Arancini Deep-Fried Rice Balls

If there's one thing Italians know how to do, it's cook. In fact, there are so many amazing Italian classics to try, you may have missed this street food classic, arancini, up until now. If that's the case, then that's a real shame because these deep-fried risotto rice balls, traditionally from Sicily, are one of our favorite Italian dishes. Between the creamy risotto base, vegetable filling, and rich homemade tomato dipping sauce that these arancini balls are served with, this is one recipe you don't want to miss out on!

Yield: 8-10
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 40 minutes
Difficulty Level: Easy


For the risotto:

  • 1 lb arborio rice
  • ¼ stick butter
  • ¾ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • salt & pepper to taste

For the vegetable filling:

  • 8 oz brown mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 10 oz fresh spinach

For the arancini rice balls:

  • risotto
  • vegetable filling
  • shredded mozzarella cheese
  • egg & bread crumbs for the breading
  • cooking oil for frying

For the vegetable tomato sauce:

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 eggplant, diced
  • 1 orange bell pepper, diced
  • 1 zucchini, diced
  • 8 oz tomato sauce


1. For the risotto, prepare the arborio rice according to the instructions on the package. Melt the butter and grated parmesan in a saucepan over medium heat, season with salt and pepper, and stir the mixture into the cooked rice. Spread the risotto over a baking tray to cool.

2. For the vegetable filling, heat some olive oil in a pan over medium heat and sauté the mushrooms, onion, and garlic. Add the spinach to the pan and cook until wilted. 

3. Take a small handful of the risotto, flatten it in the palm of your hand, and top with some of the vegetable filling, followed by a pinch of shredded mozzarella cheese.

4. Top with another small handful of risotto and shape the risotto into a ball with the filling on the inside. Repeat with the rest of the ingredients until you have several stuffed rice balls.

5. Heat some cooking oil in a pot, dredge the stuffed rice balls in egg and bread crumbs, and deep-fry the stuffed rice balls until golden brown. For the vegetable tomato sauce, saute the onion, eggplant, bell pepper, and zucchini in a bit of olive oil in a pan over medium heat, stir in the tomato sauce, and let simmer for 5 minutes before serving with the arancini rice balls.

Sending your taste buds on this delicious trip to Sicily is a decision you definitely won't regret. Between the creamy vegetable risotto filling, deep-fried coating, and loaded veggie tomato sauce, these arancini rice balls are life-changing! 

Get the recipe for the Fried Meatioli featured in the bonus video.


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