Crunchy, creamy Mushroom Arancini (Risotto Balls)are one of my favourite ways to use up leftover risotto! I make these Vegan Arancini Balls pretty much every time I make risotto, because I always make too much (Ahem. Maybe accidentally on purpose!) You can make these in the air fryer, in the oven or even pan fry them.
Arancini are essentially balls of risotto, that maybe have a little surprise filling inside, which are then coated in breadcrumbs and air fry, pan-fried or oven-baked. They're savory and crunchy, creamy, and perfect for snacking or serving at a party. Be sure to make double if you're serving arancini balls at a party, they always disappear so quickly!
I don't know about you, but every time I make risotto I always vastly overestimate how much I'll need and we end up with leftovers. For some reason leftover risotto isn't very appetizing, all stuck together. But turned into vegan arancini balls, Oh boy, leftover risotto becomes a HUGE treat. Crunchy on the outside, with a little surprise (if you want) in the middle. Delicious.
Any kind of risotto can become arancini, however, you can't just use any old leftover rice. The rice needs to be all sticky in order to form the rice balls. Also having the rice flavoured in a savoury creamy delicious way helps with the overall effect. For this recipe, I used my Vegan Mushroom and Pea Risotto as the base, but I have also made arancini with this Vegan Risotto with Butternut Squash. In fact, at Halloween, I like to make lil' Jack o' Lantern Arancini with the squash risotto recipe.
Arancini are essentially a way of using up leftover risotto. They can be made with any kind of risotto you have left over, and you can choose to stuff them with something savoury as a surprise in the middle or not. I like to add extra chopped-up mushrooms if I've made a mushroom risotto. Some cheesy vegan mozzarella or other cheese is also nice (I love Mozzarisella brand, but choose your favourite vegan cheese.)
- Risotto made with arborio rice - either leftover or freshly made.
- Breadcrumbs - I like to use panko breadcrumbs for their crunch!
- Olive oil- a little oil to rub the breadcrumbs in. Plus more for frying if you're planning to fry.
- Fillings: Choose from vegan mozzarella, peas, chopped up mushrooms, pesto or something else savoury and delicious.
👩🍳How to make
I've included the full instructions for how to make risotto in the recipe card, in case you don't have any leftovers to hand! If you want some nice visual how-to instructions, head over to my Mushroom and pea risotto recipe.
To make the arancini balls is more of an assembly job once the risotto itself is cooked! You can then choose to cook them in the air fryer, pan fry them or oven bake!
1.In a large bowl, combine your breadcrumbs with some olive oil. This ensures that you get a nice crispy arancini coating, especially if you are choosing to air fry them. You can also add flavour to the breadcrumbs here such as herbs or nutritional yeast.
2. Get your filling ready. Chop up some mushrooms finely and cube the mozzarella.
3.Make sure your risotto is cool enough to handle and make a palm sized ball (large tablespoon) of risotto. Push a hole into the middle of the risotto ball, then fill with a few your mushrooms and cheese (or whatever)
4. Close up the hole and roll the vegan arancini ball in the breadcrumb mixture. Repeat until you have finished the risotto.
TO COOK: To cook the arancini in the airfryer, choose 180C/356F and cook for 10 minutes. To pan fry, heat up some oil in a pan and shallow fry them gently. Or bake in a moderate oven for 15-20 minutes
If you have extra arancini balls, freeze them, either cooked or uncooked for up to three months. I place them on a tray in the freezer, then once hard, pop into a bag.
You can keep these for up to 3 days in the fridge, be sure to reheat them until they are piping hot, either in the oven or the air fryer.
🧀Substitutions and Variations
You don't have to stick to mushrooms to fill these arancini, here are some other ideas:
- Vegan Cheese : Use your favourite vegan cheese in the middle instead of the vegan mozzarella.
- Vegan Bolognese (like my Vegan Lentil Bolognese)
- Roasted Squash or other leftover veggies: Use up any other leftover veggies as a surprise in the middle. Add some vegan cheese for a tastier treat.
Gluten Free: If you want to make this recipe gluten-free, just swap the breadcrumbs for some gluten-free bread crumbs. The rest of the recipe is naturally already gluten-free.
❓ Tips and FAQ
You can make the risotto fresh if you like. Just make sure it is cool enough to handle to make balls and stuff!
I filled these arancini with chopped up mushrooms. You can choose other savoury items such as pesto, cheese, ragu or bolognese sauce. Or just make smaller non-stuffed ones.
As long as you cook the arancini properly and ensure they are piping hot there is no danger to making these with leftover rice. Make sure to cool th rice quickly and only use one-day old risotto at most.
You can store the arancini for 2 or so days in the fridge. They freeze very well too, just cook from frozen, adding a little extra time to cook through properly.
You can make approximately 8-12 portions of arancini from a four person serve of risotto. It depends on how large you make the risotto balls!
They take around 10 minutes to cook through in the airfryer. You can cook them for longer if you want them extra crunchy or if they are frozen!
🥗Serving Ideas and Other Great Recipes.
If I'm making these mushroom arancini to serve for lunch or dinner, I love to serve it with a really great salad that has lots of good things in it:
- Beetroot, Butternut Squash and Chickpea Salad
- High Protein Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad (Gluten Free)
- Vegan Caesar Salad with Crunchy Chickpea Croutons (Gluten Free!)
- Air Fryer Broccoli and Cauliflower
I love to make other types of risotto, so why not try one of these other risotto recipes. They all make great vegan arancini balls too!
Vegan Arancini Balls with Mushrooms
For accuracy, I measure all ingredients in metric as standard, then convert and test the recipe for American cup measurements etc.
(Heads up Aussie and UK readers- your measurements in cups are sometimes different, so please use metric or check you have the correct cup and spoon type!!)
To make the Arancini.
- 150 g (2.5 cups) panko breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- 1 teaspoon salt (flakey maldon seasalt is nicest!)
- 500 g (18 oz) cooked risotto (See the instructions below to make from scratch)
- 100 g (¾ cups) vegan mozzarella (diced into 1cm cubes.)
- 100 g (1 cups) sauteed mushrooms (or other filling. See below to make the mushrooms. )
For the Risotto Base.
- 300 g (1 ½ cups) risotto rice (arborio or carnaroli)
- 50 g (3 tablespoon) dried mushrooms
- 1 large onion ( finely chopped)
- 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
- 130 g (1 cup) frozen peas
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1300 ml (5 ½ cups) vegetable stock (use a good quality stock cube or boullion if you don't have fresh. )
- 175 ml (¾ cups) white wine (or use 1 tablespoon cider vinegar and 1 teaspoon sugar in 160ml water.)
- 2 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- 1 tablespoon white miso
- Salt & Pepper to season
For the Sauteed Mushrooms for stuffing the arancini.
- 100 g (2 cups) chestnut mushrooms (or a mixture of wild and chestnut mushrooms)
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 2 tablespoon white wine
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic (roughly sliced)
- salt & pepper to taste
- chilli flakes to taste (optional)
To make the risotto if you do not have leftover risotto
- Pour the stock into a medium saucepan, and add the dried mushrooms.50 g dried mushrooms, 1300 ml vegetable stock
- Bring to a simmer and let the mushrooms steep in it, squishing them around so they let out all their delicious mushroomy essence. Keep them in the stock until later when you'll need them.
- In a big saucepan, warm the olive oil gently, then add the onions & garlic cook until translucent.1 large onion, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
- Add the rice and stir until slicked with the oil & mixed in with the onions & garlic.300 g risotto rice
- Add the white wine & stir until soaked into the rice.175 ml white wine
- Then. And this is the CRUCIAL bit with risotto. Add in a ladle of the stock. And stir until soaked in over a lowish heat.
- And repeat the step above.
- Now is a good time to start cooking the mushrooms to top the risotto. See instructions below.
- Keep repeating the ladling of the stock and stirring until the rice becomes soft and creamy.
- Pull the dried out of the broth, squeezing them hard to get the moisture out & the last of their juicy flavour, and chop the caps really finely.
- If you start running out of stock, add more hot water from the kettle to the stock pot.
- The rice should be just getting soft, and getting risotto-y on the outside, but still be a bit chalky in the middle.
- Chop up the dried mushrooms and add them into the risotto.50 g dried mushrooms
- Add the peas and stir.130 g frozen peas
- Let the peas cook & the spinach wilt.
- Check the rice is fully cooked through.
- If it isn't,add more stock & stir.
- Now. Add in the miso and nutritional yeast and stir well.2 tablespoon nutritional yeast, 1 tablespoon white miso
- Taste- and add extra miso/salt/pepper/nutritional yeast to taste.Salt & Pepper to season
For the sauteed mushrooms
- In a large pan sautee two garlic cloves in olive oil.1 teaspoon olive oil, 2 cloves garlic
- Add in the fresh mushrooms, thyme, a sprinkle of salt and cook down.100 g chestnut mushrooms, 1 teaspoon thyme, chilli flakes to taste
- Add a splash of white wine and let it cook off.2 tablespoon white wine, salt & pepper to taste
- Chop the cooked mushrooms finely so they can be used to stuff the arancini.
To assemble the arancini
- Make sure your risotto is cool enough to handle!
- On a large plate, mix up the breadcrumbs with the olive oil, nutritional yeast and a pinch of salt.. This ensures an evenly cooked crunchy crust.150 g panko breadcrumbs, 2 tablespoon nutritional yeast, 1 teaspoon salt, 2 tablespoon olive oil
- Make a large golfball sized ball out of the risotto. (About 1 large tablespoon)500 g cooked risotto
- Hollow out the ball and add in a little bit of mushroom and a cube of mozzarella.100 g vegan mozzarella, 100 g sauteed mushrooms
- Close the risotto over the filling so it is hidden insice.
- Roll the risotto in the breadcrumbs (risotto is nice and sticky, so they will stick well!)
- Repeat with the rest of the risotto.
- Cook the arancini balls in your airfryer at 180°C/356°F for about 10 minutes. Alternatively pan fry or oven bake at 180°C/356°F for roughly 20 minutes.
- Serve fresh and hot with napkins in case of mess!