoons (10g) minced garlic 
  • 15 oz (425.25g) tomato sauce 
  • ½ cup (120ml) milk (optional)
  • 1 cup (237ml) water or more  
  • 1-2  teaspoons  (1.8g-3.6g) Italian seasoning 
  • ½ - 1 tablespoon (6.25g-12.5g) brown sugar 
  • 2 teaspoons  (10g) Worcestershire sauce  
  • salt to taste
  • chopped parsley for garnish 


  • In a large bowl, mix ground beef, white rice, ½ cup water, onion, minced garlic, thyme, parsley salt, and pepper to taste in a bowl.  Roll the mixture into about 12 -16 meatballs.  
  • Heat a large cast-iron or skillet (use an oven safe pot or cast iron, if baking in the oven) over medium-high heat then add about 2 tablespoons oil, as. As soon as oil heats, add the meatballs.  
  • Brown meatballs for about 2 minutes or more before flipping around. If not, meatballs might fall apart. Brown the other side for another 2 minutes or more or until evenly browned while occasionally flipping it around. Remove and set aside. 
  • Add onions and garlic to the pan, cook until wilted about 3 minutes or so. 
  • Pour in tomato sauce, milk (optional), water, and Italian seasoning. Stir for about a minute then add  brown sugar and Worcestershire sauce. Season with salt. 
  • Cover and simmer until the meatballs are no longer pink in the center and the rice is tender, about 45 - 60 minutes. Stir as needed and add more water if the sauce becomes too dry. Adjust with seasonings to taste. 


  1.  I highly encourage you to use ground beef that isn’t too high in fat.  Or if you want leaner meat, swap it for ground turkey.
  2. You can also use a cup of leftover long-grain white rice and just leave out the half cup of water in the meatball mixture.
  3. For any leftover meatballs, store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.


Calories: 133kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 198mg | Potassium: 18mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 17IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 14mg | Iron: 1mg