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5 from 2 votes

Arancini - Sicillian Rice Balls Recipe

Here is a classic Italian dish from Sicily.  This traditional Sicilian street food made with Arborio rice, filled and then fried. The filling varies and may include ingredients like prosciutto, Fontina cheese, peas, mushrooms or a combination of some or all.

Course Appetizer
Cuisine Italian
Keyword cheese filled, rice balls, Sicily, street food
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: Change to adjust-> 8 servings
Calories 377 kcal


Approxiamtely 2 cups oil for frying.


  1. In a skillet on medium heat cook the onion in butter until translucent, add the mushrooms and cook until mushrooms are tender then set aside.

  2. In a saucepan place the chicken broth, olive oil, salt and bring to a boil. Add the rice and the saffron and stir. Cover and turn heat to low-medium. Cook for about 20 minutes stirring every 5 minutes. Make sure the broth is absorbed and that the rice is "al dente".

  3. Transfer rice to a bowl and allow to cool. When rice is cool to the touch, add the Parmesan/Pecorino cheese and mix well. Add 1 beaten egg and mix again.
  4. Scoop rice using a ½ cup measure and flatten slightly on the palm of your hand. Place a tablespoon of the mushroom mixture in the middle of the rice. Scoop another ½ cup of rice and place on top and roll to form into a ball.
  5. Prepare two pie plates: one will contain the remaining two beaten eggs, the other will have breadcrumbs.

  6. Dip each ball into the egg mixture to coat and roll in the breadcrumbs. Place prepared rice balls on a tray or cookie sheet and place in the fridge for about 30 minutes to allow the breadcrumbs to set properly.

  7. Heat oil to about 375°F. If you don't have a thermometer, you can test the temperature by lightly dipping a rice ball into the oil. If it begins to sizzle, it is ready for frying.

  8. Fry a few at a time. Arancini should be golden brown, not dark brown.
  9. Drain on paper towel.
  10. Serve promptly.
  11. You can serve your arancini with or without marinara sauce.

Recipe Notes

Frequently asked questions:

  • How long can I a store the arancini in the refrigerator? Once they have cooled you can store them in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 3-4 days.
  • Can I freeze arancini? Yes, it is best to freeze them before frying them. I like to keep then in an airtight container for up to 6 months. Bring them out to thaw at room temperature for 30 to 60 minutes before frying.
  • Can I freeze the fried arancini? You can freeze the fried arancini also for up to 6 months. Allow them to thaw as described above and microwave as described below.
  • How do I reheat the leftover arancini? I find the best way is to place single servings in the microwave and heat for about 1 minute on ¾ power. Microwaves vary in power so check it half way through if it is hot enough.
Nutrition Facts
Arancini - Sicillian Rice Balls Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 377 Calories from Fat 72
% Daily Value*
Fat 8g12%
Saturated Fat 3g19%
Cholesterol 69mg23%
Sodium 1163mg51%
Potassium 295mg8%
Carbohydrates 61g20%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 2g2%
Protein 12g24%
Vitamin A 180IU4%
Vitamin C 11.6mg14%
Calcium 146mg15%
Iron 4.1mg23%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.