Arancini

Deep frying isn’t something I do routinely, but I’ve always wanted to make arancini, as well as deep-fried Spanish olives. Because of that, I purchased a small electric deep fryer many moons ago. I finally made arancini; the olives are next.

Arancini are savory Sicilian snacks, made from a little ball of risotto, sometimes filled with cheese, and deep fried.

One good thing about making arancini is that leftover risotto can be used, and in fact, is encouraged. But keep it a “plainer” risotto. Risotto with chunks of butternut squash obviously wouldn’t work well.

Classic risotto is perfect. I included some mushroom powder for a bit more flavor.

For the cheese, caciocavallo is recommended. There is a smoked variety of this cheese, but I used non-smoked. Mozzarella is a good substitute.

If used seen photos of traditional arancini, they typically have a smoother breadcrumb coating. Because I used a combination of panko and some fresh breadcrumbs, the coating looks a bit more lumpy. But it still worked!

For  the  Arancini:

1 recipe of risotto, made with about 1 1/2 cups arborio rice
2 beaten eggs
1 cup flour
2 cups breadcrumbs – I used a mixture of fresh bread crumbs and panko
Enough plain oil in which to deep fry the arancini

Start by making the risotto the previous day before serving. I added mushroom powder, some cream, and some Parmesan. Chill the risotto overnight.

To prepare the Arancini, cut up the cheese into small cubes. The size really depends on how big your arancini will be. I used a small cookie scoop, pushed in the cheese, then covered it with more risotto. With the cold risotto, it was easy to mold them into spheres.

Have the bowl with the eggs, flour, and breadcrumbs ready. Take the arancini and dip them in flour, then eggs, then the breadcrumbs. Place on a cookie sheet. When you’re done, place the cookie sheet in the refrigerator.

Set up your electric deep fryer and heat the oil to 350 degrees F. Fry about 3 at a time in the basket, and when sufficiently browned, place them on a paper towel-lined cookie sheet. Continue with the remaining arancini.

Serve still hot.

I served these with a truffle aioli.

But you could use a marinara for dipping as well, or a curry ketchup.

My arancini are a little large. I have trouble with fiddly little things, which is why I’m not a cake decorator. But, then you get to bite into a lot of melted cheese….

By Published On: December 18th, 202065 Comments

About the Author: Chef Mimi

As a self-taught home cook, with many years in the culinary profession, I am passionate about all things food-related. Especially eating!

65 Comments

  1. Travel Gourmet December 18, 2020 at 6:04 AM - Reply

    Wonderful. I love these! Despite my love of Italian cooking – and arancini! – I’ve never tried making them. I really should. That you for doing it and wishing you a happy Christmas!

    • chef mimi December 19, 2020 at 8:09 AM - Reply

      They were really easy to make, although I dislike the whole idea of deep frying! Merry Christmas!

  2. lulu December 18, 2020 at 7:19 AM - Reply

    Arancini is a favorite and yours turned out beautifully. You make me think it’s been too long since I made them.

    • chef mimi December 18, 2020 at 7:53 AM - Reply

      Thank you! I’m so glad I finally made them!

  3. Josette@thebrookcook December 18, 2020 at 7:49 AM - Reply

    I love arancini! You’ve inspired me to make them myself.

    • chef mimi December 18, 2020 at 7:51 AM - Reply

      They actually very handy when you have leftover risotto. I wonder if it could be frozen? I still don’t like setting up the deep fryer and seeing all of that oil, so I would have to wait until I have enough risotto to make it worthwhile!

  4. OlverIndulgence December 18, 2020 at 7:50 AM - Reply

    These look amazing! I’ve seen fried mac n cheese before, but the risotto pushes this to a whole new level!!!

    • chef mimi December 18, 2020 at 7:52 AM - Reply

      Huh. Fried Mac n cheese. Was that at a fair?!! Well, these are good, and classically Italian!

  5. angiesrecipes December 18, 2020 at 7:53 AM - Reply

    They look so golden brown, crunchy and delicious! I should make some too.

    • chef mimi December 18, 2020 at 7:54 AM - Reply

      Of course, they’re so easy. I just don’t like deep frying… I’m just weird that way. But, I did enjoy them!

    • chef mimi December 18, 2020 at 8:27 AM - Reply

      You should! They were definitely fun to eat!

    • Gerlinde de Broekert December 18, 2020 at 8:40 AM - Reply

      I never them but I know I would like them.

      • chef mimi December 18, 2020 at 8:43 AM

        I can’t imagine anyone not liking these, honestly!

  6. spicedblog December 18, 2020 at 8:11 AM - Reply

    These look delicious, Mimi! My mother in law makes arancini every holiday season, but I’ve never made them myself. Looks delicious!

    • chef mimi December 18, 2020 at 8:27 AM - Reply

      Thanks. They were fun to make, even though for some reason I dislike deep frying. Your mother in law is Italian?

  7. David Scott Allen December 18, 2020 at 8:55 AM - Reply

    I took an online arancini-making class during the summer. I can’t wait to try them. And I think (seriously, from having eaten my body weight of them when in Sicily) yours are the perfect size!

    • chef mimi December 18, 2020 at 9:41 AM - Reply

      I have seen some that look like pyramids with rounded bottoms. It was all I could do to make them round!

  8. StefanGourmet December 18, 2020 at 9:33 AM - Reply

    Hi Mimi, your arancini are actually a bit on the small side, compared to arancini as they are available everywhere in Sicily. About two of those constitutes a full meal. So next time you can make them even less ‘fiddly’ :-) Caciocavallo is a common filling, but even more common is arancini filled with a beef and tomato ragù. Anyway, your arancini look great and I’m sure they were very tasty.

    • chef mimi December 18, 2020 at 9:43 AM - Reply

      I guess if you make them bigger, you get to use more filling?! A ragu filling sounds divine. Mine were extremely good. Crispy outside, and that lovely melted cheese inside. I used a truffle aioli first for dipping, and then a red sauce. Fabuloso.

      • StefanGourmet December 18, 2020 at 9:51 AM

        Yes, about 2 tablespoons of filling! Of course you could still put some cheese inside the ragù as well… Here is my version, which is like how I had them in Sicily. https://stefangourmet.com/2013/06/01/arancine-sicilian-rice-balls/

      • chef mimi December 18, 2020 at 10:01 AM

        I tried to comment on the post but somehow it didn’t work. I see that I commented back in 2013. So it took me 7 more years to finally use my electric deep fryer! Yours are really big – the size of the palm of your hand. Amazing. I love the photo of one sliced in half with the ragu showing, and with the yellow risotto it’s just gorgeous.

  9. Dorothy's New Vintage Kitchen December 18, 2020 at 9:41 AM - Reply

    These look beautiful! I love that you mixed fresh and panko breadcrumbs. One of my favorite little treats, and when I make make risotto, I’m already thinking about these!

    • chef mimi December 18, 2020 at 9:43 AM - Reply

      Ha! I don’t blame you ! They’re so good! And addictive!

  10. Ronit Penso Tasty Eats December 18, 2020 at 10:28 AM - Reply

    A great tasty way to use risotto leftover!
    Caciocavallo is one of my favorite cheeses, though I buy the Balkan variety called Kashkaval. It’s so good. :)

    • chef mimi December 18, 2020 at 10:55 AM - Reply

      Mmmmm I’ll have to search for that! Thanks!~

  11. Jovina Coughlin December 18, 2020 at 11:03 AM - Reply

    Love arancini and your recipe looks delicious.

    • chef mimi December 18, 2020 at 11:40 AM - Reply

      Thank you so much!

  12. Ron December 18, 2020 at 11:33 AM - Reply

    Mimi, if it’s deep fried I love it, but I like others I have to avoid it most of the time. But, I’ll make an exception for your fantastic arancini. It’s actually a weakness of mine, as if it’s on the menu, I always order it as a starter. I’ve made a ton of risotto, but I’ve not tried making arancini. Now I must…

    • chef mimi December 18, 2020 at 11:42 AM - Reply

      I don’t know why I don’t like deep-fried food, except certainly the health aspect is a factor. I don’t even love French fries like most Americans! But I’m glad I finally did make these, because they are so worth making and enjoying warm! You must make these!

  13. The Parmigiana Whisperer December 18, 2020 at 11:34 AM - Reply

    I love arancini!!! they look delicious!

    • chef mimi December 18, 2020 at 11:42 AM - Reply

      Thank you! I had them still warm and they’re fabulous!

  14. cookingwithauntjuju.com December 18, 2020 at 12:36 PM - Reply

    Thanks for posting this as I love risotto and I’ve been wanting to make arancini. I’m always careful with anything “fried” due to my Weight Watcher days. I do make exceptions and this would be one of them. Cheesy goodness!

    • chef mimi December 18, 2020 at 3:39 PM - Reply

      It’s a rare exception with me as well, to eat something fried. When I first moved to Oklahoma, someone told me they love fried pork chops. Wow. Why???!!! Anyway, these are really good, and very easy to make, which makes me tempted to make them again soon!

  15. Gary December 18, 2020 at 2:31 PM - Reply

    I was watching a TV food show yesterday which featured arancini. Yours look fantastic.

    • chef mimi December 18, 2020 at 3:38 PM - Reply

      Thank you! Good to know!

  16. Tandy | Lavender and Lime December 18, 2020 at 11:05 PM - Reply

    I love arancini and bake them as I don’t like frying. Great use of the mushroom powder 😊

    • chef mimi December 19, 2020 at 6:58 AM - Reply

      Love that mushroom powder! I really don’t like deep frying either, but I wanted to make them in the traditional manner. Now you’ve given me a great idea!

  17. 2pots2cook December 19, 2020 at 10:35 AM - Reply

    Perfect idea to use mushroom powder ! Great flavours included !

    • chef mimi December 20, 2020 at 6:53 AM - Reply

      Thank you! I love that as a seasoning mixture!

  18. Ann Coleman December 20, 2020 at 10:24 AM - Reply

    I love arancini, but have never been brave enough to try making my own. Thanks for this recipe, I think I can manage it. Worth a try, anyway!

    • chef mimi December 20, 2020 at 10:37 AM - Reply

      Oh, It’s so worth it! Not hard, not time-consuming, and so worth the effort!

  19. gloria Roa Baker December 20, 2020 at 6:52 PM - Reply

    Mimi these looks wonderful and delicious ! Merry Christmas dear!

    • chef mimi December 21, 2020 at 6:23 AM - Reply

      Thank you! Merry Christmas!

  20. Debra December 20, 2020 at 10:00 PM - Reply

    I haven’t been in a grocery store since March, but we have been frequenting a small, family-owned Italian market since early this year. I’ve bought some delicious arancini a couple of times. I never considered making my own, but after seeing how relatively simple this might be, I think I must try. 😋

    • chef mimi December 21, 2020 at 6:23 AM - Reply

      Exactly. Simple and easy, except for dealing with all of the oil, which is a pain. But so worth it!

  21. neil@neilshealthymeals.com December 21, 2020 at 7:16 AM - Reply

    These look amazing Mimi. I think arancini should form part of our New Year party. When I say party I mean Lynne and I as parties are banned. LOL. Anyway. Have an amazing Christmas Mimi!

    • chef mimi December 21, 2020 at 2:42 PM - Reply

      It will be a quiet Christmas over here as well! Which is fine, and necessary, but we miss friends!

  22. Raymund December 21, 2020 at 4:24 PM - Reply

    Ohhh my this looks so good! It will go perfect with calamari as well.

    • chef mimi December 21, 2020 at 4:34 PM - Reply

      Oh, I’m jealous!!!

  23. sherry December 21, 2020 at 9:03 PM - Reply

    looks delicious mimi. happy festive season to you.

    • chef mimi December 22, 2020 at 6:32 AM - Reply

      Thank you! Merry Christmas! It’s getting close…

  24. thatskinnychickcanbake December 22, 2020 at 3:57 PM - Reply

    I’ve always wanted to make them, too! Thanks for sharing your delicious recipe! Still on my bucket list, but thanks for pushing it up closer to the top! Merry Christmas!!!

    • chef mimi December 22, 2020 at 4:02 PM - Reply

      Oh, they’re so worth making! Merry Christmas!

  25. Dennis Yannakos December 22, 2020 at 10:19 PM - Reply

    If anyone here is wavering between trying out this recipe and not. Try it! I highly recommend! I’m literally addicted to it already!

    • chef mimi December 23, 2020 at 6:12 AM - Reply

      Thank you Dennis! I just need to deep fry more often!

  26. Shannon December 23, 2020 at 1:00 AM - Reply

    YUM!!!! One of my favorite appetizers right here. Your arancini looks so delicious, love that you used panko and fresh bread crumbs. 😋 And ohhh my goodness YES, please make some deep fried Spanish olives! That’s yet another post of yours I would absolutely drool over. !!!

    • chef mimi December 23, 2020 at 6:11 AM - Reply

      Ha! Yes, I can’t wait. I had the olives at a food and wine festival many moons ago and I still dream about them! Merry Christmas!

  27. Molly Pisula December 23, 2020 at 9:44 AM - Reply

    I love arancini! Love the idea to put mushroom powder in yours. They look absolutely scrumptious!

    • chef mimi December 23, 2020 at 11:15 AM - Reply

      Thank you! I love making mushroom powder, and it does really come in handy! Merry Christmas!

  28. Karen (Back Road Journal) December 23, 2020 at 3:23 PM - Reply

    Great job with the Arancini Mimi, they look irresistible! Merry Christmas.

    • chef mimi December 23, 2020 at 3:49 PM - Reply

      Thank you Karen! Merry Christmas to you and yours !

  29. sippitysup December 24, 2020 at 1:13 PM - Reply

    There are a lot of great things to learn about Italian cooking and culture packed inside these little rice balls. That’s one of the reasons I’ve always loved them. Merry Christmas. GREG

    • Chef Mimi June 27, 2022 at 6:47 AM - Reply

      Little christmas presents!

  30. Angela Pagliarello June 27, 2022 at 5:09 AM - Reply

    As a Sicilian I love arancini, these are a mini version of the ones my mom makes :) perfect for an aperitivo with friends!

    • Chef Mimi June 27, 2022 at 6:46 AM - Reply

      They are so good! My father was Sicilian, and yet it was decades before I finally tasted these delicious savory treats!

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