Slow Cooker Porcupine Meatballs

Slow Cooker Porcupine Meatballs are hearty and delicious meatballs filled with rice and served with a rich tomato sauce.  This is a classic meal that the family will love!! 

Hey everyone! Chelsea back from Chelsea’s Messy Apron! I’ve got a childhood favorite recipe to share with you all and I’ve simplified it even more making these meatballs IN the crockpot!

First off, if you aren’t familiar with porcupine meatballs, there aren’t actual porcupines in them 🙂 They are basically just meatballs with rice IN the meat mixture and as they cook they get a little spikey and look like little porcupines :).

My mom used to make these all the time growing up and they are one of my favorites. Think typical meatballs but with rice and served with a tomato sauce over even more rice!


Perfect comfort food that won’t even heat up your kitchen! Which I think is especially important as it heats up this summer! The crockpot also ensures the meat is super tender and delicious which you can’t get by cooking these meatballs in the oven!

Thank you slow cookers! 🙏🏼

Slow Cooker Porcupine Meatballs
  • 1 pound extra lean ground beef
  • ½ cup white rice
  • ⅓ cup white onion, peeled (cheese grater) or finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil
  • Cooking Spray
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cans (15 ounces EACH) tomato sauce
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
  • Optional: fresh parsley
  • White/Brown rice, for serving
  1. Preheat the oven to broil (550 degrees F.) Line a large tray with tin foil and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, white rice, grated white onion, minced garlic, large egg, seasoned salt, pepper, and dried basil. Knead the mixture until just combined avoiding over-mixing (makes the meatloaves denser)
  3. Form meatballs by tightly squishing the mixture together until a tightly condensed meatball is formed (I like to use a cookie scoop for size consistency and ease). Repeat until all of the mixture is used up. The mixture should make around 20 meatballs.
  4. Place all of the formed meatballs on the 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 crockpot. Remove.
  5. Spray your slow cooker with nonstick spray. Add in the water, both cans of tomato sauce, brown sugar, and Worcestershire sauce. Stir.
  6. Layer the meatballs on top (I used a 6 quart slow cooker) of the tomato mixture. Spoon the sauce over.
  7. Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours or high for 3-4 hours (watch carefully if you have a slow cooker that cooks a lot hotter than most).
  8. Remove from the slow cooker and serve over a bed of white rice.
  9. Garnish with salt and pepper if desired and freshly chopped parsley to taste.


 More delicious slow cooker recipes from Chelsea’s Messy Apron:

Honey BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches



Crockpot Italian Meatballs



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