This article was updated on 11/07/2023 for clarity and to incorporate new insights.
Arancini are delicious straight out of the fryer (or oven, but I do enjoy a treat!).
But once they’ve cooled, it’s a different story. And they can be tricky to reheat, which is why I decided to conduct this reheating experiment.
In a rush? Here’s the short answer.
The best way to reheat arancini is using a combination of the oven and microwave. First, microwave the arancini for 10-20 seconds. Next, reheat the arancini in a preheated oven (350°F/180°C) for 10 minutes, or until piping hot. You can also use an air fryer.
Ready? Let’s jump right in.
How we tested reheating the arancini
I got several portions of arancini from my local Italian (scoffed a few) then left the rest in the fridge overnight. The next day I tested five different ways of reheating them.
- The oven: Good option, but slow.
- The air fryer: Good if you have one.
- The microwave: Avoid as a solo method.
- Deep frying: Delicious, but lots of effort.
- A combination of the microwave and the oven: The best option.
I was looking for a method that delivered perfectly crispy skin while making sure the arancini was heated all the way through.
How to reheat arancini in the oven
Time: 10 minutes
Rating: 9/10 (when combined with microwave)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
- Microwave the arancini for 10-20 seconds (optional but recommended for larger arancini).
- Carefully transfer the arancini straight on a rack in the oven (don’t use a baking tray unless you think the arancini will melt through the wire rack).
- Heat the arancini for 8-12 minutes, or until the whole ball is heated through. Larger arancini will need longer than small ones. If you skip the microwave step, you’ll need to add a few minutes to reheating time. Frozen arancini will need 20-30 mins.
The microwave trick helps speed up the reheating process. The bigger the arancini, the longer the oven will take, and the outside might start to burn or dry out before the middle is fully heated.
The microwave will warm the middle, giving it a head start and preventing any problems.
My arancini (which were pretty big) took 15 minutes to reheat without the microwave, but only 10 minutes after 10 seconds in the microwave. If you don’t have a microwave, at least let the arancini come to room temperature before starting to reheat them.
Using an oven rack rather than a baking tray is preferable because it means the bottom of the arancini won’t go soggy. However, if your arancini aren’t sturdy enough, they could melt through the wire rack! So watch out for that.
Results: The oven produced a crispy outside and a melt-in-your-mouth inside reminiscent of yesterday’s fresh arancini. I would recommend it as a method, and a big plus is that there’s no limit on how many arancini you can reheat at one time. My only complaint was that it took too long, but the microwave helped that.
How to reheat arancini in the air fryer
Time: 6 minutes
- Set the air fryer to 350°F (180°C).
- Microwave the arancini for 10-20 seconds (optional, recommended for large arancini).
- Arrange the arancini in the air fryer basket so they’re not touching.
- Lightly spritz the arancini with oil (optional).
- Heat the arancini for 4-8 minutes, depending on size. Frozen arancini will need 12-15 minutes.
The air fryer is quicker than the oven because the heat is super-charged. This is great for convenience but does mean you need to be careful not to overcook the arancini and dry them out.
The outside of the arancini will heat up a lot faster than the inside, so don’t be fooled by a boiling hot crust. Always check the temperature in the middle of the rice ball before declaring them done.
The oil spritz is also optional, but can really help to get the crunch back into the breading. Especially if the arancini were baked originally so won’t have any residual oil.
Results: The air fryer crisped the outside of the arancini up brilliantly, better than in the oven! The air fryer can be too drying for some foods, but since the inside of the arancini is well protected, this wasn’t a problem.
How to reheat arancini in the microwave
Time: 40-60 seconds
- Place the arancini on a microwave-safe plate.
- Reheat the arancini balls in 20-second intervals until they’re hot all the way through.
- Let the arancini rest for 30 seconds before serving.
When you reheat arancini in the microwave, there’s a small risk they’ll burst because of steam build-up on the inside. Short heating intervals really minimizes this risk.
40 seconds should be enough for small individual arancini, while a bigger one or multiple smaller ones might need 60 seconds.
Note the arancini might lose its shape because the cheese will melt very quickly and the outside coating softens, which can cause it to collapse.
Results: The microwave is acceptable if you’re the only one eating the arancini and it’s your only choice, but I don’t recommend the microwave in any other circumstances. The outside of the arancini was soggy and had zero crunch, which ruined the whole essence of the arancini.
How to reheat arancini by deep-frying
Time: 10 minutes (including oil heating time)
- Heat a few inches of frying oil in a deep pan (enough to completely cover your arancini).
- Monitor the temperature of the oil and when the temperature reaches 350°F (180°C) you can add the arancini.
- Heat the arancini for 1-2 minutes, depending on size.
- Take the arancini out of the oil and leave it to rest on a paper towel for 30 seconds before serving.
The best oils for deep-frying have a neutral flavor profile and a high smoke point. Vegetable oil, peanut oil, and canola oil are all great options.
The best way to measure the temperature of the oil is to use a thermometer, but if you don’t have one, there are a few tricks you can use.
My favorite one is to throw some bread into the oil. How long it takes to brown correlates to how hot the oil is. If the bread turns golden brown in 15 seconds, the oil is roughly 350°F (180°C). You can also use a wooden spoon. Put the spoon into the oil. If bubbles start to gather around it, the oil is hot enough
Psst… this method won’t work for really big arancini, because the middle won’t heat up in time.
Results: The deep-fried arancini had the crispiest coating, but it wasn’t worth all the extra effort of heating up the oil and the subsequent clean-up (plus all the extra calories!). This method also relies heavily on the oil temperature being correct, so there’s a high chance of things going wrong.
How to store arancini
To store leftover arancini, wait for them to cool to room temperature before arranging them in an airtight container so they’re not touching. You can keep the container in the fridge for 3-4 days. To keep the coating as crispy as possible, line the container with a paper towel.
The paper towel will absorb any excess moisture. You could also line the container with uncooked rice. Rice readily absorbs moisture from the air, so will stop the breadcrumbs from getting too soggy.
You want to avoid any of the arancini touching because this will encourage sogginess. You can separate the layers with a paper towel or parchment paper if you need to layer the arancini up.
Can you freeze arancini?
Leftover arancini freeze well. Lay room temperature arancini out on a baking tray so they’re not touching, and put the tray in the freezer for 1-2 hours. Once the arancini are hard to the touch, transfer them to a heavy-duty freezer bag. They’ll last for 1-2 months in the freezer.
The flash freezing step ensures the arancini won’t stick together in the freezer bag, so you can take out the exact amount you want instead of defrosting them all.
Before you put the freezer bag in the freezer, squeeze as much air out of it as you can. This will protect the arancini against freezer burn. I use a straw to suck all the air out, works a treat! To provide even more protection, you can individually wrap the balls in plastic wrap.
Can I reheat arancini from frozen?
You can reheat the arancini straight from frozen in the oven or the air fryer. Preheat the oven or air fryer to 350°F (180°C) and heat the rice balls for 15-20 minutes, depending on the size of the arancini.
If you want to thaw the arancini before heating them, you can put them in the fridge overnight or submerge the freezer bag in a bowl of cold water for half an hour.
You can also use the microwave, but I recommend only partially defrosting them in the microwave and then crisping them up in the oven afterwards.
BEST Way To Reheat Arancini [Tested Methods]
- 1 portion arancini
- 1 spritz oil optional
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
- Microwave the arancini on full power for 10-20 seconds (optional but recommended for larger arancini).
- Place the arancini straight on a rack in the oven (don’t use a baking tray).
- Heat the arancini for 5-10 minutes until the whole ball is heated through. Larger arancini will need longer than small ones. If you skip the microwave step, you’ll need to add a few minutes to reheating time. Frozen arancini will need 15-20 mins.