Gluten Free Pesto Arancini

Gluten-Free Pesto Arancini Recipe

Arancini are delicious little fried balls of love, if you ask me! Basically, they are cheese, surrounded by rice, coated in breadcrumbs, and fried. They are the epitome of Southern Italian street food, often made with leftover risotto.

I was in the mood for a nice glass of wine and some arancini with friends but didn’t feel like making risotto first, so I came up with this little cheat – I just made rice and stirred in pesto – tons of flavor, so much less work! Then I wrapped the flavored rice around little squares of fresh mozzarella and coated them in Kinnikinnick panko crumbs – so much crunchier than regular breadcrumbs.

You can use whatever type of rice you have but I used sushi rice – seems odd but sushi rice is really sticky, so it worked beautifully. Next time you make any kind of rice – think ahead and make extra – this is the perfect recipe for leftover rice!

I served these with some jarred marinara sauce that I heated for dipping, a nice glass of cold Chardonnay, and a good time was had by all!

Gluten Free Pesto Arancini Recipe

4.60 from 5 votes
Gluten Free Pesto Arancini
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Gluten-Free Pesto Arancini Recipe

Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time6 mins
Total Time21 mins
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 20 appetizers
Calories: 191kcal
Author: Gluten Free & More


  • 4 cups cooked rice
  • ½ cup basil pesto
  • Kosher or fine sea salt
  • Black pepper
  • 4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups Kinnikinnick gluten free Panko Crumbs
  • 4 cups vegetable oil
  • ½ cup marinara sauce


  • Combine the rice and pesto and season generously with salt and pepper. Divide into 20 equal sized balls. Cut the mozzarella into 20 small pieces. Push the cheese into each ball and squeeze tightly to enclose.
  • Beat the eggs in a plate. Put the panko in another plate. Roll the balls first into the egg then into the panko, pressing tightly.
  • Heat the oil in a saucepan to 350 degrees. Fry the rice arancini, a few at a time, until deeply golden brown, about 90 seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon, sprinkle with a bit of salt and repeat with the remaining arancini.
  • Serve warm with warm marinara sauce for dipping.


Nutrition Facts
Gluten-Free Pesto Arancini Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 191 Calories from Fat 90
% Daily Value*
Fat 10g15%
Saturated Fat 5g25%
Cholesterol 27mg9%
Sodium 196mg8%
Potassium 42mg1%
Carbohydrates 22g7%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 4g8%
Vitamin A 214IU4%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
Calcium 45mg5%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Disclaimer: All nutrition facts on Gluten Free & More are meant only as a guide and may differ depending on product brands used or ingredient substitutions. Some errors may occur, so you are encouraged to confirm the recipe’s ingredient and nutrition suitability for your own diet.
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Tags: Appetizers Breadcrumbs Fried Italian Kinnikinnick Rice

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