A bowl of dessert bites with a dish of caramel sauce
Photography, Emanuela Cino

Cinnamon Rice Pudding Balls

These sweet arancini balls are rolled in hazelnuts and lightly toasted.

No matter what you call them – dessert rice balls, sweet arancini, fried rice balls, fried rice pudding balls – this simple dessert has a maximum wow factor, and it’s easy to make. You just need a few minutes to toss ingredients together and then simmer for around 40 minutes. The trick is to cook your rice pudding the night before, so you roll the rice balls with ease the following day. If you’re looking for a rice pudding recipe you can serve immediately after cooking, make our Coconut Rice Pudding.

The base for the rice pudding balls is short-grain rice, whole milk and sugar, which is brought to a boil and then simmered with ground cinnamon and a whole cinnamon stick. The resulting slightly sticky pudding is refrigerated overnight, and then divided into 30 even portions the following day. Each portion gets rolled into a ball, then rolled in finely chopped hazelnuts. A quick toast in a large skillet, and you have a delightful dessert. Serve with store-bought salted caramel sauce (we love Coop’s Salted Caramel Sauce) for dripping or drizzling.

A bowl of dessert bites with a dish of caramel sauce

Cinnamon Rice Pudding Balls

A simple recipe for rice pudding balls dipped in an indulgent caramel sauce.
Course Dessert
Servings 8


  • ¾ cups short-grain rice
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 egg yolk
  • cup hazelnuts finely chopped
  • store-bought salted caramel sauce


  • In saucepan, heat rice, milk and sugar, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and stir in ground cinnamon and cinnamon stick. Simmer gently and cook, stirring until tender and slightly sticky, about 40 minutes.
  • Remove from heat; stir in egg yolk. Scrape into a shallow casserole dish and refrigerate to cool overnight.
  • Using hands, divide rice mixture into 30 even portions and roll into balls.
  • Place hazelnuts in a pie plate and roll rice balls to coat. Toast rice balls in a large skillet over medium heat. Serve warm with salted caramel sauce (if desired).


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