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Jalapeño, corn and cheddar arancini

When you think of rice, do you see a bowl of white simplicity or do you imagine a spectrum of delicious possibility?

I adore rice – not just because it’s part of my heritage, but also because there are so many different ways to rethink rice in so many creative ways.

Rice is an ingredient that is versatile and delicious, whether in dishes like paella, in desserts like rice pudding, or appetizers, like this crisp and golden arancini.

One of my favorite rice dishes is risotto, but I do believe that the best part of risotto is what you can do with leftovers. Arancini, or stuffed rice balls, is one of my family’s favorite foods, with good reason. Stuffed with cheese, coated with breadcrumbs and fried until golden, they are delicious bites of cheesy goodness. And lest you shy away from making arancini, let me assure you, it is so, so easy! If you can form a little patty of rice into a ball and stick a tasty bit of cheese in the center, you can make it, too! If my children can make it, anyone can!

A traditional arancini is delicious as it is, but it is even more exciting with Rice Select’s Arborio Blend with Jalapeño. This surprising rice blend has a lovely heat, and combined with fresh corn and delicious aged white cheddar, the risotto was spicy and creamy enveloped in each crunchy bite. These Jalapeño, Corn and Cheddar Arancini are the perfect snack, appetizer or party food that is sure to delight any rice lover!

Corn and Cheddar

Jalapeno, corn and cheddar arancini recipe


6 servings

For the jalapeno, corn and cheddar risotto:

  • 1/2 tablespoon butter
  • 1 leek, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
  • 1 cup corn kernels
  • 1 cup Rice Select Arborio Blend with Jalapeno
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 4 cups chicken stock, heated
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, finely grated
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

For the arancini:

  • 2 cups prepared risotto, refrigerated overnight
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1-1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese


For the jalapeno, corn and cheddar risotto:

  1. In a deep-sided saute or sauce pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Saute the leeks, jalapeno and corn until the leeks are wilted.
  2. Add the Rice Select Arborio Blend with Jalapeno, stirring until the rice is coated and translucent.
  3. Add the wine, and cook until it is evaporated. Stir in 1 cup of chicken stock and allow to simmer. When the stock is absorbed, add another cup, and continue incorporating the stock until the rice is fully cooked and the stock is all used, about 30 minutes. Stir in the cheese and season to taste.

For the Arancini:

  1. Combine the risotto and egg in a bowl. Combine panko bread crumbs and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese in another deep-sided bowl.
  2. Using a standard size ice cream scoop, form a ball of the risotto mixture. Insert about a teaspoon of cheddar cheese in the center and form the ball around it, using your hands (it helps to wet the palm of your hand so it does not stick).
  3. Drop the risotto ball in the bread crumb mixture and coat well. Repeat until all the risotto balls are formed. Allow to sit in the refrigerator uncovered to dry out while you preheat the oil.
  4. Preheat canola or peanut oil in a deep fryer or a small saucepan (at least two inches of oil for the latter) to 350 degrees F. Carefully drop the arancini into the oil one or two at a time, gently rotating to ensure even browning, and fry for about 4-6 minutes. When golden brown, remove from oil and allow to drain/rest on paper towels.

Serve immediately.

Disclosure: This post is part of a collaboration with Rice Select and SheKnows.

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