Gluten-Free Porcupine Meatballs are an "old school," kid-friendly recipe. Naturally gluten free and made from ingredients you most likely have in your pantry. Delicious comfort food.

Kid-Friendly Porcupine Meatballs (Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Egg Free)

This kid-friendly, adult-pleasing recipe is pure comfort food. Easy to make---with the kids helping!---dish that can easily work for a weeknight.





  1. Combine the meatball ingredients and shape into meatballs; set aside.
  2. Combine the sauce ingredients right in a large, deep skillet to make the sauce.
  3. Add meatballs and stir until all meatballs are coated with sauce.
  4. Bring sauce to a boil over medium heat; stir if needed. Reduce heat to medium-low.
  5. Cover skillet. Simmer for about 45 minutes, stirring two or three times. After the last stir, add any other ingredients that are going into your skillet supper.


Instead of tomato juice, you may use watered down tomato paste, tomato sauce, or similar. I’ve used V-8 in place of tomato juice before and I’ve even used finely diced tomatoes with green chiles (undrained) for us “big kids.”

If you need a substitute for Worcestershire sauce, you can use 1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar (great idea that Ina of Gluten Free Delightfully Delicious just shared with me!); or 1 ¼ tsp hot sauce, ¼ tsp dry mustard, and ½ tsp honey. Feel free to play around with the meatball ingredients.

If you have a child who won’t eat onions, consider using a teaspoon of onion powder and/or adding another ingredient like grated carrots or grated celery for added nutrition and taste. Mr. GFE loves it when I add chopped mushrooms (about ½ cup) to the porcupine meatballs.

I use long grain white rice in these meatballs. Brown rice would require a longer cooking time and perhaps more sauce, plus even some presoaking I expect. I’m really not totally sure on brown rice. (For only a half cup of rice, I don’t mind using white rice in this recipe.) Minute rice might work, but in that case, cooking time would be less and, therefore, probably less sauce required as there would not be sufficient “reduction” time, so you would need to make adjustments.

I know some folks who prefer a white sauce for their Porcupine Meatballs---like one you would make as sausage gravy.

Some Porcupine Meatball recipes call for eggs, but they are not needed—yippee for the egg-free folks!

Finally, I know some folks who even make an oven version of these. I haven’t tried an oven version, so I’m not sure on sauce amounts or oven temperature, but you may want to search for that info if that method appeals to you.

Recipe adapted from one provided by Carol, the parent of one of my third-grade students from my teaching days long ago.

Courses Main Dish, Entree

Recipe by gfe--gluten free easily at