30-Minute Rice Balls (Leftover Rice Recipe) - Beyond Kimchee (2024)

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posted by Holly Ford onJun 16, 2021 (updated Jul 8, 2023) 39 comments »

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5 from 6 ratings

Do you have a ton of leftover rice? These colorful Korean-style rice balls are a great leftover rice recipe. You can easily adapt the recipe for any vegetables you have on hand. Use short grain rice. These are great for lunchboxes and as a finger food or snack.

30-Minute Rice Balls (Leftover Rice Recipe) - Beyond Kimchee (1)

Have you ever wonder, Hmmm, what can I make with the leftover rice I have in the fridge?

If you are looking for some great leftover rice recipes or left over rice ideas, these budget friendly, Korean rice snacks can put a smile on your face.

Don’t you just love all the colors of these rice balls? They are made with leftover short grain rice and scraps of vegetables I had in my fridge.

I can picture these rice balls…

  • in lunch boxes
  • as a finger food at a party
  • or being gobbled up as a gluten-free snack

Unless I am in the mood for Korean kimbap (seaweed rice rolls), these rice balls are my go-to remedy to get rid of leftover rice. And making them is a snap – you can’t get any better than this!

30-Minute Rice Balls (Leftover Rice Recipe) - Beyond Kimchee (2)

Ideas for Tasty Rice Balls

  1. Ham and Spinach Rice Balls
  2. Egg and Pickled Radish Rice Balls
  3. Mushroom and Vegetable Rice Balls

The best thing about these rice balls is that not only can you use up your leftover short grain rice, one of the main Korean rice types, you can also adapt the recipe to use any vegetables you might have in your kitchen.

The rice recipes above are just ideas for you, but I hope you let your imagination go wild with what you have in your kitchen!

If you like to try an exquisite Korean rice dish, try my easy bibimbap recipe. You can make this complex authentic Korean mixed rice under 1 hour. Don’t forget to check out my other Korean rice recipes if you need more inspiration.

30-Minute Rice Balls (Leftover Rice Recipe) - Beyond Kimchee (3)

Recipe FAQs

What to put in rice (suitable ingredients for rice balls)?

  • For the vegetable: use any green leafy vegetable, squash (zucchini), pepper, broccoli, carrot, pea, pickles, or herb.
  • For the protein: ham, ground meat, bacon, egg, salmon, canned tuna, or fish roe
  • For other ingredient: mushroom, dried fish, roasted seaweed (crumbled), fish cake.

You can use any combination of vegetable and protein options I mention above. Or make them vegan/vegetarian if you wish.

What rice should I use?

Either short grain or medium grain cooked rice. The fluffy long grain rice won’t work well with this recipe. You will need some stickiness from the rice grains to adhere each other.

Can I use frozen leftover rice?

Of course! I usually reheat frozen rice in the microwave until they are warm to the touch.

How do you make rice balls stick together?

  • I found that wearing a pair of disposable plastic gloves helps forming the balls better than the bare hands. Grease the gloves with a tiny bit of oil before making the balls. It seems that rice doesn’t stick much to the gloves.
  • Try not to make the balls too big. If you’re not careful, the weight of the ball itself can pull the rice grains apart from the other ingredients. I find 1-1/2 to 2 inches in diameter is most ideal.

Now let’s make some adorable short grain leftover rice snacks.

30-Minute Rice Balls (Leftover Rice Recipe) - Beyond Kimchee (4)

1. Ham and Spinach Rice Balls

These rice balls use minced ham, baby spinach, and green onion. You will need to chop the ham pieces finely.

Substitution Idea: Try Korean ground beef bulgogi instead of ham pieces for more Asian flavor!

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  1. Use finely minced ham pieces, green onion, and chopped baby spinach.
  2. Saute spinach and green onion in a little oil until they are wilted. Season with Korean soup soy sauce (Do not use too much oil. It will prevent the rice grains from sticking to each other.)
  3. Combine rice, ham, and spinach in a mixing bowl; mix well. Season with salt and pepper if needed.
  4. Take a heaping tablespoonful of rice mixture and gently squeeze to form a ball, about 1 1/2-inch in size.
30-Minute Rice Balls (Leftover Rice Recipe) - Beyond Kimchee (9)

2. Egg and Pickled Radish Rice Balls

Don’t you just love the pretty yellow? The hard boiled egg yolks stain the rice and turn them into beautiful yellow balls of joy.

I used Korean pickled radish (see my korea seaweed rice roll recipe for another great use of pickled radish) and hard boiled egg. Pickled cucumber would also work as well in this recipe.

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  1. Mince pickled radish into small pieces.
  2. Separate the hard boiled egg whites and egg yolks. Chop the egg whites finely.
  3. Using a strainer and a spoon, mash the egg yolks to crumble. In a mixing bowl combine egg yolks, egg whites, pickled radish, rice, and mayonnaise; mix well. Season with salt according to your taste.
  4. Take a heaping tablespoonful of rice mixture and gently squeeze to form a ball, about 1 1/2-inch in size.
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3. Mushroom and Vegetable Rice Balls

I used fresh shiitake mushroom for these rice balls. The chewy and meaty texture of mushrooms makes these quite enjoyable. Any mushroom will work. Season with garlic, ginger, and other Korean condiments to make them even more tasty.

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  1. Chop mushroom, red pepper, green onion finely.
  2. Heat 2 teaspoon of oil in a skillet. Saute mushroom and vegetables with garlic and ginger. Season with Korean soup soy sauce, and sesame oil.
  3. Combine the mushroom mixture with the rice in a mixing bowl; mix well. Season with salt if needed.
  4. Take a heaping tablespoonful of rice mixture and gently squeeze to form a ball, about 1 1/2-inch in size.
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Serving Suggestion

  • Serve this rice balls as a Korean finger food or put them in a lunchbox.
  • Use on a lettuce wrap with a dollop of gochujang (Korean chili paste) or homemade gochujang sauce for the fancier taste.

More Leftover Rice Recipes

Some of Korean rice recipes are great for using up the leftover rice. Here are a few recipes that you can try;

  • Quick Spam Fried Rice
  • All-Time Favorite Thai Pineapple Fried Rice
  • Bacon Kimchi Fried Rice (Kimchi Bokkeumbap)
  • Nasi Goreng (Indonesian Spicy Fried Rice)
  • Fragrant Thai Basil Fried Rice

30-Minute Rice Balls (Leftover Rice Recipe) - Beyond Kimchee (20)

30-Minute Rice balls (Leftover Rice Recipe)

Servings: 8 people

Prep Time: 20 minutes mins

Cook Time: 10 minutes mins

Total Time: 30 minutes mins

These colorful Korean-style rice balls are made with leftover rice. You can easily adapt the recipe for any vegetables you have on hand. Use short grain rice.

5 from 6 ratings

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Ingredients

Ham and Spinach Rice Balls

  • 2 cup (400 g) cooked short grain white rice, warmed
  • 1/2 cup (125 g) minced ham
  • 2 tsp oil
  • 2 cup (64 g) baby spinach, loosly packed
  • 1 green onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp Korean soup soy sauce (gukganjang)
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Egg and Pickled Radish Rice Balls

  • 2 cup (400 g) cooked short grain white rice, warmed
  • 4 hard boiled egg yolks
  • 2 hard boiled egg white
  • 1/2 cup (77 g) finely minced pickled radish, or any pickled vegetable
  • 1 1/2 tbsp mayonnaise
  • salt , to taste

Mushroom and Vegetable Rice Balls

  • 2 cup (400 g) cooked short grain white rice, warmed
  • 2 tsp oil
  • 1/2 cup (50 g) finely chopped shiitake mushroom, or other mushroom of your choice
  • 1/2 cup (75 g) finely chopped red pepper
  • 2 green onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp ginger paste
  • 1 tsp Korean soup soy sauce (gukganjang)
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

For Ham and spinach rice balls

For egg and pickled radish rice balls

  • Chop the egg whites finely.

  • Using a strainer and a spoon, mash the egg yolks to crumble. In a mixing bowl combine egg whites, egg yolks, pickled radish, rice, and mayonnaise; mix well. Season with salt according to your taste.

  • Take a heaping tablespoonful of rice mixture and gently squeeze to form a ball, about 1 1/2-inch in size.

For mushroom and vegetable rice balls

  • Heat oil in a skillet. Saute mushroom and vegetables with garlic and ginger. Season with Korean soup soy sauce, and sesame oil.

  • Combine the mushroom mixture with the rice in a mixing bowl; mix well. Season with salt and pepper according to your taste.

  • Take a heaping tablespoonful of rice mixture and gently squeeze to form a ball, about 1 1/2-inch in size.

Cuisine: Korean

Course: Lunch, Snack

Author: Holly Ford

Web Story: https://www.beyondkimchee.com/web-stories/rice-balls/

Did you make this recipe?Tag @beyondkimchee on Instagram. I love to see your masterpiece.

Rice Dishes

originally published on Jun 16, 2021 (last updated Jul 8, 2023)

39 commentsLeave a comment »

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39 comments on “30-Minute Rice Balls (Leftover Rice Recipe)”

Leave a comment »

  1. Jessica FrintReply

    Hello! How far can you make these in advance. Thank you!

    • Holly FordReply

      You can make them a day in advance and keep them in the fridge. Make sure to bring them to room temperature before serving.

  2. CatReply

    Just made the egg version for a finger-food party tomorrow. I drizzled toasted sesame oil over the balls for a bit of extra flavor. What do you call the lovely decorative green leaves you show under the rice balls?

    • Holly FordReply

      Hi Cat
      The green leaves are called Kkaennip. It’s perilla leaves, widely used in Korean cuisine. See this recipe for Perilla leaf kimchi as a reference.
      Thanks for your comment!

  3. NicholeReply

    What if you don’t eat Spanish what can I use instead of Spanish

  4. NicholeReply

    What if u don’t eat Spanish what can I put

  5. ThereseReply

    I like making it a sweet treat riceball, try mixing rice with cinnamon and sugar.

  6. AndreaReply

    Love this recipe! So simple and looks so tasty! Can’t wait to make it. Thank you!

  7. adeebaReply

    WOOW really neat way to use leftover rice am so happy people like you teach us to use everything
    Am try this recipe soon ,,,,,,,,,then giving rating too
    thank you

  8. angiesrecipesReply

    Such a great way to use up leftover! You are very creative, Holly.

  9. John / Kitchen RiffsReply

    Pretty! Tasty too, I’ll bet. Neat way to use leftover rice — thanks.

  10. KimReply

    Hi Holly,

    What a creative way to use up leftover rice! I cannot wait to try these out. They’re so cute, too! Thanks so much for sharing this fun, simple recipe! 🙂

    • Holly FordReply

      Thank you, Kim. They are easy to make and great way to use up the leftover rice. They tastes great to. I hope you like them.

  11. CurtisReply

    Hi!

    I really loved this recipe and I was planning to make it for my family, but I was just wondering how many servings does the ingredients for rice ball #2 give to only make rice ball #2s?

    Thanks

    • HollyReply

      I would say 2-4 depends on what type of meal you will serve as. As for a quick snack, it can serve 4. As for a simple meal, perhaps 2?

  12. DorothyReply

    Should the rice be warm??

    • HollyReply

      Warm rice works better but room temperature will work, too.

  13. BeckyReply

    We are rice farmers in Northern California. I loved what you posted about each grain of rice. I will share this with my hubby. We raise medium grain that is for sushi. It should work great for this dish. I think my kids will love them, and if I pulverize the mushrooms enough, they will never even know they are in there. Lol. They only don’t like them when they see them. I can’t wait to try some of your recipes. Your other posts that mention rice cakes have intrigued me. I’ve never seen those and now want to hunt them down. Do you know how to make them from scratch? I love your blog and have it pinned to visit again. Have a great day, and thank you for sharing your yummy recipes!

    • HollyReply

      Hi Becky

      It is so nice to hear from a rice farmer. Medium grain will work good on sushi and other rice dishes where the stickiness of rice is necessary. I understand about hiding a certain type of vegetables in a dish. My daughter hated mushroom when she was much younger and I always have to sneak in a disguised form to feed her. ha ha! Hope you can try some of my recipes.
      Rie cake is not actually hard to make at all, but you will need the rice flour. All you need is the rice flour, a little salt and water (just enough to moisten together). Mix, knead, and roll into long lope, about 1/2″-1″ in diameter. Steam or microwave (covered with wet cloth) until fully cooked. That’s all! Hope this helps!

  14. mylene acebedoReply

    Oh thank you holly on your replied!!! Great indeed now i am ready to make it! I’m looking forward to your other recipes later on! Great
    thanks!!:)

  15. mylene acebedoReply

    I just read your recipe coz i am interested to make korean rice balls and i found your blog here but the problem is we cannot find bacon here in the kuwait so instead of bacon can i just add turkey ham? Please reply! Thanks !!:)

    • HollyReply

      Yes, you can use other types of meat. Ham or ground beef would be great!

  16. rahitaReply

    i loveee your idea with this rice ball, i’m facing the same problem with leftover rice, now i know what to do with them..and you are so funny :)) keep up the good job.

  17. azileaReply

    thank for program,,,i realy loved about korean foods,,n learning to make them my self,,n thankfull for blocker,,its realy help me to learnm more dishes ,,,healthy and quick and simple to make them,,,,,

  18. Hong PhucReply

    Thank you so much for this simple and delicious recipe. The ingredients in “rice balls” are very flexible, so I will try some other flavors.
    Have a nice day!

  19. beyondkimcheeReply

    @571c1cbd5b58d76fe27655b39130cf52:disqus
    Not for this types of Asian rice balls. Of course you can fry them if you want, but it is good as it is.

  20. SmersclaytonReply

    You don't fry or bake the rice balls???

  21. CindeliciousReply

    you are very creative! It's great idea.

  22. militialiciousReply

    I have read this post before and of course, like them just as much as any others of yours. But I forgot about the part when you say to eat it all in one big bite- the Korean way- that always makes me chuckle. It really is the Korean way, and how I was taught, too. :] Your recipes and your writing always make me remember so many good things. Thanks again and again.

  23. sophie from Hotel la Legende - BrusselReply

    Amazing!!!
    I prepared this rice balls and the chicken tofu with my Korean French friend and we loved: we invited French from Mayenne(France) and they were so enjoyed!!!
    Continue to post your cultural and culinary passion!

  24. AnonymousReply

    Hi Beyondkimchee,
    Just made the carrot & sh*take mushroom rice balls. They are yummy. I have a batch waiting for my son for his after-school snack. Just thought you'd like to know that the cooking instruction for the chopped mushrooms is missing when I chose the Printable Recipe option. Thanks for the recipe — I've been wondering about making onigiri but have been afraid to but your post made me try it!

  25. beyondkimcheeReply

    Hi Lori
    Yes, you can use your local rice, as long as it is sticky. I love bibimbap, too and definitely plannig to post on my blog sometime soon. Have fun in Egypt. Love to visit there someday.

  26. LoriReply

    HI!!These look great, I'm excited to try them.. I am living in Egypt and the local rice here is shortgrain, kind of like risotto rice, so I think it should work? Also, I will not use bacon as it's quite hard to come by here… maybe impossible.I lived in Korea for one year and I miss some of the food, I would love to see a bibimbap recipe on here sometime!! Great Blog!
    Lori

  27. beyondkimcheeReply

    Thanks for all your kind words. I just a newbie in blogging and enjoy sharing things I love with people. It is very rewarding to get connected with people whom I never met. Have a great day or evening wherever you are. Thanks.

  28. tigerfishReply

    These rice balls sounds so delicious!

  29. KPReply

    This reminds me of Japanese onigiri. My kids love them in their lunches:) I love your blog and as a Korean, I am always looking for Korean recipes to satiate my cravings. I'm following you now!

  30. TasteStoppingReply

    This was so much fun to read! We did have rice tonight, and though my girls would be fine eating it plain with butter, I think they would have even more fun making their own rice balls. With bacon and…not sure. Maybe just bacon! (They're a little picky, so it's best to start them off slowly.)Anyway, I found you through TasteSpotting and am writing to say that if you have any photos that aren’t accepted there, I’d love to publish them. Visit my site (below), it’s a lot of fun! I hope you will consider it.

  31. AnonymousReply

    I am so excited to make these! I just happen to come across your blog tonight and I love it – I love the insight, poetry, step-by-step instructions and photos! I am now going to think of each piece of rice as a farmer's spot of sweat (not that I have ever been able to just waste it as I love it too). I have your blog bookmarked and look forward to future recipes. Thanks! meg (canada)

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30-Minute Rice Balls (Leftover Rice Recipe) - Beyond Kimchee (2024)

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