Homemade Vintage Ground Beef Porcupine Meatballs Recipe

This gluten free recipe for Ground Beef Porcupine Meatballs is the ultimate comfort food! The ingredients are simple such as instant rice, onion, garlic, tomato sauce and juice, the sauce is absolutely amazing and it's perfect for dinner any day of the week! 

meatballs on a plate with mashed potatoes.

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meatballs in a casserole dish.

This recipe was revised, photographed and updated 8/2021. 

Hey! Hope you had a wonderful weekend!

We were super busy with a Girl Scout cookie booth and Thinking Day, shoveling after our blizzard and relaxing most of the day on Sunday. 

I love staying home on Sundays. It's my day to do laundry, clean and hang out with Ella. We love that time together. That's also when I do most of my cooking for the blog posts each week. Gotta love a full belly for Sunday dinner!

Today's recipe is one of those comfort food type of recipes. Porcupine Meatballs! 

The sauce on these meatballs has a slight sweetness from the brown sugar, that goes so well with the tomato sauce. It's simple, delicious and an affordable meal.

We served it with a side of mashed potatoes for a perfect and filling meal! It would also be great served with rice or pasta.

I found the original recipe in a local church cookbook, made a few small changes and this is what we ended up with. They are so, so good! 

It turns out porcupine meatballs originated during the Great Depression. Back then they were mostly made with ground meat, rice and tomato soup, but since then have evolved into recipes we see today. 

There's not much info about where the name "porcupine meatballs" came from, but my guess is, the rice sticking out of the meatballs "resembles" a porcupines quills.

Keep scrolling for tips, additional meatball recipes and more! 

Thanks so much for supporting a small business and visiting our family owned blog 💕

meatballs on a plate with mashed potatoes and a fork.

What are the ingredients in this recipe?

  • Ground Beef
  • Instant Rice
  • Water
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Olive Oil
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Tomato Juice
  • Beef Broth
  • Brown Sugar
  • Worcestershire Sauce

Scroll down to the printable recipe card for measurements and instructions!

meatball cut in half on a plate.

More meatball recipes you might like:

You can add or substitute with these ingredients:


meatballs and mashed potatoes on a white plate.

More ground beef comfort food dinner recipes you may love:

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we did!


Ground Beef Porcupine Meatballs

Ground Beef Porcupine Meatballs

Yield: 20 meatballs
Author: Hot Eats and Cool Reads
Prep time: 10 MinCook time: 1 HourTotal time: 1 H & 10 M


  • Meatballs:
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup instant rice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup onion, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Sauce:
  • 15 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup tomato juice
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a bowl, combine beef, rice, water, onion, garlic, salt and pepper until mixed. Shape into 1 1/2 inch meatballs. 
  3. Heat the olive oil in a large non stick skillet over medium high heat. 
  4. Add the meatballs and cook until evenly browned, turning to brown all sides. Transfer to a glass baking dish.
  5. While browning the meatballs, combine all the sauce ingredients in a bowl. 
  6. Pour over the browned meatballs in the baking dish. 
  7. Bake for 45 minutes until meatballs and rice are cooked through. 
  8. Serve with rice or mashed potatoes.

Nutrition Facts



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Hot Eats and Cool Reads is not responsible for the outcome of any recipe you try from this blog/website. You may not always have the same results I do due to variations in ingredients, humidity, altitude, cooking temperatures, typos, errors, omissions, or individual cooking abilities. 

You are solely responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information provided is accurate, complete, and useful. I am not a certified nutritionist and make no claims to the contrary. Each individual's dietary needs and restrictions are unique to the individual.

close up of meatballs on a plate.

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  1. Beef porcupine meatballs are palatable. My family loves these. Thanks for creating a wonderful post


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