Gumbo-Filled Arancini (Rice Balls)

We made a big pot of chicken-sausage gumbo last weekend and had just enough leftovers to make this wondrous dish.

Gumbo-filled arancini. Life-changing, y’all. I’m obsessed.

We fell in love with arancini – Sicilian fried rice balls – when we lived in Naples (the ones filled with meat sauce are my favorite) and have been dying to try this New Orleans variation for some time.

Do yourself a favor, and take the following steps immediately:

  1. Make a huge pot of gumbo – we played around with a combination of recipes (one from our friend Kathleen and one from The New Orleans Cookbook) – and invite people you like to come share it with you. This is an excellent idea for, say, a football game. Bonus points if it’s the Saints game.
  2. The next day, make these gumbo-filled arancini, and prepare to be amazed.
Prepping the gumbo and rice balls
Starting to look more like arancini
Breaded arancini, ready for frying
Gumbo arancini with extra gumbo

Gumbo-Filled Arancini

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Gumbo-Filled Arancini


  • Leftover rice
  • Leftover gumbo
  • 3-4 eggs
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Vegetable oil
  • Hot sauce


  1. Take the rice out of the refrigerator about 30 minutes before you start cooking so it has time to warm up a bit. Take the gumbo out of the refrigerator just before you are ready to use it.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, blend leftover rice with 2 beaten eggs until it is slightly sticky and holds together.
  3. Beat remaining egg(s) in a small bowl and set aside. Pour breadcrumbs into a separate bowl and set next to the egg mixture.
  4. For each rice ball, make two small patties out of the rice. Add a dollop of gumbo to the center of one patty, then place the second patty on top. Form the two patties into a round shape.
  5. Dip each rice ball in egg mixture, then roll in breadcrumbs.
  6. Heat 2 inches of vegetable oil in a pan until it is hot but not smoking. Fry arancini in the oil, turning so that each side turns golden brown. Remove from pan and place on paper towels.
  7. Serve with a small bowl of gumbo and extra hot sauce.