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Instant Pot Porcupine Meatballs

January 15, 2019

By Kath Dedon

My mom used to make Porcupine Meatballs fairly frequently. I’m pretty sure her recipe involved a can of Campbell’s Tomato Soup. I always liked the meatballs, so I was excited to see Coco Morante’s recipe for Instant Pot Porcupine Meatballs in her new book, The Ultimate Instant Pot Cookbook. (The recipe is also on Elise Bauer’s Simply Recipes food blog.)

The recipe is easy and the meatballs are tender without the use of bread crumbs. They’re great for people who avoid wheat.

Coco states that the original recipe was from Betty Crocker. That sounds about right. It felt very retro to have the Instant Pot Porcupine Meatballs last night. Peas seemed to be the perfect retro side dish.

porcupine meatballs and peas


Instant Pot Porcupine Meatballs

(Adapted from Coco Morante’s recipe on and in The Ultimate Instant Pot Cookbook)


(print the recipe)


Serves 4


Don’t double this recipe. The meatballs need to be in a single layer to cook properly.


1 medium yellow onion, peeled and chopped (about 6 ounces)

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 pound ground beef (85% lean)

½ cup long-grain white rice

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil

One 15-ounce can tomato sauce

½ cup water

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

Chopped flat-leaf parsley or small basil leaves for garnish (optional)

  1. Put half of the onion and half of the garlic in a bowl.
  2. Add the ground beef, rice, salt and pepper to the bowl. Mix well with your hands so the onion and rice are evenly distributed. Don’t worry about over-working the beef.
  3. Shape the meat into 12 meatballs.


12 meatballs


4. Press Sauté and adjust heat to Normal on the Instant Pot. When the pot is hot add the olive oil. Let it heat for about a minute, and then add the chopped onion and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, or until the onion is softened.

5. Add the tomato sauce, water, and Worcestershire sauce. Stir and let the sauce come to a simmer.

6. Press the Cancel button to turn the Instant Pot off. Carefully place the meatballs in the sauce so they are in one layer. Spoon a bit of sauce over each meatball.

in instant pot with sauce


7. Put the lid on the pot and set the Pressure Release to Sealing.

8. Press the Manual or Pressure Cook button. Set the time for 15 minutes at high pressure.

9. When the time is up, let the pressure release naturally for about 10 minutes. Then do a quick release to release the rest of the pressure. Open the pot and serve, garnished with parsley or basil, if desired.


instant pot porcupine meatballs


4 Comments leave one →
  1. January 15, 2019 10:29 pm

    Kath, I agree with the retro comment. I remember these from years past. Not from my mother’s kitchen, but as a steamtable dish at Holiday Inn buffets of the 70s & 80s. I never knew the name was Porcupine Meatballs, but it works for me. I’m looking forward to making some soon and taking a journey into my past. Great recipe.

    • January 16, 2019 5:26 am

      Interesting to hear that they were part of buffets back in the day. Thanks for your comment, Ron.

  2. Holly permalink
    August 27, 2020 5:12 pm

    I(and my Mom) have been making these for eons in the pressure cooker. With the Tomato soup! Just got my IP and have made few things yet so looking forward to trying them out in IP. Mmm – thinking tho that the original Porcupine Meatballs was from the Presto Pressure Cooker cookbook rather than Betty Crocker. 😊


  1. Roasted Eggplant with Anchovies and Oregano | In the kitchen with Kath

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