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These are great to make ahead of time and then freeze. We freeze them with mashed potatoes and corn as part of a homemade TV dinner.

Ingredients {{adjustedServings}} servings

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Original recipe yields 5 servings



Amount per serving ({{servings}} total)

  • Calories:
  • 275 kcal
  • 14%
  • Fat:
  • 12.8 g
  • 20%
  • Carbs:
  • 21.1g
  • 7%
  • Protein:
  • 18.5 g
  • 37%
  • Cholesterol:
  • 55 mg
  • 18%
  • Sodium:
  • 1107 mg
  • 44%

Based on a 2,000 calorie diet


  1. In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, rice, 1/2 cup of water and onion. Blend in salt, celery salt, garlic powder and pepper. Mix well. Shape into 1 1/2 inch balls.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). In a large skillet over medium heat, brown the meatballs; drain fat.
  3. In an 11x7 inch baking dish, combine the tomato sauce and 1 cup of water. Place the browned meatballs into the tomato sauce, turning to coat well.
  4. Cover and bake in a preheated oven for 45 minutes. Uncover, and cook for an additional 15 minutes.
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One important ingredient left out of this recipe is eggs, by adding an egg or two the meatballs will be less likely to fall apart. Also you don't have to use the oven to cook them. We'd just simmer ours (covered) on low heat for around 40 minutes in the same skillet that they were browned in, adding more liquid as needed. You can also transfer them to a crockpot after browning them. As far as seasoning, it was always what was on hand. On day they might be cooked with canned tomatoes, the next with a mushroom sauce or brown gravy. My Dad used to cook us porcupine meatballs often when I was growing up, and I had all but forgot about them until I came across this recipe. Grandpa used to tell my Dad that this recipe was "good home cooking" when they were children, and that still holds true today.


Have used this recipe for years and love it. I always use canned mushroom soup instead of tomato. I never brown the meatballs just put them in dish and cover with sauce. Then cook 45 minutes covered and 15 minutes uncovered. Yummy!


Porcupines was one of the first recipes I learned as a new bride, over 35 years ago. I believe the original recipe was like this one, but I have modified it to give it more flavor and "zing." The first modification I made was to use instant rice. It seems to "glue" the porcupines together better, so no eggs or bread is needed. I also add diced green pepper to the meatball mixture. After placing the porcupines in the baking dish, I top with 2 can of Rotel with juice, eliminating the need for water. Just before removing from the oven, I sprinkle on cheese (sharp cheddar is our favorite, but use whatever suits your tastebuds) and return to the oven just until cheese melts. I make these for company all the time and everyone always asks for the recipe.