Annabel Karmel’s rice balls recipe

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  • Vegetarian
makes: 28
Prep: 15 min
Cooking: 25 min
for rice, plus 16 mins frying
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  • These tasty arancini rice balls were originally invented by thrifty Italians to use up leftover risotto!


    • 10g(½ oz) butter
    • 1 small shallot, finely chopped
    • ½ small garlic clove, crushed
    • 110g (4oz) risotto rice
    • 500ml (17 fl oz) hot vegetable or chicken stock
    • 30g (1oz) grated mozzarella
    • 30g (1oz) mature Cheddar, grated
    • 3tbsp freshly grated Parmesan
    • 50g (2oz) dried breadcrumbs
    • Pinch of paprika (optional)
    • 2tbsp flour
    • 1 egg, beaten
    • Sunflower oil, for frying
    • Salt and pepper, to season


    • Melt the butter in a large pan and sauté the shallot for 2-3 mins, until translucent. Add the garlic and rice, and cook, stirring constantly, for a further 2 mins.

    • Add 400ml (14 fl oz) of the stock and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook the rice for 20-25 mins until just tender. Stir every 4-5 mins and add a little extra stock if it becomes too dry.

    • Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cheeses. Season to taste with a little pepper (you are unlikely to need extra salt). Spread the risotto out on a large plate and leave to cool, then cover and chill as quickly as possible.

    • Take slightly rounded teaspoonfuls of cold risotto and roll into balls. Season the breadcrumbs with salt and pepper and a little paprika (if using). Put the flour on a plate and the egg in a small bowl. Dust the risotto balls with flour, dip in egg and coat in breadcrumbs then place on a baking sheet lined with cling film.

    • Put enough oil into a large frying pan to give a depth of 1 cm (½ in) and put over a medium heat. When the oil is shimmering add the arancini and fry for 6-8 mins, turning frequently, until golden brown. Drain on a plate lined with kitchen paper. Serve with tomato sauce (ideally homemade) for dipping.

    Top tip for making Annabel Karmel’s rice balls

    Annabel suggests using ordinary grated mozzarella as it's a bit drier than normal mozzarella and helps to make the base mixture stickier.

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