Arancini Casserole

Arancini Casserole recipe – super easy Italian rice casserole. Layers of cheesy rice and meat sauce topped with mozzarella and parmesan cheese. Comfort food at its best! The whole family cleaned their plates and asked for seconds. Rice, ricotta cheese, sour cream, green peas, Italian seasoning, mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, Italian sausage, tomato sauce, onion, and garlic. A great gluten-free alternative for spaghetti night.

scooping rice casserole from baking dish with text overlay

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Sicilian Rice Ball Casserole

This Arancini Casserole recipe is a new favorite at our house. Layers of cheesy rice and meat sauce topped with more cheese. Seriously delicious! I mean, how could it not taste great? We ate this for dinner last week and fought over the leftovers for lunch! This is a great gluten-free alternative for spaghetti night. Serve this with a simple salad and some garlic bread for an amazing Italian feast!

What is Arancini?

Arancini are Italian risotto rice balls that are stuffed with cheese and/or meat, coated with bread crumbs, and deep-fried. They are a staple of Sicilian cuisine.

arancini rice casserole in baking dish

How to Make Arancini Casserole with Italian Sausage

This casserole is super easy to make with only a few simple ingredients. Cook rice according to package directions.  In a large bowl, stir together cooked rice, sour cream, ricotta, green peas, mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, garlic salt, and black pepper. Spray a baking dish with cooking spray. Spread the rice and peas mixture into the bottom of the dish.

In a large skillet, sauté sausage meat over medium heat until crumbled and no longer pink. Drain excess fat. Add garlic cloves and cook for 30 seconds. Add tomato sauce, onion, and Italian seasoning. Simmer for 5 minutes.

Spread meat sauce over the rice mixture. Top with shredded mozzarella cheese and grated parmesan cheese. Bake in a preheated oven until the cheese is melted and the casserole is bubbly. Garnish with basil or fresh parsley.

Helpful Tips & Frequently Asked Questions

  • You can use any cooked rice in this casserole. long grain rice, Instant rice, arborio rice, or brown rice all work fine.
    • Cook the rice in chicken stock for extra flavor!
  • I use a package of sweet Italian sausage link. You can use any sausage that you have on hand. Jimmy Dean breakfast sausage will work great.
  • Can substitute ground beef or lean ground turkey for the sausage.
  • Feel free to add onions, bell peppers to the meat sauce.
  • Can substitute a jar of marinara sauce for the homemade tomato sauce.
  • Sometimes I add some Italian breadcrumbs to the top of the casserole.
  • Can use any cheese that you enjoy. Mozzarella, parmesan, asiago, provolone, and pecorino romano cheese all work great.
  • Can Arancini Casserole be made in advance? Yes! Assemble the casserole and store it covered in the refrigerator before baking.
  • Can Arancini Casserole be frozen? Yes! Assemble the casserole and cool completely. Cover the casserole dish with plastic wrap and aluminum foil and freeze. When ready to bake, thaw the casserole and bake as directed.
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
plate of arancini rice casserole on a plate

What to Serve with Italian Rice Ball Casserole

This casserole was a huge hit at our house! It is so simple to make and packs so much flavor! We like to serve this with a salad, crusty bread, and our favorite olive oil dipping sauce. This makes a lot of food. Perfect for dinner parties, potlucks, or when you need to feed a crowd. Add this to your menu ASAP! It is sure to become a family favorite.

Here are a few of our favorite recipes from the blog that go great with this casserole:

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arancini rice casserole in baking dish with text overlay

Arancini Casserole

Yield: 8 people
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Arancini Casserole recipe – super easy Italian rice casserole. Layers of cheesy rice and meat sauce topped with mozzarella and parmesan cheese. Comfort food at its best! The whole family cleaned their plates and asked for seconds. Rice, ricotta cheese, sour cream, green peas, Italian seasoning, mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, Italian sausage, tomato sauce, onion, and garlic. A great gluten-free alternative for spaghetti night.

Ingredients:

Bottom Layer

  • cups cooked rice
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup green peas
  • ½ tsp garlic salt or garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese

Meat Sauce Layer

  • 1 lb Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 2 Tbsp dried minced onion flakes
  • 2 (8-oz) cans tomato sauce
  • ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 350ºF. Spray a 9×13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  • In a large bowl, mix together cooked rice, ricotta, sour cream, green peas, garlic salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese, and ½ cup grated parmesan cheese.
  • Spread rice mixture into the bottom of the prepared baking dish.
  • Brown meat; drain off fat and return to skillet. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add tomato sauce, Italian seasoning, and onion. Stir and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Spread meat sauce on top of rice. Sprinkle ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese and ½ cup grated parmesan cheese on top of casserole.
  • .Bake uncovered for 30 to 35 minutes.

Notes:

  • You can use any cooked rice in this casserole. long grain rice, Instant rice, arborio rice, or brown rice all work fine.
    • Cook the rice in chicken stock for extra flavor!
  • I use a package of sweet Italian sausage link. You can use any sausage that you have on hand. Jimmy Dean breakfast sausage will work great.
  • Can substitute ground beef or lean ground turkey for the sausage.
  • Feel free to add onions, bell peppers to the meat sauce.
  • Can substitute a jar of marinara sauce for the homemade tomato sauce.
  • Sometimes I add some Italian breadcrumbs to the top of the casserole.
  • Can use any cheese that you enjoy. Mozzarella, parmesan, asiago, provolone, and pecorino romano cheese all work great.
  • Can Arancini Casserole be made in advance? Yes! Assemble the casserole and store it covered in the refrigerator before baking.
  • Can Arancini Casserole be frozen? Yes! Assemble the casserole and cool completely. Cover the casserole dish with plastic wrap and aluminum foil and freeze. When ready to bake, thaw the casserole and bake as directed.
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Steph

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arancini rice casserole in baking dish with text overlay
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Comments

    1. I’ve only made the recipe as written, so I can not say. As always, please use your best judgment regarding substitutions and modifications.

  1. Can you please tell me if you can use frozen peas and if so, do they need to be thawed before adding them to the rice mixture.

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