Porcupine Meatballs
Download pdf Recipe

A favorite family weeknight meal -- fine enough for guests, too!


My mother would make these and as children or almost-grown adults, we loved the way the rice stuck out of the meat -- like porcupine quills -- giving the meat a nice texture. I've embellished her recipe by adding generous herbs and switching out tomato soup for my home-canned crushed tomatoes. Served over rice and with a green vegetable, it makes such a pretty presentation!


Save time by making a double recipe for a second meal, to be served later in the month.


​​Porcupine Meatballs (or Patties)

Inspired by a recipe from my Mother, Evelyn Cramer

Download pdf Recipe

When choosing your ingredients, use home-grown, grass-fed and organic ingredients whenever possible.

Yield: 16 large meatballs or patties


Ingredients for Meatballs or Patties:

1 ½ lbs lean ground beef

½ cup long-grain rice, uncooked, rinsed and drained

1/3 cup onion, finely diced

¼ cup milk

1 ½ tsp Himalayan pink salt

1/8 tsp pepper

2-3 TBSP Olive oil or avocado oil for frying



28 oz can crushed tomatoes (or your own quart jar of home-canned tomatoes, pureed)

1 – 6 oz can tomato paste

1 – 6 oz can water, filtered

1 TBSP garlic, freshly pressed

1 TBSP Italian seasoning

1 TBSP basil leaves, dried

¼ tsp peppercorns, freshly ground



  1. Mix together the ingredients for the meatballs (or patties). Do not overmix or meat can become tough.

  2. Form into balls, using a 3-TBSP scoop, such as the Large Scoop by Pampered Chef. Flatten if desired (they will cook more quickly!).

  3. Add cooking oil to a large pan and when hot, place the meatballs or patties and cook until the edges begin to cook (turn grayish in color). Turn over and continue to cook.

  4. Before the meat is thoroughly cooked, add all of the sauce ingredients, increasing heat until mixture begins to boil; then reduce heat so that sauce is at a gentle simmer. Cover and cook for 45 minutes, gently stirring occasionally. Test to make sure the rice is thoroughly cooked inside the meatballs/patties.

  5. Serve over rice, along with a green vegetable (green beans or broccoli) and a tossed salad with homemade dressing. Add crusty bread on the side, especially if serving company!


Make a double recipe and freeze!

To freeze:

Cook meat balls, cool, and package in a quart-sized freezer Ziploc.

Put dry herbs and seasonings in a small snack-sized Ziploc. Add to the meatball bag, put inside of a 2nd gallon-sized freezer Ziploc.

Write cooking instructions on outside of Ziploc:

Add 28-oz crushed tomatoes, 1 6-oz can tomato paste and 1 can water.

Cook for 45 minutes or until rice is cooked.