Introduction: Porcupine Balls (Rice Meatballs)

In this Instructable I will be teaching you how to make Porcupine Balls.

Porcupine Balls are are form of meatball, the secondary ingredient being rice. The rice makes the meatball appear spiky, hence the name, porcupine.

Time from start to finish depending on how well done you prefer your meat, but typically requires 5-10 minutes prep time followed by 15-30 minutes cook time.

Total time required: 20-40 minutes

Skill level: Low

Yield: 12 1.5" round meatballs. Feeds 2-4.

Step 1: Gather Your Ingredients and Materials

To make your porcupine balls you will need several things.


  • Large non-stick pan with lid (aluminum foil can be used as a lid alternative)
  • Stove
  • Food tongs (fork can be used as an alternative)
  • Scissors (depending on how skilled you are at opening packages!)


  • 1 lb. raw meat
  • Rice (my recommendation is boxed Rice a Roni, "Beef" flavored)
  • Meat tenderizer (optional)
  • 16.9 fl. oz. water

Step 2: Mixing the Ingredients

Verify the your stove is OFF.

Note: You will be handling raw meat during this process. It is recommended that you wear food prep gloves for this process. Alternatively, please make sure to wash your hands using soap and water following the prep of the meat.

Begin by unwrapping your meat and placing it into the pot. Using your hands, flatten the meat out so that it covers the majority of the pan. I prefer to use the my knuckles for this step.

Open the rice box. In the Beef Flavored Rice a Roni boxes, there will be a flavor package inside. Remove this and set it aside. You will need it later.

Pour the contents of the box over the meat, trying to cover the entirety of the surface.

If desired, sprinkle meat tenderizer on top. Caution: Using too much meat tenderizer will cause the meatballs to fall apart.

Step 3: Forming the Porcupine Balls

You stove should still be OFF.

Mixing together the rice and meat:

  • Begin shaping the porcupine balls by first mixing together the rice, meat, and meat tenderizer. I do this by first folding over portions of the meat on top of the rice. Continue folding, mashing, and manipulating the meat and rice until there is an even amount of rice spread out through the mound.
  • Periodically, large quantities of rice will fall from the meat into the pan, typically at the start. Using your hands, you can scoop it up and place it back into the meat/rice mound.
  • When you are satisfied that the rice is spread through enough, you may stop. There typically will be a fair amount of rice loose in the pan, don't worry about it. This is visible in the pictures.

Forming the Porcupine Balls:

  • Tear off a section of rice/meat. In you hand form this into a ball shape. You will want to squeeze the meat together, creating a dense meatball.
  • I typically shoot for around 1.5 inches in diameter. If you need to grab more meat, you can do so and press it with the amount already in your hand.
  • Continue to do this until there is no more lose meat.
  • From 1 lb. of meat, I usually get 12 porcupine balls of this size.
    • Smaller porcupine balls will have a larger yield. Larger porcupine balls will have a smaller yield.
    • For future attempts, you may also use larger quantities of meat (with the same amount of rice) to increase the yield.

You are now finished handling the raw meat. Be sure to wash your hands with soap and water if you were not wearing gloves.

Step 4: Adding the Flavor Packet

Your stove should still be OFF.

Start by pouring approximately 16.9 fl. oz. of water into the pan around the porcupine balls. I prefer to use bottled water for this because it means I don't have to measure anything, but you may use tap water as well.

Cut or tear open the flavor package.

Pour the contents of the flavor package into the water around the porcupine balls, but not onto them!

When the contents of the package are empty, mix the water around until the power has mostly dissolved and the water is one color. You may do this with a utensil, but I prefer to tilt the pot itself, sloshing the water and mixing in the powder that way.

Step 5: Cooking the Porcupine Balls

You may now turn your stove onto a medium to high heat.

While cooking, place the lid on the pan. If a lid is not available, you can use aluminum foil as an alternative.

Approximately every 5 minutes, you should use food tongs to rotate the porcupine balls to maintain even cooking. If you do not have food tongs, you can use a pair of forks or spoons to flip them over. Using just one fork is not recommended because repeatedly piercing the porcupine balls can cause them to fall apart.

Depending on your stove and you preferred level of wellness to your meat. cooking times may vary.

For meat that is well done (no pink) it should take between 20-30 minutes.

Step 6: Finish and Enjoy!

When you have finished cooking, remove the porcupine balls from the pan by first flipping them one last time in the water. This allows all surfaces of the porcupine balls to have a juicy exterior.

Serve using food tongs (preferred), and enjoy!

Thanks for reading!

Meat Contest 2016

Participated in the
Meat Contest 2016