Delicious Rice Meatballs Recipe for a Perfect Dinner

Welcome to my kitchen! I am excited to share with you my tried-and-tested Pam’s Rice Meatballs recipe. This dish is a family favorite that has been passed down from generation to generation, and it never fails to impress my guests. With its unique blend of flavors and textures, this recipe will surely elevate your dinner table.

The beauty of this recipe lies in its simplicity. Using only a handful of ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry, you can create a hearty and flavorful meal that will satisfy even the pickiest eaters. These rice meatballs, also known as porcupine meatballs, are made with uncooked Minute Rice, lean ground beef, onion, eggs, and tomato juice – all simmered together in a rich tomato sauce that infuses each meatball with flavor.

I first learned this recipe from my grandmother, who used to make it for me when I was a kid. It reminds me of childhood memories and brings me comfort every time I cook it. Now, I want to share this joy with you!

Join me as we dive into the details of this tasty dish. Whether for a family dinner or a party, these rice meatballs will be a crowd-pleaser guaranteed to impress your guests. Get ready to experience an explosion of flavor in every bite!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Pam's Rice Meatballs
Pam’s Rice Meatballs

If you’re looking for a versatile meatball recipe that’s quick, easy, and delicious, look no further than Pam’s Rice Meatballs. Combining the classic flavors of ground beef and rice with a tangy tomato sauce, these meatballs are sure to become a family favorite in no time.

The beauty of this recipe lies in its simplicity. With just a few basic ingredients and minimal prep time, you can whip up a batch of tasty meatballs that can be served as a main course or as an appetizer. Plus, the addition of Minute Rice means that these meatballs have an extra protein-packed punch.

But what really sets Pam’s Rice Meatballs apart is their versatility. Whether you prefer them as traditional porcupine meatballs or as mini chicken meatballs with rice, this recipe lends itself well to experimentation and customization. Try adding your favorite spices or swapping out ground beef for ground turkey to create your own unique twist on this classic dish.

Best of all, these meatballs are sure to please even the pickiest eaters at your next dinner party or potluck. Serve them over mashed potatoes or fried rice for a satisfying meal that will leave everyone satisfied and happy.

So why not give Pam’s Rice Meatballs a try? With their delicious flavor and ease of preparation, they’re sure to earn a permanent spot in your recipe rotation.

Ingredient List

 Juicy meatballs made with Pam's secret rice formula
Juicy meatballs made with Pam’s secret rice formula

Here’s what you’ll need for Pam’s Rice Meatballs Recipe:


  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 cup Minute Rice, uncooked
  • 1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp garlic salt
  • 1/4 cup tomato juice


  • 1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper

Note: If you prefer brown rice, substitute the Minute Rice with brown rice and add an additional cup of water to the sauce.

Pro tip: To make these into porcupine meatballs, add an extra half cup of uncooked rice to the mixture, then follow the recipe as directed.

The Recipe How-To

 These rice meatballs are the perfect party appetizer
These rice meatballs are the perfect party appetizer

Step-by-step preparation of meatballs rice

Prep time: 25 minutes | Cook time: 40 minutes | Total time: 1 hour 5 minutes


  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 1 cup uncooked Minute Rice
  • 1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce
  • 1 can (10 oz.) tomato juice
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper


Step 1: Prepare the Meatballs

In a mixing bowl, combine ground beef, uncooked Minute Rice, chopped onion, beaten egg, and seasonings. Mix well and form into meatballs about the size of walnuts.

Step 2: Cook the Rice Meatballs

Spread uncooked Minute Rice in a shallow baking pan. Place meatballs on top of the rice. Mix tomato sauce and tomato juice together and pour over meatballs.

Step 3: Bake

Bake at 350 F for approximately 40 minutes or until meat is cooked through.

Step 4: Serve

Serve rice meatballs with mashed potatoes, rice skillet, or fried rice. Or enjoy them as is!

Enjoy this delicious and hearty dish that will surely be a crowd-pleaser at your next party.

Substitutions and Variations

 Pam's Rice Meatballs just made your dinner party a whole lot better
Pam’s Rice Meatballs just made your dinner party a whole lot better

Don’t be afraid to experiment with different ingredients to make this Pam’s Rice Meatballs recipe your own. You can vary the recipe in many ways depending on your preferences or what you have on hand. Here are some substitutions and variations that you can consider for this dish:

1. Rice: If you don’t have Minute Rice on hand, feel free to substitute it with brown rice or any other type of uncooked rice. Just make sure to adjust the cooking time accordingly.

2. Ground beef: You can use lean ground turkey or chicken instead of beef if you prefer a lighter option. You can also opt for half beef and half pork for a more flavorful meatball.

3. Tomato juice: If you don’t have tomato juice, replace it with tomato sauce or diced tomatoes in their juice.

4. Spices: Adjust the amount of salt, pepper, garlic salt, and garlic powder according to your preferences. You can also add other spices such as paprika, cumin, and dried herbs like thyme or oregano.

5. Serving suggestions: Use these meatballs as a base for other dishes such as fried rice, a rice skillet, or mashed potatoes for a complete meal.

6. Variations: You can add different flavors to the meatball mix by including ingredients like teriyaki sauce (for teriyaki meatballs), pineapple chunks (for Hawaiian meatballs), firecracker sauce (for firecracker chicken meatballs), or any other ingredient that fits your taste.

7. Frozen Meatballs: If you are in a hurry or run out of time, you can use frozen precooked meatballs instead of making your own ones from scratch.

Remember that cooking is all about creativity and making your food an expression of yourself. So go ahead and try different variations until you find the perfect combination that satisfies your taste buds!

Serving and Pairing

 These meatballs are crispy on the outside and savory in the middle
These meatballs are crispy on the outside and savory in the middle

These rice meatballs are delicious on their own, but they can be served with a variety of side dishes that complement their flavors. The simple tomato sauce covering the meatballs pairs well with mashed potatoes or brown rice, which can also be cooked in an instant pot for convenience.

If you’re looking for something more exotic, try serving these meatballs over a bed of fried rice or a rice skillet. For an Asian-inspired twist, consider pairing them with teriyaki chicken or firecracker chicken meatballs. You can also serve them alongside classic Italian meatballs for a fun twist on traditional spaghetti and meatballs.

For those who like a little heat, jalapeño poppers or buffalo wings make great appetizers to accompany these spicy meatballs. A crisp green salad with avocado and feta cheese is also a refreshing option that balances the savory flavors of the meatballs.

If you have guests with specific dietary needs, try making chicken meatballs instead of beef, or use frozen vegetable meatballs as a vegetarian option. No matter how you choose to serve them, these rice meatballs are sure to be a crowd-pleaser at your next party or gathering.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 Biting into these meatballs is like getting a little flavor explosion
Biting into these meatballs is like getting a little flavor explosion

If you’re hosting a party or meal prep for the week, you can easily make these Pam’s Rice Meatballs ahead of time. Once the meatballs are cooked, allow them to cool completely to room temperature. You can store them in an airtight container or freezer bag in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months.

To reheat, simply place the meatballs in a microwave-safe dish and heat for 1-2 minutes until heated through. The tomato sauce may separate slightly, but simply stir it back together before serving.

If you prefer to reheat the meatballs on the stovetop, heat a skillet over medium heat and add the meatballs with any remaining sauce. Cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until heated through.

For best results, avoid reheating frozen meatballs in the microwave as they may become tough and dry. Instead, thaw them overnight in the refrigerator before reheating using one of the methods mentioned above.

Overall, these Pam’s Rice Meatballs are the perfect recipe if you’re looking for something that can be prepped ahead of time and reheated quickly for easy weeknight dinners or party appetizers.

Tips for Perfect Results

 Serve these meatballs with a side of Pam's homemade dipping sauce
Serve these meatballs with a side of Pam’s homemade dipping sauce

To make this recipe perfect, a few tips and tricks come in handy. From making fluffy rice meatballs to ensuring that they cook evenly, here are some recommendations for flawless rice meatballs each time.

Firstly, when making rice meatballs, it can be tempting to use regular or long-grain rice instead of Minute Rice. However, by using Minute Rice specifically, the recipe turns out better. Regular or long-grain rice takes longer to cook and absorb the juices from the meat, leading to dry and tough meatballs.

Secondly, when forming meatballs, do not compact them too tightly. Doing so may result in dense and heavy meatballs, which won’t have that perfect soft texture when biting into them. Leave enough space between each meatball to allow for even cooking.

Thirdly, it is recommended adding garlic salt instead of plain salt to the recipe as it gives a more savory taste to the dish. Additionally, black pepper can enhance the flavor and aroma of the meatballs.

Furthermore, adding tomato juice to the mixture gives extra moisture and flavor to the rice meatballs. It also helps them cook evenly in the oven.

Lastly, if you’re short on time, using frozen pre-made meatballs can save you a lot of effort. For best results with store-bought meatballs, ensure that they are fully defrosted before baking.

By following these simple tips and recommendations, your rice meatballs will turn out perfect every time.


As with any recipe, there may be some questions that arise when making Pam’s Rice Meatballs Recipe. To help you avoid any confusion or mistakes, here are answers to some frequently asked questions.

What is a good binder for meatballs?

When making meatballs, it’s important to have binders that will give them a solid consistency throughout cooking and eating. Binders such as eggs, breadcrumbs, grated or creamy cheeses like ricotta or feta, ground nuts, or a combination of these ingredients work great in keeping the meatballs together. This ensures that they don’t fall apart as you cook them or as you eat them. Nobody wants a plate full of meatball crumbs! So, be sure to add binders to your mix to have a perfect batch of meatballs.

Why are my meatballs tough?

Making meatballs can be a bit tricky. One common mistake is packing the meat mixture too tightly, resulting in a tough and rubbery texture. To prevent this, I recommend oiling your hands before forming the meatballs. This way, the mixture won’t stick to your hands, making it easier to shape the meatballs quickly and gently. If you want perfectly uniform-sized meatballs, you can use a small ice cream scoop instead of your hands.

Why do you soak breadcrumbs for meatballs?

When making meatballs, it’s important to use a binder to ensure that the meat stays moist and tender. One way to do this is by soaking bread crumbs in milk until they become soggy and incorporating them into the meat mixture. This technique, known as a panade, not only adds moisture to the meatballs but also prevents the proteins from shrinking and toughening up.

What to add to thicken meatballs?

To enhance the cohesiveness of the mixture, gently stir in a lightly beaten egg into the ingredients. However, refrain from going overboard with the egg since a small amount of it is sufficient to act as a binder for the recipe. For every pound of minced meat, only one small egg is necessary. If you are following an egg-free diet plan, an alternative option is to saturate fresh bread in milk and afterwards, squeeze out any remaining milk to use as a binding substitute. This substitution option achieves the same binding effect as eggs.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, Pam’s Rice Meatballs recipe is an excellent choice for those who enjoy easy-to-make and delicious meatballs. Its unique combination of uncooked rice and lean ground beef creates a perfect texture that you can’t find in other meatball recipes. With its simple ingredients list and straightforward cooking instructions, anyone can make this dish easily.

Moreover, the versatility of this recipe allows for several variations, such as using chicken instead of beef or substituting tomato juice with tomato sauce to add your own twist. It also pairs well with a variety of sides, from mashed potatoes to rice pilaf.

Lastly, by following the tips provided above and utilizing the suggested substitutions and variations, you can create an even better version of the standard recipe. Whether you want to make it ahead of time or freeze it for later use, this recipe will surely make your life easier.

In short, if you are looking for a quick and simple but delicious meal that everyone will love, then look no further than Pam’s Rice Meatballs Recipe.

Pam's Rice Meatballs

Pam’s Rice Meatballs Recipe

This is an incredibly simple but delicious recipe from my mother. It’s easy to scale it up for company or down for just yourself – but these are great left over, so don’t scale it down too much! I’ve made a couple of corrections after getting CraftScout’s feedback. 🙂
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Calories 198.4 kcal


  • 2 lbs lean ground beef
  • 1 cup Minute Rice
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 (46 ounce) can tomato juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper (or to taste)


  • Mix ground beef, diced onion, eggs, and rice; form into balls roughly 1.5 – 2 inches in diameter.
  • Over medium heat, brown meatballs in large skillet or saucepan (large enough to hold meat and tomato juice).
  • Add tomato juice and season with salt and pepper (or other seasonings if you like); reduce heat and cover pan.
  • Simmer until juice has cooked down to a thick sauce (between 35 – 60 minutes), turning meatballs occasionally.

Your Own Notes


Serving: 213gCalories: 198.4kcalCarbohydrates: 12.3gProtein: 17.7gFat: 8.5gSaturated Fat: 3.4gCholesterol: 84.4mgSodium: 556.7mgFiber: 0.8gSugar: 4.4g
Keyword < 60 Mins, Easy, Meat
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