One of our family FAVORITES to make in the air fryer is this air fryer arancini recipe!
They’ve got a ridiculously crisp and crunchy shell, stuffed with creamy risotto and gooey cheese. Although typically enjoyed as a snack, we work these into our breakfast, lunch and dinner routine (seriously, they’re THAT good!).
Serve them alongside air fryer chicken parmesan for the PERFECT air fryer recipes dinner that’ll have everyone smiling!
Now let’s get rolling!
Breaded and fried risotto stuffed with cheese?? What’s not to love?! But if I had to select a few reasons:
- ALL the reasons why you love your air fryer: your house doesn’t smell like fried food, it’s not drenched in oil, EASY clean up, and I feel less guilty eating it!
- It combines my FAVORITE foods! Cheese, risotto, and breadcrumbs. YUM!
- This is an awesome recipe to make with the fam — the kids have a blast rolling and stuffing the risotto balls.
- Great to make ahead and store in the freezer.
How To Make Arancini
Here’s how to throw together this air fryer arancini recipe:
First, we’ll make a risotto – I use a variation of Emerald’s arancini recipe — If you have a family favorite risotto recipe, use that instead!
As with any risotto recipe, you’ll want to be present as you cook the rice, as the rice must soak up the liquid before adding more. This is why there’s a range in the amount of chicken stock to add — the amount used will vary depending on the heat and thickness of your pan.
Now, important step! Taste the risotto and add salt to your liking. Since we will be adding different amounts of chicken stock into the rice, I can’t give you an exact amount — but I will tell you that I added 3 cups of chicken stock and 1 teaspoon of rice.
The last thing you want after all this is under salted arancinis…
Then we’ll let the risotto chill. After that stir in an egg, and we’ve got the base for our arancini!
Now, let’s form the arancini. I like to use a tablespoon to make them a uniform size. Stuff a piece of cheese in the center, and roll the ball between your hands to form a smooth surface.
Next up: breading. Prep 3 bowls and a clean plate to place breaded arancinis on. Dip them in the flour, then shake to clear off any excess. Dip them in the whisked eggs, then in the breadcrumbs. Repeat until you’ve breaded all your arancinis.
Now the easy part – air frying. Spray your arancinis with oil, then place them in a single, non-touching layer in the air fryer tray. Air fry at 400 F for 12 minutes.
Allow these to cool slightly before serving (you won’t BELIEVE how hot the cheese is inside!) and enjoy!
You’re minutes away from enjoying these air fryer arancini! Just a few additional tips and tricks:
The ingredient list is pretty standard, just a few items I’d like to point out:
- The rice. We’ll be using Carnaroli or Arborio rice — these are two varieties of risotto rice. I’ve seen them at Krogers and Walmart, but if your local store doesn’t have them, grab a bag online!
- Mozarella. Grab a block of low moisture mozzarella, or use cheese sticks cut into small pieces!
As with most air fryer recipes, these are best served immediately — but if you do have leftovers, store them in the fridge.
To reheat, you’ll want to “recrisp” the breadcrumbs along the surface a bit (which won’t happen in the microwave). I find this is best to do in the oven or toaster oven.
Can You Freeze Them?
Yes! Now we’re talking!
Make your air fryer arancini, but don’t fry them. Place them on a cookie sheet with a bit of space between each. Place the cookie sheet in the freezer for 1 hour (this prevents them from sticking together). Now, place all the arancinis in a large resealable baggie in the freezer.
When you’re ready to cook the frozen arancini, place them in the fridge overnight, then air fry!
We LOVE the simplicity of this recipe as is, but as always, there are ways to add a twist! Here are some ideas:
- As mentioned above, you can use your favorite risotto recipe to make these. Try a mushroom, garlic or spinach risotto instead!
- Stuff your arancinis with a different type of cheese — cheddar, swiss, anything “meltable” will work!
- Add some ham, prosciutto or pancetta to the filling along with your cheese.
Air Fryer Arancini
- 3 1/2 cups chicken stock
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3/4 cup onion finely chopped
- 1 cup Carnaroli or Arborio rice
- 1/2 cup white wine dry
- 1/2 cup Parmesan grated
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 1 1/2 tablespoons basil fresh + chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 cup mozzarella cubed. I use 2 cheese sticks cut into 24 pieces
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1 cup Italian bread crumbs dry
Make the Risotto:
- Bring chicken stock to a simmer in a medium pot. Once simmering, remove from heat and place a lid on top to keep it warm. Set is aside as we prep everything else.
- Melt butter in a heavy bottom pan (such as a dutch oven or skillet) over medium-high heat.
- Add onions, and saute until transparent, about 4 minutes.
- Add rice and stir constantly. Cook until the rice becomes opaque, about 1 minute.
- Add wine and stir until it's absorbed by the rice.
- While continually stirring, add the stock using 1/2 cup increments. Allow the liquid to fully absorb before adding more to the pan. Cook for 20 minutes, you'll know it's done once the rice is just tender and the risotto appears creamy. You may not use all the broth (I only used 3 cups) -- this will vary based on the heat and thickness of your pan.
- Remove from heat, and stir in the heavy cream, parmesan, and basil.
- Taste, and salt and pepper to your liking (I added 1 teaspoon of salt, again this will vary with how much chicken stock you add).
- Spread risotto on a plate and place in the fridge, allowing it to cool completely for 1 hour.
Form the Arancini:
- Stir in 1 egg until well incorporated.
- Use a tablespoon to scoop the risotto, and press a piece of cheese in the center.
- Roll the risotto into a tight ball using your hands. Place it on a clean plate and continue until you've formed 24 arancinis.
- Prep 3 shallow bowls: 1 for the flour, 1 for the 2 remaining eggs (whisked), 1 for the breadcrumbs.
- Dip and thoroughly coat each arancini in the flour. Shake to remove access flour, then dip it in the whisked eggs, then in the bread crumbs.
- Continue until you've coated all the arancinis.
Frying the Arancini:
- Spray arancini and air fryer tray with oil.
- Cook at 400 F for 12 minutes.
- Serve with tomato sauce, and enjoy!
Do you LOVE your air fryer as much as we do?! Then you’ll love these recipes too:
- Air fryer chicken. Fried chicken in the air fryer?! It’s SO good, no one will know!
- Air fryer crab rangoon. Another app that’s so good, we eat it as a meal.
- Air fryer egg rolls. WAY better than takeout.
- Air fryer pickles. With ranch, these are gold!
- Air fryer coconut shrimp. Personal fave!
I hope you all love this air fryer arancini recipe as much as we do!
Let me know what you think in the comments below! Did you eat them all in one sitting (like me!)? What did you use for a dip? Enjoy!