5 from 1 votes

Leftover Rice Balls

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our read the Privacy Policy

Skillet fried rice balls, a great way to reuse leftover white rice, are a delicious viral recipe that is perfect as an appetizer or snack. Perfect as finger food, crispy rice balls are a super popular recipe that has no need for heavy deep frying.

Serve rice balls alone or alongside this spicy bang bang chicken recipe for a full meal.

left over rice ball on a stick.

Where did this leftover white rice recipe come from?

While rice ball recipes are aplenty on the internet, we originally saw this awesome idea from creator @carolinagelen. Unfortunately, her video has been deleted, so I cannot share it (although she has other great recipes on her page, which you should visit).

Instead, we did find a sample of the recipe, also credited to Carolina, that you can see made here by creator @saltynsweeteats


Made @carolinagelen rice balls! They didn’t turn out as pretty, but they tasted delicious 😋 #riceballs #stickyrice #lefotvers #saltynsweeteats #fyp

♬ original sound – ALTÉGO

Are leftover rice balls worth making?

These were not too bad with some soy sauce or some homemade yum yum sauce!

I’m sure you could do other things with them, but I was drawing a blank. They have very few ingredients and are easy to make.

In general, leftover rice balls that are skillet-fried could also be stuffed like Korean rice balls, flavored like Indian rice balls, or combined with other Japanese rice ball additives.

This base recipe is a great idea to expand on and get creative with.


  • Short-grain or medium-grain rice: The rice was just white rice, not instant, and takes 15-20 minutes to cook on the stovetop. It was cooled and chilled from my fridge, and rice balls proved to be a great way to use up leftover rice.
  • Butter – Butter over oil provides a delicious taste and a golden brown outer shell. 
  • Dipping Sauce: The most common dipping sauce for these easy leftover rice balls is soy sauce. But try other sauces, like yum yum sauce or this sriracha with mayo recipe for another great take.  

TIP: I used a food processor vs. a blender. Either should work.

How to make Crispy Rice Balls

  1. Place rice and water into a food processor and process until pasty, scraping down the edges as necessary.
  2. Place rice into a skillet over medium-low, stirring occasionally for five minutes or until the mixture comes together in a ball. There is really no need to add other seasonings to this, but black pepper and a pinch of salt always taste great.
  3. Remove the rice mixture from the heat and let it stand to cool a bit. 
  4. Once the cooked rice is cool, heat butter in a skillet over medium heat.
left over rice balls in a skillet.
  1. Wash hands with water and soap. Shape the rice into 1-1/2″ balls (rolling in your palms) and place into the hot skillet of butter.
  2. Cook for 8-10 minutes, turning frequently until browned on most sides. Drain on paper towels.
  3. Serve fried rice balls hot with soy sauce. 
tiktok recipe in a cast iron skillet.

Best Rice Cooker

I have been using the same Zojirushi rice cooker for the last 8 years without any issues or replacing needed. This is the model I have listed on Amazon

What rice works best for rice balls? 

You will want sticky rice like Sushi rice (short grain or medium grain). 

How to prevent the rice from sticking to your hands

While I overall do not have an issue forming rice into balls, spray hands with a bit of nonstick cooking spray if this becomes an issue. 

What types of ingredients go well in rice balls? 

Seaweed, kimchi, tuna, garlic, sesame seeds, and tiny bits of avocado. Another idea is to make them more arancini style with panko breadcrumbs on the outer shell. 

rice ball recipe being dipped into soy sauce.

Leftover Rice Recipes: 3 Simple Ideas

1. Fried Rice A classic favorite, quickly toss the leftover rice with some vegetables, a protein source like chicken or tofu, and some soy sauce or teriyaki sauce for a delicious meal.

2. Stuffed Peppers or tomatoes Use the leftover rice as a base for a filling mixture. Combine it with cooked meat, beans, vegetables, and seasonings, then stuff it into hollowed-out bell peppers or tomatoes.

3. Soup Thickener Add texture and heartiness to soups by throwing in leftover rice. It’ll absorb the flavors of the soup, making for a filling and satisfying meal. Try in Broccoli Cheese Soup, Crockpot Sausage Tortellini, or Savory Italian Meatball Soup.

Savor the Trend: Must-Try Appetizer Recipes

5 from 1 votes

Leftover Rice Balls (TikTok Viral)

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
A great way to use leftover white rice, rice balls are a perfect little bite of rice with a crispy golden brown shell. Serve as an appetizer to dip in soy or a side dish with spicy chicken.


  • Skillet


  • 2 cups white rice cooked and cooled short or medium grain rice
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • soy sauce


  • Prior to starting this recipe, the rice must be cooked and cooled. Leftover rice may be used.
  • Place rice and water into a food processor and process until pasty, scraping down the edges as necessary.
  • Place rice into a skillet over medium-low stirring occasionally for five minutes or until the rice mixture comes together in a ball.
  • Remove from heat and let stand to cool a bit. 
  • Once cool, heat butter in a skillet over medium heat.
  • Shape the rice into 1-1/2" balls (rolling in your palms) and place into the hot skillet of butter.
  • Cook for 8-10 minutes, turning frequently until browned on most sides.
  • Serve hot with soy sauce. 


If hands are sticky, spray a bit of non-stick cooking spray on hands while forming balls. 
Dipping sauce – Soy sauce, chili sauce, or yum yum sauce.


Serving: 2rice balls | Calories: 76kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 3mg | Potassium: 26mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 3IU | Calcium: 8mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutritional Disclaimer: The nutritional data provided here is auto-calculated and intended for your convenience only. As it’s generated via automation, its accuracy may be compromised. For precise nutritional insight, please compute the values utilizing the actual ingredients in your recipe through your chosen nutrition calculator or application.

Sharing of this recipe is encouraged and appreciated. Copying of full recipe to any social media is prohibited.

Did You Make This Recipe?

Make sure to follow Salty Side Dish on Pinterest and rate the recipe here and make sure to leave a comment below!

5 from 1 votes

Leave A Comment

Have a question or want to provide feedback? Share your recipe reviews or questions here and I will do my best to help!

Recipe Rating

Where To Next?