Arancini are an Italian street food consisting of a ball of rice coated with bread crumbs and then deep fried—a staple of Sicilian cuisine. They contain cheese and sometimes peas! There are many variations of this delicious snack.



  • 2 cups Arborio rice4 ounces yellow onion, finely diced
  • 10 cups lightly salted water
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
  • Zest of 1 lemon
    3/4 cup freshly-grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 20 (1/2-inch) dice pieces of mozzarella
  • 20 peas
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs, passed through a sieve
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
  • Salt, to taste


  1. Bring a large pot with the 10 cups of water to a boil. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Place a saucepan over medium heat, and add a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Add the diced onions to the pan and cook until they become tender. When the onions are translucent, add the rice and toast the grains, making sure to coat them with the oil and mixing for 5 minutes.
  3. Using a large ladle, add 1 cup of hot water until the rice is just covered, stirring continuously until the water is just above the surface of the rice, keeping the liquid at a consistent boil. Repeat this process until you have added all the water and the risotto is cooked through.
  4. When the risotto is al dente, stir in the cubed butter, lemon zest and grated Parmigiano Reggiano until all ingredients are thoroughly incorporated. Season with salt, to taste.
  5. Remove the pan from the heat and spread the risotto on the baking sheet lined with parchment paper to allow it to cool. Once it has cooled, roll portions of the risotto in your hands to form balls of about 4 ounces, and stuff each one with a piece of mozzarella and a pea, sealing any holes.
  6. Place the flour, beaten egg, and breadcrumbs in separate bowls. Coat one risotto ball first with the flour, then with the egg, and finally with the breadcrumbs, then place it back on the baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat this process until all the risotto balls have been coated thoroughly.
  7. In a large, heavy-bottom skillet, heat 1 cup of extra virgin olive oil until it is almost smoking. Cook the arancini in the oil until they become golden brown all over. Remove each rice ball to a plate lined with paper towels to drain.
  8. Serve warm, topped with a sprinkling of grated Parmigiano Reggiano, if desired.

Yield: 20 Arancini

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