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Classic Retro Porcupine Meatballs

Site Index Beef meatballs Ground beef Meatballs Rice Vintage recipe

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If you were a child of the 70’s, I can almost guarantee that your mom made these Classic Retro Porcupine Meatballs, along with Grape Jelly Meatballs.

Porcupine meatballs take a homemade meatballs recipe, add in rice, spices and tomato sauce and you have “prickly” meatballs in a delicious sauce!

porcupine meatballs in a large black skillet with a wooden spoon
PORCUPINE MEATBALLS

Porcupine Meatballs Are Fast, Easy & Delicious!

With being so busy that I’m working pretty much 10-12 hour days lately, I am returning to classic meals like you wouldn’t believe. I need tried and true recipes that aren’t fussy, that I know my kids will eat and that are easy. These fit the bill!

Porcupine Meatball Ingredients

  • Long grain rice – uncooked
  • Water
  • Onion soup mix – this is an important part of the flavor
  • Garlic powder – garlic makes everything better
  • Ground beef – lean is the best
  • Ground pork – this adds back some fat and flavor
  • Tomato soup – use your favorite brand
  • Brown sugar  – this cuts the acidity of the tomato soup nicely
  • Worcestershire sauce  – adds a savory kick

 

A pile of long rain white rice

How to Make Porcupine Meatballs

Now, on to making porcupine meatballs!

  • Place the canola oil in a large frying pan.
  • In a large mixing bowl combine the rice, water, soup mix, garlic powder, ground beef and ground pork. Mix together well  and form into 1 1/2 inch meatballs.
  • Fry all of the meatballs until golden brown on all sides. When all of the meatballs are done , drain the excess fat off, then combine the last four ingredients together and pour over top of the meatballs.
  • Place a lid on top of the saute pan and simmer on medium-low heat for another 20-30 minutes, until the rice in the meatballs is cooked, stirring every 10 minutes or so.
Skillet Porcupine Meatballs
Skillet Porcupine Meatballs

Porcupine Meatballs are Very Kid Friendly

Classic Retro Porcupine Meatballs are easy, amazing, retro and BOTH OF MY KIDS ATE THEM.Let that sink in for a moment. Both. Kids. That’s worthy of a fist pump into the air. Now wait, this gets even better, hold on to yer hats. My daughter SWIRLED HER PORCUPINE MEATBALL INTO HER PILE OF PLAIN BUTTERED RICE SAUCE AND ALL. Yes, I just screamed that at you in all caps.

Every single parent of a picky eater just GASPED OUT LOUD, didn’t you? Some of you may have even crossed yourselves and sent a prayer to the Good Lord above. You don’t mess with the plain buttered rice. That’s what picky kids live off of. She intentionally put this sauce and chopped up meatball into her plain rice. It’s basically the end of the world.

Skillet Porcupine Meatballs
Skillet Porcupine Meatballs

We demolished these last night like a pack of wolves. There are 5 meatballs left from the 25 that this recipe made and I’m quite proud to say that my son made these ( with a little teaching help from Mom, of course.) He’s tackling another recipe today, Baba Ganoush, so that will be on the website soon! We have the eggplants all roasted and he’s ready to rock!

These classic retro porcupine meatballs brought me right back to my childhood as this is something we ate on an almost regular basis. I actually haven’t eaten them in years but they’ve been on that To-Make list that I keep in my head at all times. Finally the stars aligned and I had a few spare moments to cook in the evening instead of editing photos and voila! Here they are!

Skillet Porcupine Meatballs
Skillet Porcupine Meatballs

Tips and Tricks for Making Porcupine Meatballs

  • I SWEAR that my mom used to just dump everything for porcupine meatballs into a roaster, cook it and then serve it up. I prefer using a skillet, as I find that it saves a step of transferring everything to a roaster
  • The only thing that I sometimes change in the traditional recipe is to use half ground beef and half ground pork. I find that the ground pork makes for juicier meatballs.  You can use all ground beef if you like, but I suggest trying them with ground pork, they are so delicious!
  • You can definitely double this recipe (I did) you simply need a larger skillet for the meatballs.
  • I also use two pounds of ground meat in the basic recipe, if you are going to go to all that effort then you should make enough for a few leftovers as well! This porcupine meatball recipe yields around 24-25 large meatballs.

Do you cook the rice first?

Nope! You don’t have to cook the rice before making these porcupine meatballs, that’s the beauty of them! The rice cooks inside the meatballs, helping to hold them together ( note I don’t use egg in mine, you don’t need to but you can add on if you like) and ends up perfectly done every time.

More Delicious Meatball Recipes

Happy cooking everyone!

Love,

Karlynn

 

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How to make classic retro porcupine meatballs, straight from your old 1970's childhood kitchen! Just like Mom made! (maybe better?) #groundbeef #meatballs #porcupinemeatballs #rice #dinner #supper #skillet #recipe #cooking #tomatosauce

 

Learn to cook like the Kitchen Magpie

Classic Porcupine Meatballs

How to make classic porcupine meatballs! These rice filled meatballs with tomato sauce are a one of my favourite recipes from my childhood! 
5 from 19 votes
Prep Time
10 minutes
Cook Time
50 minutes
Course
Main Course
Cuisine
American
Servings
6
Calories
485
Author
Karlynn Johnston

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1/2 cup uncooked long grain rice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tbsp onion soup mix
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1 (10-11 oz) can of tomato soup
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

Instructions

  1. Place the canola oil in a large frying pan.
  2. In a large mixing bowl combine the rice, water, soup mix, garlic powder, ground beef and ground pork. Mix together well (I always just use my hands since I have to form meatballs anyways) and form into 1 1/2 inch meatballs, around 22-25. They will be loose because of the water, but you need the moisture in there for the rice, trust me they will cook up nicely! 

  3. Heat a large lidded saute pan and then fry all of the meatballs until golden brown on all sides. When starting, fry them for a long time on the first side, cooking them until they are really browned so that when you flip them they don't fall apart. 

  4. When all of the meatballs are done , drain the excess fat off, then combine the last four ingredients together and pour over top of the meatballs.
  5. Place a lid on top of the saute pan and simmer on medium-low heat for another 20-30 minutes, until the rice in the meatballs is cooked, stirring every 10 minutes or so. I actually just shake the lidded pan back and forth to move things around. 

  6. Serve and enjoy! We make rice and serve these and the sauce over top.

Recipe Notes

You can double the sauce if you want a lot of sauce in this recipe easily, it will fit in the large saute pan.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 4meatballs, Calories: 485kcal, Carbohydrates: 16g, Protein: 26g, Fat: 33g, Saturated Fat: 11g, Cholesterol: 108mg, Sodium: 225mg, Potassium: 470mg, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin C: 1.1%, Calcium: 3.6%, Iron: 13.4%

All calories and info are based on a third party calculator and are only an estimate. Actual nutritional info will vary with brands used, your measuring methods, portion sizes and more.

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Karlynn Johnston

I’m a busy mom of two, wife & cookbook author who loves creating fast, fresh meals for my little family on the Canadian Prairies. Karlynn Facts: I'm allergic to broccoli. I've never met a cocktail that I didn't like. I would rather burn down my house than clean it. Most of all, I love helping YOU get dinner ready because there's nothing more important than connecting with our loved ones around the dinner table!

Learn more about me

Site Index Beef meatballs Ground beef Meatballs Rice Vintage recipe

Reader Interactions

Comments & Recipe Tips Share a tip or comment!

  1. Jennie says

    Karlynn, these sound perfect for dinner tonight. Problem, though: I only have parboiled white rice in the pantry right now, and no chance to shop in time. 😯
    Do you think the parboiled will be ok to use instead of the long grain white rice? Fingers crossed it’s a yes. I have a hungry lacrosse playing lad who would love these pre-game!
    I look forward to hearing your thoughts, Karlynn.

  2. Janet says

    I find frying the meatballs kind of tedious. I put them on a baking sheet in the oven for about 15 minutes, then put them in the sauce in a casserole and then back in the oven.

    • Jennie says

      Once again, Karlynn’s been a comfort food recipe hero!
      Using parboiled white rice IS doable with this recipe. As per Karlynn’s advice, I simply added two eggs to the meat, and it worked like a charm.

      I made the personal decision to further tart things up a bit with extra minced garlic & Italian seasonings in both the meat mixture and the tomato sauce. Also added minced celery and fresh Serrano peppers to the meat. Life is spice in my house.
      The meatballs & their delish sauce made for brilliant meatball sandwiches on the way to the lad’s lacrosse game, and the leftovers were great lunches over rice with some veg added.
      Yumm!

  3. Laurie L says

    Heck, you don’t even have to cook the meatballs. Mix your meatball ingredients – use LEAN meat – and about 1/4 cup long grain rice (uncooked) per pound. Make into meatballs, put into greased roaster (small) or lidded casserole. Mix together 1 can condensed cream of tomato soup and one can water, add any seasonings you might want – whisk to combine and pour over meatballs. Add lid and bake at 350 deg F for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Great with veggies and a salad.

  4. Jennifer says

    My mom used to make these. She would layer a casserole dish with minute rice, roll meatballs ( as above) , and place uncooked balls on top. cover all with sauce( need 1 cup to 1 cup ratio of liquid to minute rice) . She would pour additional sauce on top. Seal with foil and bake for about 45 mins at 350. Add more sauce as necessary, after removing foil, and continue to bake til brown. The rice was always SO yummy!

  5. Pam Mansveld says

    Our family tradition adds finely chopped onions and celery to the ground beef and also Worcestershire sauce. Glad to see porkies are popular again!

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