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Mozzarella Arancini (Stuffed Rice Balls)

Mozzarella Arancini (Stuffed Rice Balls)

To make these Sicilian cheese-filled snacks, you first have to make risotto, then use the risotto to make cheese-stuffed balls, then coat them with breadcrumbs and deep-fry them. It’s a labor of love that will make other people love you, which is reason enough to give this recipe a try.


Calabrian Chile Sauce

  • 3 Tbsp. chopped oil-packed Calabrian chiles from a jar
  • 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1½ tsp. finely grated lemon zest
  • ½ small garlic clove, finely grated


  • 3½ cups low-sodium homemade chicken stock or store-bought broth
  • 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup carnaroli or arborio rice
  • 1½ tsp. kosher salt, plus more
  • 2 oz. finely grated Parmesan (about 1 cup)
  • 2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, plus more
  • 3 oz. low-moisture mozzarella, cut into ⅓" pieces
  • 2 cups panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • Canola oil (for frying; about 6 cups)

Recipe Preparation

Calabrian Chile Sauce

  • Mix chiles, oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, and garlic in a small bowl to combine.

  • Do Ahead: Sauce can be made 12 hours ahead. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and chill.


  • Bring stock to a simmer in a medium pot over medium heat, then keep warm over low.

  • Heat 2 Tbsp. butter in a medium saucepan over medium. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until softened but not browned, 4–5 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until softened but not browned, about 1 more minute.

  • Stir in rice; season with 1½ tsp. salt. Cook, stirring often, until some of the grains turn translucent around the edges, about 3 minutes. Add wine and cook, stirring often, until pan is almost dry, about 2 minutes. Ladle in 1 cup warm stock, bring to a simmer, and cook, stirring often, until liquid is absorbed, about 4 minutes. Ladle in another 1 cup stock and continue to cook, stirring yet again, until most of the liquid is absorbed, 5–7 minutes. Add remaining 1½ cups stock and cook, stirring often, until rice is cooked through but toothsome and liquid is mostly absorbed, 9–11 minutes longer. Remove from heat. Stir in Parmesan, cream, lemon zest, lemon juice, 1 tsp. pepper, and remaining 2 Tbsp. butter. Season risotto with salt.

  • Spread risotto in an even layer on a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet. Chill at least 1 hour or up to 4 (cover risotto with plastic wrap after 1 hour so it doesn’t develop a skin).

  • Line another rimmed baking sheet with parchment. Scoop about ¼ cup risotto into your hands and form into a patty about 2½" in diameter (it doesn’t need to be perfect!). Place 2–3 pieces mozzarella in the center of patty. Carefully pinch and shape risotto so it completely encases the cheese, then roll into a 2" ball. Your hands might get messy, and the balls may be slightly misshapen (they’ll firm up later). Place on prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining risotto and mozzarella. Freeze balls 10 minutes.

  • Meanwhile, pulse panko in a food processor or place in a ziptop plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin until finer crumbs form. Transfer to a shallow bowl. Place flour in another shallow bowl. Lightly beat eggs in a third shallow bowl to blend; season all bowls with salt and pepper. Working one at a time, dredge balls in flour, shaking off excess. Transfer to bowl with egg and turn to coat, letting excess drip back into bowl. Coat with panko, pressing gently to adhere. Transfer to a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet. Chill balls while you heat oil.

  • Pour oil into a medium heavy pot fitted with thermometer to a depth of 2". Heat over medium until thermometer registers 350°. Carefully lower half of rice balls into oil with a slotted spoon or spider and fry until deeply golden brown, 6–8 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain; season with salt. Repeat with remaining rice balls. Serve warm with sauce alongside.

Related Video

Molly Makes Arancini

Reviews SectionWe followed the recipe carefully, except we used Rembrandt Gouda and Truffle Pecorino for our cheeses. It came out absolutely perfect. This was our first time making aranchini and it was so pleasing to find it an easy process. The Calabrian Chile Sauce was a revelation! We pressed the garlic glove, and that worked just as well. Next time we'll try some roasted garlic. The sauce is great on sandwiches, with beef and pork too. We're kina addicted.This is an outstanding recipe! I made zero changes and watched the video for added help. I liked that the risotto can be made ahead of time - I actually made it the day before to help break up the steps. I used an ice cream scoop to help me form even sized balls. Having an oil thermometer is key to be able to maintain an consistent 350 degree frying oilWill definitely make these again. They definitely seem like they would freeze well after the breeding step so next time I’ll make a bunch to keep on hand if company comes over!AnonymousMiami FL05/03/20Even though I ended up baking these at 180° for 30 mins (we have a no deep frying rule in my house after an *incident*), these were a HUGE hit ! I'll try and negociate lifting the deep-frying ban for next time though.I used an ice cream scoop to help form them, which was helpful because I have warm hands, so they never got too sticky.I made these tonight and they are to die for. It’s a labor of love, but wow, are they good. I followed the recipe exactly except for 2 things. I had salted butter so I used that and added less salt later on in the recipe. And I used only 1 cup oil to fry. I turned the balls as they were frying so that each side got submerged and golden. It came out amazing! I wish there was a way to post pics to this site as evidence.AnonymousBoston, MA01/19/20I made a single batch for Christmas Eve & it was SO freaking good that I was requested to make a double batch less than a week later. We cannot get enough of these!For the second time around I did take Sophie Q’s suggestion below & added 8oz crimini mushrooms (cooked in a pan with a simple butter & thyme mixture). It definitely added even more flavor & I’ll be sure to include mushrooms each time I make this in the future!Side note: I didn’t have Calabrian chiles on hand & instead made a classic marinara alongside a pesto cream sauce. Still super tasty & delicious though. MAKE THIS!!!! Trust me, you won’t regret it.AnonymousPhoenix, AZ01/01/20I have made this recipe twice now and loved it both times. Delicious and relatively easy to do, especially helpful with Molly's guidance in the video. The second time I made it I added small pieces of fried mushroom to my risotto and it was excellent.Also for anyone wondering I the first time I made this recipe I prepared them around 4 days in advance and kept them in the fridge, about 15 minutes before I needed to cook them I popped them into the freezer and it was totally fine.I made 15 batches of arancini for a large event. They were only an appetizer, but they were the highlight of the meal! These are one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. I suggest making a double batch because you’ll want to eat some risotto when it’s fresh, but it’s also so good when it’s fried. Make this now!This was one of the best things I have ever made... absolutely delicious! I couldn't find the jarred Calabrian chilies so I made a spicy tomato oil instead for dipping. Thank you for such a great recipe!!FoodsterSt. John's, NL06/03/19I made your recipe exactly as written and the Arancini were spectacular! I do have a question? The recipe states to use 2 oz. finely grated Parmesan (about 1 cup). 2 oz. would be 1/2 of a cup. I used 1 cup as the recipe stated, but am confused.AnonymousSan Diego CA04/13/19Excellent. Had Risotto Milanese yesterday (different recipe) but used the leftovers to make Bon Appetit's Arancini (thanks to Molly's video) along with their Mozzarella Sticks, since the dredge is similar. Made the Arancini first and then just added the spices in for the mozzarella sticks.HeatherKirk - from what I've read on other sites - freeze them on a cookie sheet after they are breaded then transfer to a ziplock bag once they are frozen and keep until needed!Thanks for the recipe! Yummmm!Any thoughts on if these can be made ahead and put in the freezer? Then bake or fry when needed?heatherkirk0927New York City11/11/18

Watch the video: Easy Arancini - Gordon Ramsay (July 2021).