Do you have a ton of leftover rice? These colorful 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.

These colorful rice balls are made with the leftover rice.

Don’t you just love all the colors of these rice balls? They are made with leftover rice and scraps of vegetables I had in my fridge. These rice balls are a great leftover rice recipe that can put a smile on your loved ones’ face.

I can picture these rice balls…

  • in lunch boxes,
  • as a finger food at a party, or
  • being gobbled up as a snack.

Unless I am in the mood for Kimbap (Korean 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!

3 colorful rice balls are made with leftover rice and vegetables

The best thing about these rice balls is that not only can you use up your leftover rice, you can also adapt the recipe to use any vegetables you might have in your kitchen. The recipes below are just ideas for you, but I hope you let your imagination go wild with what you have in your kitchen!

Don’t forget to check out my other easy Korean rice recipes if you need more inspiration.

And now, ladies and gentlemen, here are 3 different rice balls ideas:

  1. Ham and spinach rice balls
  2. Egg and pickled radish rice balls
  3. Mushroom and vegetable rice balls
Three different types of rice balls are presented on a small serving dish.

Recipe FAQs

1. What other ingredients are suitable 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.

2. What rice should I use?

Either short grain or medium grain 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.

3. Can I use frozen leftover rice?

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

4. 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 rice balls.

Small rice balls made with ham and spinach are served on a white plate.

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.

  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.
Pretty yellow rice balls are placed on a white fluted serving dish.

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 and hard boiled egg. I think pickled cucumber would work as well in this recipe.

  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.
Rice balls made with mushroom, red pepper, green onion are placed in a serving bowl.

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.

  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.
Three different rice balls are arranged in a wooden serving bowl lined with perilla leaves.

Serving Suggestion

3 colorful rice balls are made with leftover rice and vegetables

Rice balls (Leftover Rice Recipe)

These colorful 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 3 ratings

Ingredients

Ham and Spinach Rice Balls

  • 2 cup cooked rice, warmed
  • 1/2 cup minced ham
  • 2 tsp oil
  • 2 cup 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 cooked rice, warmed
  • 4 hard boiled egg yolks
  • 2 hard boiled egg white
  • 1/2 cup finely minced pickled radish, or any pickled vegetable
  • 1 1/2 tbsp mayonnaise
  • salt , to taste

Mushroom and Vegetable Rice Balls

  • 2 cup cooked rice, warmed
  • 2 tsp oil
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped shiitake mushroom, or other mushroom of your choice
  • 1/2 cup 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

  • Heat oil in a skillet and saute spinach and green onion until they are wilted. (Do not use too much oil. It will prevent the rice grains from sticking to each other) Season with Korean soup soy sauce.
  • Combine rice, ham, and sauteed spinach in a mixing bowl; mix well.
  • Take a heaping tablespoonful of rice mixture and gently squeeze to form a ball, about 1 1/2-inch in size.

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