Beef/ Hearty Dinners/ Pork

One Pot Meatballs and Rice

June 24, 2020 by Chris Collins

This Meatballs and Rice is cooked in a rich and delicious tomato sauce. Better still, it’s all made in one pot!

This is the ultimate comfort food dinner to feed a family. Kid approved, easy to make, bursting with flavour and really filling. What’s not to love? Follow me…

closeup shot of meatballs and rice in pot, focus on meatball in centre

Meatballs and Rice

I know, on paper it sounds kinda boring. BUT, I promise you this will blow you away. Everything is cooked in a deep and rich tomato sauce.

One Pot

Besides the obvious benefit of reducing washing up, there’s a couple of other ways this dish benefits from all being cooked in the same pot. The first is once you’ve fried the meatballs you can use the leftover fat to begin frying the onion. This will add a good amount of flavour. And those crusty, ‘burnt’ bits on the bottom of those pan? I keep ’em in, that’s even more flavour right there.

The other benefit is when you cook the rice in there, the starch will not only emulsify the fats, but also turn the sauce ever so slightly creamy.

Tomato Sauce

The sauce is made with a base of tomato passata (pureed/sieved tomatoes in US) and beef stock. To really deepen the flavour of the sauce and bring out the best in the meatballs I love adding Worcestershire sauce too. A good pinch of chipotle flakes also adds to the smoky tones of the sauce, and who doesn’t like a little spice in their tomato sauce?

How to make Meatballs and Rice in one pot (quick summary/process shots)

  1. Add meatballs.
  2. Fry then remove.
  3. Add onion.
  4. Add garlic and sun dried tomatoes.
  5. Pour in passata and beef stock.
  6. Add seasoning.
  7. Add back in meatballs and simmer.
  8. Add rice and simmer until cooked.

How to make meatballs and rice - 8 step by step photos

Tips for the best Meatballs and Rice

  • Meatballs – I of course recommend whipping up a batch of your own homemade meatballs. If you’re getting store bought ensure you get some good quality ones, just because they’re the star of the show.
  • Rice – Long grain rice works best here. Don’t buy ‘quick cook’ rice or anything like that.
  • Simmer – I highly recommend simmering the meatballs before you add the rice. This will allow the meatballs and sauce to exchange flavours.
  • Consistency – Important to use a heavy lid on your pot, just so the sauce doesn’t reduce too much and leave you with uncooked rice. If for whatever reason this happens, just add more water to help the rice cook through.

The last thing to mention is don’t be afraid to add a good pinch of sugar. This will help balance out the acidity of the tomatoes and saltiness of the meatballs and stock.

closeup shot of meatballs and rice resting on serving spoon above pot

Serving Meatballs and Rice

A nice sprinkle of fresh parsley and a truck load of parmesan to finish. If you’re extra peckish consider any of these along side:

Can I reheat leftovers?

Yep! Just allow to completely cool, then store in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer. I recommend thawing and reheating over the stove on a low heat with a splash of water to loosen the sauce.

If you’re looking for another similar easy one pot meal be sure to check out my One Pot Spanish Orzo!

For more similar recipe check out these beauties too:

Delicious Meatball Recipes

Alrighty, let’s tuck into the full recipe for this rice and meatballs shall we?!

overhead shot of meatballs and rice in white bowl garnished with parsley

How to make Meatballs and Rice (Full Recipe & Video)

closeup shot of meatballs and rice in pot, focus on meatball in centre

One Pot Meatballs and Rice

This Meatballs and Rice is cooked in a rich and delicious tomato sauce. Better still, it's all made in one pot!
5 from 5 votes
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Servings (click & slide): 5
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Calories per serving: 496kcal
Cost per serving: £2 / $2.50


  • Large Pot/Casserole Dish with Heavy Lid
  • Wooden Spoon
  • Sharp Knife & Chopping Board
  • Jug (for stock)

Ingredients (check list):

  • 20 Meatballs
  • 3 cups / 750ml Tomato Passata (Pureed/Sieved Tomatoes in US)
  • 3 cups / 750ml Beef Stock
  • 1.5 cups Long Grain Rice
  • 3/4 cup / 75g Sun Dried Tomatoes, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup Fresh Parsley, finely diced (plus more to garnish)
  • 1 medium Onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves of Garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 tbsp Tomato Puree (Tomato Paste in US)
  • 1 tsp Dried Oregano
  • 1/2 tsp Chipotle Flakes, or to taste (can sub regular chilli flakes)
  • Salt, Pepper & Sugar, to taste
  • Olive Oil, as needed
  • Parmesan, to serve


  • Add a good drizzle of oil to a large pot over medium-high heat and add your meatballs. Fry them until they get a nice crust on them, turning regularly. You don't need to cook them right through at this point, just ensure they caramelize and brown. Remove from pan and drain excess fat if needed (around 1 tbsp left is fine and will add flavour).
  • Turn heat down to medium and add in your onion into the oil/fat. Fry until they begin to turn golden, then add in sun dried tomatoes and garlic. Continue frying for 1-2 more minutes until the tomatoes soften and the garlic browns, then add in your tomato puree. Fry for a minute or so, then pour in your passata.
  • Wash out the jar with a little water, then pour in beef stock and Worcestershire sauce. Add in parsley, oregano, chilli flakes, salt, pepper and a good pinch of sugar (to taste). Give it a stir and deglaze the pot with your wooden spoon. Add your meatballs back in, give it one final stir, turn the heat to low then pop on the lid and simmer for 30-45mins. This will allow the meatballs to become soft and juicy, it'll also allow them release flavour into the sauce. If you're pushed for time even 10-15mins will help, just ensure you keep a heavy lid on so the sauce doesn't reduce.
  • Take off the lid, pour in your rice and give it all a good stir. Pop the lid back on and simmer for 15mins, or until the rice is cooked through, stirring occasionally. If you over reduce just add in a splash of water to help the rice cook through if needed.
  • Serve up with extra parsley and a good helping of parmesan!

Quick 1 min demo!


a) Meatballs - Aim for around 20, this will feed 5 people (4 meatballs each). Check out my Soft and Juicy Meatballs for homemade ones!
b) Sugar - The sugar will help balance out the acidity from the tomatoes and the saltiness of the meatballs and stock. I usually go for around 1/2 tsp, but work to preference. I recommend starting off with less then adjusting after everything has cooked if you're unsure.
c) Leftovers - Any leftovers I recommend allowing to completely cool, then pop in an airtight container in the fridge (2-3 days, longer at your discretion) or freezer (up to 1 month). Allow to thaw then reheat on the stove at a low heat with a splash of water to loosen up the sauce.
d) Calories - based on using 1 tbsp olive oil, 1/2 tsp sugar and no extra parmesan. 


Nutrition Facts
One Pot Meatballs and Rice
Amount Per Serving
Calories 496 Calories from Fat 192
% Daily Value*
Fat 21.29g33%
Saturated Fat 6.487g32%
Trans Fat 0.432g
Polyunsaturated Fat 3.461g
Monounsaturated Fat 9.522g
Cholesterol 49mg16%
Sodium 828mg35%
Potassium 926mg26%
Carbohydrates 58.32g19%
Fiber 5.4g22%
Sugar 8.14g9%
Protein 19.28g39%
Vitamin A 1076IU22%
Vitamin C 19.1mg23%
Calcium 112mg11%
Iron 3.36mg19%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition is based on the absence of salt unless stated as a measurement in the ingredients. Cost is worked out based on ingredients bought from UK supermarkets, then divided by the number of servings. In both instances these values are just for guidance. Please check out my FAQ Page for more info.
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