Cheesy Cauliflower Rice Arancini.
I don’t even know how to profess my love for this cauliflower rice arancini.
YES. You read that correctly!
I can’t believe it’s a thing but it’s definitely a thing and certainly a thing that you should try for dinner tonight!
We are full-on obsessed with arancini – and I’m so picky about it too. We get it at a local restaurant and you are probably sick of seeing it on my instagram stories. I love to make it at home but it’s definitely time consuming… and also usually requires a hot pot of oil.
Oh my gosh. How do I even begin about this cauliflower arancini?
It is SO GOOD.
This recipe comes from my friend Gina’s new cookbook, the Skinnytaste Air Fryer Cookbook – and Gina also sent me her Skinnytaste air fryer to try out the recipes. And you know what? Now I want to shout from the rooftops my love for the air fryer.
If you’ve been following along for a while, then you might remember that this isn’t my first foray into the air fryer! I created some recipes for Crate and Barrel a few years ago when the air fryer first came on the scene. And while I liked the concept, I just couldn’t get over another appliance in my kitchen at the time. Especially when it felt like I could get the same results in my oven.
My oh my was I wrong.
Now, I’m crazy over it. If you’re a texture freak like I am, if you love crispy crunchy food but don’t want something deep fried, you will be in LOVE with the air fryer. The food comes out of it with so much of a crispy bite that you’d almost think it was fried.
I don’t store mine in the kitchen (yet?), but it is light enough to grab (sometimes even daily!) when I want to use it. It is so super user friendly.
The Skinnytaste air fryer also has a HUGE basket, and that was the predicament with the first air fryer I used years ago. The basket was small – like way too small for even just Eddie and I to use it. We’d have to cook things in multiple batches, not just one or two.
This basket is HUGE. Depending on what you’re cooking, you might need to do two batches, but it has a very large capacity and that’s the key!
I honestly can’t believe how crispy and crunchy the food gets in the fryer.
Let’s talk about the arancini though.
I always want the insides super cheesy and the outside super crunchy. Gina’s recipe is not like any other arancini I’ve had, but it is to die for. Cauliflower rice, Italian chicken sausage, and lots of cheese make for the most delicious bite here. These come together SO quickly, actually stick together with ease and get super crispy in the fryer.
The chicken sausage helps take the flavor over the top. But I think you could even skip it and do all cauliflower rice and cheese!
The flavor is insane. This is SO much more flavorful than I expected and it checks all the arancini boxes I want, with it being on the lighter side too.
And now that I’ve professed my undying love, I’m just going to let you have at it. Make this!!
Cauliflower Rice Arancini
Cheesy Cauliflower Arancini
- 2 italian chicken sausage links, any casing removed
- 4 ½ cups frozen cauliflower rice
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ cups marinara sauce
- 1 cup freshly grated mozzarella cheese
- olive oil spray for spritzing
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup seasoned bread crumbs
- 2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese
- air fryer
- Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the sausage and cook it, breaking it apart with a spoon until it’s in small crumbles. Cook for about 4 to 5 minutes.
- Stir in the cauliflower rice, salt, and ½ cup of the marinara sauce. Cook the mixture over medium heat, stirring often, until the cauliflower is tender, about 6 to 8 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and let it cool for 5 minutes, then stir in the mozzarella cheese. Let the mixture cool slightly until it’s easy to handle.
- Scoop out ¼ cup of the mixture and form it into a ball with your hands. Place the ball on a baking sheet. Repeat this with the remaining cauliflower mixture.
- Lightly beat the eggs in a small bowl. In another bowl, stir together the bread crumbs and grated parmesan. Take each ball and lightly dip it in the egg mixture, then roll it through the bread crumbs to coat it completely. Repeat with the remaining balls.
- Once all the arncini are made, preheat the air fryer to 400 degrees. Spray the arancini with the cooking spray all over - this really helps to crisp them up! Once the air fryer is heated, add the arancini in the basket (you may need to do 2 batches) and cook for 9 to 10 minutes, gently flipping the arancini half way through.
- Heat the remaining marinara sauce and serve the arancini with it immediately for dipping.
Did you make this recipe?
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I appreciate you so much!
The cheese pulls are everything.
29 Comments on “Cheesy Cauliflower Rice Arancini.”
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Omg yum!!! One minor detail, what’s the unit of measurement for the cauliflower rice? Thank you!!!
ooops sorry tori! it’s 4.5 cups. :)
Thank you!!! I think you and Gina have me sold on the air fryer :)
I am so excited to try this!! The cauliflower rice isn’t too wet after you initially saute it? Or do you squeeze out some of the moisture?
it isn’t!! i was actually shocked at how well these stay together. i think with the addition of the cheese and the marinara that you stir in, it helps bind them really well!
oh and no you don’t squeeze out any of the excess moisture! i totally get why you ask because i do for my cauliflower pizza crust and gnocchi, etc. but no need here!
This is pretty darn impressive!! We love arancini in our house, and I make a baked version for my husband for his birthday most years. I do love our baked version, though admittedly it’s not as crispy as when it’s fried, as you pointed out.
Some questions about this air fryer — does it still create that “fried food” smell in the kitchen? Our kitchen has poor (read: NONE) ventilation, and anytime we fry something in a little bit of oil, the house smells like a fast food joint for days. I hate it. So, we avoid making fried food at home….but I love crunchy food! How is this air fryer in terms of smells?
i totally relate! that’s one of the reasons i hate frying too – you can even smell it in my garage for days after. but nope, you will not smell like fried food or oil! it may smell like what you’re cooking (but no more than something would in your oven), but nothing like when you actually fry in oil. :)
haha, we have a tell-tale fried food garage, too! But it’s awesome to know that the air fryer doesn’t leave that fast food smell in the house. I am very tempted to up my arancini game this year with the air fryer :-D Thanks for the tips!!
you’re so welcome!
Oh my! I have an air fryer & my sis bought me the Skinnytaste Air Fryer Cookbook for my birthday!! Getting on this bandwagon!! Thanks, Jessica!! 💕
YAY! love that!
I think i have made her chicken sausage arancini years back and now this looks amazing. I have been debating an airfryer for a few months… Might take the plunge now just to have these!
love that lauren!! xo
wow, wow, most creative use of cauliflower rice I’ve seen, and arancini is new to me, so much appreciated, thank you for this recipe
thank you sabrina!
Fantastic ! Dinner ideas, I just Love it !!!
thank you stella!
Yes! I was so excited reading this post, but the whole time I was thinking “I wonder if I can make this with frozen cauliflower rice?” And then I finally got to the recipe and almost jumped out of my seat! Huzzah!
haha YAY! xo
Thank you, Jessica, you are magician!!! I cooked this recipe for the first time yesterday. It turned out perfect and all my family loved this! I didn’t make it with the sausage but I added some dried basil, dried oregano, and onion powder to mock some of the flavors that would have been in the sausage. I also added some frozen peas.
so glad you liked it!! love the addition of peas!
I have made these before in the oven, but they are better in the air fryer. I use hamburger and peas, no sausage in mine (just personal preference.) Thanks for recipe
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Okay, so I just got our deep fryer replace today and I’ve bookmarked this recipe a month ago because it simply look so delicious, and so I made some of this and my entire family LOVED it! I have to DIY my cauliflower rice though and dried them up a few days ago. Thanks for sharing this recipe :)
Um, no air fryer :(
I don’t know went wrong. Mine were too wet for one thing. Totally tasteless, too. I bought brand name ingredients. It was a lot of work as well. I followed the recipe exactly. Maybe it was the mozzarella (also brand name.)
These were excellent – quick question Jessica, do you think they would freeze well? Thanks so much!!