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Brown Rice And Cheese Appetizer Recipes

Use brown rice and cheese as a base for all kinds of delicious appetizers, including crab cakes. These can ordinarily be tricky to hold together while cooking. With brown rice, you have an affordable base which can be built upon with almost any flavor and which holds together well for frying. Use what you have to build these thrifty and easy-to-freeze appetizers.

Below is a "base recipe." I will also include a recipe for crab cakes, olive bites, jalapeno poppers, and veggie sticks. Experiment and find what combination suits you, or make up your own! These recipes yield a large amount for gatherings and freeze so well that I almost always have some on hand. They are very popular in my family.

Base Recipe

This is only a base, and so some amounts will vary depending on recipe. But using this basic mix, you can create almost anything you like.



  • 3 cups cooked brown rice, still warm (cooked according to package directions, but on the mushy side)
  • 8 oz. cheese (type will depend upon what flavors and additions you will use)
  • 1 cup of chopped cooked vegetables (type will vary)
  • 1-2 cups chopped cooked meat (type will vary)
  • seasonings, herbs, or spices
  • flour for dredging
  • egg and milk (for coating)
  • dry breadcrumbs or corn flake crumbs (for coating)
  • hot oil for frying


Put rice in large mixing bowl or bowl of stand mixer. While still a little warm, add cheese and mix on high until very sticky and thick. If using a stand mixer, just let it mix for a good long while. Turn mixer to low speed and add in vegetables, meat and seasonings. You can taste as you go since all ingredients are cooked.

Once you have everything well-combined, try to form mixture into small balls. If it doesn't hold together well, refrigerate a while to let it stiffen. You may form into bite size balls or larger patties, whatever you desire. Dredge the patties or balls in flour, then dip in egg/milk mixture, then coat with crumbs.

You may fry immediately (at about 325 degrees F until golden brown) or freeze for later use. They freeze very well and if you freeze first and then put in a zipper bag, you can pull out just as many as you need! These recipes yield a large amount.


Additional Recipes and Versions

Crab Cakes


  • 3 cups cooked brown rice, still warm
  • 8 ounces shredded Italian blend cheese
  • 1/3 cup each cooked diced celery, red bell peppers, and onions (to make one cup total)
  • 2 cups chopped imitation crab meat (never tried it with real, I'm too thrifty!)
  • Old Bay seasoning (to taste)
  • flour for dredging
  • 2 eggs whisked with 1 cup milk (for coating)
  • plain bread crumbs and/or corn flake crumbs (for coating)


Make as directed above in base recipe. Serve with cocktail sauce. You can make your own simple cocktail sauce by combing ketchup with prepared horseradish and Worcestershire sauce to taste.

Olive Bites


  • 3 cups cooked brown rice, still warm (cooked according to package directions, but on the mushy side)
  • 4 oz. Italian mix cheese and 4 oz. cheddar (or any you prefer)
  • 1 cup finely chopped pepperoni or salami or combination
  • 2 cups chopped green salad olives
  • chopped fresh parsley
  • flour for dredging
  • egg and milk (for coating)
  • dry Italian breadcrumbs
  • hot oil for frying


Make as directed above, tasting as you go. You may want to reverse the amounts of meat and olives depending on how "olive-y" you want it. Good dipped in ranch dressing.

Jalapeno Poppers


  • 3 cups cooked brown rice, still warm
  • 4 oz. cream cheese & 4 ounces shredded cheddar
  • 1 cup finely chopped pepperoni or ham (if desired, may be left out)
  • 1/3 to 1 cup chopped jalapeno (amount depends on how hot you want it, use canned or jarred, drained)

  • flour for dredging<
  • egg and milk (for coating)
  • dry plain breadcrumbs
  • hot oil for frying


I make these in the traditional oval nugget shape of store-bought jalapeno poppers. Good served with a sweet sauce such as sour cream mixed with a touch of honey. Also tasty with ranch dressing or honey mustard.

Veggie Sticks


  • 3 cups cooked brown rice, still warm
  • 8 oz. shredded cheese, any mild type or combination
  • 2 cups (or more) cooked finely chopped or grated veggies - a mix of zuchini, red bell pepper, onions, carrots, corn, green peas, celery, etcetera (oven roasted or sauteed)
  • flour for dredging
  • egg and milk (for coating)

  • dry plain or seasoned breadcrumbs or cornflake crumbs
  • hot oil for frying


I was trying to replicate the vegetable sticks I enjoyed served with school lunches in the 80s, so I form these into stick shapes.

Source: I saw something similar to the base recipe on television years ago, except they were made with white rice. I came up with the varieties by experimentation.

By Shawna from Paris, TN


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