If you LOVE arancini but hate deep-frying foods then you are going to want to try out these baked arancini. Cheesy rice balls dipped in egg and panko, sprayed with a little bit of oil, and baked to crispy perfection.
Baked Leftover Risotto Cheesy Rice Balls (Arancini)
Have you tried my edamame and spinach risotto yet?
How about my asparagus and pea risotto?
If not, then choose one, pop over and make a batch and then come back here and I will tell you the best way to use up any leftovers.
I have long been a lover of arancini, Italian rice balls, cheesy rice balls, or whatever you happen to call them...
But I hate deep-frying foods.
Not just because of the health factors, and the cost, but mostly because it seems so wasteful to use all that oil and then have to throw it away.
So I decided to make arancini a little bit differently from usual and baked it, and I don't reckon I will be going back to deep frying again!
TIP: splurge and buy the panko bread crumbs, they get so much crispier in the oven!
What To Serve With Arancini Balls
These little golden brown balls of crispy on the outside, and creamy on the inside perfection turned out just as crunchy and delicious as the deep-fried alternative, and the cheese inside was just as melty.
I will definitely be baking my leftover risotto cheesy rice balls from now on!
These are great for meal prepping as well.
I always serve my arancini balls as a main meal, with a side of salad and some homemade passata, but you could also try serving it:
- with homemade heirloom tomato sauce for dipping;
- with a sprinkle of shaved parmesan cheese on top;
- with a bolognese sauce;
- with some green beans, why not try Maple Glazed Sauteed Green Beans and Carrots with Prosciutto and Walnuts for something a little bit fancy;
- with a drizzle of balsamic glaze;
- a radish salad to lighten things up;
- a sprinkle of lemon zest.
They are versatile little rice balls, and would also make great finger food when hosting.
For best results, I would serve them with little skewers and a napkin if offered as finger food to make them easier to eat.
How To Freeze and Reheat Arancini
Arancini freeze well and can absolutely be reheated and come back to crispy perfection.
This can be from the fridge or the freezer.
In fact, these are great for batch cooking and freezing to have on hand for a busy night.
If you find you have too many, just freeze them in a single layer before transferring them to a large Ziploc bag, freezer bag, or another freezer-friendly airtight container, and storing them for about 3 months.
TIP: make sure they have cooled completely to room temperature before freezing.
Take them out and allow them to thaw when you are ready to indulge.
Simply pop them into the oven or the air fryer until they crisp up again, and are heated the whole way through, and you are good to go.
I find about 10 minutes in the oven at 350F (180C) does the trick or about 6 minutes in the air fryer.
To freeze and then reheat:
- make the arancini up and bake them;
- remove them from the oven and allow them to cool completely. Pop them onto a flat plate or a tray that fits into the freezer and place them into the freezer until completely frozen;
- once frozen, transfer them to a Ziploc bag, push out most of the air, and seal them. We freeze them before transferring them to the bag to prevent them from sticking together and so you can remove only what you need from the freezer when the time comes;
- When you want them, simply remove them from the freezer and allow them to thaw completely. I usually do this by placing them in the fridge overnight. Reheat them in the oven at 350F (180C) for about 10 minutes, or in the air fryer for about 6-8 minutes.
They can also be reheated in the microwave, however, they will no longer be as crispy and can actually become quite soggy so I would not recommend it.
Couldn't be easier.
Have you tried these delicious risotto balls?
What did you think?
Baking them tastes just as great right?
And it is the best way to use up leftover rice!
I would love to hear from you - be sure to leave a comment below the recipe card, or pin to Pinterest for another time.
If you need some risotto recipes to get you started with the leftovers, I have quite a few:
- Pressure Cooker Risotto: Asparagus and Pea Risotto in the Instant Pot;
- Pumpkin Goat Cheese Risotto with Pomegranate;
- Baked Brown Rice Risotto.
Baked Leftover Risotto Cheesy Rice Balls (Arancini)
- 2 cups leftover risotto cooled completely
- 100 g mozzarella ball cut into 1cm cubes
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- pinch black pepper
- ½ cup whole wheat flour
- 2 eggs beaten
- cooking oil spray of choice
- Preheat to oven to 425F (220C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Make up your breadcrumb mixture by mixing the breadcrumbs with the oregano, parsley, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper and stirring until well combined.1 cup panko breadcrumbs, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 1 teaspoon dried parsley, ½ teaspoon smoked paprika, ½ teaspoon sea salt, pinch black pepper
- Set up a little 'dipping station'. Have 3 medium bowls, fill one bowl with the whole wheat flour, one bowl with the beaten eggs, and the remaining bowl with the breadcrumb mixture.2 eggs, ½ cup whole wheat flour
- Take one heaped tablespoon of risotto, and roll it into a ball. Take one piece of the cubed mozzarella and push it into the rice ball. Fix it back into a round shape and continue with the rest of the risotto.2 cups leftover risotto, 100 g mozzarella ball
- Take each ball, roll in the flour, shake off excess, roll in the egg, and then in the breadcrumb mixture. Place on the pre-prepared baking tray, and continue with all of the rice balls.
- Spray with a little olive oil or other cooking oil of choice, and bake for about 10-15 minutes. The arancini should be golden and crunchy on the outside, and the mozzarella cheese should be melted and gooey on the inside.cooking oil spray of choice
- Serve with some marinara and a side salad.
- make the arancini up and bake them;
- allow them to cool completely before popping them onto a flat plate or tray and popping them into the freezer until completely frozen;
- once frozen, transfer to a Ziploc bag (remember to push out most of the air);
- to reheat: remove from the freezer and allow to thaw. Reheat in the oven at 350F (180C) or in the air fryer. They can also be microwaved, however, they will not be as crunchy on the outside.
Made these with leftover tomato and basil rissotto. I did remove the large peices of tomato...I used creamy harvarti, as it is what I had on hand..i used wet hands to make the balls and this helped to create a smooth ball. Was a bit hesitant about having no oil when baking, but they turned out amazingky well!
Yummm...these will so be made again and again... even my husband who is not a fan of rice loved these, also easy to make.
So glad you enjoyed! Tomato and basil risotto sounds amazing!
This looks great as I was just looking for what to do with leftover risotto since it doesn’t freeze well. How would you freeze these balls and how do you bake them post freezing? (Minutes/time)? Do you wrap them in foil or parchment then foil or a Tupperware? Exact guidance on how to freeze then bake would be great. Also how long do they last in freezer? Thanks!
Hi Jade, thanks for popping in and reminding me I really need to update this post!! So to freeze I usually just make up the balls as directed, bake them and allow them to cool completely. I then pop them on a flat plate or a tray and pop them into the freezer until frozen solid. Once solid I then move them to a ziploc bag, making sure to squeeze out all the air (freezing them on the tray first prevents them sticking together). They will last in the freezer for about 3 months. To reheat simply thaw and reheat in the microwave or in the oven at 350F (180C)
I know this is probably a stupid question, but what do you do with the other egg?
Hi Sandra, both eggs are beaten together and used in the little 'dipping station'.
haha - I had to read it over a few times as well . "...wheat flour, one of the beaten eggs, ...." It sounds like you only use 1 egg, and can be a little confusing but I understood you meant 1 bowl after reading it over a few times.
Haha, different strokes, huh!! It made complete sense to me, but now I see where it could have gotten confusing. I have updated it so hopefully it makes better sense now 🙂
Tommy Paley says
Excellent recipe! Added in some fresh basil to the risotto and served over some homemade tomato sauce. The whole family devoured them.
Ooh yum, that fresh basil would be such a great addition! So happy you enjoyed 🙂
Ashley @ Big Flavors from a Tiny Kitchen says
Arancini is such perfect comfort food! This looks delicious!
It sure is comfort food at its best!
Wow - look at that melty cheese! I could go for about four (ok, five) of these right now!
Haha melty cheese is everything 🙂
Kristi Wiseman says
Just curious, what if you didn't add the cheese? A. I'm out and B. Sounds like a bunch of extra fat and calories (although I know if would increase the yummy factor exponentially.)
You can definitely leave out the cheese! I actually usually just stuff them with some chopped tomatoes and/or some chopped mushrooms and they are delicious (you can also just do rice with no stuffing). Completely different, as you don't have the whole melty cheese thing going on, but they still work 🙂
These look oh so yummy! I've been wanting to make a baked version of these. I'll be making yours for us t nibble on.
Oh I hope you love them as much as we do Christie!!
Hello! what does the oven have to be preheated to. It just says "preheat oven"
thanks in advance, making these tonight 🙂
Oh I am so sorry, it is 425F, will update now!
I have never has a rice ball. I would use brown rice... that my carb that I have to enjoy. I actually just had risotto for the first time the other night. Loved it.
Risotto is super yummy! I actually have a brown rice risotto recipe on my site, which I have made into arancini as well, and it worked so well!
Nikka Shae says
Yummy this looks so tasty!! I need to put this on my list to make for the week.
Omg this looks so yummy!!! Definitely going to pin so I can give it a try!!!!