Home > Dinner > Porcupine Meatballs Porcupine Meatballs September 1, 2020 | 18 Comments SAVE TO RECIPE BOX Jump to Recipe This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy. Delicious and easy Porcupine Meatballs take mere minutes to whip together and then slow cook until they’re fall-apart-tender! These meatballs require minimal ingredients and are coated in a four-ingredient sauce. Just a little prep time brings impressive results! Serve these savory meatballs on top of a bed of cooked rice with some roasted vegetables and a big garden salad like this Olive Garden salad. How’s that for a filling and well-rounded meal? Porcupine Meatballs Porcupine Meatballs are a fun twist on traditional beef meatballs — they’re loaded with rice, seasonings and onion and then slow-cooked in a rich tomato sauce and served over rice. Despite the name, no porcupines are harmed in the making of these meatballs. Instead, the name comes from the rice that is stuffed in the meatballs. As they cook, the rice expands and pokes out of the meatballs resembling the quills on a porcupine. These meatballs are incredibly simple to throw together and after slow cooking for most of the day, you won’t believe how flavorful and tender these are! What are Porcupine Meatballs made of? Ground beef. I recommend 93% lean (7% fat) ground beef for these meatballs. Any leaner and you’ll lose out on flavor; any fattier, and the dish will end up a bit greasy. Long-grain white rice. One of the best things about this dish is there’s no need to cook the rice beforehand! It becomes perfectly tender in the slow cooker. Be sure to use long-grain white rice for even cooking. Yellow onion. While admittedly an arduous task, I highly recommend grating the yellow onion on a box grater. This ensures even dispersion throughout the porcupine meatballs and no crunchy (uncooked) onion chunks. Minced garlic. Finely dice or grate the garlic on a microplane. For a shortcut, use pre-minced garlic! Egg. The egg is important for binding everything together. Seasonings. Just a few seasonings add all the flavor needed in these Porcupine Meatballs: salt, pepper, dried basil and Italian seasoning. The sauce ingredients With so few ingredients, the ingredients you use matter! Below are my recommendations for the best-possible tasting sauce! None of the below brand recommendations are sponsors of this post or site, but rather, are my personal favorites. Beef stock. We love Swanson’s® beef stock best, but beef broth will also work. In a bind, water also works. Tomato sauce. Not to be confused with tomato paste or crushed tomatoes, the label should read “tomato sauce.” Use a high-quality tomato sauce brand (our favorite is Muir Glen®). Cheaper tomato sauce can taste a bit acidic, so you may need to slightly increase the sugar used. Be sure to check to see if the tomato sauce is salted or unsalted and adjust salt/pepper as needed based on the sauce you purchase. Brown sugar. I recommend gently packed light brown sugar. If you’re concerned about the overall sweetness of the Porcupine Meatballs, start with less sugar and add more as needed. The sauce does need some sugar to counteract the acidity of the tomato sauce. Worcestershire sauce. Yes, 1/4 cup is a lot! But it works in this recipe. We love Lea & Perrin’s® or French’s® Worcestershire sauce best in the sauce. Porcupine Meatball Tips Don’t overwork the meat mixture. Once the ingredients are incorporated into the ground beef, stop mixing. Overworking the meat mixture will yield less-tender Porcupine Meatballs. Roll small, even-sized meatballs. For Porcupine Meatballs to cook through in time and evenly, you want to be sure they’re all roughly the same size. This recipe makes about 22-25 meatballs (each one being about 1 and 1/2 tablespoons). Broil the meatballs before adding to the slow cooker. We broil these meatballs before adding them to the slow cooker. This doesn’t cook them through, but rather gives them a nice crispy exterior which helps keep them together as they cook. Without broiling the meatballs, they tend to break apart in the slow cooker. QUICK TIP A few tips to make rolling meatballs easier: Keep the ingredients cold; the colder the ingredients, the easier these Porcupine Meatballs are to roll and shape. Spritz your hands with cooking spray or add a bit of cooking oil to your hands for easier rolling. Use a cookie scoop if you have one. Scoop all the meat out into portions and then roll all the meat portions at once (as opposed to rolling one at a time; it goes quicker this way). More delicious meatball recipes Sweet and Sour Meatballs with the best sweet and sour sauce! Greek Meatballs with a cilantro and parsley sauce Chicken Parmesan Meatballs with a homemade tomato sauce Meatball Sliders with slow-cooked meatballs Turkey Meatballs with cooked spaghetti FOLLOW ALONG! Subscribe to my newsletter and follow along on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram for the latest updates, recipes and content. Porcupine Meatballs 5 from 5 votes - Review this recipe Delicious and easy Porcupine Meatballs take just minutes to whip together and are then slow-cooked until they're fall-apart tender! These meatballs require minimal ingredients and are coated in a four-ingredient sauce. Little prep time and impressive results! SAVE TO RECIPE BOX Print Recipe Porcupine Meatballs 5 from 5 votes - Review this recipe SAVE TO RECIPE BOX Print Recipe Delicious and easy Porcupine Meatballs take just minutes to whip together and are then slow-cooked until they're fall-apart tender! These meatballs require minimal ingredients and are coated in a four-ingredient sauce. Little prep time and impressive results! Course Dinner, Main Course Cuisine American Keyword porcupine meatballs Prep Time 25 minutes Cook Time 5 hours Total Time 5 hours 25 minutes Servings 4 servings Calories 367kcal Cost $5.61 Equipment6 quart slow cooker IngredientsMeatballs1 pound (16 oz.) lean (93/7) ground beef 1/2 cup (104g) long grain white rice uncooked1/3 cup (62g) grated yellow onion (grate on a box grater)1 teaspoon minced garlic1 large egg1 teaspoon EACH: fine sea salt and Italian seasoning1/2 teaspoon pepper1/2 teaspoon dried basilCooking spraySauce1 cup (234g) beef stock (or broth)2 cans (15 oz.; 426g EACH) tomato sauce1/4 cup (50g) light brown sugar lightly packed1/4 cup (58g) Worcestershire sauceOptional: fresh flat-leaf Italian parsleyCooked white or brown rice for serving (See Note 1) InstructionsPREP: Preheat the oven to high broil (550 degrees F.) Line a large tray with foil, spray with cooking spray, and set aside.MEATBALLS: In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, uncooked white rice, grated white onion, minced garlic, large egg, salt, Italian seasoning, pepper, and dried basil. Knead the mixture until just combined, avoiding overmixing (which makes the meatballs dense).FORM MEATBALLS: Form meatballs by measuring out 1 and 1/2 tablespoons per meatball and tightly squishing the mixture together until a firm meatball is formed. Repeat until all of the mixture is used up. The mixture should make around 22-25 meatballs.BROIL: Place all of the formed meatballs on the prepared tray, generously spritz with cooking spray, and then broil in the oven for 3 minutes per side (6 minutes total). This helps ensure they don't break apart in the slow cooker. Remove from the oven and set aside.SLOW COOKER TOMATO SAUCE: Spray the slow cooker with nonstick spray. Add in the beef stock/broth, both cans of tomato sauce, brown sugar, and Worcestershire sauce. Stir.ADD MEATBALLS: Layer the meatballs on top of the tomato mixture. Gently spoon the sauce over.COOK: Cover and cook on low for 5-7 hours, high for 3-5 hours or until rice is tender and meat is cooked through (165 degrees F.) I recommend cooking on low; my slow cooker takes 6 hours exactly. Avoid checking too often; when a slow cooker's lid is removed it takes a while for everything to get back to temperature.SERVE: Taste meatballs and sauce and add any additional salt/pepper as needed. Gently spoon out meatballs and sauce from the slow cooker and serve over cooked white or brown rice (See Note 1). Garnish with fresh parsley if desired and enjoy! Recipe NotesNote 1: We love serving these meatballs over cooked basmati rice. Here's a quick breakdown of the process: Measure the rice and rinse it in a fine-mesh sieve until the water runs clear. Place that rice in a bowl and cover it with water to soak for about 5-10 minutes. While the rice is soaking, fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Once the water is at a rolling boil, drain the rice and add it to the pot. Cook, without reducing the heat, for 5 minutes (taste and test to make sure it is tender, if not add another 1-2 minutes) and then drain and fluff with a fork. Nutrition FactsServing: 1serving | Calories: 367kcal | Carbohydrates: 44g | Protein: 29g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 117mg | Sodium: 364mg | Potassium: 720mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 68IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 66mg | Iron: 4mg We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed. 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