Our Italian Rice Balls with Eggs and Cheese will make a delicious appetizer or side dish for the whole family to enjoy. Italian rice balls are made with cooked rice, mixed with eggs, cheese, butter, and parsley, then coated with bread crumbs and gently fried in oil until golden brown. Yum!
I haven’t made rice balls in a while, and since my family was in the mood for them, I decided to make them and revive this recipe from our archives.
This is a classic Neapolitan recipe from our mom, and from our aunt Tina who just turned 96! As kids, we all looked forward to having these rice balls at our family gatherings and on Sundays.
Thanks to our aunt Tina for passing down her recipe, now I can make them for the whole family to enjoy.
Soft, pillowy rice texture with melted cheese oozing out with every bite makes them totally delicious! It’s like eating a piece of heaven every time.
Best served with our Mom’s Quick Marinara Sauce for dipping.
These rice balls with eggs and cheese can be made to any size you prefer. Our family loves them best when we make them into the appetizer size.
These are easy enough to make a day in advance and fry them up just before you serve them.
They’re fun at parties, great as an appetizer, or as a side dish. Either way, everyone will LOVE THEM!
Cook’s Notes and Tips:
For healthier riceball, use brown rice instead of white rice.
Also, if you make the rice balls slightly larger, about 2 to 3 inches in width, you may add a small chunk of mozzarella in the center of each ball just before you roll into breadcrumbs. Then fry them up! Making them more delicious with melted cheese oozing out!
Use gluten-free bread crumbs, if need to.
Our recipe calls for fresh parsley, but if you don’t have any on hand, you may use dried parsley. But fresh parsley is always best!
Make ahead and refrigerate up to one day. Then fry them up!
*You can follow along with our step-by-step directions, or just jump down to the bottom for the full recipe card.
Ingredients for Italian Rice Balls with Eggs and Cheese:
1 + 1/2 cups of uncooked white Long Grain Rice
3 cups of water, to boil the rice
4 Tbsp. butter (1/2 stick of butter)
1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
3 whole eggs
1 Tbsp. freshly chopped parsley
pinch of cayenne pepper
salt and black pepper to taste
1 + 1/2 cups plain bread crumbs, or GF bread crumbs, for coating
1 cup of canola oil, for frying
Directions for Italian Rice Balls:
1. Boil rice according to the directions on the package. Normally, it’s 3 cups of water with 1 + 1/2 cups of rice. Cover with a lid. Simmer on low heat for 20 minutes, until all water has been absorbed. Turn off heat.
2. Add the butter and mix well with a large spoon until the butter has completely melted.
Transfer rice to a large bowl and set aside to cool about 15 minutes.
3. Stir in the eggs and mix until eggs are well combined. Add grated cheese, parsley, and cayenne pepper. Continue to mix until well combined.
4. Taste the rice, and season with salt and pepper to taste. As the mixture cools, the rice mixture will start to thicken and become sticky enough to make them into balls.
5. Grab a second bowl and place bread crumbs.
6. Using your hand and a teaspoon. Take one heaping teaspoon of rice and form a ball, about 1 + 1/2-inch in size.
7. While in your palm, place your hand over the bread crumbs bowl, take some bread crumbs to coat the rice and pat gently until the rice ball is completely coated. Transfer into a bowl, or a tray. Repeat this process with each ball until the entire rice mixture is gone.
8. Using a 10″ frying pan or skillet. Heat canola oil on medium to high heat. When OIL is HOT, gently add the Rice Balls one by one (no more than 9 at a time, or it will cool down the oil).
9. Fry them up, turning them as needed to ensure even golden on all sides. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
10. Transfer rice balls into a serving platter. Place a cup of marinara sauce in a small bowl for dipping.
Optional: Add some crushed red pepper to the dipping sauce – to spice it up. And serve.
Yields: 28 to 30 rice balls (depending on the size you make)
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Thanks for stopping by!
Anna and Liz