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Wooden serving board with golden, deep-fried balls of Arancini di Riso.

Arancini di Riso

  • Author: Millie Brinkley
  • Total Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes
  • Yield: Makes 12 balls 1x


Arancini di Riso is the Sicilian street food of golden, fried balls of creamy, cheesy risotto filled with a zesty ragu of beef and peas. They’re addictive and possibly the ultimate comfort food.  Serve them with a side of your favorite marinara sauce.



For the rice:

  • 2 cups Arborio rice
  • 6 cups hot chicken stock, divided
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup dry white wine (I used Chardonnay)
  • 4 tablespoons butter, cut into pats
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 large egg yolk

For the filling:

  • ½ pound lean ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large garlic clove, finely minced
  • ½ cup Italian tomato sauce
  • ½ cup small frozen peas, thawed
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground pepper

For the coating:

  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups seasoned Italian bread crumbs
  • Oil for frying (I used a blend of peanut and vegetable oils)


Make the risotto.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large Dutch oven, place the rice and 5 cups of chicken stock and stir well.  Cover and bake for 1 hour or until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is al dente.

Remove from the oven and quickly stir in the remaining hot chicken stock, cheese, wine, butter, salt, pepper, and egg yolk.

Stir vigorously until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is very thick and looks creamy.

Let the mixture come to room temperature and then cover the pot and refrigerate until the rice is very cold – at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.

Make the filling.

In a large skillet, brown the ground beef.  Use a spoon to break up the meat into tiny bits.

Add the onion and garlic.  Stir into the beef and continue cooking until the onions are translucent and the beef is no longer pink.

Carefully drain any fat from the meat.  Stir in the tomato sauce, peas, salt, and pepper.  Set aside to cool until it can be easily handled.

To make the arancini:

Use ¼ – ⅓ cup of cold risotto to make a patty.

Place one heaping tablespoon of the meat filling into the center of the patty.

Bring the edges of the rice patty up around the filling forming a ball.  Set aside on a wire rack.  Repeat with the remaining rice and filling.

To cook the arancini:

Fill a large Dutch oven or deep fat fryer with oil until about half full.  Preheat the oil until it reaches 375 degrees on a deep-fat thermometer.

Place the eggs in a shallow bowl and whisk well with a tablespoon of water.

Place the bread crumbs in another shallow bowl.

Dip each rice ball into the egg mixture and then roll in the bread crumbs.

Fry the rice balls, a few at a time, for 1-2 minutes on each side until deep golden brown and crisp.

Use a wire spider or slotted spoon to remove the balls from the oil and drain them on paper towels.

Serve warm with tomato sauce.

  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Chilling time: 2 hours
  • Cook Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Fry
  • Cuisine: Italian

Keywords: Arancini di Riso, Risotto balls, Rice balls, National Rice Ball Day, arborio rice, Italian street food, Italian recipes