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Risotto Balls

Turn your leftovers into life changers with these golden, cheesy risotto balls, also known as arancini. Molten and gooey on the inside, and crispy on the outside, this leftover hack is the perfect snack.

Vegan Risotto Balls with mushrooms and panko crumb on a grey plate

If you find yourself with left over risotto, then we have the solution for you! Whether you have made our Vegan Mushroom Risotto or given another recipe a try, this arancini ball recipe is a winner.

Requiring only 5 ingredients and 35 minutes, these vegan adaptable risotto balls are quick and easy to make without compromising on taste. You can adapt this recipe to make it vegan by using vegan risotto leftovers and vegan cheese and egg alternatives. If you don’t follow a vegan diet, then feel free to follow the recipe as is.

These crispy delights are inspired by arancini, a popular street food snack in Sicily, and suppli their Roman counterparts. The origins of these recipes can be traced back to the 10th century when cooked rice was mixed with various fillings and fried. The result was a portable, handheld meal, perfect for hunting and travelling. Traditional fillings often include ragu, cheeses, peas or ham but as the global pantry expands local vendors are getting ever more creative with their fillings and flavours. 

Finally, if you try this recipe, let us know how it goes! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag your photo #theculinarycartel on Instagram so we can see what you come up with. Watch the full video here

For even more air fryer recipes, have a look at our website for more inspiration. Happy cooking! 

Vegan Risotto Balls with mushrooms and panko crumb on a grey plate

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make this with dairy?

You can indeed! As per the recipe notes, simply substitute in dairy-based ingredients where the plant-based ingredients are called for.


Vegan Risotto Balls with mushrooms and panko crumb on a grey plate
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Vegan Risotto Balls with mushrooms and panko crumb on a grey plate

Vegan Risotto Balls

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  • Author: Jess Bunn
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 2
  • Diet: Vegan


Turn your left overs into life changers with these vegan risotto balls. Soft and gooey on the inside, crispy on the outside, this left over hack is the perfect snack.


  • 1/2 cup Flour
  • 400g Leftover risotto
  • 1 cup Panko or breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup Vegan Mayonaise mixed with water until the thickness of double cream or 1 egg, beaten
  • A small handful of mozzarella / Vegan mozzarella alternative
  • 1,5L Cooking oil (if deep frying)


  1. Firstly, make sure you are using cold risotto for these balls. This step is very important. The risotto has to be cold to be able to be rolled into balls.
  2. Remove the chilled risotto from the fridge. Pinch a little risotto, just smaller than a golf ball, from the mixture. Flatten the risotto, and place a small piece of cheese in the middle. Roll the risotto around the cheese, pressing tightly to form a compact ball. Repeat with the remaining risotto
    Chefs Tip: you can now place the risotto balls into the freezer for 15-20 mins. This will firm them up, making them easier to coat in bread crumbs.
  3. Place three bowls on the counter. Fill one with flour, one with your vegan mayonnaise mixture/beaten egg and the final one with panko.
    If air frying your risotto balls, be sure to toast your breadcrumb in a dry pan with a little oil until brown.
  4. Dip each ball first into the flour, then into the eggs / vegan alternative and finally into panko breadcrumbs to coat the entire ball. Set the breaded risotto ball aside on a tray and repeat the process until all are breaded.
  5. To cook your risotto balls
    Air Fry:
    Place the rolled and coated balls into the air fryer, being sure to leave gaps between each one so the air can circulate. You may need to cook them in batches. Cook at 200°C for 7-10 minutes, turning half way.
    These were tested in the Instant Votex Clear cook. As all air fryers are slightly different you may need to adjust the cooking time for your model. We are looking for a crispy crust and gooey cheesy centre.
    Deep Fry:
    Place a large high-sided saucepan over medium-high heat. Fill the pot with 10cm of cooking oil and heat until a piece of panko sizzles vigorously when dropped into the oil.
    Next to the oil prepare a baking sheet lined with paper towel.
    Once hot, fry the risotto balls in batches until golden and crispy. Remove them from the oil and drain on the paper towel. Season with a little salt
  6. Place on a cooling rack or baking paper, serve up with some dipping sauce (I love a punchy aioli), and enjoy!


If your risotto balls aren’t holding together once rolled, you can pop them in the fridge to set before coating and frying.

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Category: Quick and Easy
  • Method: Air fryer
  • Cuisine: Snack
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