Sicilian Rice Balls (Arancini)

Barbara Nazworth


Every Thanksgiving we had these fabulous rice balls. I finally sat my mom down and asked her to teach me how to make them and they became my responsibility for every family gathering after that. They are crispy outside and delicious and moist inside. I hope you enjoy! Mangia!


★★★★★ 1 vote

1 Hr 30 Min
30 Min
Deep Fry



  • 1 lb
    ground beef
  • 1/8 tsp
    garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp
    sweet basil
  • to taste
    salt and pepper
  • 1 small
    onion, diced
  • 3 Tbsp
    olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp
    tomato paste, optional
  • 1/4 c
    grated parmesan or pecorino romano cheese, optional

  • 1 lb
  • 1/4 c
  • 1/4 c
    grated parmesan or pecorino romano cheese
  • 2
  • 1 c
    italian bread crumbs
  • 3-4 c
    salad oil for deep frying

How to Make Sicilian Rice Balls (Arancini)


  1. Before starting meat mixture you may want to start you rice cooking. Now MAKE MEAT MIXTURE: Combine raw meat with salt and pepper, garlic powder and basil. It is optional to add tomato paste, I prefer it. Add grated cheese and blend. Brown meat over medium flame, add onion, cook til transparent. Set aside to cool.
  2. MAKE RICE MIXTURE: Cook rice in 2 quarts salted boiling water until kernels crush easily between thumb and finger. Make sure they are not kernelly tasting, but not mushy either. HINT: Sometimes a slightly less than a 2:1 ratio for cooking the rice helps. Just make sure they can crush easily between thumb and finger. Drain water from rice if any left.
  3. Add butter, cheese and 2 beaten eggs to rice mixture. You may want to taste the mixture to determine if more salt is needed. Mix well and let cool in refrigerator. If it is too hot you will burn your hands.
  4. PREPARATION OF RICE BALL: Prepare a pie pan of italian bread crumbs I add some pecorino romano and parsley flakes to the bread crumbs, but it is optional. In another pie pan or bowl place well beaten eggs.
  5. PREPARE YOUR STATION: Rice Mixture, Meat Mixture, egg mixture and then Bread crumbs. Now place 2 tbsp (more or less) of rice mixture in palm of hand. Make a well of rice and put in some meat mixture.
  6. Mold the rice around the meat mixture to form a ball. If you misjudge and can't close over the meat mixture, add a small amount of rice mixture and press firmly to make the ball.
  7. Dip the rice balls in the beaten eggs and then roll in the bread crumbs. Again press firmly.
  8. Fry in deep hot oil until golden brown on all sides. You can use a fry pan, but it is much easier to use a deep fat fryer. Do not fry more than 3 at a time. Remove balls with slotted sppon and drain on absorbent paper. Service hot!
  9. This will make about 20 to 30 rice balls, more or less, depending on how big you make the rice ball. I believe that eating them fresh out of the fryer is better! Hot and Crispy! Mangia!

Printable Recipe Card

About Sicilian Rice Balls (Arancini)

Course/Dish: Rice Sides
Main Ingredient: Rice/Grains
Regional Style: Italian

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