Porcupine Meatballs

17 meatballs
40 min

Porcupine meatballs are a simple and yummy dinner idea. This recipe features tender meatballs filled with long grain rice and covered with velvety, rich tomato sauce mixture. It's so effortless to make and something the whole fam can enjoy! You can't go wrong with this delicious comfort food.

Porcupine Meatballs

When I was a kid, my mom used to make us a version of this recipe often. I loved it so much and cutely referred to it as "porky pine meatballs." I loved the little "porcupine quills" sticking out of each sphere.

What To Serve With Porcupine Meatballs

I really appreciate how these delicious meatballs can be flawlessly paired with so many different sides. Try serving your meatballs with:

And of course, I almost always spoon my meatballs over some fluffy brown or white rice. Cauliflower rice is also tasty and in carbs and calories.

Meatball ingredients measured into a small, glass bowl.
Meatball mixture in a glass bowl.
Meatballs arranged in a large skillet.
Whisking sauce ingredients together.
Pouring sauce over meatballs lined in white skillet.
Porcupine Meatballs
Recipe details
  • 17  meatballs
  • Prep time: 10 Minutes Cook time: 30 Minutes Total time: 40 min
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Meatball Ingredients
  • 1 lb. ground beef *I use 93/7 or 96/4.
  • 1/2 cup white long grain rice *uncooked
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika *regular paprika also works
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasonings
Sauce Ingredients
  • 1 15 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream *see tip below
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar *see tip below
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 14.5 ounce can chicken broth
Optional toppings:
  • Parsley
  • Parmesan cheese

In a large bowl, combine meatball ingredients. Do not cook the rice before adding it to the meat mixture. Gently stir everything together until well incorporated, but don't overwork ingredients (this can result in tough meatballs).
Portion mixture into small, even spheres. I make my meatballs approximately 2 tablespoons in size and typically end up with 17-18 total. You can eyeball it, they don't have to be perfect! If desired, use a measuring spoon, cookie scoop, or kitchen scale to keep them more uniform! Each ball will weigh around 35 grams.
Arrange meatballs in a large skillet (be sure to use a skillet that has a lid). You can also use a large soup pot if necessary. Try to keep the meatballs apart, it's okay if they touch slightly.
In a separate bowl, combine tomato sauce, tomato paste, heavy cream, Worcestershire sauce, white wine vinegar and garlic powder and chicken broth. Whisk well to combine.
Pour sauce over the meatballs, it's okay if they are completely covered by the mixture. The sauce will reduce and get thicker as it cooks! The rice will also absorb a good portion of it.
Place skillet on the stovetop on high heat. Cover and bring everything to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
***If you want to eat your meatballs with rice (or another grain), I would begin cooking it according to package instructions at this point.
After 30 minutes, test one meatball to see if the rice is done. If it's still a bit crunchy, simmer 5 more minutes.
Spoon over rice, if desired, and enjoy!
  • Heavy cream: you can also use half and half though I really prefer heavy cream for it's richness.
  • White wine vinegar: red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar can be substituted. You can also leave vinegar out all together and still have a delicious final product, but it will be slightly less flavor packed.
Garlic Salt & Lime
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