Rice Balls with Cheese & Pepperoni

Craving a tasty snack that’s simple to make and bursting with flavor? Look no further than these delightful Rice Balls with Cheese & Pepperoni. With a crispy exterior and a gooey, cheesy center, these savory treats are perfect for snacking, party appetizers, or even a fun twist on dinner. Follow along with this easy recipe to whip up a batch of these irresistible rice balls in no time!


  • 2 cups cooked white rice, cooled
  • 1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped pepperoni slices
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • Oil for frying
  • Marinara sauce for dipping (optional)


  1. Mix Ingredients: In a mixing bowl, combine the cooked white rice, grated mozzarella cheese, chopped pepperoni slices, and grated Parmesan cheese.
  2. Add Egg: Add the beaten egg to the mixture and mix thoroughly until all the ingredients are well combined.
  3. Shape Into Balls: Take a portion of the rice mixture and shape it into a ball, approximately the size of a golf ball.
  4. Coat With Breadcrumbs: Roll the rice ball in breadcrumbs until it is evenly coated on all sides.
  5. Fry Rice Balls: Heat oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Fry the rice balls in batches until they are golden brown and crispy on all sides. Use a slotted spoon to remove the rice balls from the oil and place them on a plate lined with paper towels to drain any excess oil.
  6. Serve: Serve the rice balls warm with marinara sauce for dipping if desired.

Nutritional Information:

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cooking Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Servings: Makes approximately 12 rice balls
  • Calories: (per serving) *Caloric information may vary depending on specific ingredients and portion sizes.

Serving and Storage Tips:

Serving Tips:

  1. Dipping Delight: Serve the crispy rice balls with marinara sauce on the side for dipping, adding an extra layer of flavor and excitement.
  2. Garnish Galore: Sprinkle chopped fresh parsley or grated Parmesan cheese over the rice balls before serving for a pop of color and added flavor.
  3. Appetizer Array: Arrange the rice balls on a platter with toothpicks for easy serving at parties or gatherings.
  4. Sidekick Snack: Pair the rice balls with a side salad or vegetable sticks for a well-balanced and satisfying meal.
  5. Party Pleaser: These rice balls make a great appetizer for game day parties, potlucks, or movie nights with friends and family.
  6. Kid-Friendly Fare: Get kids involved in the kitchen by letting them help shape the rice balls before frying, making mealtime fun and interactive.
  7. Custom Creations: Experiment with different fillings such as cooked ground sausage, diced ham, or chopped vegetables to create your own unique variations.
  8. Brunch Bites: Serve these rice balls alongside scrambled eggs and bacon for a tasty breakfast or brunch option.
  9. Picnic Perfect: Pack the rice balls in a container for a portable snack or lunch option for picnics, hikes, or road trips.
  10. Freezer-Friendly: Make a large batch of rice balls and freeze them in a single layer on a baking sheet. Once frozen, transfer them to a freezer bag or container for convenient grab-and-go snacks. Reheat in the oven or air fryer until heated through.

Storage Tips:

  1. Refrigeration: Store any leftover rice balls in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  2. Reheating: To reheat refrigerated rice balls, place them on a baking sheet in a preheated oven at 350°F (175°C) for 10-12 minutes or until heated through and crispy.
  3. Freezing: Freeze uncooked rice balls on a baking sheet until firm, then transfer them to a freezer bag or container for up to 3 months. Fry from frozen, adding a few extra minutes to the cooking time.
  4. Meal Prep: Prepare the rice ball mixture in advance and store it in the refrigerator until ready to shape and fry for a quick and easy snack or meal option.
  5. Crunchy Cravings: For maximum crispiness, reheat leftover rice balls in an air fryer at 375°F (190°C) for 5-7 minutes until golden and crispy.
  6. Double Duty: Use leftover rice balls as a topping for salads or soups for added texture and flavor.
  7. Party Planning: Fry the rice balls in advance and reheat them in the oven just before serving to save time during parties or gatherings.
  8. Sauce Savvy: Serve the rice balls with a variety of dipping sauces such as ranch dressing, barbecue sauce, or honey mustard for a fun and customizable snack experience.
  9. Toothpick Trick: Insert toothpicks into the rice balls before serving to make them easier to pick up and enjoy, especially at parties or events.
  10. Creative Cooking: Transform leftover rice balls into a delicious sandwich filling by slicing them in half and placing them between two slices of bread with your favorite toppings for a unique and satisfying meal.


  1. Vegetarian Twist: Replace pepperoni with diced bell peppers, onions, and mushrooms for a flavorful vegetarian option.
  2. Buffalo Kick: Mix in buffalo sauce and shredded cooked chicken for a spicy and tangy twist.
  3. Mexican Fiesta: Add cooked black beans, corn, diced jalapeños, and Mexican cheese blend for a Southwestern-inspired flavor.
  4. Greek Delight: Incorporate chopped spinach, crumbled feta cheese, and diced olives for a Mediterranean flair.
  5. Hawaiian Fusion: Combine diced pineapple, ham, and mozzarella cheese for a sweet and savory Hawaiian-inspired filling.
  6. Breakfast Bonanza: Stir in cooked breakfast sausage, scrambled eggs, and cheddar cheese for a breakfast-inspired treat.
  7. Caprese Creation: Add chopped tomatoes, fresh basil leaves, and diced mozzarella cheese for a classic Caprese-inspired variation.
  8. BBQ Bash: Mix in shredded barbecue chicken, caramelized onions, and cheddar cheese for a smoky and savory option.
  9. Spinach and Artichoke: Combine chopped spinach, marinated artichoke hearts, and cream cheese for a creamy and flavorful filling.
  10. Asian Fusion: Incorporate cooked shrimp, chopped scallions, and soy sauce for an Asian-inspired twist.
  11. Italian Sausage Surprise: Add cooked Italian sausage, diced tomatoes, and shredded mozzarella cheese for an Italian-inspired variation.
  12. Truffle Tryst: Mix in truffle oil and grated Parmesan cheese for a luxurious and indulgent flavor profile.
  13. Buffalo Ranch: Combine buffalo sauce, ranch dressing, and shredded cooked chicken for a tangy and creamy filling.
  14. Sun-Dried Tomato and Basil: Add chopped sun-dried tomatoes, fresh basil leaves, and grated Parmesan cheese for a burst of Mediterranean flavor.
  15. Green Chile and Cheese: Incorporate diced green chiles, Monterey Jack cheese, and chopped cilantro for a spicy and cheesy option.


  1. Can I use brown rice instead of white rice?
    • Yes, brown rice can be used as a healthier alternative. However, the texture may be slightly different.
  2. Can I bake these rice balls instead of frying them?
    • Yes, you can bake them at 375°F (190°C) for 20-25 minutes, turning halfway through, until they are golden brown and crispy.
  3. Can I make these rice balls gluten-free?
    • Yes, use gluten-free breadcrumbs or crushed rice cereal instead of regular breadcrumbs.
  4. What can I use instead of eggs to bind the mixture?
    • You can use a flaxseed egg (1 tablespoon ground flaxseed mixed with 3 tablespoons water) or mashed avocado as a vegan alternative.
  5. Can I make these rice balls ahead of time?
    • Yes, you can shape them and store them in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours before frying or baking.
  6. Can I freeze these rice balls?
    • Yes, freeze them on a baking sheet until firm, then transfer them to a freezer bag. Fry or bake them directly from frozen, adding a few extra minutes to the cooking time.
  7. Can I use different cheeses in the filling?
    • Yes, feel free to experiment with your favorite cheeses such as cheddar, Swiss, or goat cheese.
  8. How do I prevent the rice balls from falling apart during frying?
    • Make sure the rice mixture is well compacted when shaping the balls, and ensure the oil is hot enough before frying.
  9. Can I use leftover rice for this recipe?
    • Absolutely! Leftover rice works perfectly for this recipe. Just make sure it’s cooled before mixing with other ingredients.
  10. Are these rice balls suitable for a party or potluck?
    • Yes, these rice balls are great for serving at parties, potlucks, or as a fun appetizer for any occasion.

These Rice Balls with Cheese & Pepperoni are sure to be a hit with friends and family alike. Whether you’re serving them as an appetizer at your next gathering or enjoying them as a snack, their crispy exterior and gooey center make them irresistible. So why wait? Try out this easy recipe today and treat yourself to a deliciously cheesy and flavorful snack!