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How to turn Leftover Rice into Gourmet Arancini Balls

Arancini balls are Italian rice balls that are stuffed, coated with breadcrumbs and deep fried. These are gooey, cheesy rice balls with crispy golden crust. Need I say more! The Italians are a genius! Arancini balls are a Sicilian street food made of risotto and are absolutely delicious. It’s crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside. But they do take some effort to prepare. First you have to make risotto and allow it to cool. Then you have to make the balls and fry them. This sounds like quite a lengthy process. If you have the time, they are definitely worth the effort.

But if you don’t want to go that extra mile and still want to make delicious Arancini Balls, we have your back. I’ll show you how you can transform your leftover rice to these delightful little balls of pleasure that are truly pleasurable to nibble. They are perfect without any filling and are also a good way to use up other leftovers. These were gobbled in no time at my house. It took me just 10 minutes to prepare it and even less time for us to finish it. Even my 10 year old loves them. Italian herbs and cheeses make them taste like a cheesy pizza. Even if you don’t like fried food, I insist you give this one a try. Alternatively, you can bake these in the oven or can air fry them.

Recipe: Makes approx 12-14 balls


  1. Leftover Rice or Pulao: 2 cups; cold is better
  2. Egg: 1 large; lightly beaten
  3. Mozzarella Cheese: 1/2 cup
  4. Fresh Basil Leaves: A handful
  5. Minced Garlic: 1 tsp
  6. Minced Ginger: 1 tsp
  7. Dried Oregano or Italian Seasoning: 1/2 tsp
  8. Chilli Flakes: 1/2 tsp or as required 
  9. Salt and Pepper to taste
  10. Breadcrumbs: 1/3 cup
  11. Oil for frying


  • In a bowl or a plate mash leftover rice or pulao. I have used leftover vegetable pulao here. Add basil leaves, mozzarella cheese, ginger-garlic, oregano, chilli flakes, salt, pepper and egg. Mix them all until well combined.
  • Form 12-14 balls equal sized balls and roll them in bread crumbs. 
  • Add frying pan to a wok or to a deep pan. Preheat the oil to medium high heat. 
  • Fry the arancini in batches until golden brown. Use a slotted spoon to remove the arancini from the hot oil and place them on a paper towel to drain the excess oil.
  • Serve hot with ketchup or marinara sauce

Variations: Any type of cheese can be used like cheddar, parmesan, and you can alternate the spices as well. Chopped veggies, such as mushrooms, zucchini, carrots or bell peppers can also be added.


  1. Always use cooked rice
  2. Use rice that is cold
  3. Add more breadcrumbs if the mixture is runny, it should be the consistency of a meatball mixture.

Do give this recipe a shot. It’s a perfect and a delicious way to upscale your leftovers. If you try this recipe, do give us a shout out. Just click a picture and tag us on @masala.monk or use the hashtag #MasalaMonkRecipe and share on Instagram and Facebook. We would love to hear from you. 🙂

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