Sicilian Arancini

How to Make Sicilian Arancini

This Sicilian Arancini recipe is traditional, authentic and gooey-licious! These crispy, golden balls are filled with al dente rice, tender ground beef, fresh basil and the most aromatic flavours..not to mention divine, melted cheese! They are then coated in fresh breadcrumbs, deep fried and MUST BE EATEN HOT.

Arancini are arguably one of the most famous Italian savoury delights that exist, and I cannot get enough. In Sicily the fillings will amaze you – do you have a favourite?

Watch the Sicilian Arancini video recipe

How To Make SICILIAN ARANCINI Like an Italian

sicilian arancini

Vincenzo’s Top Tips To Make Sicilian Arancini

Perfect texture is al dente

This is different to making a risotto, the result should be dry, al dente rice – not a creamy texture.

RIGHT cooking time

Follow the cooking time as noted on the rice packet; it should be al dente when you finish cooking it.

Way to cool it faster

You can put the rice in the fridge so it cools faster, but the cheese won’t melt into it if you choose to do this.

Into small pieces

It’s important to break down the beef into small pieces, so it cooks more quickly.

It’s in the butter!

For a richer taste, add an extra 50g/1.7 oz of butter to the mixture a few minutes before it’s done.

AVOID sticky hands

Keep a bowl of water nearby for these next steps to avoid your hands sticking to the mixture.

KEEP it cool!

This arancini recipe calls for rest time! It’s important to leave them in the fridge for a minimum of 1-2hr.

sicilian arancini recipe

Sicilian Arancini

Vincenzo's Plate
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 35 minutes
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Italian
Servings 8


  • Large stainless steel pot + lid
  • Large metal baking tray chilled
  • wooden spoon
  • Large fry pan
  • Large bowl to cool the cooked meat in
  • Small bowl with water
  • Large baking tray with baking paper
  • pot
  • Slotted spoon for removing arancini balls



  • 500 grams Arborio rice 17oz
  • ¼ Onion chopped
  • Pecorino Romano Or Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 120 Butter 4oz
  • 1 L Vegetable stock 4oz. 4 cups
  • 120 g/4 oz butter for cooked rice
  • Extra virgin olive oil EVOO


  • 500 grams Ground beef 17oz
  • 100 grams Peas 3.5oz
  • 120 grams Tomato paste 4oz
  • 1 Carrot chopped
  • 1 Celery stick chopped
  • ½ Onion chopped
  • Fresh basil
  • 50 grams Butter 1.7 oz. Optional
  • Fresh mozzarella
  • Shredded dry mozzarella or provolone
  • 5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil EVOO
  • Salt & pepper
  • Sicilian Arancini Coating:
  • Bread crumbs
  • 2 Eggs Beaten
  • Pastella flour + water mixture - optional


  • How to make the rice
  • Start this Sicilian arancini recipe by adding five tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil into a large pot on medium heat with ¼ of chopped onion. Stir constantly until the onion is golden brown (about seven minutes).
  • Once browned, add the vegetable stock, butter, and one tablespoon of tomato paste and bring this to a boil.
  • Next, add the rice, stir quickly, then cover with the lid. Cook the rice until the water absorbs, making sure to stir occasionally.
  • When the rice is ready, add in another portion of butter, stirring until it melts so it will be extra delicious.
  • Now spread the hot rice straight onto your chilled tray reaching right into the edges using a wooden spoon – be gentle or the rice could break! Then top with pecorino or parmesan cheese.
  • Let the rice rest for about one hour so it can cool and the cheese will melt into it.
  • How to make the Arancini filling
  • Let's make the beautiful filling for the Sicilian arancini! Place a large pan on the stove at a medium heat, then add a generous amount of EVOO and the celery, onions, carrot.
  • Cook this sofrito for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly.
  • Then, add the ground beef until it is browned. Stir constantly to create a beautiful flavor – this arancini recipe is all about the most sensational aromas and flavours!
  • Add the peas, tomato paste, a splash of water, and tear some basil with your hands before adding it to the pan. Keep stirring until everything is combined. Then drop the heat to a lower temperature and let this simmer for about 20 minutes.
  • Stir the mixture and add water as needed, so the arancini filling does not dry out—season with salt and freshly ground pepper.
  • Transfer the cooked meat mixture to a large bowl to cool down in the fridge for one hour.
  • How to assemble this Arancini recipe:
  • Now that the rice and filling are prepped, it’s time for the final Sicilian arancini assembly! Before you start, slice the fresh mozzarella into small cubes, as this will help it to melt better!
  • Take your chilled rice and form a pocket in the palm of your hand; add a generous amount of meat and cheese “filling” into the middle.
  • Add another scoop of rice and form into a ball by pressing to get the moisture out.
  • Place your formed Sicilian rice balls on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
  • If you don’t have eggs, you can make a “pastella” which is a mixture of flour and water to coat the arancini balls with before finishing them off with breadcrumbs. OR, use two beaten eggs and coat each ball. Then roll each one in fresh breadcrumbs.
  • Set these aside on a tray lined with baking paper. Repeat until you have coated each rice ball.
  • Bring sunflower oil to 180°C/356°F in a pot on your stove, then add a few rice balls in at a time (depending on the size of your pot), making sure they have enough room.
  • Fry each ball for about 5-7 minutes, or until they are golden brown and the cheese inside has melted.
  • E ora si mangia, Vincenzo’s Plate….Enjoy!


Keyword delicious appetizers, Homemade Italian Food, Small Bites, Starters
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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6 Responses to Sicilian Arancini

  1. Debbie L Fontana May 9, 2022 at 12:14 PM #

    I am patiently waiting for everything to cool down so I can assemble them. All I can say is everything smells so good. I used your homemade sauce instead of paste in the meat mixtue.

    • Vincenzo's Plate April 21, 2023 at 3:13 PM #

      I’m glad you’re enjoying the recipe and experimenting with the homemade sauce. The aroma of a delicious meal is always so tempting. I hope the final product is just as amazing as it smells. Don’t forget to savor every bite!

  2. SEVESO August 30, 2023 at 9:10 PM #

    Hello Vincenzo,

    I have been following you lately on facebook, was wondering if I could achieve arancini in an airfryer ?
    Now I know that it wouldn’t be real arancini but still, could I get close of the final result ?

    Thank you for your good content btw

    • Vincenzo's Plate September 1, 2023 at 8:56 PM #

      Yes, you can definitely make arancini in an air fryer. It won’t be exactly the same as deep-fried arancini, but it will still be delicious.

  3. YMO December 28, 2023 at 10:49 AM #

    5 stars
    Made these for our extended 3th Christmas day.

    It does take some time to make but man it is worth it!
    They are really delicious and the rice which is cooked with tomato puree really adds some taste to it.

    Thanks for this great recipe! I will certainly make it again.

    • Vincenzo's Plate January 3, 2024 at 7:11 PM #

      That tomato puree trick does wonders, right? Thanks a bunch for trying the recipe, and I’m thrilled you’ll be making it again. Happy cooking!

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