Growing up in an Italian family, Sicilian arancini balls were a typical dinner dish. They are breaded, fried balls of rice and cheese. Some people add different ingredients to arancini balls, for instance, my aunt added peas which I was not a fan of. Making Italian fried rice balls can be time consuming because of work involved in making the rice. But I recently discovered a cool shortcut that makes easy arancini in a fraction of the time. Read along to find out how to cook arancini.
What are arancini balls
They are a delicious meal that hails from Sicily and are made from cooked rice and cheese (sometimes other fillings). The ingredients are rolled into balls, dredged in breadcrumbs, and fried.
Typically, arancini di riso (rice balls) are made with white rice which can be time consuming. My secret to easy arancini is to use a quick cooking rice. It really cuts down on the cooking time. You can also use leftover rice to save time.
- white rice
- Parmesan cheese or parmigiano reggiano
- shredded mozzarella
- kosher salt
- black pepper
- seasoned Italian breadcrumbs
- vegetable oil
- marinara sauce
How do you make rice balls
The process of making this arancini balls recipe could not be easier. Cook your rice according to package directions in a large pot.
When the rice is ready, put it in a large bowl and add an egg, some of the breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, oregano, Parmesan cheese and shredded mozzarella cheese. Mix until thoroughly combined.
Use your hands to form into small balls. I actually made various sized rice balls. When I was a kid my family made large rice balls. If you went to the local pizzerias in the Italian neighborhood where I grew up, the arancini balls were huge - larger than a baseball! These days I see rice balls are made much smaller, so make whatever size you prefer.
You can also use an ice cream scoop to form the rice balls.
Beat two eggs in a shallow bowl and dip the formed rice balls in the egg.
Next, roll around in the bread crumbs until the ball is completely covered.
How to fry arancini rice balls
Place the oil in a pot so that when the arancini are added, the oil will cover or nearly cover them. You can also use a deep saucepan. Heat oil until it is 350 degrees. Using a slotted spoon, drop in balls in batches of four until they are cooked through and the outside has turned a deep golden brown. You can also cook these in a deep fryer.
When you are done deep frying, remove the arancini balls from the oil with a slotted spoon and place them on a paper towel lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt. If you'd like, you can warm up some marinara sauce for dipping and serve the sauce with the rice balls.
When you open up the deep fried arancini, you will see all the rice and cheesy goodness inside.
These arancini rice balls make a great side dish or appetizer. You can also experiment with the ingredients inside. I think bits of cut of salami or pepperoni would taste delicious mixed with the rice. Some make these arancini bites with leftover risotto
If you are looking to make your rice balls arancini a little healthier, check out this Cauliflower Arancini from Kirbie's Cravings.
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- 3 cups quick cook rice cooked
- ¼ cup Parmesan Cheese
- 1 cup mozzarella
- 3 eggs 1 for rice mixture and 2 beaten for coating the rice balls
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- dash pepper
- ½ teaspoon oregano
- ¾ cup breadcrumbs use ¼ cup of breadcrumbs in rice mixture and ½ cup to bread the rice balls
- 2 cups oil for frying
- marinara sauce for dipping
- Prepare the quick cook rice according to package directions.
- When the rice is ready, allow it to cool and then put it in a large bowl and stir in 1 egg, ¼ cup breadcrumbs, ⅛ teaspoon salt, dash of pepper, ½ teaspoon of oregano, ¼ cup Parmesan cheese and 1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese. Mix until thoroughly combined.
- Use your hands to form into small balls.
- Beat two eggs in a bowl and dip the formed rice balls in the egg. Roll the rice balls around in the bread crumbs until they are completely covered.
- Place the oil in a pan so that when the arancini are added, the oil will cover or nearly cover them. Heat oil until it is 350 degrees. Using a slotted spoon, drop in balls in batches of four until they are cooked through and the outside has turned a deep golden brown.
- Remove the arancini balls from the oil with a slotted spoon and place them on a plate lined with paper towels. Sprinkle with salt. If you'd like, you can warm up some marinara sauce for dipping and serve the sauce with the rice balls.
Please note the calorie and fat content listed in the nutritional information is much higher than it actually is since the program I am using is counting the total oil used for frying, not just the oil that is absorbed into the arancini.
This nutritional information is approximate and was calculated using online calculators. Your nutritional information may vary depending on numerous factors.
Frequently asked questions
There are many varieties of Arancini, but traditionally they are made out of rice, mozzarella cheese, dipped in breadcrumbs and fried to a golden brown.
They work well with any Italian dish. I like to serve with chicken parm, or a pasta dish for an all out carb fest!
You can refrigerate them for up to 3 days.
You can freeze these by wrapping them in plastic wrap and placing in a container. They can remain in the freezer for up to 3 months.
You can reheat these in the microwave for a few minutes.
The egg and breadcrumbs should hold the rice balls together. If you still have problems, you can place the balls into the refrigerator or freezer for about 10 minutes so they can firm up and stay together when placed in the oil.