clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
two rice arancini on a white plate, showing their filling. One with ham and cheese, the other with meat and peas ragu

Rice Arancini

  • Author: Silvana
  • Total Time: 3 hours 15 minutes
  • Yield: 10 to 12 portions 1x


Units Scale


  • 2 sachets of saffron
  • 70 grams of butter
  • 500 grams of vialone nano rice
  • 1.2 litres of water
  • 100 grams of grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 pinch of salt



  • 30 grams of cooked ham in a single slice
  • 60 grams of mozzarella



  • Breadcrumbs to taste
  • Sunflower oil to taste


1. Begin by boiling 1.2 litres of salted water. Add the rice and cook for approximately 15 minutes, until the water is fully absorbed. This will ensure that the starch remains in the pot, resulting in dry and compact rice.

2. Dissolve the saffron in a small amount of hot water and add it to the cooked rice. Stir in the butter and the grated cheese until well combined. 

3. Spread the rice evenly onto a large, shallow tray. Cover with plastic wrap to prevent the surface from drying out. Allow the rice to cool completely for a couple of hours at room temperature.

4. As the rice cools, prepare the ragù filling following this recipe, but reduce the ingredient quantities to approximately one-sixth of the original amounts.

5. Cube the caciocavallo cheese, cooked ham, and mozzarella while the ragù is cooking. Set aside..

6. Once the rice has fully cooled down, begin forming the arancini. Keep a bowl of water nearby to moisten your hands as needed. Take about 120g of rice for each meat arancino and create a small bowl shape in your hand. Fill with a teaspoon of meat sauce and a few cubes of caciocavallo cheese if using. Close the rice around the filling and shape it into a pointed form. Repeat this process for all arancini with the ragù filling.

7. For the ham and mozzarella filling, use about 130g of rice per arancini and stuff them with diced ham and mozzarella. Shape these arancini into round forms. This filling variation is traditionally known as “with butter” (al burro).

8. Prepare the batter by combining sifted flour, a pinch of salt, and water in a bowl. Mix thoroughly with a whisk to prevent lumps.

9. Dip each arancino into the batter, ensuring they are fully coated, then roll them in breadcrumbs.

10. Heat oil in a saucepan to 170°C (340°F). Deep-fry one or two arancini at a time, being careful not to lower the oil temperature. When they are golden brown, remove and place them on a tray lined with absorbent paper.

11. Serve the Sicilian rice balls hot and enjoy!


Cooked Sicilian rice balls can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two days. Ensure they are properly covered or placed in an airtight container to maintain freshness.

If you prefer, you can prepare the rice a day ahead of time. Cover the rice with plastic wrap and let it rest in the refrigerator overnight. This can save you time on the day of cooking.

To save time and make assembling the arancini even easier, you can prepare the Sicilian ragù in advance. By having the ragù and rice prepared ahead of time, you can focus on assembling and frying the arancini when you’re ready to cook. This can make the process more efficient and enjoyable.

Sicilian rice balls can be frozen raw, provided that all the ingredients used are fresh and have not been previously defrosted. When ready to cook, you can fry them directly from frozen. In this case, it is recommended to make the arancini slightly smaller to ensure even cooking.

If you’d like to try different types of cheese in your arancini, you can substitute the caciocavallo with fresh pecorino, provola, or mozzarella, scamorza, or gruyere. 

  • Prep Time: 60 minutes
  • Rest Time: 2 hours
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Entree
  • Method: Deep Fried
  • Cuisine: Italian
Recipe Card powered byTasty Recipes

Get your FREE guide "How to match pasta with sauces"

Head to your inbox to download your guide! If you can't find the email, please check your junk folder before contacting me!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This