Instant Pot Porcupine Meatballs–a fun twist on a traditional meatball recipe. Uncooked rice is mixed with ground beef to make a meatball that looks like it has porcupine quills. My version is made quickly in the Instant Pot and served with an amazingly easy homemade marinara sauce.
Get the SLOW COOKER porcupine meatballs recipe here
Instant Pot Porcupine Meatballs
One of Greg’s favorite recipes when he was growing up was his mom’s porcupine meatballs. I started making them in the slow cooker many years ago and now the kids love them too. They taste great and are super fun with the rice.
My version starts with my favorite marinara sauce. I’ve seen many versions of porcupine meatballs that use a can of condensed tomato soup. My version uses crushed tomatoes that give it flavor and body.
I have made these porcupine meatballs both in the bottom of my Instant Pot and using the pot-in-pot method. I didn’t get the burn message when I made them in the bottom of the pot but I fear that many of you would. There is no thin liquid…just the crushed tomatoes. So if you want to be on the safe side then make this recipe using the pot-in-pot method. If you choose to put the sauce and meatballs directly into the Instant Pot then I would cut the pressure cooking time to 10 minutes instead of 20.
Are you unfamiliar with PIP? The pot-in-pot (PIP) method just means that you pour water into your Instant Pot and then use a trivet to lower an oven safe dish full of your ingredients into the bottom of your Instant Pot. The steam builds and creates pressure and cooks the food even though it is not directly in contact with the bottom of your pot.
When I cook PIP I usually use one of these stainless steel pans*. But I also own the Fat Daddios cake pan* that works too. I love this sling/trivet* which makes pot-in-pot so easy!
More Instant Pot Ground Beef Recipes…
Instant Pot Ground Beef Stroganoff
What Pressure Cooker Did You Use?
To make Instant Pot Porcupine Meatballs I used my 6 quart Instant Pot Duo 60 7 in 1*. I love this Instant Pot because it has the yogurt making function which I use almost weekly. It has two pressure settings (high and low), and there are also little slots in the handles so that you can rest the lid there instead of putting it down on your counter-top.
Instant Pot Porcupine Meatballs
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 25 minutes
- Total Time: 45 minutes
- Yield: 4 servings 1x
A fun twist on a traditional meatball recipe. Uncooked rice is mixed with ground beef to make a meatball that looks like it has porcupine quills. My version is made quickly in the Instant Pot and served with an amazingly easy homemade marinara sauce.
For the sauce:
- 1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
- 4 Tbsp butter, cut into 4 pieces
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
For the meatballs:
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup long grain white rice, uncooked
- 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 2 Tbsp bread crumbs
- Make the sauce: Add tomatoes, butter, onion powder, garlic powder and salt into an oven safe pan that fits inside your Instant Pot.
- Make the meatballs: In a mixing bowl combine the beef, egg, rice, worcestershire, salt, pepper, garlic powder and breadcrumbs. Use clean or gloved hands to mix. Form into 8 meatballs. Place them into the pan on top of the sauce.
- Pour 1 ½ cups water into the Instant Pot liner. Place the pan on top of a trivet and lower the pan into the bottom of the Instant Pot liner.
- Cover the pot and secure the lid. Make sure the valve is set to sealing. Set the manual/pressure cook button to 25 minutes. When the time is up let the pot sit for 5-10 minutes and then move the valve to venting. Remove the lid.
- Serve the meatballs with the sauce and enjoy!
I have made these porcupine meatballs both in the bottom of my Instant Pot and using the pot-in-pot method. I didn’t get the burn message when I made them in the bottom of the pot but I fear that many of you would. There is no thin liquid…just the crushed tomatoes. So if you want to be on the safe side then make this recipe using the pot-in-pot method. If you choose to put the sauce and meatballs directly into the Instant Pot then I would cut the pressure cooking time to 10 minutes instead of 25.
- Category: Beef
- Method: Instant Pot
*Karen Petersen is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.
Kim B. says
Was sooooo delicious. I added 1 tsp Italian seasoning to the sauce, as well as a half cup each chopped onion & bell pepper. Cooked for 35 min + 10 min NPR. Was perfect. Not much leftover, but I’ll wager it’s going to taste way better. Am planning to eat it over spaghetti squash.
Thanks, Karen, this one is amazing. Tell ‘the Gregster’ that we said thanks for sharing.
“Gregster” I love it! thanks Kim!
I followed the directions and the rice was undercooked. The rice will need to be cooked first separately to make this recipe work. Also, the sauce was bland. Sautéed onion and Italian herbs would probably help. It certainly wasn’t my husband or family’s favorite.
How many meatballs does this make? I would think the size would matter. I enjoy getting your emails. I made porcupine meatballs when my children were small and we always loved them but it has been years. Love that I can make them in the instant pot!
I made it into 8 meatballs
Val hurst says
Can you make this in a slow cooker?
Here is the slow cooker version: https://www.365daysofcrockpot.com/day-62-porcupine-meatballs/
Can this be doubled and just use two of the stackable pans..? What cook time would you recommend?
You could try…I would use time recommended in recipe card for pot in pot.
Joanne Grimes says
I just served the Porcupine Meatball recipe for dinner guests. I was meticulous about following the recipe using the Pot-in-Pot method. I was very embarrassed to find that the white rice was still crunchy!! I definitely followed your instructions regarding length of cook time. What should I do next time to ensure the rice get thoroughly cooked? (P S I love your new cookbook!) Joanne Grimes
I would increase the cooking time by 10 minutes. It won’t hurt anything to go that long and it will ensure the rice gets done.
I parboil or cook the rice prior to adding to the meat mixture
Hi Karen..made your meatballs with rice today..and it is delicious..I used the pip method and it turned out wonderful.. I went exactly by your recipe..didn’t change a thing..easy to put together and I’ll be making this again and again..thanks for sharing your recipes..love your blog!
Thanks Judith! So glad it worked well for you!
Jim Bob says
Howdy Karen: I use your recipes at least twice a week. Your “Porcupine Meatballs” will be on my short list. When I was in grade school many years ago, when the pastor came for Sunday meal, my mother used to cook a casserole “porcupine meatballs, mush-room soup (thickened to resemble beef gravy), lots of sliced mushrooms, topped with cauliflower flowerets. The only way I could cook that dish in the Instant Pot would be to cook it twice adding the cauliflower in the last step, and/or put it all in the oven for a while. Love you recipes. My wife is still on the KETO diet, she is looking pretty good.
That sounds tasty! I am proud of your wife. I could never do that diet LOL!!!
Carolyn Smith says
Karen – I love your recipes! My husband does my fitness pal and we would love it if you would include the size of each serving or the weight of each serving!!
Just had Amish yumasetti to tonight and it was awesome!!
Mary Ann says
I have been making porcupines since 1974. I got the recipe from a box of Rice A Roni Beef flavor. I like it because the box comes with a seasoning packet. And has been a family favorite to this day.
Oh that’s cool! I love that idea!
Very similar to what I use to stuff peppers or cabbage rolls. Will try in this incarnation soonest.
Hope you like it Nancy!
Love this recipe, have made it many times. I make my meatballs smaller. This reminds me of a recipe I made years ago. Love your recipes! Thx
Thanks for the 5 star review Diane!
My meatballs were cooked all the way, but my rice was completely raw. My husband powered through like a champ anyway. Any idea what I did wrong? I think if I make this again I’d cook the rice first.
Oh shoot! I’m sorry it didn’t cook. Was it long grain white?
Made this for dinner tonight. Followed directions precisely. Rice was still hard and crunchy. Flavor of meatballs and sauce was great. Any suggestions as to what to do differently? (Used the pot-in-pot method).
I’d try directly in the pot next time. Add a half cup broth in first before the other ingredients. Should work well.
Thank you. We’ll try that next time!
Hi can they be made in oven I dont have a instant pot tysm
I bet they could. I see a few recipes online that have you simmer them on the stove: https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/218493/melindas-porcupine-meatballs/
I doubled the recipe, cooked the meatballs in the sauce directly in the instant pot – worked out great! Will be a go to staple but will probably experiment with herbs. Thanks!
Glad it worked well!
Made these tonight after realizing I had a pound of ground beef defrosted in my fridge and no idea what I was going to do with it. Easy to put together and very flavorful. I’m sure as leftovers they’ll be great.
Yay! Glad you liked it Lory 😊
Loved it! Normally I don’t stay this long on a website, but girl your recipes are great!
So glad you are finding some good recipes! Thanks for being here 😊
Anita Delutri says
Ten minutes of easy prep, 25 minutes in the onstant pot. The meatballs and sauce were delicious. I always let the dish sit for 10 minutes for some of the liquid to be absorbed.
So glad you liked it Anita! Thank you for sharing your experience!
Sue Hadley says
Did you sprinkle some cheese on them when they were done? Photo looks like it. Can’t wait to try these!
Yes some parmesan yum yum!
What time would you use if using brown rice?
I wouldn’t use uncooked long grain brown rice. I would cook it beforehand or use minute brown rice. Regular brown rice just takes too long to cook and the meat will be dry and overdone.
My mom used to make these and we loved them. Very close to her recipe (looks even better). I use leftover brown rice or instant brown rice to keep it whole grain. Always made them in the oven, but can’t wait to try this. I have ordered your recommended pot in pot and will try it that way first. Thanks for all the great recipes!!!! Love my Instapot.
I love recipes that remind me of the “old days”! I hope you enjoy it!
When using the PIP method, do you use a 6 or 8 qt IP?
And thank you for the link to the cake pan you use for the PIP method
I used my 6 quart but you can also use an 8 quart. Either one works!
I want to also cook some white rice in another pot on top of the pot with the meatballs. My question is do I cover the top pot with the rice with a full cover or i have a steamer cover with holes or leave it totally uncovered. Also how much time would you recommend to cook both meatballs and rice.
I wouldn’t cover it, there’s no need. I would keep the same cooking time. I’m hoping your rice will hold up that long.
Hi Michelle, my son does not like tomato sauce. Do you think this would go well with a teriyaki sauce?
I think that sounds tasty!
This was good. I used ground turkey in place of ground beef. The rice was a bit chewy, so would you recommend cooking for a longer time, or letting the stand time be longer?
Maybe a combination. Add a couple minutes to cooking time.
I am sorry, but we really did not like this recipe. The sauce was bland and the meatballs were not tasty.
Not surprising, since these originated as a way to stretch meat back in the days of rationing. The ones with canned tomato soup are a comfort food from my youth. The only spice allowed in the house was black pepper 😢
Oh sad about the spice! I would go crazy
Peggy Sears says
Did you cook at high or low pressure for the 25 minutes?
Bonnie Brantley says
We love porcupine meatballs and have made them for years on the stove. We live in a high altitude mountain town, 6,500 feet. Do I need to adjust the time? Thanks!
Increase cooking time by 20% for 6500 feet.
Did you cover your pip.Looking forward to making this one. Thanks,Karen. I really appreciate your videos.
No I left it uncovered.
I’ve just gotten my first Instant Pot, so I’m pretty new to this. But could I place some pasta on top of the meatballs and cook together?
The problem is the pasta would cook a lot quicker than the meatballs. You may want to just cook the pasta on the stove.
I love these meatballs. Unfortunately some of the meatballs did not cook all the way through and the rice did not cook at all. I used my 8 qt. instant pot and did pot in pot. The meat balls were too close together for them to cook well. Next time I make them I will make them without the rice and not make as many meatballs.
Oh shoot! Increase the cooking time next time by maybe 5 minutes.
Shirley Felts says
Michelle, An onion soup works well if you enjoy a strong oniony flavor, of just try using a beef broth , and add mudrooms for texture.
Michelle McGhee says
This sounds absolutely yummy! Wondering if you have another sauce that you would recommend, as we don’t eat a lot of tomato based sauces.
Thank you in advance.