Crock Pot Porcupine Meatballs

Porcupine (beef and rice) meatballs with tomato sauce
Envision / Getty Images
Prep: 25 mins
Cook: 6 hrs
Total: 6 hrs 25 mins
Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Yield: 24 meatballs
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
376 Calories
15g Fat
23g Carbs
36g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 376
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 15g 19%
Saturated Fat 6g 28%
Cholesterol 132mg 44%
Sodium 427mg 19%
Total Carbohydrate 23g 8%
Dietary Fiber 2g 6%
Total Sugars 5g
Protein 36g
Vitamin C 21mg 104%
Calcium 41mg 3%
Iron 4mg 24%
Potassium 882mg 19%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

These porcupine meatballs are a classic, old-fashioned comfort food. They got their name from their appearance: when the rice cooks inside the meatballs the rice sticks out of them and looks a bit like porcupine quills. These slow cooked porcupine meatballs are easy to prepare, thanks to a largely hands-off cooking process.

Sometimes, meatballs can fall apart in the crockpot if they aren't browned on all sides first in a hot skillet, but this recipe doesn't have that issue because the rice helps to bind the ingredients together, along with the egg. It also skips the traditional use of breadcrumbs for rice.

You might also want to add seasoned salt or a herb seasoning blend to the sauce. Basil would be good in the sauce as well. Chili powder and Creole seasoning would be excellent.

These crockpot meatballs and sauce taste great with potatoes, but they would also go well with rice, spaghetti squash, or even zucchini noodles.


  • 1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef

  • 1/2 cup raw white rice, long-grain

  • 1/2 cup onion, finely chopped

  • 1/2 cup green bell pepper, finely chopped

  • 1 large egg

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 (10 3/4-ounce) can tomato soup

  • 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can tomatoes, diced

  • Fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a large bowl, combine ground beef, rice, onion, green pepper, egg, salt, and black pepper. Mix well to blend.

  3. Shape meat mixture into 24 meatballs, about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Place meatballs in the crockery insert of your slow cooker.

  4. In another bowl, combine the soup and tomatoes. Pour over the meatballs.

  5. Cover and cook on low for about 6 hours or on high for 3 to 4 hours. 


If you like lots of sauce, double the tomato soup and diced tomatoes. If you like to plan for lots of leftovers, double the entire recipe and freeze some of it.

Feel free to use a low-sodium canned tomato soup, or make your own if desired.


The recipe calls for ground beef, but feel free to ground beef with turkey, veal, and/or pork for some variety in the meatballs, or to combine equal parts of several of these ground meats.

Garnish with some freshly grated mozzarella, Parmesan, or pecorino cheese.

How to Store and Freeze Porcupine Meatballs

If stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, these porcupine meatballs will keep for up to 5 days. Simply reheat in a saucepan over medium-low heat until completely hot.

To keep the meatballs for later use, place them on a rimmed sheet lined with parchment or wax paper and freeze until completely frozen solid. Transfer to an airtight container or zip-close freezer bag, with extra sauce, for up to 6 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight or the microwave, and reheat as you like.