These easy baked arancini, or rice balls, are the perfect use for leftover risotto. They’re so delicious and 100% kid approved – we love them dipped in a tomato sauce.
What are arancini?
Arancini are little balls of rice, stuffed with cheese, coated in breadcrumbs and fried. They originate from Italy and are often made with leftover risotto. I’ve chosen to bake my arancini to make them a little healthier.
These were a huge hit with my kids. We’ve tried arancini before in a restaurant but this is the first time I’ve made them at home and I’ll definitely be doing it again. I’m also keen to try putting them cold into the kids’ lunchboxes, with a little pot of tomato sauce for dipping. I used this baby friendly risotto with pea and mint to make these arancini.
I’ve included my recipe for tomato dipping sauce below but you can use any tomato based sauce recipe to serve with these.
How to make easy baked arancini
The first thing you need when making arancini is leftover risotto. It is of course possible to make risotto especially for making arancini but that’s a lot of stirring so I’d definitely recommend making risotto for dinner and saving a little bit to make arancini.
I’m vegan so I made these arancini with a vegan mozzarella alternative inside them and dipped them in cornflour and vegan milk instead of using egg. If you’re doing Veganuary or trying a vegan diet you might find my vegan shopping list for beginners useful (it’s on my other blog Cook Veggielicious).
It’s also important to get really stuck in with your hands and squeeze the risotto together well when shaping the arancini.
Easy baked arancini with tomato dipping sauce
For the arancini
- 500 g leftover risotto
- Handful of mozzarella or dairy free alternative shredded
- Small bowl of cornflour
- Small bowl of milk I use oat milk
- Small bowl of breadcrumbs I used panko
For the tomato dipping sauce
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion chopped
- 2 cloves garlic crushed
- 1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- Juice of half a lemon
- salt and pepper to taste
To make the arancini
Preheat the oven to 180°C (fan)/200°C/gas mark 6. Line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper.
Using your hands take a golf ball sized handful of risotto out of the bowl and squash together with the palms of your hands.
Make a hole in the centre and push in some mozzarella, closing the hole when you’re done.
Roll in the cornflour, the milk and finally the breadcrumbs.
Place on the prepared baking tray and repeat with the remaining risotto.
Bake in the pre-heated oven for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.
To make the dipping sauce
While the arancini are baking make the sauce. Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan and sauté the onion until soft.
Add the garlic, stir and cook for one minute. Add the remaining ingredients and stir well.
Bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer and cook until thickened slightly.
Serve the arancini warm with the dipping sauce on the side. If serving for children allow them to cool as the cheese inside gets very hot.
If you like this you might like this vegan risotto with pumpkin, chestnuts and cranberries.
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