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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. 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! These are a classic,along with Grape Jelly Meatballs.

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.

Porcupine Meatballs in a black skillet

These Meatballs are Very Kid Friendly

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 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.

Close up of a porcupine meatball

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 retro 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!

 Porcupine Meatball on a wooden spoon

Tips and Tricks for Making 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 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 porcupine meatballs! These rice filled meatballs with tomato sauce are a one of my favourite recipes from my childhood! 

 

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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 27 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.
  • 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 meatball recipe yields around 24-25 large meatballs.

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: 0.9mg, Calcium: 36mg, Iron: 2.4mg

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 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. Anika376 says

    Why are they not spiky like porcupines? When I make them they are spiky. Haven’t seen a single recipe for porcupine meatballs on the internet that showed spiky meatballs.

  2. Lori Gladden says

    I have never had these!! I am going to try!!

    5 stars

  3. Alana Meisner says

    I feel like we grew up in parallel households!

    My mom made a casserole with rice, tomato soup and hamburger patties on top. She fried the patties first. Deconstructed porcupine meatballs, she was ahead of her time!!

    I make it an even lazier way with ground beef and onions.

    5 stars

    • The Kitchen Magpie says

      Mmmm I’m all for easier ways of making dishes!

  4. Sophie Nakoneczny says

    Gosh, made those when my kids were young!

    5 stars

  5. Susan Swann says

    My poor mum – first time she tried to make these, the rice didn’t cook… we pretended they were fine and crunched our way through dinner.

  6. Around the World in 80 Cupcakes says

    Porcupine meatballs are the bomb! They always make me laugh though. Whenever I make them, or think of making them all I can think is “Pork Cupine, Steve. It’s up there!” \U0001f923

  7. Yvonne Anne Sapach says

    I have a great recipe for these. Love them.

    5 stars

  8. Kimberley Tremblay says

    OMG yes!!!!! and I haven’t lived at home for over 30 years and never made them. I dont miss them. Sorry!!! lmao

    5 stars

  9. Valerie Elliott says

    I’ve made these for years but speed up the process a little in order to make a “time friendly” meal. I use 2 cans of tomato soup and about 3/4 can of milk. I heat this while forming meatballs (seasoning as you like, and include mixing in insant rice). After the meatballs are formed just drop them all in the soup. Cook 15 minutes and they’re done. While they cook I prepare rice to serve the meatballs and “soupy sauce” over. Quick and easy!

    5 stars

  10. Robin D Wasicuna says

    My granny used to make these for me…\U0001f614 what a nice memory \U0001f60a thank you!!

    5 stars

  11. Richard Howell says

    Sure hope you removed the needles first !

    • The Kitchen Magpie says

      Har de har har ;). Oh, that’s a joke my dad would make!

  12. Kimberly J. Stonehouse says

    I had no tomato and used mushroom it was so good

    5 stars

  13. Jean Regamey-Gagnon says

    Yes this was one of my favorites as a child

    5 stars

  14. Sophie Amelia says

    I am with you…much prefer cookbooks with a photo for every recipe!

    • The Kitchen Magpie says

      Oh, it’s a must! It’s just a tease when you can’t see what the food is supposed to look like!

    • Sophie Amelia says

      I will not buy cookbooks that do not have all the pictures, as they are half of the pleasure of browsing through the book

    • The Kitchen Magpie says

      Oh you’ll love mine then! \U0001f609

  15. Kimberley Tremblay says

    haha yes. lol i havent made them since i moved out, 30+years ago

  16. Vern Ledger says

    Oh my goodness!! Have not made those in long time!! Will be in the menus this week!!

    5 stars

  17. Eileen Bulger says

    we make ours in the pressure cooker, love ’em.

    5 stars

  18. Natalie Faulkner-Northrop says

    I make these all the time! They are a big hit with my 4 year old who is picky about eating meat. Plus you can sneak veggies into them. They’re awesome!

    5 stars

  19. Mrsrbg says

    Thanks for the throwback recipe. I added in some franks red hot sauce for a kick, and they were delicious. The pork keeps these meatballs nice and moist. A must try.

    5 stars

  20. Leanne B says

    Hi Karlynn, I can’t wait to make this for my family – this is a classic that my husband brings up every once in a while and now I finally have a recipe to try! Do you think this could be finished in the crockpot instead of on the stove? Like 3-4 hours on low?

    5 stars

    • thekitchenmagpie says

      Leanne B Yes, absolutely you can finish them in the crockpot on low like that.

  21. Margaret Kufuor-Boakye says

    My mom made these too in the 1950’s. Recipe goes very far back. I just made your Saskatoon jam. I love it. So delightful!!!

    5 stars

  22. Heather Pollock says

    Sounds good to place over broad egg noodles!
    I may place these in marinara sauce to cook!
    I looove marinara!

  23. The Kitchen Magpie says

    I’m pretty sure that I’ll crash right away lol!

  24. Heather Pollock says

    Holy mackerel… Wish I had that energy!

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