Classic Porcupine Meatballs

Baked Porcupine Meatballs

The Spruce

Ratings (56)
  • Total: 75 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 60 mins
  • Yield: 4 to 6 Servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
374 Calories
16g Fat
22g Carbs
35g Protein
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)


  • 1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 2/3 cup uncooked long-grain white rice 
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt (or Cajun seasoning)
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • Optional: 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (if cooking on the stovetop)
  • For the Sauce:
  • 1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce (or two 8-ounce cans)
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

Steps to Make It

In the Oven

  1. Heat the oven to 350 F. 

  2. In a large bowl, combine the ground beef with the rice, the water, chopped onion, seasoned salt, garlic powder, and pepper.

    Porcupine meatball mixture.
     The Spruce
  3. Shape the ground beef mixture into 1 1/2-inch balls. Use a tablespoon or small cookie scoop to help make them uniform in size. (Or you can weigh them as you shape them.) Place them in an ungreased 2-quart shallow baking dish.

    Shaping meatballs.
     The Spruce
  4. Make the sauce by mixing together the tomato sauce, the water, and Worcestershire sauce in a measuring cup or bowl.

    Porcupine meatball sauce.
     The Spruce
  5. Pour the sauce over the porcupine meatballs, cover the baking dish tightly with foil, and bake the meatballs in the preheated oven for 55 minutes.

    Porcupine meatballs with sauce.
     The Spruce
  6. Uncover and bake the meatballs 15 to 20 minutes longer, until bubbling and cooked through.

    Porcupine meatballs.
     The Spruce
  7. Serve and enjoy!

On the Stovetop

  1. Add about 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil to a large deep skillet over medium heat. 

    Oil heating in pan.
    The Spruce 
  2. Add the shaped meatballs and cook, turning, until the meatballs are evenly browned. Drain and discard the drippings. 

    Browning porcupine meatballs.
     The Spruce
  3. Add the tomato sauce ingredients to the skillet and bring the mixture to a simmer. Lower the heat and cover the pan. Continue cooking for about 45 minutes. Check occasionally and add water, if necessary.

    Porcupine meatballs in sauce.
     The Spruce
  4. Serve and enjoy!

Tips and Variations

If you prefer, you can add an egg to the meatball mixture and use milk instead of water.

For a richer and chunkier sauce, replace the tomato sauce and water with a 14 1/2-ounce can of diced tomatoes and a 10 3/4-ounce can of condensed tomato soup. If the mixture becomes too thick, add a little water to thin it.