Arancini (Italian Fried Risotto)
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Arancini (Italian Fried Risotto)

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Introduction to Arancini:

Arancini, the culinary gems of Italian cuisine, are essentially breaded and fried risotto balls with a decadent stuffed center, often filled with gooey mozzarella cheese. These bite-sized wonders are created by rolling cooled risotto into balls, stuffing them with a savory surprise, and then achieving the perfect crispy texture through a delightful coating of flour, egg, and breadcrumbs. The result is a golden brown masterpiece served with marinara and a generous dusting of grated cheese.


Risotto: Arborio rice, with its high starch content, takes center stage to create the creamy and chewy consistency that defines a perfect risotto. Sauteed with onions and garlic, seasoned with salt, pepper, tomato paste, parsley, butter, and enriched with homemade or store-bought chicken broth, this risotto becomes the canvas for our culinary masterpiece. Grated parmesan acts as the binding agent, adding sharp, nutty notes to the mix.

Filling: Mozzarella cheese, cut into small cubes, forms the heart of the Arancini, contributing a gooey surprise within each crispy ball. Fresh mozzarella, when used, should be patted dry before becoming part of this delightful filling.

Coating: A straightforward yet essential trio of all-purpose flour, whisked eggs, and plain panko breadcrumbs forms the coating that transforms these rice balls into golden wonders.

Oil: A combination of high-quality olive oil, risotto, and vegetable oil creates the perfect frying medium to achieve that crispy, golden exterior.

How To Make?

Prepare the Risotto: Begin by heating 2 tablespoons of olive oil and sautéing crushed garlic cloves and finely chopped yellow onion until softened. Add Arborio rice, toast until semi-translucent, and infuse with flavor by stirring in salt, black pepper, chopped parsley leaves, chicken broth, and tomato paste. Simmer until tender, mix in grated parmesan, and spread the rice on a parchment-lined tray to cool.

Roll and Stuff: Once cooled, roll the rice into 1-inch balls. Cut fresh mozzarella into ½-inch cubes and stuff them into the center of each rice ball, ensuring a delectable surprise in every bite.

Dredge and Fry: In a systematic process, dredge each ball in flour, then egg, and finally panko breadcrumbs. Fry in hot oil until golden brown, ensuring a crisp exterior while maintaining the cheesy goodness within.

Serve with Elegance: Allow the Arancini to cool for a few minutes before presenting them to your guests, either on toothpicks or with napkins on the side.

Tips and Tricks for Success:

Achieving the right risotto consistency is crucial. Keep the pot covered during simmering to avoid losing steam and extending cooking time.

Wet your hands before forming rice balls to prevent sticking.

Maintain hygiene by washing hands before the dredging process, using separate hands for flour and egg-panko coating.

Use tongs for safe oil handling and large spoons for easy maneuvering during frying.

Ensure the oil is hot enough to prevent absorption into the rice layer, aiming for small bubbles without smoking.

The Baked and Air-Fried Alternative:

While frying is the traditional approach, you can opt for a healthier alternative. Bake the Arancini in the oven at 375°F, turning periodically until golden brown, or explore the convenience of an air fryer for a lighter option.

Storing, Freezing, and Reheating:

While freshly fried Arancini are a delight, you can plan ahead. Store fully cooked Arancini in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, reheating in a 350°F oven or air fryer. For long-term storage, freeze the rice balls between parchment layers, ensuring a delightful treat whenever cravings strike.

Arancini (Italian Fried Risotto)

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Course: AppetizersCuisine: Italian


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Delight your guests with these Italian cheese fried risotto balls, Arancini, a perfect appetizer or meatless meal that exudes elegance.

For the Risotto:

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped

  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed

  • 1 ½ cups Arborio rice

  • 1 teaspoon fine salt

  • ⅛ teaspoon finely ground black pepper

  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped Italian parsley leaves

  • 3 cups chicken stock (store-bought or homemade)

  • 2 teaspoons double-concentrated tomato paste

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese

  • For the Stuffing:
  • 4 ounces mozzarella cheese

  • For the Coating:
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon fine salt

  • ⅛ teaspoon finely ground black pepper

  • 2 eggs

  • 2 cups plain panko breadcrumbs

  • 2 cups grapeseed or vegetable oil, for frying


  • Saute the Onion and Garlic:
    In a large, heavy-bottom saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add chopped onion and crushed garlic, cooking until softened and fragrant (about 5 minutes).
  • Cook the Rice:
    Stir Arborio rice into the saucepan until semi-translucent (about 1 minute). Add salt, ground pepper, parsley, stock, tomato paste, and butter. Mix well, bring to a gentle boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer until rice is tender and broth is absorbed (20-25 minutes).
  • Set Up a Breading Station:
    In three medium bowls, prepare a flour-salt-pepper mixture, whisked eggs, and breadcrumbs. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Cube the Mozzarella:
    Cut mozzarella into 18 to 20, ½-inch cubes and keep chilled.
  • Finish the Rice:
    Once rice is tender, stir in parmesan. Spread rice onto a prepared baking sheet and let cool for 10 minutes.
  • Stuff the Rice:
    Form rice into 18, 1-inch balls. Insert a cube of mozzarella into each ball, ensuring complete encasement.
  • Bread the Arancini:
    Dredge each ball in flour, then egg, and finally breadcrumbs. Place on the other parchment-lined baking sheet.
  • Fry:
    Heat oil to 350°F and fry 6 balls at a time until golden brown (3-4 minutes each). Place on a paper towel-lined plate.
  • Serve:
    Cool for 5 minutes before serving, either with toothpicks or alongside napkins.


  • Wet your hands before forming rice balls to prevent sticking.
  • Maintain hygiene during dredging by washing hands before starting the process.

Nutrition Facts

  • Calories: 576.9kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 79g
  • Protein: 20.5g
  • Fat: 19.4g
  • Saturated Fat: 8g
  • Cholesterol: 86.8mg
  • Sodium: 1378.4mg
  • Fiber: 3.8g
  • Sugar: 3.7g

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