Mexican Rice Balls
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Mexican Rice Balls



OK, so you didn't watch yesterday's video on how to cook perfect brown rice and now you've got a batch of sticky rice and don't know what to do with it.

Say hello to your new best friend Mexican Rice Balls. They fit perfectly in little hands and feature a chunk of gooey cheese the center which is like a surprise in every bite. Make these ahead of time, put them in the fridge, and just pop a few in the microwave or a steamer whenever you hear grumbling tummies in your house.

Mexican RIce Balls  (makes 22 balls)

  • Prep Time: 10 mins,
  • Cook Time: 45 mins,
  • Rating:
    Rate this recipe
OK, so you didn't watch yesterday's video on how to cook perfect brown rice and now you've got a batch of sticky rice and don't know what to do with it. Say hello to your new best friend Mexican Rice Balls. They fit perfectly in little hands and...


  • 1 cup short grain rice
  • 2 1/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder*
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup cheddar cheese cubes (i use 4 cheese sticks cut into 6 pieces each)


  1. 1. In a pot, combine all of the ingredients* except the cheese, and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 45 minutes, or until the rice has absorbed the water and is cooked through. Leave pot covered and allow it to sit on the stove, off of the heat, for about 10 minutes.
  2. 2. When rice is cool enough to handle, take about 2 tablespoons of it with moist hands (to avoid sticking), place a cheese cube in the center, and roll into a ball. Continue with remaining rice and cheese.***
  3. 3. Place rice balls in the microwave for 10-15 seconds to melt the cheese. Alternatively, place the rice balls in a steamer pot over boiling water for 1-2 minutes.

Accompaniments: * If you already have sticky rice on hand, just mix in the spices before forming around cheese cubes ** You can also use 1 tablespoon mexican seasoning instead of the cumin, paprika, oregano and garlic powder *** If not ready to eat immediately, place rice balls in refrigerator for up to two days. When ready to eat, proceed from step 3.

Mexican RIce Balls

Nutrition Information

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  1. bmcelhose

    October 29, 2014 at 6:01 am

    I haven’t tried this recipe yet but am going to add it to our annual Halloween menu as spider eggs, can’t wait!

  2. Sarah

    September 13, 2014 at 7:58 pm

    I LOVE mexican food and always need rice on the side. This looks amazing! I can’t wait to try this, thank you!

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  8. Evangeline

    December 2, 2013 at 12:30 pm

    how long can these be kept in the freezer?

  9. eviesmom

    October 29, 2013 at 11:07 am

    My two-year-old LOVED these! And the fact that you can premake them and stick them in the fridge is fabulous! (Just a note that when I heated up the chilled ones, I did them for 15 seconds first, then another 8. The cheese wasn’t completely melted after the first 15.)

  10. Kristen

    June 13, 2013 at 2:31 pm

    What is the difference between short grain and long grain rice? I looked today at my local grocery store, both in the rice section and the ethnic section and could not find any short grain rice. Ended up getting sushi rice, says it’s medium grade rice. Hope it works!!

    • catherine

      June 14, 2013 at 10:21 am

      It has to do with the physical size of the grains. Sushi rice is medium or short grain. Basmati and Jasmine rice are long grain.

  11. NutellaMamma

    May 23, 2013 at 12:43 pm

    Will try cooking the rice in chicken stock, maybe add a bit of pureed carrots or tomatoes to the rice to add color. Thank you.

  12. Alison

    February 22, 2013 at 5:17 pm

    My short grain brown rice wasn’t sticky so I couldn’t form the balls., not sure why. Just thought I’d mention it.

    • Freddiesafishie

      June 30, 2013 at 12:30 am

      My brown rice wasn’t sticky enough to form the balls either, Maybe I should have used the sushi rice instead? Or maybe if I would have used a rice cooker???

      • Tracy

        September 15, 2013 at 2:03 am

        I had the same trouble — couldn’t form balls at all with the rice, it just didn’t stick.

  13. Lisa | With Style and Grace

    February 13, 2013 at 12:53 am

    what a great idea!

  14. Kate

    February 6, 2013 at 8:26 am

    I can see pudgy little hands all over this one!

  15. aida mollenkamp

    February 5, 2013 at 4:54 pm

    Ooh, they’re like arancini for little ones. Adorable!

  16. Coco

    February 1, 2013 at 1:46 am

    Hi Catherine,

    I’m Mexican and this is not a Mexican recipe, but it sure looks delicious!

  17. TanyaC

    January 30, 2013 at 2:56 pm

    Such a cute idea!! How did you get so clever?!!

  18. Bethany

    January 30, 2013 at 1:32 pm

    Is this recipe in your cookbook? Thanks!

    • catherine

      January 30, 2013 at 1:50 pm

      It is not. This is a brand new recipe!

  19. Enne

    January 30, 2013 at 1:15 pm

    My son wanted bean burritos for lunch, got this email this morning and now the brown rice is on the stove, smells great. can’t wait to form the balls and give my son a nice surprise in his lunch box today. Thank you again for another fun recipe!

    • Enne

      January 30, 2013 at 4:38 pm

      So I made these, they came out looking great, but were a little bland. While the rice and water was in the pot, I added the spices and they all sunk to the bottom, making a crust. I mixed the rice together with my hands. Did you have to take this step? What did I do wrong?

  20. Adriana

    January 30, 2013 at 12:14 pm

    Looks great! Is there a substitute for the rice? I avoid all rice due to arsenic. Thanks!

    • catherine

      January 30, 2013 at 1:30 pm

      I totally hear you. There isn’t really a substitute for the rice as no other grains get that good sticky consistency!

    • Meredith B

      January 30, 2013 at 12:30 pm

      Have you thought of using basmati or jasmine rice (lowest levels)?

  21. Kari

    January 30, 2013 at 11:17 am

    Is short grain rice sushi rice ?

    • catherine

      January 30, 2013 at 12:58 pm

      Yes, sushi rice is short grain rice! You can find short grain brown rice in the rice section, too!

  22. Jennifer R.

    January 30, 2013 at 11:14 am

    Can you freeze these?

    • catherine

      January 30, 2013 at 1:06 pm

      Yes you can! Place them on a baking tray in the freezer for about 30 – 60 minutes, until frozen. Then transfer to a zip top bag or other freezer container. When ready to use, thaw in the fridge or in a steamer pot!