This simple, three-ingredient recipe makes a fabulous party appetizer, or just a fun weeknight dinner side! This post sponsored by VeeTee Rice. Read my disclosure statement here.
Here’s a simple appetizer recipe for a party that you can whip up in under 20 minutes! Spicy Latin flavors combine with a classic Italian appetizer to create these Crispy Spanish Rice Balls.
Spicy Spanish rice is bound with egg, coated in breadcrumbs, fried crispy, and studded with melty pops of soft Spanish cheese. It’s a simple appetizer recipe for a party that you can throw together with just 4 ingredients!
I’ve mentioned this before, but we’re rice fiends in our home. I love how versatility and inexpensive it is, and how it bulks up pretty much any dish.
We eat rice spicy, cheesy, fried with kimchi, made ahead as meal prep, bulked up under a fast weeknight curry, and a million other ways.
These Spanish style rice balls are a cross between two of my favorite ways to use rice, Spanish rice, and Italian arancini.
Spanish rice, that bright and fiery rice usually served alongside Mexican dishes like burritos or enchiladas, isn’t really “Spanish”, as in from Spain. It’s an Americanized term that refers to a Mexican style of cooking rice with cayenne, garlic, chicken broth, and tomatoes.
And Italian arancini is an appetizer usually made with leftover rice. They’re small, crispy fried balls of rice and cheese, usually served as an aperitif alongside a cool glass of white wine.
Arancini makes a perfect simple appetizer for a party; they’re just the size to pop in your mouth as you mingle and drink with friends.
But what if you don’t have leftover rice to make into arancini? That’s where VeeTee rice flavors come in.
I’ve spoken before about my unabashed love of VeeTee Rice (especially since they have since become a sponsor of Percolate Kitchen, thanks guys!)
VeeTee, a US company based out of Virginia, sell packs of par-cooked rice that are done after just 2 minutes in the microwave.
Where other ‘instant’ rice brands can often become soggy or oddly textured after cooking, VeeTee rice cooks to the perfect al dente, and in only 2 minutes! It makes for a really quick way to add rice to your weeknight meals without having to babysit a pot on the stove.
VeeTee sells a number of different flavors of rice, including everything from plain, whole grain, mixed with quinoa, lemon, and the flavor I used to create this Spanish-Style Crispy Rice Balls: Spicy Spanish.
VeeTee’s Spicy Spanish rice has flavors of paprika, smokey adzuki beans, sweetcorn, tomato, and jalapenos, making it more than just a standard side dish; it’s a whole meal to itself.
But when you’re short on party appetizer recipe ideas, this spicy rice can turn into a perfectly quick dish in under 20 minutes.
Simply take a package’s worth of cooked Spicy Spanish rice, mix it with crumbled queso blanco, and roll in breadcrumbs. Dry the little balls over medium-high heat, then drain any excess oil on a paper towel.
What you’re left with are crispy little balls of spicy rice, cooled slightly with melty chunks of queso blanco, that are perfect for popping in your mouth as you mingle with friends. It’s a seamless blend of Latin heat and Italian cuisine, and the perfect simple appetizer recipe for a party this holiday season (or any time of the year!)
Crispy Spanish Rice Arancini
Dry GoodsVeeTee prepackaged Spicy Spanish Rice1 package (or see instructions for making from scratch)
Italian-style breadcrumbs1 cup
vegetable oil3 tablespoons
queso blanco3 ounces
Crispy Spanish Rice 'Arancini' is spicy Spanish rice studded with melty cheese and coasted in crispy breadcrumbs; make this simple appetizer recipe for a party this holiday season- or any time of the year!
- In a large bowl, combine the rice, egg, and cheese. Use your hands or a large spoon to mix and combine thoroughly.
- In a large stainless steel pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat until shimmering.
- Pour the breadcrumbs onto a plate. Using our hands or a small handheld ice cream scoop, scoop the rice mixture and roll into balls. Toss the balls in the breadcrumbs until coated, then place carefully in the hot oil.
- Fry, turning the balls in the oil until they are browned on all sides.
- Place cooked balls on a plate lined with paper towel to drain off any excess grease, then serve hot.
If you don’t have prepackaged VeeTee Spicy Spanish Rice on hand:
1 cup long grain white rice
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cup chicken broth
Pinch cayenne pepper
- Cook the rice and tomato paste together over medium heat, stirring often, until the rice starts to lightly brown and crisp, about 3-5 minutes.
- Add the chicken broth and cover. Turn heat to low.
- Cook, 12-15 minutes until the rice is cooked through and soft, and the chicken broth has cooked away.
- Season with cayenne pepper.
Prep it for later:
1. If you don’t have prepackaged VeeTee Spicy Spanish Rice, follow the instructions to make your own rice. When cool enough to handle, transfer to a resealable bag or container.
2. Crumble the queso blanco, if needed
Cooked rice with store for up to 4 days in the fridge, and up to 3 months in the freezer.
1 bag or container of cooked rice, if needed
1 bag or container of crumbled queso, if needed
Prepare from prepped:
1. Thaw ingredients as necessary.
2. Follow the instructions in Steps 1-5. Serve warm.