4 from 1 vote
French Onion Soup Arancini
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
45 mins
Total Time
1 hr 15 mins
This recipe for arancini {fried risotto balls} is a take on classic french onion soup! Leftover balls of risotto stuffed with caramelized onions and gruyere are served with a french onion soup reduction for dipping! These arancini are crispy, cheesy and make the perfect snack or appetizer!
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 12
Calories: 111 kcal
Author: Cheyanne Holzworth
  • For the Caramelized Onion Stuffing-
  • ¼ Cup Butter (= 4 TBS)
  • 2 small Yellow Onions – thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves Garlic - minced
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • ¼ tsp Dried Thyme
  • ¼ tsp Granulated Sugar
  • ¼ Cup Red Wine (I used Pinot Noir)
  • Salt and Pepper , to taste
  • 3-4 ounces Gruyere Cheese – cut into 12 (½’’) cubes
  • For the Arancini-
  • 2 heaping cups Cooked Champagne Chive Risotto (*See Note at bottom*)
  • ½ TBS Chives - thinly sliced
  • 1 Large Eggs – whisked
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • ¼ tsp Black Pepper
  • 1 ¾ cup Panko Bread Crumbs - divided (¾ cup for filling and 1 cup for dredging/rolling the formed arancini)
  • Peanut oil – for frying
  • For the French Onion Soup Sauce-
  • Remaining Caramelized Onions from Arancini Stuffing
  • 1 TBS Butter
  • 2 cloves Garlic – minced
  • ¼ tsp Dried Thyme
  • ¼ heaping tsp Onion Powder
  • 1 ½ Cups Beef Stock (unsalted)
  • ½ cup Red Wine
  • ½ cup Half and Half (can substitute heavy whipping cream)
  • 1 tsp Cornstarch mixed with 1 tsp water
  1. For the Caramelized Onion Stuffing-
  2. Melt the butter in a skillet, wok or wide-medium sized sauce pan over medium low heat.
  3. Add the onions, bay leaf, thyme and sugar. Season generously with salt and pepper to taste. Stir to coat the onions thoroughly in butter.
  4. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are caramelized, about 30-40 minutes.
  5. Stir in the garlic and cook until aromatic, about 30 seconds – 1 minute.
  6. Increase the heat to medium high. Add in the wine and simmer until all of the wine has evaporated, about 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently and using the edge of your spoon to slightly break up onions.
  7. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, to taste.
  8. Discard the bay leaf and adjust seasoning according to taste. Transfer the onions to a bowl and set aside in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to allow to cool completely.
  9. Forming and Cooking the Arancini-
  10. Place all the arancini ingredients together in a medium sized mixing bowl and stir well to combine.
  11. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with a piece of parchment paper.
  12. Place 1-1 ½ tablespoons of the risotto in the palm of your hand. Make a small indentation in the center of the rice. Place about 1 teaspoon of the onion filling mixture into the center and top with 1 cube of cheese.
  13. Add another tablespoon of risotto mixture on top to form a “lid”.
  14. Gently squeeze together top and bottom of risotto around the filling to enclose it, and pat/roll the rice into a ball.
  15. Repeat with the remaining rice and filling.
  16. Roll the arancini balls in panko bread crumbs.
  17. Transfer formed and coated arancini on prepared baking sheet. Repeat until all of your risotto is used up.
  18. Place the sheet pan of arancini in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, to allow to set. (Alternatively, if you want to prepare them in advance, they can be stored, covered with plastic wrap, overnight in the fridge.)
  19. When you are ready to fry, preheat your oven to 200 degrees (to hold the arancini)
  20. Heat a medium saucepan, or wok, with 2 inches of peanut (or canola) oil to 350-375°F over medium heat. (If you do not have a candy thermometer to test if oil is hot enough: add a small amount of panko, or a cube of bread, to the oil, they should brown in about 2 minutes)
  21. Set a rack over a large baking sheet to hold the cooked arancini.
  22. Deep-fry the arancini, in batches of 3-4 at a time (don’t overcrowd the pan) until golden brown, about 3-5 minutes, turning frequently.
  23. With a slotted spoon, transfer the arancini to the rack to drain while you fry the rest. Season with salt while they are hot. Keep the seasoned, fried arancini warm in the oven.
  24. Serve the arancini hot or warm with Onion Au Jus Dipping sauce. Garnish with Gruyere cheese and chives (optional).
  25. To make the French Onion Soup Cream Sauce-
  26. Heat a small saucepan over medium high heat.
  27. Add onions, garlic, thyme, onion powder and beef stock. Season with salt and pepper
  28. Bring to a boil. Cook until reduced by ½, about 6-8 minutes.
  29. Add the red wine, bring back up to a boil. Cook until reduced by ½ again, another 6-8 minutes.
  30. Add the cornstarch/water mixture. Continue to boil for 2-3 minutes, or until thickened.
  31. Reduce heat to medium-low. Stir in ½ and ½. Simmer until desired thickness is achieved, about 2-3 minutes.
  32. Taste and adjust seasoning.
  33. Remove from heat.
  34. Using an immersion blender, or a standing blender, puree the sauce. (this is optional, but recommended to create a creamy, rich sauce)
  35. Cover and set aside while you fry the arancini.
Recipe Notes

*Rolling tip: keep a bowl of water close by while forming your arancini to dampen your hands, this will help prevent the rice from sticking to you quite as much.
*If you are using a different cooked risotto, stir in 1 ½ TBS thinly sliced chives and ¼ cup Champagne.
*To make ahead: The stuffed and formed arancini (not yet breaded in panko) can be refrigerated overnight.
*To store: The fried arancini can be refrigerated overnight and reheated in the 350 degree oven, until warmed throughout, about 10-15 minutes.