Porcupine Meatballs

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Porcupine Meatballs are hearty and well-seasoned meatballs with rice that simmer in a rich tomato sauce. This is a family recipe passed down from my grandma and I know that your family will love it too!

Another great way of making these famous porcupine meatballs is in the slow cooker recipe. Enjoy both ways depending on what is best for your family!

Porcupine Meatballs in a skillet garnished with chives.

Porcupine Meatballs

Oh porcupine meatballs. How I love you.

This was a recipe that my grandmother used to cook for my mom. My mom would make it for us all of the time and now I make it for my family! These kind of “tried and true” recipes that are passed down are the very best. So many memories come back to me when I make these for my family. I remember how excited we would all get when my mom was making porcupine meatballs for dinner. I loved to help her in the kitchen and make the little meatballs. As soon as they were done, they were devoured by our family in a matter of minutes.

I love using McCormick spices because they are such high quality and add such amazing flavor to your dish. McCormick has been around since 1889. I remember looking in my grandmothers cabinets and seeing the red caps in her cupboards. My mom uses them in her cooking and now I use them in mine. It is a company that I can stand behind and know and love.

Meatball Ingredients:

Now is the time to keep your cupboards stocked with all of your favorite McCormick spices. We are entering in the cozy comfort food season full of casseroles, soups, and slow cooker meals.

I am always using garlic powder, paprika, chili powder, and tons of cinnamon throughout the year. And McCormick has so many other amazing quality spices that I love to use as well.

  • Ground Beef: Ground Chuck is the best for meatballs
  • Long grain rice: This type of rice includes American long-grain white and brown rice, Basmati rice, and Jasmine rice, and produces distinct firm grains that stay fluffy
  • Egg: This will be the binding agent that holds everything in shape
  • Parsley: Adds balance to this savory dish and brightens the flavor
  • Onion: The onion gives the meatballs a cleaner taste
  • Garlic Powder: This powder has a slightly sweeter taste than fresh garlic
  • Paprika: Colorful Spice derived from ground peppers gives these meatballs their stand out flavor
  • Pepper: Add to taste
  • Salt – Adding salt to your food will enhance the other flavors
  • Condensed tomato soup: Using this in both the meatball and the sauce gives the tomato texture consistency
  • Water: Used to thin out the sauce
  • Worcestershire sauce: Made from a base of vinegar, which gives it a bit of a tangy flavor, this sauce adds both sweet and savory tastes to the sauce

How to Make Porcupine Meatballs:

These porcupine meatballs are well seasoned with McCormick spices to bring out amazing flavor. The rice in the meatball which give it the porcupine name add such a delicious texture. They simmer in a rich tomato sauce and cook to perfection.

These are some of the best little meatballs that you are going to eat. They are a family favorite of ours and I know that they will become a family favorite at your house as well!

  1. Combine ingredients: In a medium sized bowl combine meat, rice, egg, parsley, onion, garlic powder, paprika, pepper, salt and ¼ cup tomato soup. Mix thoroughly and shape into about 20 meatballs and place in a skillet.
  2. Mix Sauce: Mix together remaining soup, water and Worcestershire sauce. Pour over meatballs.
  3. Bring to a boil: Once the sauce is bubbling reduce the heat. Cover and simmer for about 35-40 minutes stirring often.

Making homemade meatballs but adding all of the ingredients together and mixing it until well combined then rolling into 1 in balls and cooking on a skillet until cooked through then adding a sauce over top of the meatballs.


This is the perfect recipe to sneak in some extra nutrition in for your kids (or your husband) by adding in or swapping out some ingredients.  It doesn’t take away from the flavor at all and no one will have any clue they are getting some extra vitamins or an extra lean meat.  Mix around the ingredients and try something new! You can’t mess up this tried and true favorite!

  • Cheese: Use some of your favorite shredded cheese for an extra ooey gooey texture and flavor.
  • Protein: Swap out the ground beef for ground chicken, pork, sausage, or turkey.
  • Vegetables: Chop up small pieces of mushroom, carrot, or zucchini or bell peppers to add into your meatball.

Porcupine Meatballs in a skillet cooking with a wooden spoon picking up a meatball.

What to Serve with Your Meatballs:

Make a complete meal with a simple side dish! To compliment these delicious meatballs I suggest trying mashed cauliflower or mashed potatoes

How to Store Dinner Time Porcupine Meatballs:

  • Make meatballs ahead of time: Keeping a stock of frozen meatballs on hand means you can easily prepare a quick satisfying meal for you family.  Busy weeknights, late practices, unexpected guests? No problem when you have these insanely delicious meatballs on hand.
  • Storing leftover meatballs: Wrap tightly in heavy duty aluminum foil or freezer wrap.  They will last 3-4 days in the refrigerator.
  • Can you freeze meatballs? Yes! Store in airtight freezer containers or heavy duty freezer bags. Properly stored they will be at their best quality for 2-3 months if cooked and 3-4 months if stored uncooked, but will remain safe beyond that if kept at 0 degrees.
  • Reheating meatballs: These meatballs can be re-heated easily from frozen or thawed.  To thaw meatballs, simply place in the refrigerator overnight.  Re-heat on a greased baking pan in the oven at 350 degrees until heated through.  Frozen meatballs will take 50% longer to re-heat.  Cook time is 20-25 minutes if cooking from frozen.

Porcupine Meatballs laying on a bed of rice garnished with chives and mccormick seasoning in the background.

More Meatball Recipes To Try:

Porcupine meatballs in a skillet with a wooden spoon.

This post was sponsored by McCormick®. I love working with brands that I am passionate about and use in the kitchen for myself. All opinions expressed are my own.


Porcupine Meatballs

3.93 from 13 votes
Hearty and well seasoned meatballs with rice that simmer in a rich tomato sauce.  This is a family recipe passed down from my grandma and I know that your family will love it too! 
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Author Alyssa Rivers
Servings: 6 Servings


  • 1 Pound Ground Beef
  • 1/4 cup long grain rice uncooked
  • 1 egg slightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon parsley chopped
  • 1/4 cup onion finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon McCormick® Garlic Powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon McCormick® paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon McCormick® Pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 can condensed tomato soup 10 ¾ oz, divided
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce


  • In a medium sized bowl combine meat, rice, egg, parsley, onion, garlic powder, paprika, pepper, salt and ¼ cup tomato soup. Mix thoroughly and shape into about 20 meatballs and place in a skillet.
  • Mix remaining soup, water and worchestershire sauce. Pour over meatballs. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Cover and simmer for about 35-40 minutes stirring often.



Updated on April 3, 2020
Original Post on October 8, 2015


Serves: 6

Calories269kcal (13%)Carbohydrates15g (5%)Protein15g (30%)Fat16g (25%)Saturated Fat6g (30%)Cholesterol81mg (27%)Sodium461mg (19%)Potassium524mg (15%)Fiber1g (4%)Sugar5g (6%)Vitamin A329IU (7%)Vitamin C8mg (10%)Calcium28mg (3%)Iron2mg (11%)

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods and portion sizes per household.

Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword meatball recipe, meatballs, porcupine meatballs
Tried this recipe?Mention @alyssa_therecipecritic or tag #therecipecritic

Alyssa Rivers

I am Alyssa and the blogger behind The Recipe Critic. I started my blog in June of 2012 as a place to share my passion for cooking. I love trying new things and testing them out with my family.

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Leave a reply
  1. 5 stars
    Absolutely delicious! Instead of tomato soup and water, I used my favorite organic tomato basil pasta sause. I used 1 1/2 pounds ground beef. Made extra rice on the side. I added another jar of pasta sauce (1/2 jar) to the cooked meatballs and pored it on top of the side rice. We loved it! Thanks!

  2. Omg!!! These are delicious!! Best porcupine meatballs I’ve ever made!! 🤤🤤🤤
    I did cook them in more soup though other then that I followed the recipe.

  3. Ok so here’s the thing, i love your recipes! For this one,i told my wife…trust her… it sounds ridiculous..no one ever makes a sauce from tomato soup..but… really.. it’s delicious!

  4. the recipe is tasty and I would make it again but I would definately add egg to the meat to keepp the meatballs together.

  5. Tomato soup is the best. All of the seasonings in it add to the taste. Since I was a child, 60+ years ago, this was always made in a pressure cooker. Add large chucks of potatoes and carrots on top of the porcupines. Season them. Put the top on and bring to pressure for 10-12 minutes. Let drop slowly. The sauce is fabulous over the potatoes. You will love them this way!!

  6. Try using tomatoe sauce instead of tomato soup, it is delicious. Then I would bake them then put in sauce.

  7. I used to make these for my family when the kids were younger and they loved it. However I didn’t use tomato soup, I used tomato sauce and it was delicious

  8. 4 stars
    These meatballs were very tasty and tender. The only complaint was all my sauce must have gotten absorbed in the meatballs. All that was left in the skillet was grease. Think I will use 2 cans of tomato soup next time I make this. I’m almost tempted to try it with very lean ground beef. It was very good, and my husband liked them too.

  9. 5 stars
    This recipe was so easy and delicious. I added diced green peppers. Like stuffed peppers with less pepper. I hadn’t made these in years. I forgot how good they are!

  10. 4 stars
    Had these when I was a kid and my dad used to make for me as an adult when I would come home to visit. We made them with potatoes that would soak up the tomato soup sauce. I couldn’t find our recipe so looked at yours and it is very close, we cooked our rice first though and I remember our meatballs falling apart and I am wondering if that could be why as yours didn’t. Very tasty thank you for sharing.

  11. 5 stars
    I am going to make these but not in meatball for just like an all in one casserole so I will leave out the egg and bread crumbs and use tomato sauce instead of soup. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

  12. 5 stars
    This was my favorite childhood dish! I’m glad you kept the tomato soup component–it really ups the “comfort food” value for me. The balance of spices and fresh parsley raise the sophistication to grownup enjoyment level. Sooooo tasty!

  13. 4 stars
    Although I’ve had these quite often when I was young, I don’t think I’ve ever made them myself. Made this recipe today with great results! Just delicious! However, I too found them quite wet, so I added a handful of panko bread crumbs. Also, because I wanted a lot of sauce, I added an 8 oz tin of tomato sauce and a little more worcestershire sauce. Great result!

  14. made these but had to add bread crumb to the mix as it was so wet that it wouldn’t roll into balls. cooked mine on stove top in cast iron skillet…

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