Two Ways to Use Up Leftover Risotto: Riso al Salto and Arancini di Riso

Quick notes:

If your leftover risotto is very cold from being refrigerated, let it sit out a few minutes to allow it to come closer to room temperature. This will help ensure that the final product will be heated all the way through and it will be little easier to handle.

It is best to use risotto that is free of large chunks. If your risotto has large chunks of meat or vegetables, remove the largest chunks before making either of the following. I used leftover and relatively smooth fennel risotto and can’t wait to try it with roasted beet risotto but I bet any risotto would be tasty.

Arancini di Riso
1 1/2 to 2 cups leftover risotto
1 cup matzo meal or bread crumbs
1 teaspoon oregano
1 egg, beaten
4 oz mozzarella, in 3/4 inch cubes
canola oil

Heat 1/2 inch oil in a large skillet. Meanwhile, mix the matzo meal/bread crumbs with the oregano in a shallow bowl. Pour the beaten egg in a second shallow bowl. Spoon about 3 tablespoons of rice into the palm of your hand. Make a flat round and place a cube of cheese in the middle. Fold the rice over the cheese and roll lightly between your hands to form a ball. Then roll in the egg to coat evenly, then roll in the crumbs. Repeat for remaining risotto. Fry in the oil, turning to evenly brown on all sides-I found a heat-safe slotted spoon worked well for this. Serve hot.

Riso al Salto
1 1/2 to 2 cups leftover risotto
1 egg
3 tablespoons olive oil

Heat the oil in a large skillet. Meanwhile mix the egg into the risotto. Shape into flat patties. Pan-fry in oil, flipping once to brown on both sides. Serve hot.

My thoughts:

While I love risotto, I don’t always want to eat the exact same thing again the next day for lunch. Enter these yummy risotto balls (which would be great with a bit of shrimp or maybe even ham as a filling instead of mozzarella) and risotto fritters. Both are made with minimal fuss but excellent results. The riso al salto is especially quick and easy and both would be great served with a simple salad. You’re going to want to make double batches of risotto just to have an excuse to make them.


  1. only once have i had leftovers after making risotto — and i ate it cold out of the fridge for breakfast! this probably would have been a better option. 🙂

  2. Mmm, love arancini, but haven’t tried making it yet. Looks delish!

  3. mmm, looks wonderful! you can make rice patties like that with just regular ol’ leftover rice too.

  4. What clever ways to use up leftover risotto! Those arancini di riso look especially mouthwatering too…

    Ari (Baking and Books)

  5. Love, love it! This is a super way to use up those leftovers. It’s a completely revived dish. Must go make some risotto for what remains.

  6. They both look good. I might have to try it with the ham filling which sounds very tasty. Yes, double the risotto is in order.

  7. I’m big fan of risotto any way you slice it. I love arancini di riso but I just usually call them risotto balls 🙂

  8. how clever is that? I love it!

  9. I loved repurposing and arancini; thanks for the reminder!

  10. I make riosotto just to make rice balls I also like to have some sauce warmed to dip them in.

  11. I’m never able to get mine so crispy on the outside and still clearly risotto on the inside. Any tips?
    Mine end up looking more like hush puppies (still yummy but not as pretty as these!)

  12. Dana: Maybe it is that I used matzo meal? Or didn’t deep fry? Not sure-I’d have to see your recipe to compare.

  13. wow, what a great idea. They look so crunchy on the outside and creamy on the inside.

  14. Can I please, please have one of those??
    Oh, man.

  15. Those both look great and equally as good as the first time around! I love using leftovers…Julie for WOW!

  16. Darn it I have tried to make patties before but it always just turns into a tasty but not pretty risotto stir fry. Now I know to add egg!

  17. arancine very good troppo buone

  18. two of my favorite things. I like to add a bit of italian sausage into my arancini sometimes. mmmmm.

  19. can you bake the risotto balls instead of frying?

  20. Anon-You can try it but I don’t think it would be as good.

  21. Hi,

    I've grow up with Arancini and loved seeing this post. I've made my own rice balls, grew up with mother's recipe, and also had them in southern Italy (in my parent's village).

    The very best Arancini have a firm, but not rock hard, exterior and contain peas, ham, some ground beef, and fresh cheese.

    Thanks for posting!

    Vince from

  22. mrmmm…weird idea flash: i wonder if this (or a variation thereof) would work with leftover fried rice…

  23. It totally does work with leftover fried rice. Just add an extra egg because it is a lot drier to work with.

  24. Had this at a great restaurant last week. I was thinking about making with leftovers when I found this. It was great. It was in rectangular pieces. They must have put in a baking dish and refrigerated and then cut into rectangles.