Grandma's Rice Balls (Arancini)

Sunday, January 24, 2010
Grandma's Rice Balls were a mystery for years then dad finally figured out, he was trying way to hard to figure out what she put into them that tasted so good.

Grandma Victoria lived to be 94, she was brought up to be very resourceful woman, and especially on stretching her food budget, to make sure nothing went to waste. Everything she made was always a taste you couldn't forget, and we always spent years trying to duplicate, and never really totally exceeded. These are as close as we are going to get at this point. They are pretty darn close.

I can't believe how fast time flies. Years ago as a child, my grandmother, Victoria, would always make these out of leftover rice..She actually did the same with leftover mashed potatoes.. You know in an Italian family at least mine, you would have to go to confession for throwing out or wasting food, as it was a sin.

This little rice ball, ended up being one of the tastiest grains for an anytime snack we ever had. After she passed away at 94, my dad spent hours trying to remaster her recipe, trying all kinds of ingredients. Then trying the simplest ingredients worked, it was perfect. Victory to us all that dad had finally figured out, it didn't take brain surgery to figure out she used whatever she had, and it was out of this world good...The good ole days, wow we all have them, where does the time go anyway?

These go well with any meal or a great snack.

Not fried but bakes. A delicious blend of spices make these so tastey!

Not much of a recipe. Grandma threw in a little of this and a little of that.
There was lots of leftover rice. So she would take one egg to every 2 cups of rice.
Then she would add breadcrumbs to the mixture around 1/4 cup per cup of rice. Then during the summer months there was lots of fresh parsley growing in our yard, a few tablespoons of fresh parsley went in. ( Lots of home grown would be dried. My mom and grandma would heat the oven till very high heat turn to low after that, just to heat it up ( had a gas old fashioned oven ,lit with a match!) Spread out the over abundance of fresh parsley on stainless steel cookie sheets .Then to dry the rest of the parsley in the gas oven, turned down to the lowest setting, and leave in there for about an hour, crumble and put into jars.) I do that all the time now!
Finally, add the spices to taste and a handful of grating cheese. She would add plenty of grating cheese, salt pepper, red pepper flakes, and garlic minced into the rice. Mix it up really good. Then rolled in Italian flavored bread crumbs. She would then fry them in hot oil.

Believe it or not these pictured are rolled, placed on a cookie sheet and drizzled Olive oil over them then baked till golden about a 400 degree oven....I always try and find a healthier way to eat these days, but of course the original way is to fry them of course. If you want a nice little snack, these are a great appetizer, side dish or will have to really add the spices to your own taste.

So here is the basic recipe
2 cups of cooked rice( leftover's are fine even flavored)
1 egg
1/2 cup flavored Italian bread crumbs
1/4 cup grating cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder or 1 teaspoon minced chopped fresh garlic
2 tablespoons of fresh chopped parsley or dried
2 cups of Italian flavored bread crumbs to roll the mixture of rice into.
Optional Mozzarella cubes, ground sausage, meatball chunks
Mix together. Roll into a ball, (if your making them stuffed, add the cheese or meat now) then into bread crumbs. Place on greased cookie sheet and drizzle olive oil all over them. Bake at 400 till golden brown. If you want to do the fry method, heat oil till very hot, drop into fry pan till golden brown and crispy on the outside.


  1. I would love to try this. Looks very delicious. Great for parties too.

  2. Claudia, that is to funny. Dad makes them. He also uses the stuff to put in large mushroom caps. He also uses that type of recipe without the rice and stuffs various things. Even artichokes. I guess its just a Italian thing even the do not throw left overs out. I find it to be a challenge to use left overs. Sometimes I really should write it down those are the best meals..... Salute!!!

  3. Your grandma was so cute! I'm glad your dad figured out the recipe, sounds so good!

  4. I love rice balls - wat a good idea to bake them. I am hitting myself over my head. These are scurmptious and i often have leftover rice. Smart Grandma!

  5. I am bookmarking this recipe to make for my daughter asap - she would absolutely love these scrumptious rice balls!

  6. wonderful recipe and the story about your grannie is beutiful!my grannie made balls from mashed potatoes .
    p.s.:i have a old fashion gas oven,...ha-ha-ha!and i use the same method for dry herbs!

  7. These look good, great for snack!

  8. I would really like to have a go at this. My only problem is that in Italy they dont have 'Italian' Breadcrums. What makes them Italian so to speak and could I make my own. It just looks so delicious!

  9. Thanks for stopping by my blog. Rice balls look absolutely delicious and crunchy..

  10. oh, they look too good! crispy outside and gluey hot inside!

  11. Thank God for Grandmas. She looks adorable. Doesn't it make you feel like your Grandma is right there with you when you make her recipes. I thought I had lost my Grandma's biscut recipe till I went through some recipes my mom had and found it. Treasure!!! I will definitely be trying this recipe out.

  12. @marymoh thank you :)
    @anonymous wow I love that food is the universal language much like music!
    @tastytrix thanks yes he was relentless to cook like her!
    @Claudia thanks my dear!
    @5starfoodie you are so kind thanks for saving this one!
    @alison thanks so much for visiting!
    @Cheah thanks
    @Ruth click on the Italian Bread Crumbs as it is a link to the recipe for homemade :)
    @rv your welcome and thanks so much!
    @lululu your thanks so much for your kind words on foodbuzz as well :)
    @allingoodfood appreciate your comments on grandma thank you :)

  13. Wow, thank you for sharing the story. Those look so good!

  14. I love that you revised the frying in oil to baking. These sound delicious! ~Mary
    ps. Love the old photo of grandma!

  15. @stacy your welcome~
    @food o'del mundo yes much healthier thanks!

  16. @stacy your welcome~
    @food o'del mundo yes much healthier thanks!

  17. Claudia, your grandma must a fantastic cook and a superwoman as well! You know, it's not easy to manage a family with very limited budget. I don't like wasting too! And these rice balls look absolutely classy & presentable! Good job. Btw, thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe. Cheers.

  18. those look so great, I'm always looking for recipes that I can use my leftovers in, and this one is a winner:-)

  19. These such a great snack for football parties and much healthier than the tradutional fried version that I make. I love these things!

  20. I really love rice balls! And how great that these are baked. They look excellent!


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