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….

62 thoughts on “Arancini

  1. 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!

    • 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!

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

  3. 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.

    • 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.

  4. 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…

    • 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!

  5. 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!

    • 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!

    • 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!

  6. 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. 😋

  7. 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. !!!

    • 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!

  8. 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

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