Arancini are an Italian classic of risotto balls coated with breadcrumbs and deep fried. My gluten free baked arancini are a healthier option to try, yet they still taste just as delicious as the original. I’ve also added a cheeky melting mozzarella centre to these arancini and a little twist of lemon zest for added flavour.

They are the best snack, meal idea or buffet addition and are oh so satisfying to eat. Biting into them is a dreamy combo of crispy outside shell and soft risotto inside, plus that melting centre of mozzarella cheese really is the cherry on top!

Arancini are best served hot and eaten warm, and they will hold their warmth for a good while once you serve them. They are lovely cold too – to be honest I’d eaten them at any temperature state haha. Serve them with a dipping sauce (such as homemade red pepper dip – simple to make with jarred roasted peppers), solo or with a big side salad if you are having them as a meal.

baked arancini with melting mozzarella centres

Which Type of Risotto Should I Use?

You can use any leftover risotto for these arancini, but I would recommend trying my Butternut Squash & Pancetta Risotto. It’s perfect for these arancini and the flavours develop and become extra yummy for leftovers.

If you are vegetarian, simply skip the addition of the pancetta from the recipe I have mentioned above. I often make a plain butternut squash risotto for these too, and it is equally delicious.

butternut squash risotto

I Don’t Have 600g Risotto Leftover, Can I Still Make These?

Absolutely! The joy of these is that you can repurpose whatever risotto leftovers you have and make a smaller/larger quantity if needed. Basically just ball up the risotto you have, then coat as per the recipe and bake for the same amount of time.

baked arancini recipe uk
baked arancini recipe

Can I Skip the Mozzarella Centre?

Are you mad?! Only joking – yes of course, again I’ve tried the recipe without mozzarella at the centre and they work perfectly. You may be looking to make a lactose free version of these, for example, in which case just sub in your fave lactose free alternatives and skip the mozzarella centre.

Baked Arancini Recipe

Baked Arancini with Melting Mozzarella Centres (GF)
Yield: Makes 12 Arancini Balls

Baked Arancini with Melting Mozzarella Centres (GF)


  • 600g leftover risotto
  • 60g gluten free breadcrumbs
  • 1 large egg/2 medium eggs
  • 30g gluten free plain flour/rice flour
  • 120g fresh mozzarella cheese
  • Zest of half a lemon (optional)


You can use any leftover risotto for this recipe, however my butternut squash and pancetta risotto is especially delicious for these arancini balls!

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C (fan) and line a medium-sized baking tray with a sheet of greaseproof paper.
  2. Crack the egg(s) into a small, shallow bowl and whisk. Then take two small plates, add the breadcrumbs to one and the flour to the second. Set all three dishes aside.
  3. Chop the mozzarella into 12 small pieces (approx 10g each).
  4. Place the leftover risotto in a large bowl and use a wooden spoon to loosen any clumps. If you want to include the lemon zest, add this to the risotto now and stir through until well combined.
  5. Take approx 50g risotto in your hand, flatten it out a little and then place a piece of mozzarella at the centre. Wrap the risotto around the mozzarella piece and roll between your palms until you have a nice ball shape. Place on the baking tray. Repeat with the rest of the risotto and mozzarella until you have 12 balls of a similar size.
  6. To coat each ball, first roll in flour (coat completely), then egg (coat completely) and finally breadcrumbs (coat completely). Then return the ball to the baking tray. Repeat for each ball.
  7. Use a spray oil to lightly spritz the arancini with olive oil, as this will help them to turn lovely and golden in the oven. Then pop them into the oven to bake for 25 minutes until the crumb has turned crisp and golden. Serve warm with a big salad on the side.


I sometimes make a red pepper dipping sauce to go with these, which is quick and simple to make by blending jarred red peppers with some herbs. The vinegar they are preserved in creates a beautiful tangy dip, which complements the flavour of these arancini balls.

gluten free arancini recipe uk
baked arancini with red pepper dip

Hopefully you have enjoyed making and eating these baked arancini as much as I do :). For more mouth-watering meal ideas, why not try some of my other gluten free recipes while you are here:

Enjoy! Laura xxx