Appetizers/ Kid-Friendly Recipes/ Rice and Grains

Mini Rice Balls with Eggs and Cheese

Mini Rice Balls with Eggs and Cheese by

Mini Rice Balls with Eggs and Cheese are a fun finger food for the whole family. Just serve these with our Mom’s Quick Marinara Sauce for dipping and watch as they vanish!  Italian Rice Balls are made with tender rice, eggs, cheese, butter and parsley, then gently fried in oil until golden brown. Yummy!

I haven’t made these in a while, and since my family was in the mood for an appetizer (also the big game is on today- Jets vs Giants!) I decided to make them and revive this recipe from our archives.

A classic Neapolitan recipe from mom, and Aunt Tina.  Aunt Tina and mom are both great cooks. At family gatherings and on Sundays, you can bet Aunt Tina makes these rice balls every time!

Mini 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!

Here are some Tips:  For a healthier appetizer, use brown rice instead of white rice.  Also, if you make the rice balls slightly larger, 2 to 3 inches, 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 a surprise inside waiting!


You can follow along below for the step by step on the recipe or just jump down to the bottom of the post for the full recipe card. 


Mini Rice Balls with Eggs and Cheese

  •  1+ 1/2 cups 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

Boil rice according to the directions, 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.

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, about 15 minutes.

Stir in the eggs and mix until eggs are well combined.
Add grated cheese, parsley and cayenne pepper.
Continue to mix until well combined.
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 into balls.

 Grab a second bowl and place bread crumbs.
Using your hand and a teaspoon.
Take one heaping teaspoon of rice and form a 1 + 1/2 ”  ball in your palm.

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.  Repeat this process with each ball until the entire rice mixture is gone.


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).

Fry until golden on all sides.  Remove and drain on paper towels.

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. Enjoy!

Yields: 28 to 30 rice balls ( depending on the size you make).


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  • Reply
    April 19, 2011 at 4:58 pm

    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. ūüôā

  • Reply
    April 20, 2011 at 1:44 am

    Hi Carla,
    yes good ol aunt tina's rice balls…they were the best.

  • Reply
    Mike Venditto
    April 27, 2011 at 1:51 am

    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.

  • Reply
    October 7, 2011 at 1:53 pm

    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.

  • Reply
    Sara Bee
    October 11, 2011 at 12:27 am

    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. ūüôā

  • Reply
    October 11, 2011 at 1:07 am

    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!

  • Reply
    January 31, 2012 at 2:39 am

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

  • Reply
    January 31, 2012 at 6:20 am

    Wow, those look and sound amazing. Perfect finger-food indeed!

  • Reply
    February 1, 2012 at 12:38 am

    OMG, these are so crispy and crunchy looking I wish I could get a bite or two:)

  • Reply
    SavoringTime in the Kitchen
    July 25, 2013 at 1:02 pm

    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.

    • Reply
      July 25, 2013 at 3:07 pm

      Oh thank you Susan! We hope you like the rice balls, and we hope to see you more often! xxoo Anna

  • Reply
    July 25, 2013 at 5:51 pm

    These look so good! I love anything you can prep the day before and just cook the day of.

  • Reply
    Marin mama cooks
    July 25, 2013 at 11:28 pm

    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

    • Reply
      July 26, 2013 at 12:37 am

      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

  • Reply
    Sarah | The Sugar Hit
    July 26, 2013 at 2:16 am

    I have to say, fried food is the best finger food. These look absolutely wonderful!

  • Reply
    July 26, 2013 at 10:49 am

    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. ūüôā

  • Reply
    Barbara Bakes
    July 29, 2013 at 1:21 pm

    I especially like the idea of making them bigger and hiding mozzarella inside. They look so crispy and delicious!

  • Reply
    Josie | Frozen Yogurt Las Vegas
    October 17, 2013 at 6:10 am

    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.

  • Reply
    October 17, 2013 at 3:02 pm

    Hi Josie! And welcome to our site- its so nice to meet you! Glad you came by to visit and hope you see you again.

  • Reply
    Tricia Buice
    October 17, 2013 at 4:16 pm

    I think I could dunk a few of these! Yum

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