Post-Thanksgiving Arancini

Thanksgiving is, arguably, the most important food holiday of the year. Feasting with loved ones gives us a chance to remember the things that give our lives meaning. However, after a couple of days, that leftover turkey carcass starts to feel more like an albatross around our necks than a source of deliciousness.

It takes creativity to keep your post-Thanksgiving meals interesting. You can only reheat the same leftovers so many times or pile them on a sandwich before they become boring. One of my favorite dishes to make is arancini — a fried rice ball with a savory and cheesy filling. This can also be a great way to re-purpose leftover risotto, since it doesn’t reheat well.

For this recipe, I took some leftover sweet potato risotto and combined it with leftover turkey to make deep-fried balls of gooey deliciousness. You can make these with other leftovers, and it can work with just about any leftover rice and protein. Just make sure to add enough flavorful liquid (like chicken or turkey stock) to give it the right consistency before forming into balls.


  • Baking Rack
  • Aluminum foil, parchment paper, or wax paper
  • Dutch Oven or Stockpot (for deep frying)
  • Candy or oil thermometer
  • Large Bowl

IngredientsThanksgiving Arancini Ingredients

  • 6 cups Sweet Potato Risotto
  • 2 cups diced leftover turkey
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • Fresh Mozzarella Cheese, amount depends on size and number of arancini balls
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • Fresh cranberry sauce, for dipping


  1. In large bowl, combine leftover risotto, diced turkey, eggs, and dried cranberries.Mixing Arancini
  2. Thoroughly combine ingredients, making sure that the eggs are worked completely into the mixture.
  3. Cut mozzarella into approximately 1/2″ cubes. Take a small handful of risotto mixture and form a ball around a cube of cheese. Forming Aracini Balls
  4. Place arancini balls on foil lined baking sheet. Once all balls are formed, put baking sheet in freezer about half an hour, or until the balls are firm.
  5. Heat oil in Dutch Oven to approximately 375°.
  6. Dredge balls in cream and seasoned bread crumbs.Dredging Arancini
  7. Fry arancini in small batches until browned, making sure to return oil to 375° between batches.Fry Arancini
  8. Serve with cranberry sauce and sprinkled with Parmesan cheese.

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