Left Over Risotto Mozzarella Stuffed Arancini Balls

Arancini balls are as far as I am concerned one of the worlds finest leftover recipes, perfect crisp leftover risotto rice balls!

Portrait close up image of three golden stuffed arancini balls served on a white plate with tomato sauce, tomato concase and shredded basil

The Ultimate Comfort Food.

The Italians are responsible for most of my favourite comfort food and these fried risotto balls are right up there with the best. It is largely a peasant dish designed to use up leftovers.

I have waxed lyrical about risotto in a previous recipes, it is one of my many ideas of food heaven.

This takes cooled risotto, wraps it in breadcrumbs, deep-fries it and makes it food heaven²!

I do have a confession the notion of leftover risotto is alien to me!

No matter how much I make it will always be eaten and the pan will be wiped clean.

As a result, I usually make up a batch the night before making these dish!

They are usually a snack or starter, I like to add a tomato sauce, some tomato concasse and then a side salad and serve them as a light main.

Portrait overhead image of three golden stuffed arancini balls served on a white plate with tomato sauce, tomato concasse and shredded basil

How to Make Arancini.

You can make these leftover rice balls with many of my risotto recipes:

Naturally, all of these will result in a slightly different flavour of arancini.

I tend to avoid risottos made with fish or a fish stock but that is just a me and cheese/fish combo thing.

A risotto that has some cheese mixed in at the end is perfect because this helps hold everything together.

You do need to ensure that you have removed any larger chunks of vegetables or chopped them smaller.

You also need to have your risotto cooked to the perfect classic consistency.

If you drop it onto a plate when it is hot and it stays as a “lump” it is too dry. If you put it on a plate and a load of liquid runs out it is too wet!

You are looking for a texture that flows “like lava” when it is hot then your risotto will make perfect arancini.

All you do is place a lump in your hand flatten it with your palm and press. Then add your filling and fold up the sides and roll in your hands.

All you do then is coat in breadcrumbs and you are done.

Portrait image of three golden stuffed arancini balls served on a white plate with tomato sauce, tomato concasse and shredded basil

Alternative Cooking Methods.

I personally prefer to fry my arancini as the immediate immersion in hot oil offers the simplest and most reliable way of cooking.

However, if frying is not your thing you can heat your oven to around 200°C or 400°F will do and then bake until golden.

This should take around 20-25 minutes.

I have also recently discovered that arancini balls cook really rather well in an air fryer. In my opinion, they cook even better than in the oven!

Spray them with some baking spray and then cook at 180°C or 350°F for 12-15 minutes.

You should pause to shake them gently halfway through.

Stuffed Arancini Balls Recipe

Stuffed Arancini Balls Recipe

Yield: 2 Servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

The Italians are responsible for some of the most wonderful comfort food ever devised and this Mozzarella Cheese stuffed Arancini balls recipe is a testament to that.


For the Arancini

  • 450 g Leftover Cooled Risotto
  • 60 g Mozzarella
  • 1 Egg
  • 60 g Breadcrumbs
  • 30 g Seasoned Plain Flour
  • Oil for Deep Frying

For the Tomato Sauce

  • 1/2 Tbsp Cooking oil
  • 1 Onion
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 1 Stick Celery
  • 200 ml Tomato Passata
  • 1 Tbsp Tomato Puree
  • 1/2 Tsp Dried Oregano
  • 150 g Tomatoes
  • 4 Fresh Basil Leaves
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste


  1. Cut the mozzarella cheese into 10 evenly sized chunks.
  2. Take around 70g of your cold cooked risotto and form into a flat circle in the palm of your hand.
  3. Place a single chunk of Mozzarella in the middle and wrap around the remaining risotto rice.
  4. This should form a fairly smooth ball fairly quickly.
  5. Repeat with the remaining risotto, this will make 6 balls, set aside in the refrigerator whilst you prepare the sauce.
  6. Finely dice the onion, celery and garlic.
  7. Heat the oil for the tomato sauce over a medium high heat in a frying pan.
  8. Add in the onion, garlic and celery and cook without colouring until soft which should take approximately 10 minutes.
  9. Pour in the tomato passata, tomato puree and oregano then allow to cook for a further 5 minutes.
  10. Add salt and pepper to taste and I like to then blitz my sauce in a blender and pass through a fine sieve but this is optional.
  11. If you are blitzing your sauce return it to the pan and reduce to a texture you are happy with.
  12. Now heat your deep fat fryer or oil in a pan to 160°C or 320°F.
  13. Panne the Arancini by rolling them in the seasoned flour, then into the beaten egg and then into the bread crumbs.
  14. Then take the rice balls and fry them in the hot oil until golden brown which should take about 8-10 minutes, you may need to do this in batches.
  15. Whilst they are frying deseed the tomatoes and dice them and finely slice the basil leaves.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 876Total Fat: 31gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 18gCholesterol: 140mgSodium: 1589mgCarbohydrates: 83gFiber: 6gSugar: 12gProtein: 27g
Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.

22 thoughts on this Recipe:

  1. I made these tonight and they were sublime. I used a mushroom risotto I managed not to eat last night and made a roasted pepper tomato sauce to serve them with so really, I winged it all the way but I used your method as my inspiration Brian! I’ve never made arancini before and whilst they were involved, they could be made easier by doing the sauce ahead of time. In fact, my folks are coming to stay soon so I may have to trot these out again then! 😀

    • Glad you like em Jo, I love em… Sadly left over risotto is a lie, no matter how much I make we still manage to eat it all 😉 They are great to make up in advance though so you can prepare your sauce and even the arancini in advance and then breadcrumb before cooking 🙂

    • Hehehe, I keep trying to explain that moderation is always the answer (apart from beer), some dishes need 40 cloves of garlic and some one is enough :p

  2. i’m seriously so impressed by how GORGEOUS these are! mine are always ooey, cheesy, messy things that I gobble down in seconds flat. your patience in plating these astounds me. 😉

    • Hehe, the plating was easy to be honest a bit of disorganised organisation 😉 I used to struggle with Arancini being a bit fragile but the sealing in really hot oil before baking and not making them too large seemed to resolve the problem.

  3. These look PERFECT, Brian! I know the tomato sauce is the perfect complement, and love that you made it from scratch. Wish I could have ’em all in front of me right now! haha

    • Thanks Whitney, glad you like em, sorry there are none left… I’ll see if I can set some aside on the next batch, no promises though.

  4. Your posts crack me up Brian! I also love to cook with music — it just makes cooking even more fun than it already is 🙂 And the arancini looks amazing — love the new presentation :):)

  5. First I know of risotto balls, they looks absolutely perfect! And yes I’ve noticed that the plating of your dishes is different now in a good way, and I love that you almost always mention your wife 🙂 Good luck with spring vegetables 🙂

    • Thank you Farida, it is a bit of a challenge but if you are not being challenged then you aint learning 😉 I guess I always mention my wife as she is always here, two constants, wifey and food, without either it would all be pretty naff really!

  6. Brian, can you make a batch and send it over to my place. I will pay for the shipping 😛
    I was just going through the steps and although it all looks divine, the recipe is quite intimidating isn’t it. Specially since I have to also make the risotto from scratch. Leftover risotto in my house is unheard of 🙂
    Great photo and a great inspiration. I am pinning this to come back to it over a weekend.

    • Hehe, I reckon you could rustle it up much quicker than Hungarian post can deliver 😉

      I’m not sure I think the recipe is intimidating it is a very humble recipe, like you ‘left over’ risotto is an unknown thing in our house but if you ave 30-40 mins to spare and can stir you can make a risotto every bit as good as any you will buy in a restaurant. After that is is a breeze, I personally find baking really intimidating, anything I can’t taste as it is cooking is a complete gamble and very uncomfortable for me 😉

      Have fun it is really simple and just takes a little bit of time but is beautiful to eat 🙂


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