Arancini di riso is a traditional Sicilian street food. A white risotto base flavoured with Parmesan or Pecorino is prepared, cooled until firm, rolled into balls then stuffed with a cube of mozzarella, coated in breadcrumbs and fried until golden. Served crisp and warm with tomato dipping sauce and you’ll be transported to the streets of the Italian island of Sicily.
Originally posted in January 2014, recipe and photographs updated July 2020.
I first made these arancini for my blog in 2014, back then I was dreaming of my impending holiday to Tuscany that summer and I was cooking lots of Italian food in my kitchen counting down the days until my trip. This is a recipe I’ve been meaning to update and improve for a long time. Recently I made arancini again for dinner because I’ve been off on annual leave from work and as I’ve had lots of spare time to bake different recipes, I thought I’d share the updated recipe and photos for you to enjoy one more time!
These are perfect to make if you have some leftover risotto bianco (white risotto) on hand from a previous lunch or dinner. Arancini are a popular starter on many restaurant menus and they really transform leftover risotto. Traditionally deep-fried, you can also bake these rice balls until golden if you’re not a fan of fried food. I don’t particularly enjoy fried food, but I will say I highly recommend frying these stuffed rice balls opposed to baking them for authenticity.
I’m not going to lie, making arancini is a lengthy process and this recipe is one that requires time to focus on. Even before eating the arancini, the day before you’ll need to prepare the delicious risotto base.
So you’re probably wondering why we’re starting by making your risotto bianco (white risotto) a day ahead? We’re doing this to make sure the risotto is dried out and easy to shape and roll into the arancini the next day and won’t stick to your hands. Also, chilling your risotto allows the flavours to develop too – an added bonus! Just try not to eat too much of it beforehand though, this will probably make you laugh but I even had to chase my taste testers out from the kitchen once the risotto was cooling otherwise I knew we’d have nothing left for the arancini!
In the photo above you’ll see my risotto base before stirring all that glorious, melty and salty cheese in. These are in fact DOUBLE cheese arancini, because we have grated cheese mixed into the risotto AND a piece of mozzarella stuffed into the centre of each rice ball.
This recipe is definitely 100% one to try if you’re a cheese lover that’s for sure!
The above photo shows my batch of arancini ready for frying. This recipe makes a generous helping of these tasty Sicilian rice balls making 18 in total, so more than enough to serve 6. We had our serving and shared a couple extra the next day and even a day later they weren’t as crisp on the outside but when heated still had that amazing gooey mozzarella surprise!
I wanted to show you the process in step-by-step photos of how to shape and form the arancini, but working alone in the kitchen I was unable to take photos whilst having my hands covered in the ingredients – I didn’t really fancy covering my camera with food if I could avoid it!
I’ll just describe to you the method: it’s as simple as taking approx. a 60g portion of the risotto, flattening that in your hand slightly, then taking a piece of mozzarella and incasing the cheese fully inside of the risotto mix. Then roll your rice ball in seasoned flour, followed by beaten egg and finally cover the outside completely in breadcrumbs.
Just look at that amazing gooey centre, the mozzarella goes all stringy and is ultra creamy!
Eat your arancini with tomato sauce (I recommend arrabbiata or a tomato and basil sauce). You could even garnish your plate with a side salad too if you like. It’s so easy to prepare a restaurant-style starter in your own kitchen, so get your ingredients ready and make yourself these tasty arancini as soon as possible!
Risotto Bianco (White Risotto):
15g / 1 tablespoon (salted or unsalted) butter
1 tablespoon oil – use either a light olive or vegetable oil
1 brown or white onion, finely diced
2 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped
300g arborio rice
150ml white wine – I recommend Pinot Grigio
900ml vegetable stock
50g Parmesan or vegetarian hard cheese alternative (such as Pecorino)
Salt and black pepper, to taste
125g dried/pizza mozzarella – cut into 18x 1cm cubes
100g plain flour
2 free-range eggs, lightly beaten
- To make the risotto bianco: In a large frying pan heat the butter and oil until foamy. Add the onion and garlic and sauté for about 5 minutes until transparent and softened. Add the rice and cook for a further 2 minutes to toast slightly. Now turn the heat up to a medium and add the wine – it will bubble rapidly, stir together and cook until all the wine has been absorbed. Now add a ladleful of stock at a time, stirring well until all the stock has been absorbed by the rice and repeat with the remaining stock – this should take approx. 25-30 minutes (test your rice to see if it’s soft without any harder uncooked grains of rice left – you want it cooked al dente.) Now remove the risotto from the heat and mix through the grated Parmesan or vegetarian hard cheese, season with salt and black pepper to taste.
- Spread the risotto mix out over a large baking tray and leave to cool completely. Once cooled, cover and leave it in the fridge overnight.
- To fill and shape the arancini: Take roughly 60g portions and divide the risotto mix into 18. Dampen your hands with a bit of water, flatten each piece of rice and place a cube of mozzarella in the centre. Shape into a ball by bringing the sides up and sealing at the top, then roll the mix slightly between your palms. You’ll want to keep dampening your hands and repeat this step with the remaining risotto mixture.
- To coat the arancini: Set up a section in your kitchen with your ingredients for coating the arancini. Take the flour and season with salt and black pepper. Place the beaten eggs in a small bowl and tip the breadcrumbs into another bowl.
- Take each arancini you prepare earlier and start by rolling in the seasoned flour, then roll in the egg and then the breadcrumbs. Spread the arancini out onto a large baking tray that’s been lined with parchment paper or a piece of clingfilm to stop them from sticking to the tray.
- Half fill a large deep saucepan with vegetable oil and heat over medium-low until it reads 170°C on a cooking thermometer or until a piece of bread turns golden brown in the oil within 45 seconds. Fry the arancini in batches until crisp and golden – this should take roughly 4-5 minutes. Once ready, drain the arancini on kitchen paper and leave to cool slightly before serving.
- Serve the arancini warm (allow them to cool for a few minutes after frying) with a sprinkle of extra grated Parmesan/vegetarian alternative and some chopped parsley – if you don’t fancy this you can just sprinkle the arancini with sea salt. Place the arancini on a serving platter or individual dishes with a pot of tomato sauce – we love arrabbiata sauce with ours.
Recipe from here
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47 thoughts on “Double Cheese Arancini (Sicilian Rice Balls)”
Oooh, I just love arancini! Such a treat… I never would have thought to bake instead of fry; so smart! And that gooey cheese inside is just so tempting!
That last photo with the cheese oozing out… ah! I am craving these right now…
Oh, these look amazing!
This is best recipe for using leftover rice that I have seen! Usually cold, dried out rice is unpalatable but my goodness this is a scrumptious recipe!
Love Arancini, your recipe sounds great and really delicious. They look just perfect.
Your recipe looks fabulous.
I love arancini…but I’ve never tried making them at home. I think I need to fix that!! Thanks for the recipe.
I love the idea of baking these rather than frying them! 😀
Baked not fried… how wonderful! I am bookmarking now!
I’ve seen these on many restaurant menus lately, Jessica, and they always tempt me but often seem too heavy to have as a starter. I think they’d be much better baked – great idea! I think I’d use any kind of leftover risotto … lovely recipe!
I am so sad I have never been to Italy. I definitely need to change that some day! I love these risotto balls! They look delicious!!
Holy cow this looks amazing!!!! I want this right now.
I just want to sink my teeth into one (I mean 4) of these! Yum!
I love arancini! When I make risotto I’m always sure to make a lot extra so I can make these yummy balls with the leftovers. Love that you put mozzarella inside. I’m going to have to try that next time. Beautiful pictures!
Oh, I love arancini!!! Oven-baked arancini with a nice sauce, such a nice idea!!Delicious!!
I absolutely adore arancini. Each time they bring back memories of most wonderful time in Sicily. Great job with these!
Oh yum!! YUM!! This is a definite try for me!! Wishing I could reach into my screen right at this very moment.. 🙂
I love that you baked these! Fried foods give me heart burn for literally days. Don’t want to miss out on something tasty like this 🙂
These are now on my to make list! Sounds so delicious!
Absolutely STUNNING photos! This looks delicious!
I absolutely love arancini! I’ll have to pick up some GF breadcrumbs so I can make them!
These look great and love that they are baked instead of fried too 🙂
I’ve never had arancini, but my boyfriend talks about when he had it in Italy all the time…I should definitely make this for him, it sounds wonderful!
Oh, I need to make some risotto just so I can make these. Your photos are beautiful! I just wanna grab one of those, dip it in sauce and eat it up!! Pinning!
That last picture of the rice ball with cheese oozing out is killing me!
I never knew you could bake arancini!!
This is such a creative and healthful recipe – just the right amount of nutrition and decadence. 🙂 Your photos are lovely, Jess. Best – Shanna
I love this!! Never had risotto this way and it looks so delicious.
I love that these are baked! So creamy and delicious..I could make a whole meal out of just them!
These look amazing! I remember having these when I went to Rome one summer. they were so wonderful! Beautiful photos, too!
My sister and I went to Italy about 6 years ago and been craving to go back with my husband. I hope this is the year! Loving these mozzarella arancini! They look delicious! Pinning. 🙂
I just started following you on twitter too. 🙂
Mmmm love arancini! Such a perfect way to use left over risotto! Love the idea of baking them rather than frying – healthy January (well kind of!) all the way!
Oh my goodness these are incredible!!! I am totally trying this! Love that it’s baked and crunchy and full of cheese.
You know, at my old age I finally bought a deep fryer. I bought a little one, cause I knew I wasn’t going to be frying huge quantities of anything, and yet I still haven’t used it. Now this is the recipe I think I will have to use to break in the deep fryer! It’s fabulous!
OOOps, I just realized you didn’t fry these! Oh well, I still like your recipe!!!
These look absolutely gorgeous! I’m definitely going to try these out!
Love aranchinis. Your pic is absolutely beautiful
These look amazing! I love arancini, but I hate to deep fry at home. Such a great idea to bake these! They look just as crispy as the real deal! Where are you going in Italy??
Oh, these looks amazing!!!!
I’ve always wanted to try arancini, and yours look incredible, Jessica! Love that they’re baked and served with that spicy sauce!
This looks to fabulous! So cheese and crunchy! I have never eaten this before, but I’m going to now!
Wow, these look amazing! I never would have thought to make something like this but now I definitely want to. Great recipe, Jess! Pinned. Have a lovely day!
What a great recipe! I can’t wait to try these!
Oh wow, my husband and I would both absolutely LOVE these. I’m pinning this because I’ve got to remember to try it! 🙂