This Baked Rice Balls recipe makes a great party appetizer! It's made with crispy cheesy rice balls dipped in a southwest chipotle sauce.
This post is sponsored by Mahatma Rice but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.
These Cheesy Rice Balls are modeled after the Italian favorite, arancini. They're made with Southwest flavors and perfect for a party appetizer!
There's something you should know about me - I'm not a sports person. Like, at all. I couldn't tell you the name of any professional sports players or for what team they play.
I basically tune out when any conversations turn to sports. I would be that person at a game reading a book and wishing that everyone would keep the commotion down.
BUT, I love all the food that goes along with sporting events. Chicken wings would be a food group if I had any say in it. Crispy walleye fingers with tartar sauce? Oh, yeah. Meatballs, pretzels, nachos, guacamole? You betcha.
I wanted to be celebrate 'sports food' even though I'm not into sports myself. The result was these Baked Rice Balls with Southwest Chipotle Sauce!
What Are Baked Rice Balls?
My husband and I took a trip to Chicago a few months ago. We stopped at an Italian deli one afternoon and I was finally able to try arancini.
Arancini are stuffed rice balls that are usually deep fried and served with marinara sauce. They're delicious and not easy to find in Minnesota. I figured some version of arancini would make the perfect snack-y party food.
Rice forms the 'base' of these things and this Mahatma Jasmine Rice is some of the best around! It's completely natural - there's no preservatives or additives of any kind. It carries the 'Thai Hom Mali Rice' seal, which guarantees its authenticity.
How To Make Rice:
It takes literally 15 minutes to cook on the stove top and comes out perfectly light and fluffy. It's the best rice to use when you want rice to be the star of your dish.
- To make the simply boil 2 ½ cups vegetable broth in a small sauce pan.
- Add 1 ½ cups rice, reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for 15 minutes. Stir the rice every 5 minutes or so to prevent sticking.
How To Make Baked Rice Balls
Remove the cover from the pan once the rice is cooked and fluff it with a fork. The rice needs to cool at this point.
I find that the best way to do this is to spread the rice out on a flat surface and let sit for about 20 minutes.
- Once the rice has cooled, place it in a large mixing bowl.
- To the rice add 2 eggs, a heaping cup of shredded cheese (I like sharp cheddar but you can use any type of cheese you like), ⅛ tsp. salt and ⅛ tsp. pepper, and ¼ cup of minced chives.
- Stir until all the ingredients are completely combined.
Assemble The Rice Balls
Now it's time to assemble the rice balls. I'm not going to lie - This gets a little messy.
The combination of the rice, eggs, and breadcrumbs will stick to your fingers as you form the balls. But, I'm promise you it's totally worth the effort!
This recipe is gluten free and uses gluten free breadcrumbs. You can use regular or Panko gluten free breadcrumbs, but make sure the brand that you use is unseasoned. 4c makes both plain breadcrumbs and Panko breadcrumbs that are gluten free and the texture is fantastic.
Feel free to use any unseasoned brand of regular or Panko breadcrumbs if gluten is not an issue for you.
- To make the coating simply pour 1 heaping cup of plain gluten free bread crumbs (or regular breadcrumbs if not gluten free) onto a plate. Add 2 tsp. garlic powder, 1 tsp. smoked paprika, ½ tsp. chili powder, and ⅛ tsp. salt and pepper to the bread crumbs. Toss with a fork until combined.
- Whisk 3 eggs in a separate small bowl.
- Start off my forming a ball with the rice mixture.
- The next step is to dip the ball into the eggs and the last step is to roll it in the bread crumb mixture.
- There should be enough for about 18 rice balls.
How Long Do Rice Balls Take To Bake?
- Heat the oven to 400 degrees and spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Place all of the rice balls onto the baking sheet (or two baking sheets depending on its size).
- Place the pan(s) in the oven and bake for 20-22 minutes.
- The bread crumb coating should get nice and golden as it bakes. The cheese may melt a bit and as they cook.
- Remove the pan from the oven once they're finished cooking.
How To Make Southwest Chipotle Sauce
We're going to make a chipotle dipping sauce to really send these things over the edge. Feel free to make this as the rice balls are cooking and set it in the refrigerator.
- To make the sauce simply add 1 cup sour cream, 2 Tbsp. lemon juice, 1 ½ Tbsp. adobo sauce (adjust to taste), 2 tsp. sugar (adjust to taste), and a pinch of salt and pepper.
- Stir to completely combine.
- You can add more adobo sauce if you really want to kick up the heat.
What To Serve With Chipotle Rice Balls
Once the rice balls are cooled they're ready to serve!
I love this Mahatma Jasmine Rice because it stays light and fluffy even though the outside is crispy. You get that satisfying 'crunch' from the bread crumb coating but baking it cuts down on calories.
Garnish the rice balls with some extra chopped chives and serve them alongside the chipotle dipping sauce.
This is one of those appetizers that keeps you coming back for more. They're fun to eat and to serve - Your guests will love them.
Looking for more party appetizers? Don't miss these!
- Baked Chicken Taquitos
- Southwest Baked Egg Rolls
- Air Fryer Breaded Mushrooms
- Sweet and Spicy Chicken Wings
- Slow Cooker BBQ Turkey Meatballs
- Crockpot Teriyaki Turkey Meatballs
How Long Do Cheesy Rice Balls Last In The Fridge?
Any leftover rice balls may be stored in an airtight container for 3-4 days in the fridge.
Be sure to allow the rice balls to cool completely before transferring to the fridge for storage.
Any leftover chipotle dipping sauce should last 3-4 days stored in an airtight container in the fridge.
This is one of those dishes that sports fans and non-sports fans can ALL get behind!
Love appetizers? Check out these recipes!
- Mushroom Gruyere Tartlets
- Smoked Salmon Dill Crostini
- Smoky Baba Ghanoush
- Butternut Squash Bean Dip
- Spiced Maple Roasted Nuts
- Kalamata Olive Tapenade
- Roasted Mushroom Tapenade
- Spinach Artichoke Dip
- Spinach Artichoke Stuffed Mushrooms
- Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus
- Gruyere Prosciutto Pinwheels
- Maple Walnut Baklava Tarts
- Antipasto Platter
- French Cheese Board
- Smoky Rosemary Toasted Almonds
Looking For More Party Appetizers? Don't Miss These!
Baked Rice Balls with Southwest Chipotle Sauce
For The Rice Balls:
- 1 ½ cups Mahatma Jasmine Rice
- 2 ½ cups vegetable broth
- 5 eggs split
- 1 heaping cup sharp cheddar cheese or cheese of choice
- ¼ cup minced chives
- ⅛ tsp. kosher salt
- ⅛ tsp. pepper
- 1 cup gluten free plain bread crumbs or regular breadcrumbs if not gluten free, can use Panko breadcrumbs as well
- 2 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 tsp. smoked paprika
- ½ tsp. chili powder
- ⅛ tsp. kosher salt
- ⅛ tsp. pepper
- cooking spray
For The Rice Balls:
- Heat oven to 400 degrees.
- Bring 2 ½ cups vegetable broth to a boil in a small sauce pan. Add 1 ½ cups rice to the pan. Reduce heat to simmer, cover, and cook for 15 minutes. Stir every 5 minutes or so to prevent sticking.
- Once the rice is cooked, fluff with a fork and spread the rice out on a plate or flat surface to cool. Allow the rice to cool for 20 minutes or so.
- Place the cooled rice into a large mixing bowl. Add 2 eggs, 1 heaping cup of shredded sharp cheddar cheese (or cheese of choice), ⅛ tsp. salt and pepper, and ¼ cup minced chives. Stir all these ingredients until completely combined.
- Whisk 3 eggs in a small bowl.
- Pour 1 heaping cup of gluten free plain bread crumbs (or regular breadcrumbs if not gluten free) (can also use either gluten free or regular Panko breadcrumbs if you prefer) to a plate. Add 2 tsp. garlic powder, 1 tsp. smoked paprika, ½ tsp. chili powder, and ⅛ tsp. salt and pepper. Stir with a fork until combined.
- Use your hands to form balls with the rice mixture (your hands will get messy and sticky). Dip the rice balls into the eggs and then place them onto the plate of bread crumbs (one at a time). Roll the rice balls in the bread crumbs and then place onto a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray.
- Place the baking sheet into the oven and bake for 20-22 minutes or until the outsides are nice and golden. Remove pan from oven when finished baking.
For The Dipping Sauce:
- Add 1 cup sour cream, 1 ½ Tbsp. adobo sauce (adjust to taste), 2 Tbsp. lemon juice, 1 tsp. sugar or honey (adjust to taste), and a pinch of kosher salt and pepper to bowl. Stir until completely combined.
- Garnish the rice balls with more chopped chives and serve alongside dipping sauce.