Arancini are deep-fried rice balls flavored with herbs and cheese. The dish comes from Sicily and is also called Italian rice balls.
If you have leftovers, can you freeze arancini?
Yes, you can freeze arancini. The rice balls freeze well, as long as you freeze them individually. They reheat quickly for a meal or a delicious snack.
Let’s look at the best ways to freeze, store, and reheat arancini. We’ll start by looking at the ingredients to see why this dish freezes so well.
What Are the Standard Ingredients in Arancini?
Cooks make arancini with an individual spin, as with most recipes. Unique cheeses or seasonings make each dish distinct. In general, though, arancini will contain the following ingredients:
- Rice cooked like risotto with chicken stock, butter, herbs, and white wine
- Cheese, usually Parmesan and mozzarella
- Bread crumbs
- Tomato or spaghetti sauce
- Seasonings like garlic, parsley, and Italian herbs
- Oil for deep-frying
To make the arancini, chill the risotto so you can form it into balls. Place cheese in the center of each ball, then roll the rice balls in the seasoned flour, beaten egg, and bread crumbs. Traditional arancini are deep-fried, though you can also bake the rice balls.
The ingredients in arancini all typically freeze well individually, so it’s not surprising that the recipe stands up to freezer storage, too.
How Do You Freeze Arancini Balls?
If you’re unsure about ruining your arancini in the freezer, don’t worry. Arancini should come out of the freezer intact as long as you freeze the balls individually.
Put the arancini on a cookie sheet or container lined with wax paper. Ensure none of the balls are touching, then freeze for at least two hours. After the balls are frozen, you can put them in a freezer bag or airtight container without worrying about them touching.
A single freezer bag or container should work if you plan to reheat all the arancini. If you anticipate pulling only a few out at a time, consider wrapping each ball individually to keep them as fresh as possible.
If frozen food accumulates a lot of ice crystals in your freezer, you may wish to wrap the arancini individually before storing them in a freezer bag or container. This wrapping will help prevent the frost buildup that can make them mushy as they thaw.
Can you freeze arancini in a container? You can, but you want to freeze the balls without them touching. If you freeze two or more balls together, the surface may tear or fall apart when they thaw. To keep the integrity of each rice ball, ensure the arancini don’t touch each other until they’re frozen solid.
How Long Can You Freeze Arancini?
Once in the freezer, the arancini will stay fresh for about three months. The food won’t spoil as long as your freezer stays at the proper temperature, so it will be safe to eat much longer than that. Freezing over three months will detract from the arancini’s texture and taste.
Is it Better to Freeze Arancini Cooked or Uncooked?
Can you freeze arancini before it’s fried or baked? You can, but you might not like the results. Freezing will preserve the food much longer than refrigeration, but the egg batter and breadcrumb coating won’t hold up as well in the freezer uncooked.
If you need to freeze uncooked arancini, follow the recipe until you’ve rolled the rice into balls with cheese in the center. You can freeze those balls in the same way you freeze cooked arancini. Store them in a freezer-safe bag or container.
To use the frozen rice balls, thaw them overnight in the refrigerator. Roll them in the coatings and cook as usual. Frozen rice balls will be drier and may not stick together as well after thawing, but you can freeze them in a pinch.
If you plan to freeze arancini this way, try adding at least one-quarter cup of breadcrumbs or dry cheese to the risotto. The balls will be more likely to stick together while thawing.
The best answer to the question, “Can you freeze arancini uncooked?” is yes, but freezing them after cooking will give you a much better dish.
How Can I Reheat Frozen Arancini?
One of the best ways to prepare cooked and frozen arancini is to deep-fry the balls straight out of the freezer. Brush off any ice crystals to keep the oil from bubbling up, then deep-fry the arancini as you would if you were preparing them fresh.
If you plan to bake the arancini or prefer not to fry them from frozen, put them in the refrigerator to thaw 24-36 hours before you plan to cook them.
You can see that arancini freezes well and reheats with very little loss in texture. Let’s look at a few more of the most common questions about freezing arancini.
How long do Italian rice balls last in the refrigerator?
Italian rice balls will stay fresh for one to two days in the freezer. As long as they’re kept cold, they should be safe to eat for three to four days. After two days, the rice will dry out and lose its texture.
Can arancini balls be made in advance?
You can make arancini in advance. The best method is to cook them before freezing because uncooked arancini will get drier in the freezer and may not stick together very well after thawing.
How do you keep arancini from falling apart?
If your arancini come apart while frying, add one-quarter to one-half cup of breadcrumbs to the risotto next time you roll the rice into balls. You can also add more Parmesan cheese with the bread crumbs to help the balls stay firm in the fryer.
So, can you freeze arancini? The answer is a resounding yes.
Arancini balls are delicious Sicilian treats you can make at home. You can cook some in advance to freeze for a later meal, or freeze the leftovers and enjoy them anytime.