Porcupine Meatballs

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Porcupine meatballs require only 6 ingredients. Make these saucy tomato meatballs, that are held together with rice in less than 30 minutes! This is one of my family’s favorite and most requested meals. A super easy, budget-friendly option that you’ll love, I promise!
Don’t get “stuck” looking for something easy for dinner, make my porcupine meatball recipe! Porcupine Meatballs offer a simple, budget-friendly weeknight meal that the family will love. They were a favorite of mine growing up, and now, they are, hands down, one of the top 5 most requested dinners by all four of my kids and my big kid, my husband.
With the simple ingredients, they are easy to throw together and you’ll have dinner on the table in a jiffy! They cook on the stovetop in less than 30 minutes or they can be made ahead and baked in the oven.

What are Porcupine Meatballs Made of?

Porcupine meatballs might get a double-take but don’t worry, these delicious meatballs do not contain porcupine! (Although I am sure you can cook porcupine, I never have, and God willing, I never will.)  Stick with ground beef. 
The name comes from the way the meatballs look after cooking. The grains of cooked rice stick out and create a “prickly” look, giving them their porcupine name. 

What Are Porcupine Meatballs?

This dish is actually a family recipe my Mom turned me onto. Indeed, let’s just say it is safe to say that many more generations will enjoy it too. Essentially, a porcupine meatball is everything you love about meatballs but includes rice. In a sense, it is like the stuffing you might include in stuffed bell peppers. Only you don’t have to worry about de-seeding and deveining a pepper.


porcupine meatball ingredients

What Ingredients Are In Porcupine Meatballs?

Don’t you just love those recipes everyone looks forward to? Even better if they require only a few ingredients, they can be whipped together in minutes, and cooked quickly, too! Here is what you need and I bet you already have a lot of these ingredients in your pantry!

  • lean ground beef
  • Minute Rice
  • tomato soup
  • eggs
  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • parsley
  • salt and pepper

You can find the complete measurements and instructions in the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post.

Steps To Make Porcupine Meatballs

Step One

meatballs ready to pan fry

In a bowl, combine your ground beef, eggs, rice, and part of the Worchestershire sauce. Form into meatballs, and place in a skillet.

Tip: Don’t make the meatballs too big, or they will fall apart easily.


Step Two

tomato soup with added Worcestershire

Whisk together tomato soup, the remaining Worchestershire sauce, and some water to make the sauce. Pour it over the top of the meatballs.

Step Three

sauce covering porcupine meatballs

Sprinkle with some dry parsley flakes and some salt & pepper. 

Step Four

baked porcupine meatballs

Cover and simmer, carefully turning the meatballs every few minutes. Cook until meat is no longer pink in the center. Ground beef is done safely when the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees with a meat thermometer

See how the grain of rice poke out as the meatballs cook down? There is the magic moment when you discover why the name makes sense. 


porcupine meatball with baked potato

We are huge creatures of habit, and we always eat them the same exact way, with a yummy baked potato and green beans. My kids love the sauce so much, it’s even become their “potato topper!”

Don’t blink. These are going to be gone in seconds. Then everyone is going to ask for seconds. 

Love it? Pin it!

Don’t forget where you found this simple family favorite recipe! Pin it to your favorite Pinterest recipe board before you go!




The Origins Of Porcupine Meatballs

My mother taught me this one, but it goes back to the days of her mother and grandmother’s day. During the Great Depression of the 1920s, porcupine meatballs provided a low-cost meal. When a dime needed to be stretched, serving these tasty meatballs made that dime seem like a ten-dollar meal with a five-dollar tip. 

Porcupine Meatballs In Tomato Soup

If you want to spin this one in a few other directions, then go for it! You can easily substitute any other type of ground meat. Or, if you want to step outside the can, so to speak, then you can use cream of mushroom soup or a can of cream of celery soup, or… you get the picture. Also, if you really like stuffed peppers, then just chop in some bell pepper and you can call it a “deconstructed” stuffed pepper. Go ahead, make it sound like a fancy cooking show recipe. 


Close view of Hawaiian ham balls with pineapple sauce

More Meatball Recipes To Check Out

Meatballs are a favorite in our house, whether they are an appetizer or a main dish. Here are more meatball recipes to love!

My family and I love my Mom’s Porcupine meatball recipe! I am sure that you and yours will, too!
M. logo An Affair from the Heart
bowl of porcupine meatball with tomato sauce
4.53 from 40 votes
Print Recipe

Porcupine Meatballs

Porcupine Meatballs are a simple, budget friendly weeknight meal that the family will love.
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time25 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
Course: Beef
Cuisine: American
Keyword: easy, ground beef, minute rice, Porcupine Meatballs, rice, tomato soup
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 552kcal
Author: Michaela Kenkel


  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 2 cans tomato soup
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/4 c Minute rice uncooked
  • 2 t. Worcestershire Sauce
  • dry Parsley
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 c Water


  • Combine beef with eggs, 1 t. of Worcestershire Sauce and rice.
  • Form into balls. (don’t make them too big or they tend to fall apart easier)
  • Place in skillet, combine soup, 1 t. Worcestershire and water. Pour over balls. Sprinkle with dry parsley, and salt and pepper.
  • Simmer about 20 minutes, turning meatballs over from time to time, and stirring so they don’t stick. When meatballs are no longer pink in center they are done.


I cook for a family of six, so remember, if this seems like a lot, this recipe is easily cut in half.
To bake in the oven, place the meatballs in a 9x13 baking dish, cover with sauce, then cover the dish and bake at 350 for about one hour, or until the center of the meatball is no longer pink.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 552kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 45g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 13g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 197mg | Sodium: 620mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 9g

This recipe was originally shared on October 7, 2011. They were updated to improve user experience and reshared on October 4, 2021.

porcupine meatballs

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  1. I love this recipe..I use to make it for my oldest when he was little and his little fingers couldn’t go fast enough. Thanks for the little smile to my day! I’m making these this coming week!

  2. When I make Porcupine Meatballs, I use the same ingredients as I were making a Meatloaf (pound of ground beef, chopped sweet white onion, crushed garlic, salt, pepper, chopped celery, crushed Ritz crackers, ketchup, mustard, worchester sauce). Roll my meatballs, and pour a can of Campbell’s Chicken Gumbo Soup or Chicken with Wild Rice Soup over the top of the meatballs, covered with foil, bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Serve over rice or noodles.

  3. I’ve never heard of this dish, but I know my hubby and my son would love it. They are HUGE meat eaters. Must make it for them.

  4. We loved this as an appetizer! There was so much flavor packed into these little meatballs. I would love to add these to a salad or spaghetti next time 🙂 thank you!

  5. This is a unique name for meatballs but I get it now with using the rice! High -Five to your family’s recipe that I will soon try!

  6. I love this meatball recipe. It kinda remind me the middle eastern stuffed meat where it has fillings of rice. Definitely going to make one this weekend.

  7. Enjoyed these for dinner last night and they did not disappoint! Easy, delicious and hearty; easily, a new family favorite dish!

  8. These were in my mom’s rotation of dinners we all loved. When my husband heard of them and wanted to try them (he was a chef) he made up the recipe off the top of his head. Now here’s your recipe and he got darn near close. No Worcestershire sauce. He would have loved them though.

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