Italian Rice Balls

Italian Rice Balls with Eggs and Cheese by 2sistersrecipes.com

Italian Rice Balls, also known as “arancini” always make a delicious appetizer or side dish for the whole family to enjoy.  These Italian rice balls are made with cooked rice, eggs, cheese, butter, and parsley. Then they are coated with bread crumbs and gently fried until golden brown.  Perfect!

I haven’t made our Italian 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.  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.

Someone is dipping a rice ball into the sauce. by 2sistersrecipes.com

 

How To Make our Italian Rice Balls?

Rice balls are made with cooked long grain rice, mixed with eggs, butter and seasonings.  Then they are made into balls, coated with bread crumbs, and deep fried.

It is an Italian classic “street” food and is usually served at dinner as a side, or as an appetizer.

Italian rice balls are also called “Arancini” which is the Sicilian name for them, but they are usually stuffed with extra ingredients like meat, sauce, and peas.

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.

 

Reasons to LOVE Italian Rice Balls…

  • These rice balls with eggs and cheese can be made in any size you prefer.  Our family loves them best when we make them into the appetizer size.
  • They’re inexpensive to make.
  • You can easily reheat any leftovers in a microwave.
  • They stay fresh for up to 2 days.
  • Make ahead!  These are easy enough to make a day in advance and fry them up just before you serve them.
  • They’re fun at parties as an appetizer or serve as a side dish.
  • Either way, everyone will LOVE THEM!
Italian Rice Balls with Eggs and Cheese by 2sistersrecipes.com

*Follow along with our step-by-step directions, or jump down to the bottom for the full recipe card. 

Ingredients for Italian Rice Balls with Eggs & Cheese:

Directions To Make 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 the 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 for 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.

 
Rolling rice balls in the palm of my hand by 2sistersrecipes.com
 

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.

Coating a ball of rice with bread crumbs by 2sistersrecipes.com
 
 
White platter filled with rice balls ready to fry. by 2sistersrecipes.com
 
Frying several rice ballls in a black skillet on stovetop. by 2sistersrecipes.com
 
 

8.  Using10″ 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 they are golden on all sides.  Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.

 
A bowl of finished rice balls resting on paper towels by 2sistersrecipes.com
 
 

10.  Transfer rice balls to 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)

Enjoy!

Italian Rice Balls with Eggs and Cheese by 2sistersrecipes.com
 
 

Cook’s Notes and Tips:

  • If you prefer, you can 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 them into breadcrumbs.  Then fry them up!  Making them more delicious with melted cheese oozing out!
  • Use gluten-free bread crumbs, if you prefer.
  • 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!

Can We Make Them Ahead?

  • Make ahead, wrap them with clear wrap and refrigerate for up to one day before.  Then fry them up!

Can We Freeze Rice Balls?

  • Yes, you can freeze them before frying or after.
  • When you freeze them already fried, you can pull out the amount you want and reheat them in the oven, or allow them to thaw for about 20 minutes, and pop them into the microwave for a few minutes.

 …Thanks for Pinning!

Italian Rice Balls with Eggs and Cheese by 2sistersrecipes.com

Additional Italian “street-food” favorites!

Yield: 28 to 30 rice balls

Italian Rice Balls with Eggs and Cheese

Italian Rice Balls with Eggs and Cheese
Italian Rice Balls with Eggs and Cheese are a fun finger food for the whole family to enjoy!  Just serve these with our Mom's Quick Marinara Sauce for dipping and watch them vanish! 
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 + 1/2 cups uncooked white Long Grain Rice
  • 1/2 stick of butter
  • 1 cup of Parmigiana grated cheese
  • 3 whole eggs
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh parsley- chopped
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 + 1/2 cups plain bread crumbs
  • 1 cup of canola oil
  • 1 cup Mom's Quick Marinara Sauce

Instructions

  1. Boil rice according to the directions, 3 cups of water with 1 + 1/2 cups of rice.
  2. Cover with a lid. Simmer on low heat for 20 minutes, until all water has been absorbed. Turn off the heat.
  3. Add 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 for about 15 minutes.
  4. Stir in the eggs and mix until eggs are well combined. Add grated cheese, parsley, and cayenne pepper. Continue to mix until well combined.
  5. Taste the rice, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. As the mixture cools, the rice mixture will start to thicken and become sticky enough to make balls.
  7. Grab a second bowl and place the bread crumbs in it.
  8. Using your hand and a teaspoon. Take one heaping teaspoon of rice and form a ball in your palm, about the size or larger than a golf ball.
  9. 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 to a bowl, or tray. Repeat this process with each ball until the entire rice mixture is gone.
  10. 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).
  11. Fry, turning them as needed to ensure even golden on all sides. Remove and drain on paper towels.
  12. Transfer rice balls to a serving platter.
  13. 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.
  14. And serve.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

14 to 15 servings

Serving Size:

2 rice balls

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 154Total Fat: 3.2gCarbohydrates: 24.6gFiber: .6gSugar: .10gProtein: 6.6g

 

Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 1 serving
Servings: 28
Amount per serving 
Calories77
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1.6g2%
Saturated Fat 0.6g3%
Cholesterol 20mg7%
Sodium 75mg3%
Total Carbohydrate 12.3g4%
Dietary Fiber 0.3g1%
Total Sugars 0.5g 
Protein 3.3g 
Vitamin D 2mcg8%
Calcium 48mg4%
Iron 1mg4%
Potassium 19mg0%

Finally, a few more recipes for you to enjoy!

Try our Best Rice Ball Casserole Stuffed with Meat and Peas

Best Rice Ball Casserole Stuffed with Meat and Peas by 2sistersrecipes.com

Baked Mini Rice Balls Stuffed with Soppressata, and our

Arancini Bites with Fontina Cheese (Trader Joe’s Copycat)

Baked Mini Rice Balls Stuffed with Soppressata by 2sistersrecipes.com

Cheesy Rice Balls with Peas

Cheesy Rice Balls with Peas by 2sistersrecipes.com

That’s it friends!  Have you tried our Italian rice balls with eggs & cheese?  We’d love to hear from you.  Have fun and snap a photo, hashtag it #2sistersrecipes on Instagram, and on Pinterestand be sure to tag us @2sistersrecipes.

We’d love to see your creations and share them with the world!  🙂

And, please leave a comment with a star rating, your insights and experience will help everyone who reads them, and will help us too!

Don’t forget to enter your email in our ‘Subscribe Box’ and be the first to get our recipes “FREE” every time we post, and reminders of great older ones too!

Happy Cooking!   🙂

Thanks for stopping by!

 xo anna and liz

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26 Comments

    1. Hi Brenda! When you coat each rice ball with breadcrumbs, that’s what keeps them together. Also, keep in mind, the rice mixture, which is mixed with grated cheese and eggs, as it cools will become sticky and pliable to make them into rice balls. You can check out our “short video” showing how I make rice balls, on our Instagram, top row – in our featured highlights. I hope this helps! Have a great weekend! 🙂

  1. These look so fun! I like the idea of using risotto for the rice as well. Especially if it’s got saffron or mushrooms or something…. just to add more flavor. And to dip in the marinara? Brilliant!

  2. I am new visitor to your blog. Really nice to find and go through it. You have shared some amazing recipes. The recipe shared here is delicious, healthy and crispy. Surely will try it in my breakfast. Continue sharing such recipe. Thanks for sharing.

  3. We used to get huge rice balls all the time from an Italian deli but now that I'm seeing these, I think I'd like the mini more! More crispy surface area. 🙂

  4. Hey girls! These look amazing. I love anything that is fried and crispy. These sort of remind me of mozzarella sticks especially since they can be dipped in the marina sauce. Yum! xoxo, Jackie

    1. Hey jackie, you're right! Mozzarella sticks is now on my list of things to make! I haven't made them in a long time, its goes on my endless list of things to do…thanks xo

  5. Hello, ladies! Thank you so much for your kind comment and I'm glad it brought me here. I'm you newest email subscriber. I've never made rice balls and they sound like a delicious appetizer. I'll be making some with mozzarella too. I think my family will love these.

  6. I enjoy very much your recipes and I look forward to learning more Italian cooking sincer my husband is Italian! Thanks again, Lisa

  7. Yes I believe you can Sara, My Mom makes this recipe in a pie form and bakes it, similar to her potato pie. Its just as creamy and delicious with a slight crunch on top. Go for it!

  8. I am not a huge fan of eating fried foods because they often upset my stomach. BUT I think that you could totally make a baked version of these to still get that crunch. I think I just might try to do that. 🙂

  9. Mike, you can certainly use olive oil and adding more cheese will make them even creamier!

    I try to keep them light – less calories per ball.

  10. I made them for Easter along with the sauce. Everyone liked them a lot. I found them equally good the next day. I'd alter the recipe a little by doubling the parmigiana. I used light olive oil, too. A deep fryer would be best, especially with peanut oil.

  11. This recipe is what floods my mind with memories of my lovely family in NY. I've never had a meal with any of you without rice balls on the table. 🙂