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Vegan arancini on plate with marinara & basil.
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5 from 5 votes

Vegan arancini (Italian rice balls) – in the air fryer or oven

It doesn't get dreamier than vegan arancini. Crispy on the outside, melty & gooey on the inside. Made with cold risotto, leftovers have never been this good! Bake in the oven or air fryer. Makes 12 Italian rice balls (vegan arancini).
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course: Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine: Italian, Vegan
Keyword: dinner, entree, finger food, vegan
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 300kcal
Author: Cadry Nelson



  • If you plan to bake the arancini in the oven, preheat to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. If you're planning to use the air fryer, skip this step.
  • Form a rice ball in your hands using about ¼ cup of cold vegan risotto. Keep forming balls until you have finished all of the risotto. (One full batch of creamy vegan risotto will make about 12 rice balls.)
  • On a plate, combine panko bread crumbs with granulated onion, salt, and pepper. Roll each ball in the bread crumb mixture, until completely coated.
  • TO COOK IN THE OVEN: Evenly spread the balls across the parchment paper covered baking sheet. Spray the arancini with oil. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until they are nutty brown. (Do not turn them. They brown better if they are left on their own.) Remove and serve with warm marinara sauce for dipping.
  • TO COOK IN THE AIR FRYER: Put a few rice balls into the air fryer. Do not overfill. If the basket is too full, they won't brown as nicely. (A 3.7 quart air fryer basket will hold about 6 rice balls.) So you'll need to work in batches. Spray the arancini with oil. Air fry at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. (Do not turn the rice balls. They brown better if they are left on their own.) Continue air frying the remaining balls until finished. Keep in mind that as the air fryer heats up, the subsequent batches may cook in less time. So keep an eye on them in the final minutes & remove early, if necessary.


Want to freeze the arancini for later? Here's how to do it! Form the risotto rice balls, and coat them in panko breadcrumbs. Don't cook them. Instead, move them to a glass freezer-safe dish. (A large Pyrex works well for this.) Make sure the arancini aren't touching, so that they won't freeze together. Cover and freeze. When you're ready to re-heat, remove the arancini from the freezer, and put the rice balls into the air fryer. Air fry at 400 degrees for 13 to 15 minutes.
This arancini is also delicious stuffed with vegan meatballs. For this option, you can leave out the seitan in the vegan risotto recipe, if you like. (Feel free to add a few more mushrooms in the seitan's absence.) Then once the risotto is cold, form a ball in your hand. Push a divot into a ball using your finger, then stuff it with a vegan meatball. Form the rest of the rice around it into a ball. Gardein meatballs work particularly well. They are a little large, so you can pinch the balls in half and form them into balls. (That means for 12 rice balls, you'll need 6 vegan meatballs.) Remember to thaw the meatballs ahead of time, so that they will be malleable and won't add extra moisture to your arancini.


Calories: 300kcal | Carbohydrates: 45g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 5g | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 175IU | Vitamin C: 4.1mg | Calcium: 34mg | Iron: 3.6mg