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!! 

Slow Cooker Porcupine Meatballson rice in a gray plate.

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!

Slow Cooker Porcupine Meatballs on white rice and a gray bowl.

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 on rice in a gray bowl.


Slow Cooker Porcupine Meatballs

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Author Chelsea Lords
Servings 6 Servings
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!!
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine American


  • 1 pound extra lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup white rice
  • 1/3 cup white onion peeled (cheese grater) or finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • Cooking Spray
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cans 15 ounces EACH tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar lightly packed
  • 1/4 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.
Nutrition Facts
Slow Cooker Porcupine Meatballs
Amount Per Serving
Calories 223 Calories from Fat 45
% Daily Value*
Fat 5g8%
Saturated Fat 2g10%
Cholesterol 74mg25%
Sodium 566mg24%
Potassium 406mg12%
Carbohydrates 25g8%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 10g11%
Protein 18g36%
Vitamin A 49IU1%
Vitamin C 2mg2%
Calcium 39mg4%
Iron 3mg17%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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

Honey BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches



Crockpot Italian Meatballs



Chelsea Lords

Chelsea is the blogger behind Chelsea’s Messy Apron. She is always experimenting in the kitchen and making new things to eat. “Or I am in the kitchen eating. Both are good.” She tries to eat a balanced diet of healthful foods, but she loves desserts. You will find most of her recipes are healthy and easy, but still taste great! She has found that eating is all about balance and she hopes that that is the case on her site!

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  1. Can I form the meatballs with the rice and onion the night before and broil and put in the slow cooker the next day?

    If so, how would you recommend I store the formed meatballs in the fridge overnight?

  2. I am so happy to find a recipe for porcupine meatballs that doesn’t require canned tomato soup. I am horrified by the calories per serving 1273? Is that right? How many servings does the recipe make? I can’t find that anywhere. Thanks!

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