These Mini Mushroom Arancini are a little work - easy work though - but super tasty & impressive. Upscale comfort food, perfect for a party!
Sure, I can probably take some of the blame for that. In all of our 12 years in the USA, I’d never made any kind of arancini balls for him - in my defense, I’ve never been a fan of deep frying!
How was I to know that deep fried risotto balls - “Little oranges”, when translated to English - were something completely unknown to him?
He knew what risotto was, after all - he’s a huge fan of my Seafood Risotto Recipe!
... in the grocery store freezer sections, as an offering in the hot foods deli section, and even on pizza restaurant menus.
So, I decided to design a mushroom arancini recipe for him, as he’s a HUGE fan of mushrooms.
This crispy mushroom arancini recipe is basically a continuation of my Mushroom Risotto recipe. What was originally intended as a main course, though, is repurposed into an hors d'oeuvre.
These crunchy little risotto balls - with a remarkable creamy interior - are a fantastic way to make an appetizer that FEELS fancy, but can almost amount to “scrounged together from leftovers”!
They’re great for holiday dinners in general, and is one of my favourite things to serve at New Years Eve parties.
There’s something poetic about going into the new year with a dressed-up leftover food, IMHO!
Anyway, it’s a fun recipe, so let’s get to it!
These deep fried little balls of risotto use some very simple ingredients, you should be able to find everything you need in almost any grocery store!
When making risotto, you need to use a special kind of rice, to ensure the results you want.
In general, you’re looking for a short or medium grain rice with a high starch content - that’s what creates the creamy sauce, as the rice cooks.
I tend to use Arborio Rice for this, as it’s the easiest to find and has the perfect consistency.
That said, Arborio is known to be more of a North American way to make risotto. Carnaroli Rice is the go-to risotto rice option in Italy.
Vialone Nano is another popular option you can use.
Any of these rice types will make an great risotto, so use whichever once makes the most sense, where you are!
We default to crimini mushrooms (aka baby bella mushrooms) when making mushroom arancini, as they taste great, bring a fantastic savory accent to the risotto, and are cheap and easy to come by.
That said, feel free to use whatever mushrooms you like - porcini mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, a blend of wild mushrooms ... whatever floats your boat!
I use a boxed chicken bone broth, as it’s what we tend to have on hand, and brings a little extra protein to the mix.
That said, you can use whatever stock or broth you like, as long as it works well with the flavour of the mushrooms you choose.
Chicken broth, chicken stock, mushroom stock, vegetable broth, homemade vegetable stock, even beef broth. It’s all good.
Dry White Wine
I use a little white wine - usually a Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio - to brighten up the flavour a bit, and give it a bit more of a refined, complex taste.
The alcohol does cook off in the simmering process, but you’re free to skip the wine altogether, if you like.
Just use ½ cup more of the broth. Also - ideally - add a small splash of white vinegar, lemon juice, or even lemon zest.
This little hit of acid makes up for the slight zing you’ll lose, by not utilizing the wine.
Panko Crumbs provide the perfect crunchy contrast to the creamy risotto interior of these mini mushroom arancini.
Need to make gluten free arancini? Use Gluten Free Panko Bread Crumbs, and swap out the all purpose flour for white rice flour or corn starch!
I use both Grated Mozzarella cheese and Grated Parmesan cheese for the risotto itself.
Some people like to put a cube of cheese in the center of each ball when making arancini - personally, I find it a bit much, when making mini arancini.
That said, if you’d like to do it - just have some extra mozzarella on hand, and cut it into small cubes before forming your mushroom arancini.
Oil For Deep Frying
Vegetable Oil, Sunflower Oil, Canola Oil, and Peanut Oil are all great options for deep frying, though I find peanut oil to impart too much of a taste.
I tend to use vegetable oil, as it’s cheap, easy to come by, and has a neutral flavour.
Rounding out this recipe, you will need:
All purpose flour
Salt and ground black pepper
... I just don’t have anything to add, for these last few ingredients!
Leftover Risotto Arancini
Pro tip: you can make arancini out of pretty much any of your favorite risotto recipes - all you need is some leftover risotto as the base!
When you make risotto, chill the leftovers overnight.
The next day, make rice balls out of the cold risotto, the proceed with the breading and cooking instructions for this recipe.
All you’ll need - aside from your leftover risotto - is flour, salt, any seasoning you’d like (if thyme doesn’t work with your risotto of choice), eggs, panko bread crumbs, and oil for frying.
How to Make Mini Mushroom Arancini
The full recipe is in the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post, here is the pictorial walk through:
Make the Mushroom Risotto
Finely chop your mushrooms - I like to run them through a food processor:
Things can move quickly when you start cooking!
Add the chicken broth and thyme, bring to a gentle simmer. Turn the burner down to medium-low heat and keep it at a simmer.
In a large frying pan over medium heat, sweat onions in remaining olive oil until translucent. Add garlic and rice, stir well.
Add half of the wine, stirring until wine is almost completely absorbed by the rice. Repeat.
As rice absorbs one ladle of stock, add another and continue stirring.
Stir in grated cheeses, just until well incorporated and smooth.
Whisk egg, add to the cooled risotto mixture along.
Cover rice mixture with plastic wrap and chill for several hours - ideally overnight.
Line a work surface - and a baking sheet - with kitchen paper.
Lay out 3 separate bowls - I like to use shallow bowls for this.
Mix together the flour, salt, and thyme into one medium bowl. Crack the eggs into a separate bowl, whisking until lightly beaten and smooth. Measure the panko into a 3rd bowl.
Using 2 Tablespoons - or a small ice cream scoop - scoop small portions of cold rice mixture out onto your work surface.
Aim to be scooping consistent amounts, so your risotto mixture balls are the same size. I usually get 40-42 pieces.
Once all of the batter is scooped, use clean, wet hands to roll each of the small pieces into a ball.
If you’re using a piece of cheese in the center, form the piece of portioned risotto around the cheese, squeezing tightly to ensure it’s well sealed before rolling. These will usually end up to be closer to the size of gold balls, when finished.
Dip a flour coated rice ball into the beaten eggs, allow the excess beaten egg mixture to drip off before rolling it in the panko, giving it a light squeeze to compact the coating a bit.
Place on the parchment paper lined baking tray.
Once all the balls are coated, place the cookie sheet of coated balls in the fridge to chill, as you prepare the oil.
Heat oil 375 F (190 C). You can use a deep fryer, or a heavy pan.
If not using a deep fryer, use a deep, heavy saucepan, filled with enough oil to be at least 3" deep.
Carefully transfer chilled arancini to the hot oil.
Deep-fry arancini in small batches - just a few at a time - until golden brown. It should just take a couple of minutes.
Note: Be sure to turn them frequently, for even cooking.
As the mini mushroom arancini are cooked, using a slotted spoon, transfer fried aracini from the pan of oil, to a pan lined with paper towel.
Allow the oil temperature to come back up to 375 between batches.
Arrange on a serving platter, stick each with a toothpick.
Serve hot, with marinara sauce for dipping.
Air Frying Mini Arancini
Preheat air fryer to 375 F, spray the basket with nonstick spray.
Arrange mini arancini in the fryer basket, spray with more nonstick spray. Air fry for 8-10 minutes - turning them part way - until golden brown and crispy.
Check the fried arancini for doneness - you can put them back in for a minute or two, if needed.
Arrange air fried mini mushroom arancini on a serving platter, with a small bowl of marinara sauce for dipping.
We like to heat chilled arancini in the microwave for 30 seconds or so, then air fry for a few minutes at 400 F.
More Fancy Finger Food Recipes
Planning for a special dinner, whether Valentine’s Day, a special date, or a fancy dinner party? Here are a few recipes to consider!
Ahi Tuna Nachos
Cucumber Shrimp Canapes
Fancy Tea Sandwiches
Fig, Honey, and Goat Cheese Studel
How to Make Cream Puffs & Croquembouche
Jalapeno Beer Baklava
Mini Baked Potatoes
Mini Jamaican Beef Patties
Mushroom Brie Turnovers
Phyllo Crab Triangles
Shrimp & Artichoke Stuffed Mushrooms
Smoked Salmon Bagel Bites
Smoked Salmon Canapes
Wine Battered Deep Fried Brie
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Mini Mushoom Arancini [Italian Fried Risotto Balls]
- 2 tablespoon Olive oil divided
- 1 lb Mushrooms very finely chopped
- Salt and pepper
- 4 cups Chicken broth
- ¼ teaspoon Dried thyme
- 1 Small yellow onion very finely chopped
- 2 Garlic cloves
- 1 ½ cups Arborio rice
- ½ cup Dry white wine can use more chicken broth instead
- 1 cup Grated Mozzarella cheese
- ½ cup Grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 Large egg
- ⅔ cup All purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- pinch Dried thyme
- 2 Large eggs
- 2 cups Panko crumbs
- Oil for deep frying
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium pot. Add mushrooms, season with a little salt and pepper, and cook over medium high heat until mushrooms just start to soften.
- Add the chicken broth and thyme, bring to a gentle simmer.
- As the broth is heating:
- In a large pan, sweat onions in remaining olive oil until translucent. Add garlic and rice, stir well.
- Add half of the wine, stirring until wine is almost completely absorbed by the rice. Repeat.
- Add simmering stock, about ½ cup at a time, stirring constantly. As rice absorbs one ladle of stock, add another and continue stirring.
- Once rice is almost cooked, season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Stir in grated cheeses, just until well incorporated and smooth. Remove from heat, allow to cool to room temperature.
- Whisk egg, add to the cooled risotto mixture along.
- Cover with plastic wrap and chill for several hours - ideally overnight.
- Line a work surface - and a baking sheet - with parchment paper.
- Mix together the flour, salt, and thyme into one medium bowl. Crack the eggs into a separate bowl, whisking until lightly beaten and smooth. Measure the panko into a 3rd bowl.
- Using 2 Tablespoons, scoop small portions of chilled risotto out onto your work surface. Aim to be scooping consistent amounts, so your risotto balls are the same size. I usually get 40-42 pieces.
- Once all of the batter is scooped, use clean hands to roll each into a ball, then into the flour mixture.
- Dip a flour coated rice ball into the beaten eggs, allow the excess egg mixture to drip off before rolling it in the panko, giving it a light squeeze to compact the coating a bit. Place on the lined baking sheet,
- Repeat with remaining rice balls. I like to use my left hand to dip a risotto ball into the egg, then drop it into the panko. Then I use my right hand to coat the ball with panko - this prevents a buildup of coating from forming on my hands!
- Once all the balls are coated, place the cookie sheet of coated balls in the fridge to chill, as you prepare the oil.
- Heat oil 375 F (190 C). You can use a deep fryer, or a heavy pan. If not using a deep fryer, use a deep, heavy pot, filled to at least 3" deep.
- Carefully transfer chilled arancini to the heated oil. Fry a few at a time - turning frequently for even cooking- until golden brown.
- As the mini mushroom arancini are cooked, use a (metal!) slotted spoon to transfer them from the oil, to a pan lined with paper towels.
- Serve hot, with marinara sauce for dipping.