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Crispy Fried Arancini Recipe

This crispy-on-the-outside, ooey-gooey-inside fried Arancini recipe will be your new go-to for hosting, pot-lucks, parties or game-day. Creamy rice mixed with a velvety sauce, coated in bread crumbs then fried to crisp perfection. Don’t forget the marinara for dipping!

It’s no secret that The Hubs loves a good sports game. Being an athlete as a child, there’s something wired within him to appreciate a good game.

March Madness is no exception.

I, for one, could take it or leave it…but add in a few friends, delicious grub and great conversation and I’M IN!

This is precisely why I’m sharing this tasty little treat with you today.

March Madness is upon us and these crispy fried Arancini will have you in “game mode” in no time.

Crispy Fried Arancini Pinterest Pin

What are Arancini?

Put simply, they’re “small balls of rice stuffed with a savory filling, coated in breadcrumbs, and fried.” (Thanks Google!)

But they’re so much more than that. Once you get the basics of a good Arancini recipe, the variations are nearly endless.

We like a classic version (which is what we’re sharing with you today), but I kid you not, you could go hog wild with these by adding bacon, different cheeses and swapping out the dipping sauce.

How about bacon/bleu cheese Arancini dipped in a thick and creamy bleu cheese dressing?

Or maybe a spinach, tomato and ricotta filled Arancini dipped in pesto?

Oh man, am I the only one salivating?

How do I make Arancini?

I won’t lie and tell you these are simple…but what I WILL say, is that even if they don’t look pretty, they’re gonna taste AMAZING!

There are a few key tricks that I’ll share with you today that will surely get you on the road to success on your very first try.

  • Choosing the right rice: The only way to get Arancini to hold their shape, have a nice chewy texture and stay moist and gooey on the inside is to choose the right rice for the recipe. We like to use Mahatma’s Organic Long-Grain White Rice for this recipe.
  • Cooking the rice correctly: You can’t make Arancini with over-cooked, dry rice. Neither can you make it with rice that’s too sticky (or under-cooked). We cook our rice in bone broth which adds gelatin that firms up when cooling the rice, yet melts when cooking, holding the rice together nicely. Because gelatin firms up when chilled, we’ve added extra for that extra boost of “stick-together-ness”.
  • The sauce: Our Arancini recipe includes a rich and creamy veloute sauce made with bone broth, whole milk and has the addition of eggs (traditionally found in Arancini). This makes for a gooey center that doesn’t dry out when frying.
  • The coating: Traditional coatings of flour, egg and bread crumbs can get the job done, but we’ve found rolling the rice balls in a flour/water slurry before coating in extra fine bread crumbs gives it that extra “crunch” upon first bite.
  • The frying: There’s some debate among Arancini aficionados as to whether they’re traditionally deep-fried or pan-fried. We prefer to pan-fry, but we do use a good solid layer of oil. This helps keep a more even temperature and the ability to quickly adjust as needed while cooking. We also like to use a mild oil, such as avocado oil or refined coconut oil which both have a higher smoke point than many other healthy oils, and they won’t alter the flavor of the Arancini.
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Crispy Fried Arancini Rice Balls garnished with Basil

Crispy Fried Arancini Recipe


  • Author: Full of Days
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 60 minutes
  • Yield: 12 Arancini
  • Category: Appetizer
  • Method: Frying
  • Cuisine: Italian

Description

This crispy-on-the-outside, gooey-on-the-inside fried Arancini recipe will be your new go-to for hosting, pot-lucks, parties or game-day. Creamy rice mixed with a velvety sauce, coated in bread crumbs then fried to crispy perfection. Don’t forget the marinara sauce for dipping!


Ingredients

For the Rice

  • 1 Tablespoon pastured butter
  • 1 Tablespoon avocado oil (or olive oil)
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced (about 1 cup, I used a yellow onion)
  • 2 cups Mahatma Organic Rice
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 3 cups homemade bone broth*, divided
  • Additional water, if needed (I used about 2 cups)
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the Sauce

  • 2 Tablespoons pastured butter
  • 2 Tablespoons organic all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1/4 cup whole milk (raw, if possible)
  • 3/4 cup homemade bone broth
  • 2 large pastured eggs, beaten

For the Filling/Coating

  • 1 pound low-moisture mozzarella, diced
  • 1/4 cup organic all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup water, divided
  • 2 cups bread crumbs, finely ground

For Frying

  • Refined coconut oil or avocado oil

Instructions

  1. If using broth that doesn’t gel when refrigerated, measure out broth and sprinkle gelatin over the surface. Set aside.
  2. Add butter and oil to a large dutch oven or saucepan and heat over medium-high until butter is melted and just starting to bubble.
  3. Add onion and stir until they begin to sweat and turn translucent, about 4 minutes.
  4. Add rice and continually stir until rice is coated in oil and slightly toasted.
  5. Add wine and cook until almost completely evaporated, about 2 minutes.
  6. Slowly stir in two cups bone broth. Continue stirring until rice has absorbed most of the liquid.
  7. Stir in one more cup of bone broth and simmer, stirring often, until almost all the liquid is absorbed.
  8. Stir in additional water, if needed, 1/4 cup at a time. Continue cooking and stirring until rice is tender, just past al dente, and the consistency of a thick porridge. Season with salt and pepper.
  9. While your rice finishes cooking, make the veloute sauce. Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until foamy bubbles appear.
  10. Quickly whisk in two tablespoons flour until it forms a paste.
  11. Lower the heat to medium-low and cook two to three minutes, stirring consistently, until flour is cooked but not browned.
  12. Whisking continually, add in 1/4 cup milk and 3/4 cup bone broth and stir until smooth.
  13. Bring to a simmer and continue to cook, stirring continually for about four minutes, or until sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
  14. Remove from heat, season with salt and pepper and once it’s cooled slightly, whisk in eggs.
  15. Combine rice and veloute in a large bowl and stir until rice is evenly coated with sauce.
  16. Line two large sheet-pans with parchment paper and spread rice mixture in a thin layer over the parchment.
  17. Place in the refrigerator to cool completely, approximately one hour.
  18. Transfer rice to a large bowl and line the baking sheets with a fresh sheet of parchment paper.
  19. Grab 1/4 cup of rice mixture and form a flat disk with your hands. Don’t worry about the rice sticking to your hands…it’s all part of the fun!
  20. Place a cube of diced mozzarella into the center of the disk. Mold the rice around the cheese to form a ball.
  21. Continue with remaining rice mixture until all Arancini are formed.
  22. Set up “breading station” by mixing 1/4 cup water and 1/4 cup flour together in a shallow dish. Once you have a thick paste, add 1/4 cup more water and whisk until you have a thin “slurry”. In another shallow dish, add bread crumbs. (I whizzed mine first in the Vitamix to make them extra fine.)
  23. Take Arancini and roll in the water/flour slurry, then quickly roll in bread crumbs to coat completely and evenly.
  24. Place on parchment paper and continue with the remaining Arancini until all are coated.
  25. Heat 2-4 inches of oil in a heavy bottomed pot to 375 degrees F. Use a thermometer and watch temperature carefully!
  26. One at a time, re-shape Arancini into a ball, if needed, and lower into oil using a slotted spoon. Cooking them in small batches, gently roll them around until all sides are evenly cooked and golden brown.
  27. Remove from oil and drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Continue until all rice balls are cooked. Top oil if needed, but allow the temperature to return to 375 F before continuing to cook.
  28. Serve Arancini as is, or with marinara dipping sauce.
  29. Arancini can be refrigerated or frozen and reheated at 350 degrees F until heated through. (If frozen, defrost before reheating.)

Notes

  • If using store-bought chicken broth/stock, or homemade bone broth that doesn’t gel when refrigerated, add 1 1/2 Tablespoons gelatin to your broth to help the rice set when cooling. This will help hold your rice mixture together when forming your Arancini.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 Arancini
  • Calories: 231
  • Sugar: 1.7g
  • Sodium: 347mg
  • Fat: 5.3g
  • Saturated Fat: 2.6g
  • Carbohydrates: 34.7g
  • Fiber: 1.1g
  • Protein: 6.7g
  • Cholesterol: 36mg
Crispy Fried Arancini Rice Balls

How to make the best fried Arancini recipe?

Let us help you! As with any new recipe, they seem harder than they really are! So we’ll show you our tricks along the way.

The process is one of the lengthier ones we’ve shared. But they’re totally worth every ounce of effort, promise! Plus, make them a time or two and you’ll be a pro!

Making the Rice

If you’ve ever made risotto, you know building flavor and taking your time are both key players. The filling for Arancini is no different.

We start by sauteing onions in rich butter and avocado oil. Give those onions a good sweat until they release their juices and start to look translucent.

Then, to give the rice a little more nutty-ness, we’re going to toast it a bit in the oil and onions. So add your rice and continually stir until it’s coated in oil and slightly toasted, but not browned or burned.

Add wine and cook until almost completely evaporated, this will take about two minutes.

Next, stir in two cups bone broth and season with salt. When the rice has absorbed most of the liquid, stir in one more cup of bone broth and simmer, stirring often, until almost all the liquid is absorbed.

Stir in water, 1/4 cup at a time, until rice is tender, just past al dente, and the consistency of a thick porridge. Season again with salt and pepper.

Steaming risotto rice cooking in a cast iron pot for crispy fried Arancini.

Making the Veloute

AKA, the creamy sauce that holds the rice together and maintains that ooey-gooey center!

Grab yourself another saucepan and melt butter over medium-high heat until foamy bubbles appear. Quickly whisk in two tablespoons flour until it forms a paste. Lower the heat to medium-low and cook two to three minutes, stirring consistently, until flour is cooked but not browned.

Whisking continually, add in milk and remaining 3/4 cup bone broth and stir until smooth.

Bring to a simmer and continue to cook, stirring continually for about four minutes, or until sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from heat, season with salt and pepper and once it’s cooled slightly, whisk in eggs.

This is when the magic happens!

Once your rice is cooked and your sauce is thick, you’re going to combine them in a large bowl and stir until every last grain of rice is coated in creamy, rich gooey-ness!

Before we can continue, we have to let the rice mixture cool and firm up a bit (this is where that gelatin shines!). After the rice is cool, we can roll them into the most delicious balls of joy you’ve ever tasted. The easiest (and quickest) way to do this is to line a baking sheet with parchment paper and pour your rice mixture out, spreading it into a thin, even layer.

Pop into the refrigerator until the rice is cooled and thickened (about an hour) and we’re onto the next step.

Creamy risotto mixed with a veloute spread out on a pan to cool.

Forming the Arancini

Grab 1/4 cup of your rice mixture and form a flat disk in your hands. Don’t worry about the rice sticking to your hands…it’s all part of the fun!

Next, grab a cube of your diced mozzarella, stick it in the center of your rice patty, then mold the rice around the cheese to form a ball. Try to keep it even, you want that cheese as close to the center as possible.

Don’t get too hung up on the shape of your Arancini right now, you can always come back and fix them in a bit.

Coating the Arancini

Next we need to set up our “breading station”. You could use a traditional flour-egg-breadcrumb coating, but we found a quicker way is to create a flour-water slurry, give the Arancini a quick “dunk”, then roll them in bread crumbs that have been given an extra whiz through the food processor so they’re extra fine.

Allow the Arancini to rest on a parchment lined baking sheet until all have been breaded.

Arancini Rice Balls coated in bread crumbs.

Cooking the Arancini

I’m normally not a huge fan of fried foods, but for the occasional party (and certainly those special game-day celebrations) fried food is perfectly acceptable within our 80/20 lifestyle. And trust me, these are worth it!

We’re going to fry these babies up in a heavy bottomed cast iron pot which will help keep the oil at an even temperature. But just to be sure, keep a thermometer in the oil to make sure it’s maintaining the proper heat – we don’t want any free radicals on game day!

One by one, drop the Arancini into the oil (be careful, it’s HOT!), working in small batches, roll them around until they’re golden brown and crispy on all sides.

Continue working in batches until all Arancini are fried and serve them immediately (or keep them warm in the oven at 100 degrees F). 

These are best served garnished with fresh chopped basil on top, then dunked in a big ole bowl of marinara.

Mmmm, mmmm!

I can taste them now! (*Resists licking screen!)

Crispy Fried Arancini Rice Balls garnished with Basil

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Showing 5 comments
  • Shawn
    Reply

    This looks amazing. I’ll be making this for a dinner party on Saturday but I’m working that day so I need to prepare the night before.

    Would it be ok to refrigerate the risotto/bescamel that far in advance? I’m not super familiar with chilling gelatin.

    • Kelsey Steffen
      Kelsey Steffen
      Reply

      Great question Shawn! I think you’ll be fine prepping the night before…I’d just bring it back out of the fridge about an hour before rolling, otherwise the rice might be a bit too chilled to form nicely.

  • KB
    Reply

    These looks delish!

    • Kelsey Steffen
      Kelsey Steffen
      Reply

      Thanks! If you give them a try, snap a photo and tag us to let us know how they turned out!

    • Kelsey Steffen
      Kelsey Steffen
      Reply

      Thanks KB! If you give them a try, be sure to snap a photo and tag us on social media! We love to see when our readers make our recipes!!!

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