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Sicilian Arancini di Riso: Sicilian Rice Balls

Authentic Sicilian Arancini di Riso (i.e. Sicilian Rice Balls) are easy and delicious to make! See how to make your own. These are perfect for leftover risotto!
Course Entree
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 12 -15 rice balls


  • 3 cups leftover cooked mushroom risotto, (see my favorite in the notes)
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
  • ¼ lb mozzarella, cut up into ½ inch cubes
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup dried breadcrumbs
  • ¼ teaspoon of each: dried oregano, basil, marjoram (or 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning)
  • Vegetable oil, for frying


  • In a large bowl, combine the leftover risotto and ¼ cup Parmesan cheese. If the mixture seems too dry to roll into a ball without falling apart, then add 1 egg to help bind the mixture. With the risotto I used, that was not a problem and I did not need the additional egg.
  • In a shallow dish, add the beaten eggs.
  • In another shallow dish add the breadcrumbs and the Italian seasonings, and mix well.
  • Scoop out a spoonful of the rice mixture and roll into a ball about the size of a golf ball (about 2 inch diameter).
  • Make a hole in the center of each ball with your finger, and insert a cube of mozzarella. Cover up the hole and roll the balls tightly!
  • Roll each ball in the egg mix, and then the breadcrumbs. Coat well.
  • In a heavy saucepan, pour enough oil to fill the pan about 2 inches high.
  • Heat to medium heat until either a thermometer reaches 350, or use a test batch with a piece of bread.
  • In small batches, fry the rice balls four at a time, turning occasionally, until golden (about 3-4 minutes). You want to avoid frying too many at once pulling down the cooking oil temp and creating a greasy ball.
  • Remove the balls and place on paper towel lined plate to remove any excess oil. Season with salt.
  • Serve plain, or with your favorite marinara sauce.


You can use whatever risotto recipe you wish. Or you can make a basic risotto, then add your favorite fillings as you prepare the mixture: peas, ham or prosciutto, you name it.
If your oil is too high and the balls brown quickly on the outside but don’t cook the inside thoroughly (if they brown in under a minute or so), transfer the nicely browned Aranciti to a cookie sheet and bake in the oven at 400 degrees for about 10-12 minutes. This way the outside will remain crispy, and the oven will help to melt the cheese and warm up the rice mixture.
Alternatively (if you want to make the batch ahead of time), fry the balls quickly until browned then place on baking sheet until you are about ready to serve. Then put them in the oven for 12 minutes (until cooked through). That way each Aranchini is perfectly warm and cooked through when you serve them. Believe me, they are best served warm and gooey!