Italian Rice Balls

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!

Soft-Pillowy Rice Balls…

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. 

Soft, pillowy rice texture with melted cheese oozing out with every bite makes them delicious! 

These are amazing and worth making!

ISomeone is dipping a rice ball into a small bowl of tomato sauce.

 

How To Make These 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.

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.

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

Fried balls of rice are draining on paper towels in a silver bowl.

Best served with our Mom’s Quick Marinara Sauce for dipping.

*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:

  • 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
  • 1.5 cups plain bread crumbs, or GF bread crumbs, for coating
  • 1 cup of canola oil, for frying
  • 1 cup Mom’s Quick Marinara Sauce

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.
 

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  in the palm of a hand.
 
 
White platter filled with rice balls coated in bread crumbs ready to fry.
 
Frying several rice ballls in a black skillet on stovetop.
 

8.  Using10″ frying pan or skillet.  Heat canola oil on medium to high heat.  When the 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)

Someone is dipping one fried ball into a small bowl of tomato sauce.

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!
 
 

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!  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!

Questions & Answers…

1. Can we make these rice balls ahead? Yes, you can make them one day ahead, then wrap them with clear wrap, and refrigerate them for up to one day before. Then fry them up.

2. Can we freeze rice balls before frying? Yes, you can freeze them before frying. It’s best to thaw before you fry them.

3. After fried, can we freeze them? Yes, you can freeze them after they are fried. And, you can pull out the amount you want, and reheat them in the oven or allow them to thaw before reheating.

4. Can we reheat them in the microwave? Rice balls can be reheated in the microwave, just be sure to reheat in increments of 45 seconds to 1 minute, until they are warm for your preference.

Additional Italian “street-food” favorites!

More Recipes for Delicious Rice…

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

Did you make this recipe?

Mention @2sistersrecipes on Instagram or tag #2sistersrecipes!

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

That’s it, friends!  Have you tried our Italian rice balls with eggs & cheese?  Let us know and leave a comment below.

Happy Cooking!   🙂

Thanks for stopping by!

 xo anna and liz

anna and liz selfie

Welcome! From Anna and Liz

We believe the kitchen is the center and the heart of the home. It is where we cook, eat, and unwind with family and friends, creating memorable traditions! Read more…

Sign Up For Our Email List

Something delicious for your inbox! Subscribe and join our email list and get all our recipes FREE!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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! 🙂