Sicilian Rice and Ragu balls

Arancine (Sicilian Rice Balls)




What are arancine?

When you go to Sicily (I’d love to write “whenever” meaning that you and I go often!), you see arancine sold everywhere.  I first discovered them when I went to Sicily for the first time. Ha! This is for those of you who have been reading my posts for a while: you thought you were finally free of me talking about fabulous Sicily!  This one’s for you! Before you starting groaning and slinking away from the computer screen, just wait a sec.  You need to hear about arancine, and these kind of rice balls in general, as I KNOW that all of you are making risotto now after reading about how easy it is here, and often have some leftovers.  This is the perfect way to recycle the risotto that otherwise sits in the fridge and eventually gets thrown out because you forget about it.


Sicilian arancini


Now, if you want to add more to the mix than just risotto:

The sequence of photos you see here are to help you make the slightly more complicated arancine, which have ragu in the middle of them, but making fried rice balls out of leftover risotto without adding the ragu in the middle are also very good.  You can use any kind of cooked risotto you like for that, as long as it is not too liquid.  If you want to go the whole way and make arancine, it’s better to have risotto that is just flavoured with Parmesan cheese.


Sicilian arancini with ragu


The “real” arancine that you find in Sicily have a teardrop shape and are as big as a large pear. I ended up making these ones round, as it’s an easier shape to form.  I’ll leave the teardrops to the experts! In the end, they still taste the same. 🙂


Sicilian Arancini


Travel Photo of the Week

If you do make it to Sicily, and visit the beautiful city of Trapani, try some real arancine at this street-food shop below.  they have traditional flavoured arancine, but also unusual one.  the name “Ke Palle” actually means “that’s really annoying”, and literally means “what balls!”, (balls as in genitalia of a man. ).  “Palle” of course, also means ball, as in a ball you can throw around.  So now you know!


KePalle, Trapani, Sicily, Italy


By Lisa Watson

Arancine: fried rice snacks from Sicily

Arancine are breadcrumb-covered, fried balls of risotto rice found as street food in Sicily.  Make them at home with this recipe!
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time5 minutes
Total Time20 minutes
Course: Snack
Cuisine: Italian


  • pre-cooked Risotto leftovers
  • Ragu optional
  • Mozzarella chunks optional
  • 1 – 2 Eggs
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Vegetable oil for frying


  • Either make a simple risotto with parmesean cheese following this recipe, or use leftover risotto that you have already made.
  • When the risotto is cool, there are two possible things that you can do.  You can roll it into balls the size of a golfball, or you can flatten some risotto on to the palm of your hand, add a spoonful of ragu (use this recipe here), put more rice on top, then form it into a ball.  Follow the photos above to see how this is done.
  • Once you have your balls of risotto, carefully roll them in beaten egg, then roll them in fine breadcrumbs.
  • Fry them either in a deep-fryer if you have one, or put a few centimetres of oil in a pan.  Heat the oil until it is hot, then fry the balls on all sides until they are golden-brown.
  • Drain them on a kitchen towel and eat immediately!