Arancini balls

5 Min Read

These are an Italian starter consisting of risotto rolled into a ball, crumbed and deep fried served with a side sauce. Again, as usual, my favorite thing about certain recipes or dishes is the flexibility and endless options. Arancini balls are no different. These arancini balls have a hidden cheese center. Yum! For today’s arancini balls, I made mushroom risotto with a hidden center of white cheddar cheese. I have two serving suggestions, one with basil pesto and a tomato dipping sauce or with cottage cheese and grilled mushrooms.
Another great plus for these balls is they freeze amazingly. I made some balls and fried immediately and some balls after they were frozen and you can can’t tell the difference. Dinner party prepping at its best.

Arancini balls

What you need?

This recipes makes about 13 balls. You would want to serve between 2 to 3 per person as a starter before a main meal.

  • 1/2 of my mushroom risotto recipe from the link below. A great time saver is making the full recipe, eating half fresh for dinner for two and the other half of the risotto is the leftovers to roll your arancini balls the next day per below recipe.

  • bowl of about 1 1/2 to 2 cups of plain flour
  • bowl of two eggs, cracked and whisked
  • bowl of bread crumbs, I used the Kellog’s corn flakes crumbs
  • 2 thick slices of white cheddar cheese, cut into squares
  • 1 cup of canola oil, for frying
  • 1 cup of sunflower oil, for frying

For the tomato dipping sauce:

  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 slices of white onion, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup sundried tomatoes, sliced
  • 1/8 cup of red wine
  • 50 g of tomato puree
  • 1 tablespoon whole milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon of sugar
  • Salt and pepper

What to do?

  • Take a spoon of risotto and roll it into a ball while encasing a cube of cheese in the center (see second picture below). I made the balls by using two scoops of a 3cm ice cream scoop (see size of scoop in first picture below)
  • Once you have rolled all the balls, place the balls in the flour and make sure all is covered in flour.
  • Then take the balls from the flour and dip in the egg and then dip through the crumbs. See third and last picture below.


  • For freezing, you can freeze the crumbed balls at this stage between parchment paper in an airtight container. If choosing to freeze, then take them out of the freezer and place immediately into the fridge in the morning to thaw throughout the day to fry for dinner. See first picture below for freezing.
  • If not freezing, place the balls in the fridge for at least two hours before frying.
  • Heat the oil on medium to low heat. Once the oil is hot, place the balls in to fry.
    Deep frying is preferred but it takes a lot of oil, so I used less oil to semi-shallow fry the balls. See frying in second picture below.
  • If shallow frying the balls, once fried on one side, then turn the balls to cook on the other side. Once all the sides are fried until golden brown, remove and place on paper towel to drain off most of the oil. Serve hot, see last picture.

For the tomato dipping sauce:

  • Dice onions and slice sundried tomatoes. See first picture below.
  • In a small frying pan, heat the olive oil and cook the onions until soft.
  • Add the sundried tomatoes and cook for 1 – 2 minutes. See second picture below.
  • Add the red wine and cook until reduced.
  • Add the tomato paste, milk, sugar, salt and pepper. Simmer on low heat for a few minutes.
  • Dish up in a dipping/serving bowl, see last picture below.
  • Serve with dollops of basil pesto (you won’t need more than about 5 tablespoons for this quantity of balls for decoration), some drops of cream cheese. fresh chopped parsley and tomato dipping sauce.
  • Alternatively, serve with dollops of cottage cheese, grilled assorted mushrooms and fresh chopped parsley. See oozy cheese center.
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