Michael Symon's Arancini

Arancini, the crispy-on-the-outside and cheesy-on-the-inside fried rice ball, is the ultimate cocktail hour snack. Star chef Michael Symon makes his risotto the day ahead for easy prep and then breads the mozzarella-filled balls just moments before frying to get that perfect, crunchy crust.

Michael Symon's Arancini
Photo: © Abby Hocking
Active Time:
1 hrs
Total Time:
1 hrs


  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 cup finely chopped yellow onion

  • 1 cup Arborio or Carnaroli rice

  • 1/2 cup finely chopped country ham

  • 3 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth, warmed

  • 1 cup of finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for garnish

  • 1 egg, plus 1 egg yolk

  • Kosher salt

  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/4-inch pieces

  • 1 cup plain bread crumbs

  • Canola oil, for frying

  • Chopped parsley, for garnish


  1. In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil. Add the onion an a generous pinch of salt and cook over moderately-high heat, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until the onion is translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the rice and the ham and toast for 1 minute. Lower the heat to moderate and add 1/2 cup of the chicken stock, stirring frequently, until it is nearly absorbed. Continue adding stock, 1/2 cup at a time, and stirring constantly until it is nearly absorbed before adding more. The risotto is done when the rice is tender and the liquid is creamy, about 15 minutes. Transfer the risotto to a bowl and let cool completely in the refrigerator.

  2. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. When the risotto is cooled completely, fold in the 1 cup of parmesan, the egg, egg yolk and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Fill a small bowl with water. Using wet hands, form 2 tablespoons of the risotto into a ball. Make a small indent in the ball and place 1 teaspoon of the diced mozzarella in the center. Pinch the risotto closed around the mozzarella and transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining risotto and mozzarella. You will have about 16 arancini.

  3. In a large saucepan, heat 2 inches of canola oil to 350°. Spread the breadcrumbs in a shallow bowl. Roll the arancini in the breadcrumbs until evenly coated, shaking off any excess. Fry the arancini until very golden brown, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and season with salt. Garnish the arancini with parsley and more parmesan and serve immediately.

Make Ahead

The unbreaded arancini can be refrigerated overnight.

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