Risotto Rice Balls, also known as Arancini di Riso, are a Sicilian fried snack made with only 4 ingredients. Leftover risotto is rolled into balls, breaded and fried and they come with a cheesy center. Usually round or cone shaped, they are delicious served with an easy tomato dipping sauce.

Fried rice balls stacked on a plate with fresh sage

Pronounced ‘ah-run-chee-nee’, these crispy balls can be an appetizer or a meal served with vegetables. I usually just eat them on their own before a pasta meal, with a side of my Easy Marinara Sauce.

Dipping a risotto rice ball into tomato sauce

Anything fried (at least in my family) is always a favorite. I mean, what is not to love about a fried rice ball stuffed with cheese? A great seasonal appetizer serve with drinks, pre-Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner to keep the family from raiding the kitchen 

10 rice balls on a grey plate

Risotto for Arancini

Arancini are best made with leftover rice, in this case, risotto. I get on a risotto kick when the weather cools down because it’s a warming and comforting dish. Good risotto starts with a good and simple risotto recipe. Once you have this, you can add just about any flavorings you like. One of my favorites is Brown Butter Mushroom Sage Risotto.

For these particular Risotto Rice Balls, I used leftover Pumpkin Risotto. Again, any leftover risotto can be used. What I love most about these arancini are all of the flavors live inside the risotto, so the breading just gets a little salt.

Pulling apart a risotto rice balls showing the stringy cheese inside

Because the risotto balls are sticky and have egg in them, you don’t need to mess around with dipping them in flour then egg. The breadcrumbs stick to them well without this.

Let’s talk about that cheesy center. I love to use mozzarella because you need to have that wonderful stringy cheese pull when you pull them them apart.

Bake or Fry Risotto Rice Balls (Arancini)

I prefer to deep fry. This way they achieve an even, golden color all around, will be really nice and crisp and take only minutes. You can bake them, they will need to coated in a light covering of oil and baked at 425°F/220 °C for about 25 minutes, or until golden brown.

I use vegetable oil for frying, but any light flavored or non flavored oil will work. I would not use olive oil because it will smoke too much. Canola, peanut, sunflower and rapeseed/grapeseed and avocado oil are all good choices.

If you’ve tried these Risotto Rice Balls (Arancini) or any other recipe, leave a comment below. I love to hear from my readers.

Yield: 14

Risotto Rice Balls (Arancini)

A risotto rice ball opened up to reveal the cheesy center

Leftover risotto is rolled into balls, stuffed with cheese, rolled in breadcrumbs and fried.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes


  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups (365 grams) leftover risotto
  • 1 cup (164 grams) breadcrumbs, divided in half
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 14 cubes of mozzarella cheese
  • Vegetable oil


  1. To a bowl add the risotto, eggs and 1/2 cup (82 grams) breadcrumbs. Mix well. Add the remaining cup of breadcrumbs to a small bowl with the salt and mix well.
  2. Scoop out 2 tablespoons of the rice and place in the palm of your hand to form a ball. Use your finger to push a hole to the center. Insert a square of mozzarella, cover and reform the ball around the cheese.
  3. Roll each ball in the breadcrumbs to coat well. Repeat until all the balls are made.
    Add the vegetable oil to a large saucepan and heat to 350°F/180°C. The oil is ready when you add a little of the breadcrumbs and they sizzle.
  4. Use a slotted spoon to carefully lower the balls into the oil, don’t overcrowd the pan. Fry for 3-5 minutes, until golden brown. Remove and drain on a paper towel. Repeat with all of the rice balls. Remove and drain on a towel or cooling rack. Serve warm.

Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 326Total Fat 20gSaturated Fat 10gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 8gCholesterol 108mgSodium 942mgCarbohydrates 17gFiber 0gSugar 2gProtein 18g

This nutrition calculation is provided by Nutronix that is only a guideline and not intended for any particular diet.