Get Comfortable with Our Classic Porcupine Meatballs Recipe

Imagine this: it’s the end of the week and you’re exhausted from work, but you have guests coming over tomorrow. You want to make a meal that’s satisfying, easy to prepare and will impress your friends. Enter my recipe for Porcupine Meatballs with Rice-a-roni!

I created this recipe with simplicity in mind, using ingredients that you most likely already have in your pantry, such as ground beef and Rice-a-roni seasoning packets. The dish itself is all about flavor: savory meatballs mixed with long-grain white rice and coated in a delicious tomato sauce.

But what makes it truly unique are the “porcupine balls.” These are meatballs made with a little twist – uncooked long-grain white rice is mixed into the ground beef mixture. As the meatballs cook, the rice pokes out like porcupine quills, creating their signature look. It’s both fun and tasty!

Trust me, once you try my porcupine meatballs recipe, it’s sure to become a regular addition to your weekly meal plan. So let’s get started on this mouthwatering journey!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Porcupine Meatballs W/ Rice-a-roni
Porcupine Meatballs W/ Rice-a-roni

Are you looking for a hearty and satisfying dinner that won’t break the bank or take hours to prepare? Look no further than these beef and rice porcupine meatballs with Rice-a-Roni!

This recipe is a guaranteed crowd pleaser, thanks to the tasty combination of seasoned ground beef and fluffy white rice. The meatballs themselves are easy to make and come together with only a handful of ingredients, making them a perfect option for busy weeknights or last-minute dinner ideas.

And let’s talk about the rice for a moment! The addition of Rice-a-Roni adds both depth of flavor and texture to this dish, giving each bite an irresistible blend of savory flavors that will leave everyone at the table wanting more.

Not only is this recipe delicious, but it’s also incredibly versatile. Swap in turkey or chicken for the ground beef, or experiment with different varieties of Rice-a-Roni to switch things up. And if you’re looking for a gluten-free option, opt for a plain long-grain rice instead.

So why will you love this recipe? It’s easy to make, budget-friendly, and sure to satisfy even the pickiest of eaters. Give it a try and see for yourself!

Ingredient List

 Warm and savory Porcupine Meatballs with Rice-a-roni
Warm and savory Porcupine Meatballs with Rice-a-roni

Here are the ingredients you’ll need:

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • 1 box beef Rice-A-Roni
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • 1 can tomato sauce (8 ounces)
  • 1 ¾ cups water for Porcupine Meatballs (or follow the instructions on the box of Rice-A-Roni reserving the seasoning packet; add enough water to equal 2 1/4 cups total)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Cooking spray

Note: While you can use any type of ground beef in this recipe, I find that the best ground beef for Porcupine Meatballs with Rice-A-Roni is a regular, 80/20 combination of lean/fat ratio. For best results, use long-grain white rice.

Also, if you prefer instant pot and slow cooker recipes, feel free to check out recipes for Porcupine Meatballs online. Some variations include turkey meatballs, brown rice instead of white, and using tomato soup instead of tomato sauce.

The Recipe How-To

 Delicious meatballs with a twist of rice and vegetables
Delicious meatballs with a twist of rice and vegetables

Now that we are ready to cook, let’s get started with porcupine meatballs mixed with Rice-a-roni. These meatballs are not your regular meatballs, because they are loaded with Rice-a-roni, making them full of flavor and texture. They’re easy to make and create the perfect dish for house parties, game nights or even everyday dinner.


Here are the ingredients you will need for our Porcupine Meatballs W/ Rice-a-Roni Recipe:

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • 1 box of Beef Rice-a-roni with seasoning packet
  • 1 2/3 cups water
  • ½ chopped onion
  • Salt and pepper

Step-by-step instructions

These simple step-by-step instructions on how to make porcupine meatballs with rice-a-roni will ensure you the perfect outcome:

Step 1: Preheat a large skillet or frying pan over medium heat. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, mix together ground beef, uncooked beef rice-a-roni, egg, chopped onion, salt and pepper.

Step 2: Pour in the seasoning packet into the mixture to give your porcupine balls a well-rounded flavor.

Step 3: Shape your mixture into small balls approximately an inch in diameter.

Step 4: Brown the sides of your balls by frying them for about five minutes in preheated skillet or frying pan until all sides are crispy and dark brown on the outside.

Step 5: Drain grease from pan sides carefully.

Step 6: Pour one and two-thirds cups of water onto your meatballs, then add whole tomato sauce by pouring over it.

Step 7: Stir recommended amount of water and Rice-A-Roni packet seasoning together in and pour over meatballs. Cover skillet or frying pan with a lid on a medium-low setting until the water is steaming hot. Turn down low heat immediately cooking for at least 35 –45 minutes until meat is fully cooked through.

Serving Suggestions

Our porcupine meatballs recipe goes well with any side dishes such as mashed potatoes, sweet corn or peas.


Substitutions and Variations

 Perfect dish for a cozy family dinner
Perfect dish for a cozy family dinner

Don’t limit yourself to just ground beef! The beauty of porcupine meatballs is that you can swap out any ground meat you want. Try making these with ground turkey, pork, or chicken for a lighter take on the classic recipe.

If you’re looking to switch up the flavor, consider adding different seasonings or vegetables to the mix. Chopped bell peppers, garlic, and diced onions are all great additions to the meat mixture.

For those who don’t have rice-a-roni readily available, don’t worry – you can easily make this dish with basic white rice. Just be sure to adjust the amount of liquid used in the recipe accordingly.

If you’re looking to make this recipe even easier, skip rolling the porcupine balls by hand and simply use a cookie scoop or melon baller to portion out your meatballs.

And if you’re feeling extra adventurous, try incorporating other ingredients like grated cheese or breadcrumbs into your meat mixture for added texture and flavor.

No matter what substitutions or variations you choose to make, the end result will be a warm and comforting dish that’s perfect for any occasion.

Serving and Pairing

 Impress your guests with this unique meatball recipe
Impress your guests with this unique meatball recipe

These scrumptious Porcupine Meatballs with Rice-a-roni can be served as the main dish for dinner. Pour the rich tomato sauce over the meatballs and rice, and you have a satisfying meal that’s perfect for any occasion. You can also pair it with other side dishes, such as mashed potatoes or brown rice, to make your meal even more satisfying.

I recommend serving these meatballs with a side salad or steamed vegetables to add some freshness to your plate. The texture of the porcupine balls complements well with tender greens, like arugula or kale. Adding some colorful sliced vegetables, like bell pepper or carrots, will enhance the flavor of the dish.

For drinks, you may want to serve a bold red wine – like a Cabernet Sauvignon – to match the hearty flavors of the meatballs and rice. Or, if you prefer something milder, an iced tea or lemonade will hit the spot.

As for dessert, a light and fruity tart or pie would be an excellent contrast to balance out the richness of this main course. And if you’re feeling adventurous, try pairing Porcupine Meatballs with Rice-a-roni with other beef dishes for variation in taste; perhaps an easy-to-cook beef porcupine rice recipe or other recipes from that feature ground beef and rice as staple ingredients.

Remember to serve this dish while they’re nice and hot! No one wants room temperature meatballs!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 Combining the flavors of beef, rice, and tomato sauce
Combining the flavors of beef, rice, and tomato sauce

Porcupine Meatballs with Rice-a-roni Recipe is a dish that can be easily prepared ahead of time, stored and reheated without compromising the taste and texture of the meatballs. It is perfect if you’re hosting a dinner party or want to have leftovers for lunch the next day.

To make ahead, simply prepare the meatballs according to the recipe instructions and refrigerate in an airtight container until ready to cook. You can also freeze them raw or cooked for up to three months. When ready to cook, thaw them overnight in the refrigerator before continuing with the recipe.

If you have leftover Porcupine Meatballs with Rice-a-roni, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. To reheat, place them on a microwave-safe plate, cover with a damp paper towel, and microwave on high for one to two minutes. Alternatively, you can reheat them in the oven by placing them in an oven-safe dish, covering with aluminum foil and baking at 350°F for 10-15 minutes.

To keep your Porcupine Meatballs from falling apart when reheating, add some extra tomato sauce or broth to the meatballs before storing or reheating. This will help keep them moist and tender.

In addition, you can use Porcupine Meatballs with Rice-a-roni as a versatile ingredient in other recipes. Try using leftover meatballs as a topping for brown rice or mashed potatoes, or as a filling for sandwiches or wraps. The possibilities are endless!

Tips for Perfect Results

 Meatballs like you've never tasted before
Meatballs like you’ve never tasted before

One of the keys to making perfect porcupine meatballs with rice-a-roni is to make sure they hold together and don’t crumble apart. Here are my top tips for ensuring you get the best possible results with this recipe:

First and foremost, it’s important to handle the meatballs gently when you’re shaping them. You want to shape them just enough to create a cohesive, round ball, but not so much that they become dense and tough. The easiest way to shape them is by using an ice cream scoop or two spoons.

Another way to prevent your meatballs from falling apart is by thoroughly mixing the egg with the other ingredients before adding in the ground beef. The egg acts as a binder and helps hold everything together.

While cooking, make sure that you don’t overcrowd the pan, as this can cause the meatballs to stick together and not brown evenly. It’s best to do this step in batches if needed.

Don’t skip on browning the meatballs before adding them to the rice-a-roni mixture! Browning adds flavor and texture to your porcupine meatballs.

For added moisture and flavor, add a can of diced tomatoes or tomato sauce to the rice-a-roni mixture when cooking the meatballs. This will also help prevent sticking while allowing for extra enhancement of taste.

Finally, be sure to let your finished dish rest for a few minutes before serving. This allows time for the flavors to meld together, resulting in an all-around delectable taste.

By applying these tips, you’ll have juicy and flavorful porcupine meatballs every time!


Now that you know how to make porcupine meatballs with rice-a-roni, you may have some questions about the recipe. Let’s take a look at some frequently asked questions and provide answers to help you make the best meal possible.

How do you keep porcupine meatballs from falling apart?

When making porcupine meatballs, it’s important to keep them from falling apart, which can be achieved by adding a binder to the meat mixture. For instance, incorporating ingredients like egg and rice can help hold the meatballs together.

What are porcupine meatballs made of?

The dish of porcupine meatballs is a classic American casserole that consists of meatballs made from ground beef and rice, cooked in tomato sauce. Its origins can be traced back to the Great Depression, where it became popular because of its simple ingredients that were easily accessible, including ground beef, uncooked long-grain rice, onion, and canned tomato soup.

Should I cook meatballs in the sauce?

If you’re wondering whether to cook raw meatballs in sauce or not, I suggest giving them a quick sear in a skillet before adding them to the tomato sauce. This method gives the meatballs a delicious crust on the outer layer while still preserving their tenderness and juiciness.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, these porcupine meatballs with Rice-a-Roni recipe is a crowd-pleaser that your guests will love. It is easy and quick to make, yet delicious and filling. With just a few ingredients, you can make this dish in no time without breaking the bank.

Whether you are hosting a party or looking for a family-friendly meal, these porcupine meatballs with Rice-a-Roni are sure to satisfy everyone’s craving. So, gather your ingredients and start cooking up a storm.

By following these instructions and tips, you will create perfect porcupine meatballs that are tender, juicy, and flavorful. Don’t forget to pair them with the right sides like brown rice or mashed potatoes, and serve them warm.

Now it’s your turn to try out this recipe and impress your family and friends with your newfound culinary skills. Remember to experiment with different variations and substitutions according to your taste.

Give it a go and let us know how it went in the comments below!

Porcupine Meatballs W/ Rice-a-roni

Porcupine Meatballs W/ Rice-a-roni Recipe

This recipe is from my favorite aunt. It's a big hit in her family, and great comfort food. And it's so easy that her bachelor sons can make it themselves. (of course, they'd rather have mom make it!!)
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Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Calories 262.2 kcal


  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 package beef Rice-A-Roni
  • 1 egg
  • 2 packets brown gravy mix


  • Mix ground beef with egg and rice-a-roni, reserving seasoning packet.
  • Shape into balls.
  • Brown in frying pan, on all sides.
  • Drain grease.
  • Sprinkle seasoning packet on top.
  • Mix brown gravy mix and pour on top.
  • Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Serve over mashed potatoes.

Your Own Notes


Serving: 126gCalories: 262.2kcalCarbohydrates: 0.1gProtein: 22.6gFat: 18.2gSaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 130mgSodium: 92.3mgSugar: 0.1g
Keyword < 60 Mins, Easy, Meat, One-Dish Meal
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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