How to Make Arancini

A white plate with two, round arancini in a puddle of tomato sauce with a basil leaf

Crispy, pillowy rice balls of fried heaven.

by Erin Henderson

Whenever I go out to eat, if there’s arancini on the menu, it’s guaranteed I’m ordering it.

Arancini – little rice balls (if in Rome) or cones (if in Sicily) of left-over risotto and stuffed with mozzarella, peas, and even sometimes meat sauce – are delectable little morsels that are crispy on the outside and gooey on the inside. Often served with some kind of tomato sauce, these are irresistible.

Risotto is one of my, in-a-pinch, don’t-know-what-else-to-cook, pantry staple dinners. I probably make some version (butternut squash in fall, topped with braised beef in winter or, right now in spring, lemon and sweet pea with or without scallops) a few times a month.

And because arancini are the love child of risotto, I intentionally make extra rice just to have leftovers so I can make these beautiful little bites.

How many arancini you get depends on how much risotto you have to work with. I generally have about 2 cups of left over risotto, which makes for 5-6 almost-tennis ball sized arancini, or 8-10 golf ball sized arancini. I, however, find the bigger balls easier to work with. Do with that tidbit of info, what you will.

A quick note on frying. It can make some cooks nervous, including me, working with all that hot oil. I find it’s reassuring to use a deep pot to give yourself lots of room and to heat the oil over medium, or maybe even medium low, depending on how hot your stove top gets. NEVER on high.


a female hand holding a half arancini showing it's cheesy, gooey centre. In the background is a plate of arancini


Makes: 5-10, depending on size
Chef level: easy
Special equipment: candy thermometer, spider (or large, perforated scoop with a long handle)

  • 2 cups left-over risotto
  • Dime-sized cubes of mozzarella, how many cubes depends on how many balls you are making
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1000 ml canola oil, for frying
  • Tomato or marinara sauce for serving
How to Make It: 
  1. In a large, deep sauce pot pour in the oil – it should come up about 2 inches from the bottom.
  2. Heat the oil over medium heat until a candy thermometer reads 350°F. (This takes about 15 minutes or so to heat to temperature so you can prep almost everything while waiting.)
  3. Prepare a bowl of warmish water for dipping your hands (it’s easier to roll the arancini with slightly wet hands – the rice doesn’t stick as easily.)
  4. Prepare a baking tray with parchment paper and set aside.
  5. Taking a bit of risotto, press it into the palm of your hand. Place a square of mozz into the centre and press another bit of risotto on top, rolling it into a ball.
  6. Place the rolled arancini on the parchment-lined baking tray.
  7. Keep doing this until all the arancini are rolled out.
  8. Place the baking tray in the freezer for 10 minutes to firm up the balls.
  9. Prepare three bowls: flour, egg, breadcrumbs.
  10. When ready, remove your arancini from the freezer and roll in flour. Dip in egg and allow excess to drip off. Now roll in breadcrumbs until well covered. Place back on the baking tray.
  11. When all arancini are done getting coated in the flour-egg-breadcrumb mixture, return to the freezer for another 10 minutes or until the oil has reached 350°F.
  12. Place the cold arancini on the spider and gently lower to the hot oil (the temperature of the oil will come down, that’s ok), it should be actively bubbling with little, sizzling bubbles. Allow to fry until deep golden, about 2-3 minutes, gently turn over and fry the other side until golden.
  13. Remove from oil and place on paper towel.
  14. Serve warm with marinara sauce for dipping.
Wine Pairing:

Chianti Classico is a natural for this. The bright acidity in the wine works to break up the richness of the cheese and fried outer coating, while the red fruit in the wine is brightened by the mildly salty tang of the arancini.

Hear From Real People!

I had the pleasure of attending the Oceania Cruise event where you conducted a wine pairing. I have to say that your wine and food pairing made a typically ho hum travel information night, spectacular! I have never done a wine pairing. I was amazed at how food interacted with the wines.
I wanted to thank you again for last night. Everyone had a great time, and I received a lot of compliments, on your behalf. You struck a great balance between being informational and entertaining. 10 out of 10.
The Wine Sisters put on magnificent event in Unionville..... They did a superb job, both as Sommeliers and on the PR and overall event co-ordination ... Great job and we look forward to working with you on our event!
Great energy, sense of humour and very knowledgeable! Thank you for making it an afternoon to remember!
I’m really pleased with how the event went. Everyone feels really happy with your incredible hosting skills and experience. We all DEFINITELY want to use The Wine Sisters again! Thank you so much!!
[They] quickly engaged our group with our wine themed engagement party. Guests were lined up all evening for the experience. [They] very willing to involve guests in tasting discussion. We are all a little more wine savvy - thank you The Wine Sisters
Thank you very, very, very much for the outstanding planning and support you gave in making this event an absolute success. People were just having a fantastic time and the set-up and style were absolutely brilliant. I think we got what we exactly wanted. I will reach out again!
Everybody had a ton of fun and we very much see this structure as a template we can use with clients and friends in the future.
Our guests had a great evening and Erin made sure that everyone (even non-drinkers) enjoyed themselves! Thanks for making the bridal shower so memorable!
You and your team were an absolute pleasure to work with! From the get go, you were very flexible with our needs, communicated in a timely manner, and tailored your services to be exactly what we asked for.

Instagram Feed

Follow on Instagram

For support issues or any questions, please email us at

Sign up for our weekly newsletter to be the first to know about our wine recommendations, cocktail recipes, and great tips for throwing fabulous parties.