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Porcupine Meatballs

These well-seasoned porcupine meatballs in a rich tomato sauce are one of my mom's best main dishes. I used to love this meal when I was growing up. I made it at home for our children, and now my daughters make it for their families. —Darlis Wilfer, West Bend, Wisconsin
  • Total Time
    Prep: 20 min. Cook: 1 hour
  • Makes
    4 servings


  • 1/2 cup uncooked long grain rice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce


  • In a bowl, combine the first seven ingredients. Add beef and mix well. Shape into 1-1/2-in. balls. In a large skillet, brown meatballs in oil; drain. Combine tomato sauce, water, brown sugar and Worcestershire sauce; pour over meatballs. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 1 hour.

Test Kitchen Tips
  • Using lean ground beef instead of beef that’s 80% lean saves 45 calories per 4-ounce serving of beef. Lean ground beef is also 29% lower in saturated fat.
  • Dark brown sugar contains more molasses than light or golden brown sugar. The types are generally interchangeable in recipes. But if you prefer a bolder flavor, choose dark brown sugar.
  • You'll love these marvelous meatball recipes.
  • Nutrition Facts
    1 serving: 421 calories, 21g fat (6g saturated fat), 70mg cholesterol, 1317mg sodium, 34g carbohydrate (9g sugars, 2g fiber), 24g protein.


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    Average Rating:
    • kawfytawk
      May 21, 2020

      Awesome recipe! Super good!.....for those who have crunchy rice....uniform meatball size (try using a cookie scoop) and/or forgetting the water are your likely culprits. This will work very well every time as written.

    • Angela
      May 19, 2020

      Tripled the recipe for a family dinner and it tasted so good. I used what we had at home so the sauce was a jar or spaghetti sauce and tomato paste with equal parts water. Then we also added two eggs. They were awesome. Would make again.

    • Beulah
      May 6, 2020

      I always make mine in a crockpot. I thought, last minute, I wanted this and gave it a try. Sorry, was not happy. It looked odd, to not have an egg to hold together, but I gave it a shot.

    • Rose
      May 1, 2020

      Great recipe...will be making these more often for the grand babies.

    • David
      Apr 30, 2020

      I had some doubts while making this recipe exactly as directed as the meatballs were a bit mushy (might use less water next time) and a bit difficult to saute but after cooking them in the sauce, they were fantastic!! Anything you would like to add to the sauce will be absorbed by the rice and increase the flavor (garlic, hot sauce, a bit of parmesian). The other half and a guest (unexpected) raved about them and asked for seconds. This is definitely on my regular rotation for meals. Thank you so much for the recipe!!

    • Jan
      Apr 27, 2020

      Didn't turn out well. IF I ever make these again I will omit the water in the meatballs cause they fell apart. I will also omit the sugar, a little too sweet

    • Donna
      Apr 21, 2020

      I followed this recipe except I used 1 can campbells soup, a small can of tomato sauce and omitted the sugar. Turned out delicious. I will make again.

    • Barbara
      Apr 19, 2020

      I make this in my pressure cooker. No frying. Delicious

    • marykrauspe
      Apr 14, 2020

      Good recipe but use instant rice instead and don't add water to mixture. I found using regular rice, the rice doesn't cook thoroughly.

    • cath
      Apr 14, 2020

      We had these growing up too, but they were always part of my mom's stuffed pepper recipe, I suspect we children didn't like the pepper part. Also, I remember her tucking the meatballs in around the peppers to cook. It was a way also to use up the extra stuffing after the peppers were stuffed.