Last Updated on October 11, 2021 by Anne-Marie
Do you love porcupine meatballs? This Cajun-flavored slow cooker porcupine meatballs recipe is a unique take on a classic comfort food.
Why this recipe works
Slow Cooker Porcupine Meatballs is an easy-to-make version of the old-fashioned comfort food.
Made with instant red beans and rice mix with Creole seasoning, this porcupine meatball recipe is one of the best things you’ve tasted.
These healthy porcupine meatballs will become one of your favorite dinner recipes.
What are porcupine meatballs?
Porcupine meatballs are based on an original recipe for Oven Porcupines, a classic 1970s dish.
The rice sticks out of the meatballs as they cook, so they look like little porcupines. This is a great recipe to make mid-week.
There are two ways to make porcupine meatballs: simmered in a rich tomato sauce on the stovetop or in a slow cooker.
I’ve combined the two methods into an easy crock pot dish. These slow cooker porcupine meatballs are briefly oven-broiled briefly to give them that crusty outer crust.
Then you slow cook the porcupine meatballs in the spicy tomato sauce without having to watch over a simmering pan.
How to make the meatballs
The best way to measure
You can try shaping the meat mixture with your hands, but that’s not as quick and easy.
More recipe notes
Tips for making the rice
To avoid hard rice and beans in the porcupine meatballs, put the Vigo Red Beans & Rice in a small bowl and cover with 2 cups of water.
Remember to save the soaking water for the sauce.
Variations: For a fun twist, try Vigo Black Beans & Rice
(Vigo also makes awesome bread crumbs.)
Best way to chop the vegetables
I love using a food chopper to finely chop the onion and parsley.
Variations: Instead of the parsley, use finely chopped cilantro.
Make this without sugar
If you want make these tasty meatballs without brown sugar, use Swerve Sweetener, Brown instead.
What type of ground meat?
The ground beef you use shouldn’t be too lean. Or it’ll fall apart in your slow cooker. (You can also use ground turkey or ground chicken.)
If you’re worried about fat, you’ll find a lot of the fat cooks off and drips on to the tray during broiling.
Then blot the meatballs with a paper towel before slow cooking.
How to store and freeze meatballs
Since this porcupine meatball recipe makes a large amount, freeze half the meatballs and sauce for another night’s dinner.
(Leftovers stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to a week.)
Once cooled, place meatballs into a freezer-safe airtight container. (Or divide into individual or dinner-sized portions.) Freeze for 3-4 months.
Defrost in the refrigerator overnight. Then heat them up in the microwave for a few minutes. Or reheat on low in the slow cooker for a few hours.
How to serve up the meatballs
Turn this into a healthy dinner by serving the
It’s a great way to get some hidden veggies in your family’s diet. Some ideas include:
- spaghetti squash
- zucchini noodles
- riced squash
- riced cauliflower
- green beans
- peas and carrots
- mixed vegetables
- mashed potatoes
More slow cooker recipes
Looking for another easy slow cooker meal? Try these delicious recipes:
- The Best Homemade Crockpot Spaghetti Sauce Recipe
- Amazingly Easy Instant Pot French Dip
- Crock Pot Mississippi Pot Roast
- Slow Cooker Beef Stew Recipe with Vegetables and Rice
- Slow Cooker Baked Ziti Recipe
- Crock Pot Teriyaki Chicken
- Crockpot Whole Chicken
- 1 8-ounce package Vigo Red Beans & Rice (uncooked)
- 2 cups water
- Cooking spray
- 2 pounds ground beef
- 2/3 cup finely chopped yellow onion
- 2 eggs
- 4 15-ounce cans tomato sauce
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 4 12-ounce packages frozen vegetables, cooked, for serving
- Finely chopped parsley for garnish
- Pour bag of Vigo Red Beans & Rice package into a bowl. Break up any clumps of seasoning and mix ingredients so rice and beans are thoroughly distributed. Remove half the beans and rice and save for another time.
- Presoak the beans, rice, and seasonings in 2 cups of water for 10 minutes. Drain and save the water for the sauce. Set aside the beans and rice.
- Place top rack in the upper third of the oven. Preheat the oven to broil (550 degrees F.) Line two large trays with aluminum foil. Spray generously with cooking spray and set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, softened Vigo Red Beans & Rice, chopped onion, and eggs. Mix until just combined.
- Shape mixture into 1 1/2 inch meatballs. Place all of the formed meatballs on the tray. Broil the porcupine meatballs in the oven for 3 minutes per side. (This way they firm up and won’t fall apart in the slow cooker.) Remove from the oven.
- Spray a 6-quart slow cooker with nonstick spray or use a crock-pot liner. Add in tomato sauce, water saved from soaking the beans and rice, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and cayenne pepper. Stir until combined.
- Place the porcupine meatballs in the tomato mixture. Stir the meatballs gently so they are well coated with the sauce.
- Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for 4-6 hours or high for 3-4 hours.
- Remove porcupine meatballs from the slow cooker and serve over steamed vegetables.
- Garnish with chopped parsley before serving, if you like.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 588Total Fat: 23gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 150mgSodium: 1679mgCarbohydrates: 54gFiber: 12gSugar: 27gProtein: 42g
Nutritional information is automatically calculated per the ingredients list. Serving size may not be accurate. Please double-check with your preferred nutritional app for the most accurate information.