Fried and filled with an assortment of ooey-gooey cheeses, these Fried Pimiento Cheese Balls are always a crowd-pleasing appetizer.
Fried Pimiento Cheese Balls
- 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
- 4 large eggs, divided
- 3 (8.8-ounce) packages fully cooked rice*, heated according to package directions
- 1 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese
- 2¾ cups Italian-seasoned panko (Japanese bread crumbs), divided
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- Garnish: chopped fresh chives
- Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese, mayonnaise, Worcestershire, and red pepper with a mixer at medium speed until almost smooth. Stir in Cheddar, pimientos, and chives. Scoop mixture by 2 teaspoonfuls, and roll into balls. Place on 1 prepared pan; freeze for 30 minutes.
- In a large bowl, beat 2 eggs; stir in rice, Parmesan, and ¾ cup bread crumbs. Scoop mixture by 2 tablespoonfuls, gently mounding. Place on remaining prepared pan.
- Flatten rice mounds; place 1 frozen cheese ball in center of each. Spoon 2 tablespoons rice mixture on top of each cheese ball. Spray hands with cooking spray; tightly roll each portion into a ball.
- In a medium Dutch oven, pour oil to fill halfway, and heat over medium heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 365°.
- In a shallow dish, whisk together flour and salt. In another shallow dish, add remaining 2 cups bread crumbs. In a shallow bowl, beat remaining 2 eggs.
- Working in batches, dredge rice balls in flour, gently shaking off excess. Dip balls in eggs, letting excess drip off ; roll in bread crumbs to fully coat.
- Working in batches, fry rice balls, turning occasionally, until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Remove rice balls using a slotted spoon, and let drain on paper towels. Let cool slightly. Garnish with chives, if desired. Serve warm.