Porcupine Meatballs

5 from 2 reviews

Porcupine Meatballs made easy with uncooked rice, ground turkey, eggs and without tomato sauce. Then bake, cook in slow cooker or Instant Pot, or freeze for later.

  • Author: Olena of
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 3 hours
  • Total Time: 3 hours 5 minutes
  • Yield: 10 meatballs 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Slow Cooker, Instant Pot or Oven
  • Cuisine: Ukrainian


  • 2 lbs extra lean ground turkey, chicken, beef or pork
  • 1 cup brown rice, rinsed & drained*
  • 2 eggs, large
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning or 1/2 tsp dried basil + 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • Ground black pepper, to taste
  • 3 cups vegetable or chicken broth, low sodium
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • Green onions, parsley or dill, finely chopped (for serving)


In Slow Cooker

  1. In a large mixing bowl, add turkey, rice, eggs, salt, Italian seasoning and pepper. Using your hands, mix very well.
  2. Form 10 large meatballs a size just a bit shy of a tennis ball’s size. Or you can make 20 or so smaller meatballs.
  3. Place in a single layer on a bottom of large slow cooker. Meatballs will fit snuggly. Just pack them gently and tight.
  4. Pour broth gently over the meatballs.
  5. Cover slow cooker and cook on Low for 7-8 hours or on High for 3-4 hours.
  6. Open the lid. In a small bowl, whisk cold water with cornstarch.
  7. Pour slurry over the meatballs, cover and cook on High for 10-20 minutes or until sauce has thickened.

In Instant Pot

I am absolutely in love with my Instant Pot! No surprise, I cook meatballs in it as well. You can check out all of my healthy Instant Pot recipes.

To cook porcupine meatballs in Instant Pot:

  1. Follow the recipe to form meatballs.
  2. Pressure cook on High pressure for 15 minutes (8 quart Instant Pot) or 20 minutes (6 quart Instant Pot).
  3. You can release pressure using Quick Release method.
  4. Open the lid and separate meatballs from each other, if necessary.
  5. Press Saute, whisk in a slurry and cook until sauce has thickened a bit.
  6. It helps to remove a few meatballs and then add them back.

In the Oven

  1. Bake porcupine meatballs in a baking dish covered in preheated oven to 375 degrees F for 45 minutes.
  2. Check for doneness and if rice is ready, uncover and pour the slurry in the liquid spots.
  3. Bake for 5 minutes or until sauce has thickened.

Serving meatballs: Porcupine meatballs are a meal on their own. All we need is veggies. I usually make super simple cucumber tomato salad or lemon kale salad to go with it. On lazy days, it is a green smoothie. πŸ™‚

Storing meatballs: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Freezing meatballs: Fully cook, cool completely, and freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Thaw in a refrigerator overnight. Reheat in a microwave or in the oven at 375 F for 10 minutes.

Or freeze uncooked meatballs. Form, place on a baking sheet and freeze for up to 2 hours. Then transfer to a zip top bag and freeze for up to 3 months. When ready to cook, I would recommend to bake from frozen with extra 10 minutes. Instant Pot – no changes (see, Instant Pot is amazing!). And for slow cooker, you have to thaw meatballs first and then cook as per recipe. Safety thing. πŸ™‚


*Rice is not cooked or pre-cooked. White rice is OK too, just less healthy but I won’t judge you. πŸ™‚

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