Move over spaghetti and meatballs, these Easy Porcupine Meatballs are a meal all by itself. Ground beef with white rice and seasoning are simmered in a tangy tomato sauce for a one pot dinner the whole family will be begging for more. Quick and EASY!

Easy Porcupine Meatballs in red sauce over a bed of rice with a skillet in the background.

I felt a chill in the air today, like below 60 degrees. I pulled out a turtleneck, fluffy socks and a sweater to start the process of hunkering down. Comfort food is going on the menu from now until March. Things like Beef Stew and this Easy Porcupine Meatballs recipe.

I remember my grandmother making these Porcupine Meatballs when I was little and I LOVED them. Basically, if there was a recipe that had white rice in it in any way, shape or form….I was all in. And I was begging for seconds. 

This easy meatball recipe is on constant repeat here now because it’s just so easy to make. You can make your meatballs in the oven but I like to make my meatballs on the stovetop in a skillet. Then, there’s no transferring and dirtying more dishes because doing dishes after dinner is a total drag. I’m not digging it at all.

Overhead shot of porcupine meatballs in tomato sauce in a skillet with a spoon.

Porcupine Meatballs

These little morsels of heaven are named Porcupine Meatballs because the rice sticks out of the meat as it cooks resembling little porcupines. The rice, also, absorbs all the flavors used in cooking this dish like the tangy tomatoes and savory ground beef. It’s seriously so flavorful and addicting. 

And they’re insanely simple to make!

Close up of porcupine meatballs on white rice.

How To Make Them

You only need a few minutes of hands on time to whip these babies up! And then they simmer in the sauce until they’re cooked through and the rice is tender.

Ingredients for porcupine meatballs in a glass bowl.
  1. Combine the ground beef, rice, eggs, parsley, onion, garlic powder, onion powder and pepper together in a bowl.
  2. Shape the mixture into balls about the size of a golf ball (approximately 2 inches in diameter.)
  3. In a large skillet over medium heat, brown the meatballs on all sides. 
  4. In a bowl, whisk together the tomato sauce, brown sugar, worcestershire sauce, water and garlic powder.
  5. Drain off some of the fat from the skillet and return to the heat. Pour the tomato sauce over the meatballs.
  6. Cover and simmer over low heat for 45-50 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked through and the rice is tender.
  7. Serve the meatballs with the sauce and garnish with more parsley, if desired.
ingredients for porcupine meatballs in a glass bowl ready to be rolled into meatballs.

What To Serve With Them

You can enjoy these homemade meatballs as they are or serve them up in a roll for a fun meatball sandwich. We also love serving them on top of these Mashed Potatoes or a bowl of rice

You could also serve them with a side of pasta or a fresh green salad for a simple, quick dinner.

Porcupine meatballs in a skillet with a silver serving spoon.

How To Freeze Them

You can totally freeze your porcupine meatballs. This is my favorite way to meal plan because I can make a big batch of meatballs on the weekend and freeze half for dinner later in the month when time is just not on my side.

Simply transfer your porcupine meatballs to an airtight container and stash in the freezer for up to 3 months. To reheat, add the meatballs to a skillet or saucepan and heat on the stovetop for 30 minutes or until heated through.

Porcupine meatballs on a white plate with rice.

Pro Tips

  • Ground Beef – Be sure to use a lean ground beef so the sauce isn’t too fatty. If you mistakenly buy ground beef that is higher in fat don’t skip the step of pouring off the fat.
  • Rice – You can use long grain rice or Instant Rice, the cooking time is plenty long enough for the regular rice to cook all the way through. Just be sure not to use already cooked rice from your leftover Sunday dinner. It will not hold up well and your meatballs will fall apart.
  • Sauce – You can skip the step of making the sauce, if you prefer, and use your favorite jarred sauce or sauce recipe. It will save you time but the sauce recipe for these meatballs is really simple and amazingly tasty.

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overhead shot of meatballs in a skillet with more meatballs on a white plate with a blue fork.

More Easy Meatball Recipes

Simple Swedish Meatballs |

Get the Recipe: Easy Porcupine Meatballs

One pot dinner magic, Porcupine Meatballs are loaded with flavor and simmered in a savory tomato sauce that's simply magical.
4.75 from 8 votes


For the meatballs

  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup long grain rice, uncooked
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp ground pepper
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

For the sauce:

  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp ground pepper


  • skillet


  • In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, rice, water, onion, egg, garlic powder, onion powder, worcestershire sauce, parsley and pepper.
  • Shape the meat mixture into balls approximately 2 inches in diameter and set aside.
  • Heat the oil in a large skillet set over medium heat. Add the meatballs to the pan and brown on all sides, approximately 8-10 minutes. Drain the fat from the pan and return to the heat.
  • While the meatballs are cooking, whisk together the tomato sauce, water, sugar, worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
  • Pour the sauce mixture over the meatballs and arrange so all the meatballs are coated in the sauce.
  • Cover and simmer for 45-50 minutes.
  • Serve the meatballs with the sauce over rice or mashed potatoes, if desired.


Meatballs can be made up to 48 hours in advance and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Alternatively, you can freeze cooked porcupine meatballs in an airtight container for up to 3 months.
Calories: 380kcal, Carbohydrates: 40g, Protein: 30g, Fat: 11g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Cholesterol: 123mg, Sodium: 1432mg, Potassium: 990mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 16g, Vitamin A: 775IU, Vitamin C: 14mg, Calcium: 67mg, Iron: 5mg