Porcupine Meatballs
Yield: 6 jumbo or 12 regular-size meatballs
The silly name becomes apparent when these tender meatballs are pulled from the oven. For a satisfying entree portion, we like to make jumbo meatballs, but you may roll them smaller if preferred. Alternatively, for a smaller portion that still feels big, slice the jumbo meatballs in half and serve cut-side down.


  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1 cup long grain white rice, uncooked*
  • ¾ cup water
  • ¼ cup minced yellow onion
  • 2 level teaspoons kosher salt (use 1½ teaspoons if using table salt)
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • ¾ cup low-sodium chicken broth (may substitute water plus an extra pinch or two of salt)
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce


  1. Preheat the oven to 350℉.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine the rice, water, onion, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Add the ground beef and mix to incorporate. To fully combine without over-mixing, I find it easiest to use my hands. Shape the mixture into 6 jumbo or 12 large meatballs. (You could certainly opt for 8 or another number or choice.) Helpful hint: To evenly size, divide the meat mixture in half, once or twice depending on desired number of meatballs, and then in thirds.
  3. Place the meatballs in a Dutch oven, casserole or baking dish that will fit them closely together in one layer. You don’t want too much extra room around the meatballs because you want the tomato sauce mixture to cover as much of the meatballs as possible (aim for a little over halfway as in the prep photo.)
  4. In a medium bowl or Pyrex measure, stir together the tomato sauce, broth and Worcestershire sauce. Pour over the meatballs, making sure to coat the tops.
  5. Cover tightly with a lid or tin foil and bake for 1 hour or until the meatballs are cooked through and the rice is tender. Allow to rest for 5 minutes or so, and then serve with a spoonful of sauce over the top.

Notes & Helpful Hints

*A cup of uncooked rice is considered to be 180 grams, which actually measures in just under the fill line of most standard measuring cups. To ensure the right rice-to-liquid ration, shake off the rice so that it fills the cup to a level slightly below what it would be if you leveled it with the straight edge of a knife.

*In case you’re second guessing yourself – yes, you are supposed to use raw rice! Regular long grain white rice is recommended so that it is fully cooked by the time the meat is done. (I have also used white Basmati with good results.) The grains will absorb moisture and poke out like porcupine quills as the meatballs cook.

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