Porcupine meatballs were one of my favorite meals that my mother made when I was growing up. I just loved the way the rice poked out of the meatballs like little porcupine quills while it cooked! Thankfully my own family loves these just as much as I do, so I make them often. Today I am sharing my adaptation of my mother’s classic porcupine meatballs recipe. Want to try these in the pressure cooker instead of the oven? See my Instant Pot Porcupine Meatballs recipe.
Porcupine meatball recipe ingredients
How to make porcupine meatballs
It’s pretty easy to make these, as most of the ingredients are mixed together in one step to make the meatballs. I use dry minced onion in mine, but you can substitute fresh minced onion if you prefer.
The meatballs are a nice bite size, and you’ll get 16 meatballs from one pound of ground beef in this recipe.
The porcupine meatballs cook in a simple tomato sauce in a 13″ square baking pan covered with foil for 45 minutes.
The foil will help steam everything to cook the rice in the meatballs.
Since these are best with 80% lean ground beef to stay moist (and the moisture will help cook the rice in the meatballs), you’ll find that the meatballs release a lot of oil while cooking. You’ll skim the excess oil from the top of the sauce towards the end of the recipe.
See how the rice is already poking out of the meatballs like porcupine quills?
After skimming the excess oil, you’ll stir the sauce and spoon it over the meatballs. The final step is to cook the meatballs uncovered for 10 more minutes.
Isn’t it cute how these resemble porcupines? The result is as fun as the meatballs are delicious. I hope you enjoy these as much as we do!
Porcupine meatballs were one of my favorite meals that my mother made when I was growing up. It was so fun to see rice poking out of them like porcupine quills after they cooked! Luckily, my own family loves these just as much as I did, so we make them often. This is my adaptation of my mother's porcupine meatballs recipe.
- 1 pound 80% lean ground beef
- 3/4 cup uncooked white rice
- 1 tablespoon dry minced onion
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 3 8-ounce cans tomato sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon seasoning salt
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Mix ground beef, rice, minced onion, salt, pepper, and garlic powder in a bowl until ingredients are thoroughly mixed together.
- Roll the mixture into balls approximately 1.75″ in diameter, and place into a 13″ x 13″ square baking dish. You should have about 16 meatballs.
- Mix the tomato sauce, oregano, and seasoning salt together in a small mixing bowl. Pour the tomato sauce over the meatballs so that they are all covered in sauce.
- Cover with foil, and bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and remove the foil. The rice should be poking out of the meatballs, resembling a porcupine. Skim off excess oil from the top of the sauce with a spoon. Stir the sauce and spoon it over the meatballs.
- Place the pan back into the oven, and bake for another 10 minutes uncovered.
Instant Pot variation: Want to try making these in the pressure cooker instead? See my Instant Pot Porcupine Meatballs recipe.
Sue Meagher says
The rice inside the meatballs stayed hard. Even after I doubled the cooking time. I don’t know why.
Ramona Cruz-Peters says
I’m so sorry to hear that this happened to you. There are a few reasons this could be happening: 1) Too lean ground meat (if it is too lean the meatballs won’t emit additional moisture to help cook the rice), 2) Could need more sauce, 3) Could need more time under foil (if I see that the rice is still hard when I check it after the foil-covered period, I cover it back up and cook for a few more minutes).