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Meatballs and Rice Skillet Meal

This Meatball and Rice Skillet Meal is a fast and filling meal for busy weeknights.

Meatballs and Rice Skillet Meal

Meatballs and rice is a hearty meal that can be made in one pan, making it perfect for a quick and easy dinner on any weeknight. Or, you can whip up a batch of this for Sunday dinner or a pot luck. It’s also pretty budget friendly, so you can make a big meal for less money. Plus, using frozen pre-made meatballs reduces the prep time a lot!

Meatballs & Rice Skillet Meal Ingredients

  • Frozen Meatballs: Frozen meatballs make this dish quick to prepare, but you can make your own if you prefer (we’ll include a quick bit about that below).
  • Long Grain White Rice: White rice like jasmine or Basmati are ideal for this dish. If you use other types of rice like short grain or brown rice, you’ll need to adjust cook time accordingly and the texture may be a bit different.
  • Chicken Broth: Low sodium chicken broth is perfect for this dish, but you can substitute vegetable or beef broth if you prefer.
  • Diced Tomatoes with Green Chiles: If you can’t find the canned tomatoes with green chiles in it, you can grab a can of diced green chiles from the Mexican food section, or dice a fresh one to add. If you prefer it without this little bit of spice, feel free to leave them out.
  • Onion: Any white or yellow onion is fine for this dish and adds great flavor to the meal.
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil: You can sub in any cooking oil for this for sauteing, including ghee, avocado oil, or even coconut oil.
  • Mexican Blend Cheese: We use the Mexican blend, but you can use any cheese blend you prefer.
  • Salt & Pepper: You can leave these basic seasonings out if you wish, but the addition of salt and pepper always elevates the flavor of your recipes.

(Scroll to the bottom for the printable recipe card with exact measurements and recipe instructions.)

How To Make the Meatball & Rice Skillet Meal

  • Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add your cooking oil to the pan. When hot, add your diced onion to the pan and cook until soft, about 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Add the rice to the pan and cook for about two minutes to toast the rice, stirring frequently.
  • Add your broth to the pan and stir well, then stir in the tomatoes and green chiles.
  • Add meatballs to the pan and bring to a simmer. Cover the pan and cook about 18 to 20 minutes, or until the rice is cooked all the way through.
  • Turn off the heat and sprinkle cheese over the top of the meatballs and rice. Cover with the lid and let sit until the cheese has melted.

Meatball and Rice Meal Variations

  • You can use fresh, home made meatballs in place of frozen.
  • Add extra veggies to the dish like corn, peas, or spinach. These can be stirred in at the very end and heated through until warm.
  • Make this a vegetarian meal by using veggie broth and veggie meatballs like those sold by Morning Star Farms or Impossible Foods.
  • Top with chopped green onions, avocado, and sour cream before serving.

How To Make Fresh Meatballs

  • Choose your favorite ground meat, or a combination like ground beef and ground pork, or ground chicken. Ground beef and pork will result in juicier meatballs, ground chicken and ground turkey are leaner so they may be a bit drier, but will still work well since they are cooked in a sauce.
  • For tender meatballs, you can mix the meat with a binder such as breadcrumbs, crushed crackers, or panko, and add a little buttermilk.
  • Add a dash of salt and pepper, combine all ingredients until thoroughly mixed, and make your meatballs.
  • You can place your meatballs on a baking sheet and precook them before adding them to the sauce, or you can add them directly to the pan to cook as they simmer in the sauce.
  • If you add them raw, directly to the sauce, you will want to add an extra splash or two of broth.
  • Cook until the meatballs and rice are both cooked all the way through.

Other Meatball Variations

  • Italian Style Beef & Pork
  • Korean BBQ Beef & Pork
  • Sundried Tomato & Roasted Garlic Chicken
  • Italian Style with Parmesan & Mozzarella Chicken
  • Spinach and Feta with Parmesan & Mozzarella Chicken Meatballs
  • Taco Seasoned Glazed Beef and Pork Meatballs
6-ingredient Meatball and Rice Skillet Meal

Meatballs and Rice Skillet Meal

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 22 minutes

This Meatball and Rice Skillet Meal is a fast and filling meal for busy weeknights.


  • 2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 cup long-grain white rice
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 14-oz can diced tomatoes with green chiles
  • 1 1/2 lb fresh or thawed frozen meatballs
  • coarse salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup shredded Mexican-blend cheese


  1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat; add the oil. Add onion and cook until soft, about 3-4 minutes. Add rice and cook another minute or two to "toast" the rice, stirring frequently.
  2. Add chicken broth to pan and stir well. Stir in tomatoes. Add the meatballs to the pan, then bring to a simmer. Cover and cook 18-20 minutes or until the rice is cooked through. Turn off the heat.
  3. Sprinkle the cheese on top then cover again for about five minutes or so until the cheese has melted. You can also pop it under the broiler for a few minutes, if desired.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 697Total Fat: 49gSaturated Fat: 18gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 26gCholesterol: 139mgSodium: 1736mgCarbohydrates: 32gFiber: 4gSugar: 7gProtein: 35g

This data was provided and calculated by Nutritionix.

Try these meatball recipes next:

Kristy Bernardo
Latest posts by Kristy Bernardo (see all)


Friday 15th of October 2021

Made this today with frozen, thawed meatballs. Had only 1/2 can tomatoes left from another meal so used that. It is delicious and super easy! One pan! I used 12” cast iron skillet. Didn’t add cheese..didn’t need it. Will be making this again and again Thank you!

Kristy Bernardo

Friday 5th of November 2021

I'm so glad to hear this, Margaret! It's one of my favorites for a quick meal. So glad you enjoyed it!

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