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Thursday, May 7, 2020

Di's Porcupine Meatballs with Secret Ingredient Sauce

These meatballs have a secret and it's in the sauce! Porcupine meatballs are great for sandwiches and sliders, they are perfect over pasta and right at home on a bed of rice.

Bowl of rice topped with porcupine meatballs and secret ingredient sauce

      These tasty meatballs have rice cooked right inside. That's what gives them their porcupine name. They are delicious cooked in this simple homemade sauce. We love them for dinner, but you could easily make them in a slow cooker for a game day snack as well!

   Can you keep a secret?  I mean something that is just between you and me, nobody else can know?

    Are you ready?  These meatballs are cooked in a  sauerkraut sauce.

     SHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! Not so loud!  My husband might hear you!

cast iron braiser filled with tomato sauce and sauerkraut

     Why is it such a secret?  Because he HATES sauerkraut.

   I mean hates it.  And these little gems are cooked right in it.

      And he ate them!!  No, really, he did!

       And he has. Several times now!

      Do you want to know the best part?  A couple of nights later we were having a dinner with bean sprouts in it.

sheet pan filled with meatballs, half browned half raw

   He quizzically poked at one before he took another bite.  "What are these stringy things?" he asked.

   "Bean sprouts?" (of course!) "Is that the same thing that was in the meatballs the other night?"

    "No." (Ahem, excuse me as I quickly change the subject.)

     Yep, he really didn't know!  And you and I are certainly not going to be the ones to tell him, are we?

Why ruin a perfectly good thing?

enameled cast iron pan filled with meatballs and homemade sauce

     My good friend Diane gave me this recipe a while back and I finally got around to giving it a try back in 2017.  I thought now would be a great time to update the recipe card and share some new pictures with you.

      Before I made them the first time I already knew they would be good. Everything she has ever shared with me has been, but to tell you the truth the kraut caught me a bit off guard too.

     She says her son love the meatballs, but hates sauerkraut.  So you know what she does?

   She chops it real fine and throws it in anyway.  He gobbles them up!

sandwich made of homemade potato roll, two porcupine meatballs and kraut tomato sauce

   I don't blame him, they are really good!  She serves them on her soft Buttery Potato Rolls, so I do the same sometimes.

 I highly recommend the combination! But if you aren't in the mood for a sandwich, they are also great on pasta, rice or even mashed potatoes.

     You really can't taste the sauerkraut at all.  It just gives the sauce that little something extra both in flavor and texture.

   If you need to hide it a little better though, go ahead and chop it up!  Whatever it takes to get the job done, you know how it is.

serving of meatballs over rice in bowl with pan of meatballs in background

    If you are really concerned about the kraut hater in your family detecting it, give it a quick rinse and drain it well. Otherwise make the meatballs and cook them in your favorite sauce.

If your family loves flavorful sandwiches, you may also like maid rites or loose meat sandwiches. Or maybe you'd like slow cooker chicken parmesan sandwiches or Italian beef in the instant pot.

Have you have tried any of those? You should!

homemade meatballs, recipes using sauerkraut, dinner recipes
Yield: 10 servings
Di's Porcupine Meatballs with Secret Ingredient Sauce

Di's Porcupine Meatballs with Secret Ingredient Sauce

These tasty meatballs have rice cooked right inside. That's what gives them their porcupine name. They are delicious cooked in this simple homemade sauce. We love them for dinner, but you could easily make them in a slow cooker for a game day snack as well!
Prep time: 15 MCook time: 40 MTotal time: 55 M


  • 2 Tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1/2 cup dehydrated minced onion
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cups uncooked instant rice
  • salt and pepper
  • 16 oz canned tomato sauce
  • 1 15 oz diced tomatoes
  • 1 24 oz jar sauerkraut, drained (and rinsed if desired)
  • 1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning


  1. Mix together onion, beef, garlic, eggs, rice, salt and pepper in a big mixing bowl until just combined. You don't want to overwork the meat.
  2. Gently roll into golf ball sized balls and place on a cooking sheet.
  3. In a large dutch oven, heat the cooking oil over medium heat. Working in batches, brown all sides of the meatballs then remove from the pan.
  4. Once all of the meatballs have been brown, drain the grease. Add the tomatoes and tomato sauce, scraping any browned bits off the bottom of the pan.
  5. Stir in the drained sauerkraut and Italian seasoning. Gently nestle the meatballs in the sauce. It is ok if there doesn't seem to be enough sauce at this point, it will all come together.
  6. Cover and cook over medium low for about 25 minute or until the meatballs are cooked through.
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Created using The Recipes Generator

These tasty meatballs have rice cooked right inside. That's what gives them their porcupine name. They are delicious cooked in this simple homemade sauce. We love them for dinner, but you could easily make them in a slow cooker for a game day snack as well!


  1. I would love these flavors. My mom used to make pork chops in sauerkraut. I hadn't thought of this in a long time,
    Since we are to have more weeks of winter there will be plenty of time for this dish.

    Wishes for tasty dishes,

    1. It is definitely a perfect dinner after a cold day! Thanks, Linda!

  2. Di rocks it again and I love this lil secret!!! Sauerkraut for the win!

  3. I absolutely have to try this recipe! And, I won't tell your husband if you don't tell mine, since apparently they also have sauerkraut in common!

    1. Those two!! Just chop it up and you'll be fine! ;-)

  4. What an interesting combination, I can't wait to taste this recipe! I really appreciate you sharing with us at Full Plate Thursday, hope you have a great day and hope to see you again soon!
    Miz Helen

  5. My husband loves sauerkraut, me not so much. I will try this though, I just won't have the benefit of "not knowing" like your husband did. I bet it's delicious! Thanks for sharing at the Family Joy Blog Link Party this week! Please join us again next week.

    1. It is easier if you aren't trying to pull one over on yourself! ;-) I was surprised how eagerly he ate them and definitely giggle to myself when he honestly didn't know what he had eaten a few days later. I hope you love them!

  6. Wow...sounds tasty!!

    I would love for you to share this with my Facebook Group for recipes, crafts, tips, and tricks:

    Thanks for joining Cooking and Crafting with J & J!

  7. I'm not a huge fan of meatballs, it has to do with the sauce I think. Not flavorful enough. Odd since I love meatloaf. But I think that the sauerkraut might be what I'm missing, would give the sauce a bit of vinegar flavor, which I love on meat! Thank Di for me, I think this is a winner!

    1. There is definitely a lot of flavor in these! I know what you're saying though, some meatballs can be a bit bland. You'll have to let me know what you think!

  8. This looks good! Thank you for sharing this with us @FuntasticFriday!

  9. My husband will just love these with the sauerkraut in there! Sounds like a winner but then again all your recipes are winners! I hope you have a beautiful Mother’s Day!

    1. It sounds kind of strange, but it really works. Thanks, Andrea!


Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment. I love reading your ideas!