This Porcupine Meatballs with Tomato Soup recipe is one of my all-time favorite recipes! Tender meatballs with rice cook up tender and flavorful in a savory tomato soup sauce. The rice meatballs form a texture resembling the quills of a porcupine, thus giving porcupine meatballs its silly name.
This porcupine meatballs recipe is an iteration of the first recipe I made as an adult. It came from the first cookbook I ever owned — a spiral-bound orange Betty Crocker cookbook from my mom.
Do you know the one?
I still have that cookbook (minus the cover), but my version of porcupine meatballs has morphed into its own thing over time.
Ingredients for Porcupine Meatballs
- Ground beef
- Instant white rice (you can also use long-grain rice, but I have found better luck with instant rice)
- Black pepper
- Garlic powder
- Tomato soup
- Spicy V-8 juice (see substitution option below)
- Worcestershire sauce
- Optional: Red pepper flakes
- If you don’t have V-8 juice on hand, you can use two cans of tomato soup instead. When I do this, I add some Italian seasoning for added flavor.
How to Make Porcupines
Step 1: Mix ground beef, rice, water, salt, pepper, garlic powder and onions together and form into meatballs.
Step 2: Brown meatballs in a skillet and then drain off the extra grease.
Step 3: Mix together the soup, V-8 juice, Worcestershire sauce and red pepper flakes. Pour sauce over meatballs, turning meatballs to coat them.
Step 4: Cover and simmer on low for 45 minutes.
What to serve with porcupine meatballs
- A pasta salad and some freshly baked bread would complete the meal perfectly.
- Roasted veggies would be delicious!
- Creamy mashed potatoes
- Oven-baked corn on the cob
They are called porcupine meatballs due to their appearance – the grains of rice in the meat mixture swell as they cook, creating a textured surface that resembles the quills of a porcupine.
Yes, you can use other types of ground meat, such as pork, turkey, or chicken, to make porcupine meatballs. Each type of meat will bring its own flavor to the dish.
Yes, of course! Just make sure you let the dish cook long enough to tenderize the rice completely. I have better luck with instant rice.
Yes, you can prepare the meatballs ahead of time and store them in the refrigerator until you’re ready to cook them.
Other meatball recipes to try:
Porcupine meatballs… oh, how I love them and I know you will too!
- 1 ½ pounds ground beef
- ½ cup Minute Rice
- ½ cup water
- ½ cup chopped onion
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 15- ounce can tomato soup
- 1 cup spicy V-8 juice
- 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- Optional – 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- In large bowl, mix hamburger, rice, 1/2 cup water, onion, salt, garlic powder and pepper. Shape into about 24 1-1/2-inch meatballs. Cook meatballs in skillet until browned on all sides. Drain off extra grease.
- In small bowl, mix together tomato soup, spicy V-8 juice, Worcestershire sauce and red pepper flakes, if using. Pour over meatballs, turning meatballs to coat. Cover and let simmer for 45 minutes.