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This delicious take on rice and the chance to reinvent a constant leftover around the house opened up a brand new possibility. I cook rice often, Olivia has it with her crispies and sautéed carrots, so we always have leftover rice in the fridge and frankly, Jimre and I got tired of fried rice and rizskóh. In the case of rizskóh I just add whipping cream] But for any other rice dish, I would need more rice.

Serve Italian rice balls as a side or as a snack. They are great with or without sauce. I didn’t quite figure out if Italian rice balls were made with a stickier [cheaper] rice or that my rice making skills were the culprit, but I found these were not so easy to make. Plus the rice was a leftover, perhaps freshly cooked, warm rice would stick together more willingly, but boy I am glad I tried this recipe, because it was delicious, especially the following day. This just moved into my comfort food category and I will be looking forward to making it again. “Don’t crowd the fry pan”, no kidding, I had several balls fall apart on me. 

Italian Rice Balls

2 cup cooked rice
2 eggs
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
finely chopped parsley
Italian seasoning
1 tsp salt
1-1/2 cups fine breadcrumbs
oil for frying

  • Place the fine breadcrumbs in a shallow dish and set aside.
  • Combine the rice, eggs, cheese, parsley, seasoning and salt.
  • With wet hands scoop up a heaping Tbsp of rice and press it into a ball.
  • Place it in the breadcrumbs.
  • Roll two more balls and place it in the breadcrumbs.
  • At this point you will have to wash your hands.
  • Coat the 3 rice balls with breadcrumbs and set it aside.
  • Wash the hands again and make 3 more rice balls.
  • Continue the process until all the rice used up.
  • In a large non-stick skillet heat up the oil on medium heat.
  • Fry the rice balls 4-5 at a time. Do not crowd the pan, or the rice balls will fall apart.
  • Gently turn rice balls with a fork for even browning.
  • Drain on paper towels and serve warm.

You don't need a lot of oil to fry these. But most definitely, don't crowd the pan like this. From this batch I had 4 rice balls fall apart.


  1. These look delicious Zsuzsa! Great idea and as we have a Japanese daughter in law there is always rice in the house!

  2. You too? Jane I am glad to see you. I hope you are well. <3

  3. Italian rice balls start with leftover risotto ... which you make with arborio, a short grain rice. I've made spinach and rice balls with leftover sushi rice, which is also a short grain rice. You want your rice to dry out so that the egg you add will glue the rice grains together not make it more soupy. I like adding a cube of cheese to the middle. :)

    1. I thought about arborio and risotto. We have no leftover from that :D

  4. I just recently started making these delicious balls because I had left over risotto (the Italians make this dish with risotto rice, a much stickier rice than the long grain you would use, so you are indeed correct). I tuck a small square of stringy cheese (like mozzarella or Gruyere) and I bread mine with a double coating of flour and egg wash then bread crumbs. Bake at 375 (if memory serves) and serve immediately on a bed of San Marzano tomato sauce. They also freeze beautifully (on a cookie sheet and then into s zip lock bag). I've had it at a restaurant and it's deep fried so the breading really seals in the rice and cheese. Baking will often cause the cheese to explode out but then it caramelized and is so yummy! No one has ever complained. Yours look delicious.
    My dear mom always made rice pudding with leftover rice (soo yummy). Is that Hungarian?

    1. Thanks Eva. I even thought of sticky rice. I always have leftover basmati, and every grain remains separate, however I made it work and I think I will be able to perfect the technique. I will make a few additions to the recipe though for the less tenacious ha. I am not sure about the rice pudding, I never had it as a kid, we only ever ate tejberizs and rizskoh.

  5. I was introduced to rice balls in Italy as cheap comfort food but have never made them because of the tedious frying- I see that you can also bake them! Now that's a variation I'll be willing to try.

    1. Let me know how they turn out.




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