Arancini Rice Balls Recipe (VIDEO) (2024)

Arancini are crisp on the outside with a creamy, cheesy center. Children and adults love these classic Italian rice balls. They such a treat fresh off the stove, stuffed with glorious gooey cheese.

This arancini recipe is similar in flavor to one of the most popular recipes on my site; Instant Pot Chicken and Rice (a one-pot meal). If you loved that dish, you’ll enjoythese cheesy rice balls!

Arancini Rice Balls Recipe (VIDEO) (1)

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Arancini Recipe

Arancini are a satisfying treat filled with risotto-like creamy rice, ham, sweet peas, parmesan, and mozzarella cheese. Serve with warmed marinara sauce, these are wonderful for lunch on their own or paired with a fresh Caesar Salad.

This recipe was adapted from one of my favorite Italian cooks: Lidia Matticchio Bastianich and is based on her “Arancini di Riso” (Rice Balls) from her book, Lidia’s Favorite Recipes. Thank you Lidia for introducing me to this wonderful treat!

Arancini Video Tutorial

Learn all of our best tips and tricks for making the best Arancini! One bite into a cheesy rice ball and you’ll know they are well worth every bit of effort.

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What is Arancini?

Sicilian Arancini are rice balls stuffed with cheese and other fillings such as cheese and meat, the coated with bread crumbs and deep fried. The fillings vary by region but arancini have been popular in Italy for centuries.

Even if you aren’t a fan of “deep fried” foods, give this one a try. Arancini are coated in a light layer of fine Italian bread crumbs and the rice is compacted, so they hardly soak up any oil and do not have the taste or mouth feel of a deep-fried food. It is a cross between Risotto and Cheesesticks. Two of my favorites combined into one irresistible dish.

Arancini Rice Balls Recipe (VIDEO) (2)

Pro Tip:

Use Italian-style breadcrumbs to enhance the authentic Italian flavor of Arancini. Italian Style bread crumbs also have a finer crumb which helps bind the outer layer to the rice ball and creates an irresistible crisp texture.

Arancini Rice Balls Recipe (VIDEO) (3)

How to Make Rice Balls

Cook the Arancini Rice Mixture: In a heavy pot, sautee onion with olive oil and butter until soft then add ham and cook until golden then stir in the rice. Add white wine and cook until mostly evaporated then add hot chicken broth and 1 tsp salt. Cover and simmer until liquid is mostly absorbed. Stir in the peas, cover and cook another 2 minutes.

Arancini Rice Balls Recipe (VIDEO) (4)

Cool the Mixture – Spread rice mixture onto a baking sheet to cool. Once rice is at room temperature, stir in parsley and parmesan. Form rice balls with wet hands, using a heaping ice cream scoop of rice for each. Stuff each rice ball with a cube of mozzarella cheese and form a tight ball to enclose the cheese.

Form the Rice Balls – Set up 3 shallow bowls. Bread the rice balls one by one, dipping first into the flour, then the beaten egg and finally rolling in bread crumbs.

Arancini Rice Balls Recipe (VIDEO) (5)

Fry the Rice Balls – Once all of the arancini are formed, heat 1″ of vegetable oil in a pot over medium heat. Once the oil is hot (350˚F), add arancini in batches without crowding and cook for about 3 minutes total per batch, turning to get all sides golden brown.

Arancini Rice Balls Recipe (VIDEO) (6)

Drain and Serve – Transfer fried rice balls to a paper towel-lined platter and serve warm with marinara, or with ranch (as my son prefers), or skip the dip and just enjoy them! :).

Arancini Rice Balls Recipe (VIDEO) (7)

Can you Eat Rice Balls Cold?

Arancini are best served warm when they are creamy and cheesy in the center. They are just as good freshly cooked as they are reheated, especially when you reheat in the oven to re-crisp the exterior.

How do you Reheat Arancini?

Once arancini are fried and cool to room temperature, you can store them in the refrigerator or freezer (in a freezer-safe container or zip-top bag).

  • To reheat frozen arancini – There is no need to thaw. Place on a rimmed baking sheet and bake at 400˚F for 20 minutes.
  • To reheat refrigerated arancini – bake on a rimmed baking sheet at 400˚F for 15 minutes.
Arancini Rice Balls Recipe (VIDEO) (8)

I hope you give these classic Italian Rice Balls a try. Everyone of all ages loves Arancini. Who can resist a crisp fried ball of rice stuffed with cheese?

Love Rice? Try Our Best Rice Recipes:

  • Shrimp Fried Rice
  • How to Cook Rice on the Stove
  • Beef Rice Pilaf (Plov)
  • California Rolls
  • Stuffed Cabbage Rolls
  • Chicken Fried rice
  • Chicken and Rice Soup

Arancini Rice Balls

4.92 from 105 votes

Author: Natasha Kravchuk

Arancini Rice Balls Recipe (VIDEO) (10)

Children and adults love these cheesy Arancini rice balls. They’re such a treat fresh off the stove stuffed with glorious gooey cheese.

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Prep Time: 25 minutes mins

Cook Time: 35 minutes mins

Total Time: 1 hour hr

Ingredients

Servings: 24 rice balls

For the Arancini Rice Balls:

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 cup ham, finely diced (about 3 oz)
  • 2 cups Jasmine rice, un-rinsed
  • 1 cup Chardonnay, (dry white wine)
  • 5 cups chicken broth, or stock (hot)
  • 1 tsp salt, (plus more to sprinkle fried arancini)
  • 1 cup frozen peas, fully thawed
  • 1/3 cup parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 4 oz mozzarella cheese, cut into 24 (1/2-inch) cubes

For Breading/ Frying:

Instructions

  • Using a Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot with a tight-fitting lid, over medium/high heat, add 2 Tbsp olive oil and 2 Tbsp butter. When hot, stir in diced onion and saute until soft and golden (4-5 min). Add finely diced ham and cook another 2 min or until golden. Add rice and stir to coat with oil.

  • Pour in 1 cup white wine and cook until mostly evaporated (2 min). Add 5 cups hot low sodium chicken broth and 1 tsp salt then cover and simmer until liquid has been absorbed by the rice (about 15-17 min). Stir in the peas in, then cover with a tight fitting lid and finish cooking (2 min). Rice should be soft and the liquid mostly absorbed. Spread rice mixture onto a large rimmed baking dish to cool.

  • Once rice is at room temperature, stir in 1/3 cup finely chopped parsley and 1 cup parmesan cheese. Form rice balls with wet hands, using a heaping ice cream scoop for each. Stuff each rice ball with a cube of mozzarella cheese and form a tight ball with the rice mixture to enclose the cheese.

  • Set up 3 shallow bowls, the first one to have 1 cup flour, the second with 3 beaten eggs, the third with 1 1/2 cups bread crumbs. Dredge each rice ball in flour, shaking off the excess, then dip one-by-one in the beaten egg allowing excess egg to drip back into the bowl. Finally, roll balls in breadcrumbs until evenly coated. It’s best to roll and bread all of the rice balls before beginning frying since the frying is quick.

  • Add an inch of vegetable oil into a deep pot over medium heat. Once oil is hot (350˚F), add the breaded rice balls in batches without crowding the pot and cook about 3 min total per batch, turning to get all sides golden brown. Transfer to paper towels, sprinkle right away with salt and serve warm with marinara.

Nutrition Per Serving

190kcal Calories23g Carbs8g Protein6g Fat2g Saturated Fat33mg Cholesterol384mg Sodium149mg Potassium1g Fiber1g Sugar240IU Vitamin A4mg Vitamin C112mg Calcium1.2mg Iron

  • Full Nutrition Label
  • Nutrition Disclosure

Nutrition Facts

Arancini Rice Balls

Amount per Serving

Calories

190

% Daily Value*

Fat

6

g

9

%

Saturated Fat

2

g

13

%

Cholesterol

33

mg

11

%

Potassium

149

mg

4

%

Carbohydrates

23

g

8

%

Fiber

1

g

4

%

Sugar

1

g

1

%

Protein

8

g

16

%

Vitamin A

240

IU

5

%

Vitamin C

4

mg

5

%

Calcium

112

mg

11

%

Iron

1.2

mg

7

%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Course: Lunch

Cuisine: Italian

Keyword: arancini, Italian rice balls, rice balls

Skill Level: Medium

Cost to Make: $$

Calories: 190

Natasha Kravchuk

Arancini Rice Balls Recipe (VIDEO) (11)

Welcome to my kitchen! I am Natasha, the blogger behind Natasha's Kitchen (since 2009). My husband and I run this blog together and share only our best, family approved and tested recipes with YOU. Thanks for stopping by! We are so happy you're here.

Read more posts by Natasha

Arancini Rice Balls Recipe (VIDEO) (2024)

FAQs

How do you stop arancini from falling apart? ›

7 - Refrigerate your arancini for 4 hours before dipping in the batter and breadcrumbs. This sets it so that it becomes firmer and won't fall apart. Some also place their arancini in the freezer for 2 hours before frying although I didn't try this (and you may have to increase your frying time).

What are the main ingredients in arancini? ›

Image of What are the main ingredients in arancini?
Rice is a cereal grain, and in its domesticated form is the staple food for over half of the world's human population, particularly in Asia and Africa, due to the vast amount of soil that is able to grow rice. Rice is the seed of the grass species Oryza sativa or, much less commonly, O. glaberrima.
Wikipedia

Why is my arancini rice not sticking together? ›

If you don't have a lot of time to chill the rice, make sure it's spread out as thin as possible. It's important for the starches to gel in order for the rice balls to stick together. The minimum amount of time that I have chilled the rice is 1 hour, and the arancini held together successfully.

What is the difference between arancini and Sicilian rice balls? ›

There are two main recipes of the fried rice balls: the Roman suppli, and the Sicilian arancino. The main difference between the fried rice balls is that suppli are made with arborio rice and mozzarella, while arancini are made with arborio rice, mozzarella, and the addition of beef and peas.

Why are my arancini always falling apart? ›

Simmering risotto and frying the arancini are simple tasks, but the step in between is crucial: Do not skimp on chilling your risotto. If it is not properly chilled, it will fall apart in the hot oil instead of forming crisp, glistening, orbs filled with molten cheese.

Why does my rice ball keep falling apart? ›

There are two main reasons that may cause your onigiri to fall apart: For Onigiri, You must be use either medium grain rice or short grain rice. Both types of rice are sticky enough for the rice to stick to each other. Japanese rice and certain italian rices such as arborio works well.

Does arancini always have cheese? ›

Arancini are fried risotto balls that are coated in breadcrumbs and fried until golden brown. They are traditionally stuffed with Bolognese sauce and mozzarella, although you can stuff them with whatever you'd like.

What do Italians eat with arancini? ›

Arancini are meant to be enjoyed as a finger food, on their own or with Homemade Marinara on the side to bring out the herby flavors. They also go great with a variety of appetizers, from roasted vegetables to bite-sized meatballs.

What is the English name for arancini? ›

Arancini (UK: /ˌærənˈtʃiːni/, US: /ˌɑːr-/, Italian: [aranˈtʃiːni]; Sicilian: [aɾanˈtʃiːnɪ, -ˈdʒiː-]), also arancine, are Italian rice balls that are stuffed, coated with breadcrumbs and deep-fried. They are a staple of Sicilian cuisine.

What if arancini rice is too wet? ›

Once you have made the risotto, it is important to let the rice mixture cool completely before rolling into balls. If the risotto is too wet, then you can add more binding ingredients, such as more parmesan cheese or bread crumbs.

How do you get rice to stick together for rice balls? ›

Normally you'd want to use a short, stubby rice grain for rice balls so they hold together and are softer. To try and keep those elements, I slightly overcook my basmati rice and mash it with a fork to break it up. Then, I use this handy silicone mould to create the oval shape.

What is the Roman version of arancini? ›

Suppli are the Roman version of “arancini” — basically a croquette from cooked rice or pasta. The name, suppli, derives from the telephone cord because when you pull the two halves apart, the mozzarella should string out like a phone cord.

Do you eat arancini with your hands? ›

While some like to enjoy arancini by hand without sauce, others like them served on a plate with tomato sauce and parmesan cheese. They are a fantastic dish for celebrations because they look so inviting, all golden brown, and served lined up in rows on a big platter.

Is arancini a starter or main? ›

Deliver that wow factor with our easy but delicious Arancini – a traditional Italian risotto rice balls recipe, perfect as a starter or a light lunch.

How do you get rice balls to stick together? ›

Tips for Perfect Japanese Rice Balls

Freshly cooked rice is warm, moist, and sticky, which makes it easier to shape into the desired form and ensures that the onigiri holds together well. Wet Your Hands: Keep a bowl of water next to you when shaping the rice balls and wet your hands when the mixture gets too sticky.

Why do my rice balls fall apart when frying? ›

First, using the wrong type of rice can cause it to fall apart because it's not sticky enough. Use short or medium-grain rice and avoid long-grain rice. The second reason can be that it was not firmly pressed into its shape. Be sure to use firm pressure so there are no gaps in the rice.

How do you keep crispy rice from falling apart? ›

Be sure to freeze your rice until it's firm enough to cut through easily. This not only helps with the cutting process but also helps when frying. If it's not cold enough, the rice blocks fall apart when you're frying them. If your salmon is fresh but not previously frozen, please freeze your salmon before using it.

How do you keep fried rice from clumping? ›

Olive oil lubricates the rice, keeping them apart. It also infuses the rice with flavor while giving it moisture, elevating your rice dishes. Oil and vinegar may not mix, but the latter can stave off sticky rice, as well. A splash of the acid helps to break down starches in the rice, which causes them to gum together.

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