Old Fashioned Porcupine Meatballs

Old Fashioned Porcupine Meatballs

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Old Fashioned Porcupine Meatballs

With temperatures dipping to -8 degrees, a chilly -25 degrees below zero with the wind chill, we could think of only one thing to warm us up. Old Fashioned Porcupine Meatballs, is comfort food at it’s best. Serve these delicious meatballs for supper tonight with a loaf of crusty bread, a tossed salad or your favorite steamed vegetable. You’ll have a comforting meal the whole family will love.

old fashioned porcupine

Where Did They Originate?

Have you ever wondered where porcupine meatballs originate? I have. I looked online high and low but I only found a vague explanation that they came about during the depression. Which I don’t doubt, in fact that even makes sense. My theory goes something like this. Back in the day, when families were larger than they are now, it was a way for thrifty moms to stretch their food budget. Like meatloaf, porcupine meatballs was a way to turn inexpensive ground beef into something filling, satisfying and delicious. Instead of turning the meatloaf mixture into a “loaf,” rice was added then shaped into “balls” and porcupine meatballs were born.

old fashioned porcupine
3.45 from 9 votes
Old Fashioned Porcupine Meatballs
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
1 hr 30 mins

An Old-Fashioned Favorite

Course: Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine: All-American
Keyword: ground beef, rice, tomato sauce
Servings: 6
: 328 kcal
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 cup rice, uncooked
  • 2 tablespoons minced onion
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup or barbecue sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 14 saltine crackers, crushed
  • 2 cups tomato juice
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  1. Preheat oven to 350º
  2. Mix together ground round, rice, minced onion, chili powder, salt, black pepper, Worcestershire sauce, beaten egg, ketchup or barbecue sauce, Dijon mustard, crushed saltine crackers. Shape mixture into 1-inch balls.
  3. Place meatballs in a 2 quart casserole dish.
  4. Make sauce: Mix together tomato juice, brown sugar and chili powder. Pour sauce over meatballs. Cover and bake for 90 minutes.
Nutrition Facts
Old Fashioned Porcupine Meatballs
Amount Per Serving (1 g)
Calories 328 Calories from Fat 153
% Daily Value*
Fat 17g26%
Saturated Fat 6g38%
Cholesterol 81mg27%
Sodium 423mg18%
Potassium 452mg13%
Carbohydrates 27g9%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 8g9%
Protein 17g34%
Vitamin A 480IU10%
Vitamin C 15.3mg19%
Calcium 33mg3%
Iron 2.5mg14%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Make another classic recipe tonight, Old Fashioned Meatloaf or make a batch of Swedish Meatballs.

For this recipe we used Sacramento Tomato Juice

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12 thoughts on “Old Fashioned Porcupine Meatballs”

  • I follow the recipe exactly as listed and double it. These are a hit in our farm family from young to old. The guys especially enjoy the warm meal in the field during these chilly harvest days. Great recipe!

    • Hi Amy,
      I so glad your family and friends enjoy the recipe! As a food blogger, I don’t always get to find out how people liked a recipe, so thanks for dropping by and letting me know:)

  • Yep, I made a mixed up version. BUT my mom used a pressure cooker and must be Campbell tomato soup. Because of the pressure cooker uncooked rice. With out the pressure cooker pre cooked rice works good. I haven’t had these in years. Mixed ground beef and mild Italian sausage . 1 1/2 egg dropped one and lost half. Anxious to try them.

    • Hello,
      How did you like the meatballs? I’ve never used a pressure cooker before:( I’m so afraid I’ll blow up my kitchen!! I made a huge batch of apple cider vinegar one year and when I opened a bottle, the darn thing exploded. I had vinegar or what was to become vinegar, all over my kitchen! Have you ever tried an Insta-Pot?? I never have…yet. Thanks for stopping, Lynn

  • I used 2# of good hamburg and cooked my 1 cups rice , 2 cups water to make sure it would be done. I have trouble getting the meatballs to stay together. So after the first batch that I pan fried and the balls fell apart, I started using my corning dinner plate and put the balls on it and cooked them 1;30 SEC. then turned them over and did 1:30 sec again. Left them sit till I got the 1st batch of balls out of the pan. Then I put the microwave balls in the fry pan to get them brown and continued with the next several batches. I mixed my 2 tomato cans of tomato soup with 1 can of beef broth, 2 c. V8 juice, 1 c. ketchup and 2 tbls. brown sugar (this tomato mixture tasted ok)
    I put everything in my blue enamel spotted pan to cook my 60 meatballs ( I am making some for my neighbor) at 300 * oven for 4 hrs and I am making mashed potatoes. I hope this turns out because I spent alot of time making these.

    • Hello Michelle, I’m sorry to hear that you had problems with the meat mixture staying together. I’ve never had that happen before. Next time, an egg or even bread crumbs would help with that. I happen to agree with you on the tomato mixture being a bit bland, add some chili powder next time:) I certainly hope this turns out because 60 meatballs is a lot of balls!! Lynn

  • Unfortunately, in your directions, you forgot the mustard and garlic. Do they go in the meat mixture, or sauce?

    • You are right, I forgot the mustard, garlic and pepper. So sorry about that…the mustard, garlic and pepper in in the meat mixture, even though you could also add them to the sauce. So very sorry, Lynn

  • A fond childhood memory. Mom used to make these in her pressure cooker! She also used a can of Campbell’s tomato soup instead of the tomato juice

    • Hi Karen,
      I have never used a pressure cooker,
      (always thought I’d blow my house up) but
      my daughter loves hers. My mom, Aggie used
      tomato soup too. She actually used both.
      Thanks for stopping by:)

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