Recipe courtesy of Dana Beninati for Food Network Kitchen

Everything Bagel Fried Rice Balls

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 25 min
  • Active: 25 min
  • Yield: 12 rice balls
Fried rice balls, known by Italians as arancini, are heavenly balls of cheesy rice that are crispy on the outside and tender in the center. Typically they are made with arborio rice, the same you would reach for when making risotto, because the starchiness helps the balls hold together. This recipe uses leftover rice instead, which cuts down the preparation time. It also puts a new spin on this dish with a crowd favorite – everything bagel seasoning – and a center of ooey, gooey cream cheese!



  1. Heat 2 inches of oil in a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot) fitted with a deep-fry thermometer over medium heat, until the thermometer registers 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with paper towels and set a wire rack inside.
  2. Mix the rice, mozzarella, everything bagel seasoning and 2 tablespoons scallions in a large bowl.  
  3. Scoop out 2 tablespoon portions of the rice mixture to make 12 rice balls (if using a 2-tablespoon cookie scoop, pack the scoop against the side of the bowl).  
  4. Moisten your hands with water to prevent the rice mixture from sticking to your palms. Working with 1 rice ball at a time, flatten into a thick patty, then place 1 piece of cream cheese in the center. Wrap the patty around the cream cheese, roll between your palms to form a tight ball and place on a plate. Repeat with the remaining rice balls and cream cheese. 
  5. Whisk the flour, garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper in a shallow bowl. Whisk the eggs with 1 teaspoon of water in another shallow bowl. Place the breadcrumbs in a third shallow bowl.  
  6. Dredge a rice ball in the seasoned flour and tap off any excess. Use a fork to dip in the egg wash, allowing any excess to drip off. Roll in the breadcrumbs until evenly coated, then place on a plate. Repeat with the remaining rice balls. 
  7. Gently lower 6 rice balls into the hot oil and fry, turning as needed, until golden brown on all sides, about 5 minutes total. Remove with a spider and drain on the prepared baking sheet; season with salt. Bring the oil temperature back to 375 degrees F and repeat with the remaining 6 rice balls. Sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons scallions and serve immediately.

Cook’s Note

This recipe is a great way to use leftover white rice from takeout. You can also fry the arancini in an air fryer. Preheat the air fryer to 350 degrees F. Fry in batches, shaking the basket halfway through to rotate balls, until golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes.