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Arancini di Riso

Italian Rice Balls
Arancini or arancine are fried rice appetizer balls coated with breadcrumbs, said to have originated in Sicily in the 10th century. The name derives from the food's shape and color, which is reminiscent of an orange (the Italian word for orange is arancia, and arancina means "little orange"). For long, I wanted to share this recipe with you all. Clearly, I got time last weekend since I had some plain leftover rice in refrigerator and luckily, I also had spinach to try these cute little orange like fritters at home. Italian Rice Arancini RecipeItalian Rice Fritters are perfect for evening snack or serving in a kids or adult party for appetizers.

Two things make’em perfect party appetizers – easy to find ingredients in pantry/refrigerator and recipe comes together very fast. In-fact perfect for make-ahead. Mix the ingredients, make balls, roll in crumbs and leave in refrigerator until you are ready to fry’em. Italian Rice Arancini RecipeFor even cooking of these rice fritters, size is the key. Don’t roll too big in size, make’em 1-2 bite size. About 2 tbsp mixture in each yields 24 pieces or 4 tbsp in each yields 12 pieces. Do not go bigger than that.
For this version of arancini, I have used spinach, rice and parmesan cheese. I also spiced up these Italian fried rice appetizer with my favorite - crushed red pepper and Italian seasoning. These are not used in traditional recipe. But just for personal taste, I like a little kick of pepper in rice dishes. So, use of pepper is optional, but I recommend trying with pepper once to understand what magic it brings in the taste.
To me, pepper and Italian seasoning in arancini take'em to whole new level in taste. I would say - a little-spicy, aromatic and flavorful bite when dipped in warm marinara sauce. Scrumptious!!
Other than marinara, I love serving Arancini di Riso with Béchamel (white flour-butter sauce). I can eat a plate of these crispy little treats with just ketchup [Serve with ketchup only if not serving to your Italian boyfriend ;)]

Feeling good to share this easy appetizer recipe with you all. Check instruction for recipe details. Italian Rice Arancini Recipe
My favorite summer drinks to serve with Arancini:

Italian Rice Balls

Italian Rice Balls
Total Time Prep Time Cook Time Cuisine Italian Category Difficulty Easy Yields 24 small balls (Serves: 6) Notes 6-10 servings 3-4 each Nutrition 332 calories per serving
Smart Swap For healthier version, instead of frying, bake'em at 375 F for 22-25 minutes or until golden crisp.


  • 2 Cup Rice (cooked white or brown rice)
  • 1/2 lbs Spinach (package frozen chopped, thawed and squeezed dry)
  • 1 Cup Parmesan Cheese (grated)
  • 1/2 tsp Salt (adjust to taste)
  • 2 Cup Breadcrumbs (fine dry)
  • Canola Oil (for deep frying)
  • 1/2 tsp Red Pepper Flakes (or crushed red pepper)
  • 1 tsp Italian Seasoning
  • 2 Egg(s) (lightly beaten)
  • Dip for Serving
  • 10-12 Basil (basil leaves fried for garnish)
  • 3/4 Cup Marinara Sauce (Or more per your liking)


Hide Step Photos
  • Step for Recipe - Italian Rice Balls
    1. In a large bowl combine eggs, rice, spinach, cheese, pepper, Italian Seasoning and salt.
    Additional Notes
    Cover and chill (about 20-30 minutes) until slightly firm to hold shape better.
    Step for Recipe - Italian Rice Balls
    2. Chilling the mixture makes it easy to shape and hold together well.
  • Step for Recipe - Italian Rice Balls
    3. Shape rice mixture into 24 fritters (about 2 tbsp each) Or 12 fritters (4 tbsp each) like I did. Place breadcrumbs in a shallow dish. Roll rice fritters in breadcrumb mixture to coat. Pre-heat over to 300 F. In a heavy sauce pan or fryer heat 2 inches oil to 350 F. Fry rice fritters, a few at a time about 3-5 minutes each (until golden brown). Drain on paper towel. Keep warm in oven while frying the remaining arancini.
    Step for Recipe - Italian Rice Balls
    4. Meanwhile in a small saucepan heat marinara sauce over medium heat until heated through. Serve Arancini di Riso with warm marinara sauce for dipping.

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3 comment(s)

  1. Oh wow... so simple... last week i had tried making rice cutlets ( indian style ) and they turned out yummy. These look a little similar but with much lesser ingredients. Will try this for sure :)

    Thanks, Gauri! I hope you like it when you try! Indian cutlets sounds yumm! I should make those sometime :)
  2. dare to try? These Arancini balls are the authentic as I remember eating it in Sicily