Fried Pimiento Cheese Balls

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These little bites make for an impressive starter or party snack. Just be sure to save a few for yourself—we guarantee they’ll disappear quickly.

Fried Pimiento Cheese Balls
Serves: About 15
 
Ingredients
  • 2½ ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 4 teaspoons mayonnaise
  • ¼ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground red pepper
  • ⅔ cup shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 2 teaspoons diced pimientos, drained
  • 1¼ teaspoons chopped fresh chives
  • 3 (8.8-ounce) packages fully cooked rice*, heated according to package directions
  • 1 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 2¾ cups Italian-style panko (Japanese bread crumbs), divided
  • 4 large eggs, divided and lightly beaten
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Garnish: chopped fresh chives
Instructions
  1. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese, mayonnaise, Worcestershire, and red pepper with a mixer on medium speed until well combined and almost smooth (small lumps may remain). Stir in Cheddar, pimientos, and chives. Scoop mixture by 2-teaspoonful mounds, and roll into balls. Place on one prepared pan; freeze for 20 to 30 minutes.
  3. In a large bowl, stir together warm rice, Parmesan, ¾ cup bread crumbs, and 2 beaten eggs. Scoop 15 (2-tablespoonful) mounds onto remaining prepared pan.
  4. Flatten rice mounds; place 1 frozen cheese ball in center of each. Spoon 2 tablespoons rice mixture on top of each cheese ball. (Rice mixture may seem loose and crumbly, but it will stick together.) Spray hands with cooking spray, and tightly pack rice mixture around pimiento filling.
  5. Fill a large cast-iron Dutch oven halfway with oil; heat over medium heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 365°.
  6. Place flour in a shallow dish. Place remaining 2 beaten eggs in another shallow bowl. In a third shallow dish, stir together salt and remaining 2 cups bread crumbs.
  7. Working in batches, dredge rice balls in flour, gently shaking of excess. Dip balls in eggs, letting excess drip off; roll in bread crumbs to fully coat. Fry until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Remove rice balls using a slotted spoon, and let drain on paper towels. Let cool for 2 minutes. Garnish with chives, if desired. Serve immediately.
Notes
*We used Uncle Ben's Original Ready Rice.