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Easy Cheesy Stuffed Arancini (Risotto Balls)

Oct 10, 2022 | 4 comments

Gooey, mozzarella stuffed arancini are the PERFECT use for leftover risotto. Just form into balls, coat in breadcrumbs and fry until gorgeously golden and crispy. Fab for parties, the holidays or as a crowd-pleasing, kid-friendly appetizer.

3 whole arancini on a small plate with a open arancini with cheese spilling out, with aioli with pesto on the side in a small bowl.

Whenever I’m making risotto, I always make sure I make just a little more than I need. That’s because I want to make arancini the next day!

Arancini are a traditional Sicilian snack and they are unbelievably delicious. They’re essentially deep-fried rice balls and are the BEST thing to do with any leftover risotto you might have. I love stuffing them with a little bit of mozzarella for a cheesy surprise, but you can make them plain too.

Even if someone isn’t a fan of risotto, I bet they’ll be a fan of arancini. My boyfriend doesn’t like risotto (which is sad for me because it means I end up making it less than I’d like) but he LOVES arancini. Which makes no sense to me, but there we are.

The arancini pictured were made using leftovers of my creamy tomato and mascarpone risotto which I HIGHLY recommend giving a go. But, I’ve also included a simple risotto in the recipe below, in case you’re making your risotto fresh for your arancini. Or, for a fun festive twist, use this butternut squash risotto as your base and swap mozzarella for brie.

Why you’ll love them

  • Zero waste – use up your risotto leftovers in a new, fun way.
  • They’re easy to make, with minimal ingredients.
  • They’re gooey, creamy and crunchy all in one bite!
  • Perfect crowd-pleasing party food for the holidays or game day.


All you need is leftover risotto, plain flour, an egg, breadcrumbs, mozzarella and oil. I’ve given you a simple risotto recipe in the recipe card below if you’re starting from scratch with the arancini, otherwise, that’s it!

How to make them

If you’re making risotto, start there, making sure you’re spreading the cooked risotto out onto a lined oven tray once it’s finished. This will help it cool quickly and evenly.

PRO TIP: I like to pop this in the freezer for about 30 minutes to cool it quickly.

Once you’re ready with your cooled risotto, get three bowls out and put your flour, egg and breadcrumbs in each. Give the egg a quick mix with a fork. Get another plate ready to put your formed arancini on. Scoop up a couple of tablespoons of cooled risotto into your hands, then place a mozzarella piece in the middle of the risotto. Form the risotto around the mozzarella and shape it into a ball, about the size of a golf ball. Set aside on the plate and continue with the rest of the risotto and mozzarella.

Pick up an arancini ball and place it in the bowl with the flour. Give it a little toss through, so that every side is lightly coated. Dunk the floured ball in the egg mixture, again coating all sides. Finish by tossing the arancini ball in the breadcrumbs, making sure it’s completely coated. Set aside on your plate and continue with the rest.

PRO TIP: To keep this less messy – use one hand to toss the arancini in the flour and breadcrumbs, and the other to toss it in the wet egg mix (basically using one hand for the dry ingredients and one for the wet). Alternatively, you can use disposable gloves.

Heat your oil in a large pot (you want the oil to come at least 1/3 of the way up the sides of the pot). You want the oil to hit 180C/360F – this is the perfect temperature for the arancini to cook evenly. If it’s too cold, they won’t crisp up and will go soggy, and if it’s too hot, the coating will burn before the inside is heated and the cheese is melted.

If you have a thermometer, that’s your friend here, otherwise, you can do the wooden spoon test. Stick the handle of a wooden spoon into the oil and if the oil bubbles up against it, it’s good to go.

Place a few arancini into the hot oil, carefully, and cook for about 5 minutes, turning with a spatula or wooden spot occasionally. You’re looking for them to be golden and crispy all over. At this point, scoop them out of the oil and place them on a wire rack while you continue with the rest of the arancini. Serve them while hot, oozy and crispy. I’m serving these with a little garlic aioli and basil pesto.

Got a question?

How do you monitor the temperature of your oil?

The best and most accurate way is to use a thermometer. You want the oil to be at 180C/360F when you add the arancini. If you don’t have a thermometer, use a wooden spoon. Place the handle upright in your oil-filled pot – if little bubbles start to pool around the handle, it’s good to go.

Can you prepare the arancini in advance?

You can form and coat the arancini up to a day ahead of time. Just store them in an airtight container in the fridge until you want to fry them.

Fried arancini will keep well for 3 days in an airtight container in the fridge – you can reheat them in the oven at 180C/360F fan for 15 minutes.

Can I bake these rather than fry them?

You can! They won’t be quite as crispy but it will work. Heat your oven to 200C/390F fan and drizzle a couple of tablespoons of olive oil over the arancini on a lined oven tray, or on a wire rack set over an oven tray for a crispier result. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes, until they’re looking golden.

Can I make arancini in an air fryer?

Yes, you can. Just like with the oven – drizzle with olive oil then pop in the air fryer for 10 minutes.

How do you stop the arancini from falling apart in the oil?

Make sure you’ve coated them really well in the flour, egg and breadcrumbs. If you see any rice sticking out, cover it! I also find it helps to pop them in the fridge for 10 minutes or so after you’ve coated them just so they firm up a little.

Like this recipe? Here are more crowd-pleasing snacks you might enjoy

If you make these arancini, let me know in the comments below! I’d love to hear from you.

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3 whole arancini on a small plate with a open arancini with cheese spilling out, with aioli with pesto on the side in a small bowl.

Easy Cheesy Stuffed Arancini (Risotto Balls)

  • Author: Kate Alexandra
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 16 arancini 1x
  • Diet: Vegetarian


Gooey, mozzarella stuffed arancini are the PERFECT use for leftover risotto. Just form into balls, coat in breadcrumbs and fry until gorgeously golden and crispy. Fab for parties, the holidays or as a crowd-pleasing, kid-friendly appetizer.

I also love making these using my easy, creamy tomato and mascarpone risotto or butternut squash risotto (swap the mozzarella for brie for a festive twist).


Units Scale

For the risotto – 

  • 1 white onion, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups arborio rice
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine (optional)
  • 4 cups of hot chicken or vegetable stock
  • 50g butter, diced
  • 50g parmesan, grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (if needed)

For the arancini –

  • Leftover risotto
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 100g mozzarella, diced or torn (use a mozzarella ball, mini mozzarella pearls or grated mozzarella)
  • Vegetable oil, for frying


  1. Make the risotto. Skip this step if you’re using leftover risotto. Get a large saucepan over medium heat and add the tablespoon of olive oil. Add the diced onion and cook, stirring, for a couple of minutes until it starts to soften. Add the crushed garlic and stir through the onion, then add 2 cups of arborio rice. Stir the rice through the onion and garlic for a minute, then add the wine if you’re using it. Let the wine bubble up for a minute, so the alcohol evaporates. At this point, you can start adding the stock, one ladleful at a time. Stir the rice until the stock has been absorbed into the rice, then go in with another ladleful. Continue like this until all the stock has been used up. The rice at this point should be al dente – cooked, with a little bite in the middle. Add the diced butter and grated parmesan and mix through to melt into the risotto. Give it a taste and add the salt if you think it needs it. Line an oven tray with baking paper, then spread the risotto out onto it, then let it cool in the fridge for at least 1 hour. PRO TIP: You can put it in the freezer for 30 minutes if you have space to speed this up.
  2. Stuff the arancini. Line a tray with baking paper and put the egg, flour and breadcrumbs into three separate bowls. Scoop up about two tablespoons of cooled risotto into your hand. Flatten it, then add a bit of mozzarella into the middle. Enclose the cheese in the rice by rolling it into a ball in your hands. Set aside on the lined tray and repeat with the remaining risotto balls.
  3. Coat the arancini. Dip each ball first into the flour and give it a roll around. You just want it to be a light coating, so shake off the excess before you add it to the egg bowl. Toss to coat in the egg, let the excess drip off and then transfer it to the breadcrumbs. Toss it through the breadcrumbs, making sure it’s coated evenly. Transfer to the lined tray and continue with the rest of the risotto balls. I like to pop them in the fridge at this point for about 10 minutes while the oil heats up, just to help them firm up a little so they hold their shape better when frying. PRO TIP: Use one hand for the dry coating (flour and breadcrumbs) and one for the egg, to prevent super sticky fingers.
  4. Fry the arancini. Pour enough oil into a large pot so that it comes about 1/3 of the way up the side. Heat the oil to 180C/360F (using a thermometer is the best here – or stick the handle of a wooden spoon into the oil – if the oil bubbles against the handle you know it’s ready). Lower three risotto balls into the oil (you don’t want the pot crowded or the arancini won’t crisp up) and cook, turning occasionally, for about 5 minutes or until golden brown and crispy. Transfer to a wire rack then repeat with the rest of the arancini. Serve while still hot, crispy and gooey in the middle.


STORAGE SUGGESTIONS: You can form and coat the arancini a day before you want to cook them, just store them in an airtight container in the fridge. To reheat fried arancini, place on a lined oven tray and bake for 15 – 20 minutes at 200C fan until heated through.

SERVING SUGGESTIONS: Serve the arancini as they are, or with a dipping sauce. I love serving them with garlic aioli, spicy gochujang aioli or a dollop of sun-dried tomato pesto.

You can bake the arancini if you like – place them on a lined oven tray then drizzle them with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Bake at 200C fan for 15 – 20 minutes until golden and crispy. You can also do this in an air fryer.


  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 5
  • Category: snacks
  • Method: deep frying
  • Cuisine: italian


  • Serving Size: 2 arancini

Keywords: risotto balls, fried rice balls, arancini


I’m Kate, the creator behind Dished. I love creating flavour packed, simple (ish) recipes for you, designed for every day and special occasions.





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  1. Natalie

    YUM!!!! I’d never tried making arancini but had a bit of leftover risotto so gave them a go, so good and easy!!

  2. Izzy

    The perfect reminder of Sicily! A firm family favourite!

    • Kate Alexandra

      Yayyy!! They’re just the best aren’t they

  3. Antoninoz

    Mammmma mia! So tasty 🤌


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