Porcupine Meatballs

Total Time

Prep: 20 min. Cook: 1 hour


4 servings

Updated: Dec. 04, 2023
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


  • 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


  1. 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.

Porcupine Meatball Tips

Why are they called porcupine meatballs?

Porcupine meatballs have been a family staple since the Great Depression (and even before that!). They're called porcupine meatballs because the rice pokes out of the meat while they're cooking, resembling the spiky animal.

What goes well with this recipe?

These porcupine meatballs taste great over rice or on their own as a party appetizer. Serve them alongside these other fabulous appetizer recipes.

Can you freeze meatballs?

Meatballs are a great meal to make ahead and freeze. Make sure they’re cooled completely and then wrap and seal tightly with either foil, plastic wrap or plastic freezer bags. Try to remove as much air when wrapping to prevent freezer burn. Or if you’re using food storage containers, make sure you’ve left enough space in the container for liquid to expand as it freezes.

Nutrition Facts

1 serving: 421 calories, 21g fat (6g saturated fat), 70mg cholesterol, 1317mg sodium, 34g carbohydrate (9g sugars, 2g fiber), 24g protein.