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Air Fryer Cheesy Risotto Balls

I hear you like the combo of cheese and carbs and since I do too, I decided to make you these Air Fryer Cheesy Risotto Balls. I think you’re gonna dig em. 

Air Fryer Cheesy Risotto Balls

Remember when I said I was really trying to focus on tons of veggies and less carbs and all that? Well here I am. Here I am with two carby delicious recipes [1] in a row and guess how many apologies I give for that? Answer: zero. 

Air Fryer Cheesy Risotto Balls

Noah came home today after being introduced to risotto balls at his bestie’s house and wouldn’t stop raving. Confession time – I’d never made risotto balls, or arancini as they’re called. But I know 2 things. I love risotto. I love cheese. Oh, third thing… I love fried foods. So I knew I had to try and that’s precisely what I did. 

Air Fryer Cheesy Risotto Balls

Praise be, I had everything stocked in my kitchen. I was starting to run low on romano, but as luck would have it, I had enough. I also had a half a jar of marinara in the fridge, still fresh. And I had 1 bag of arborio rice, purchased at the beginning of the pandemic but not yet used. Thank you to the starch gawds for making sure I had all the right stuff. Made a mama and her son real happy. 

Air Fryer Cheesy Risotto Balls

I decided to make some of them in the air fryer and some fried traditionally in avocado oil. I can honestly say I liked the air fryer version better as the fried ones didn’t get as crispy as I would have liked. The air fryer ones were a firmer on the outside with cheesy, tender middles. If you don’t have an air fryer, the traditional fried version will still work. I needed to turn my oil up hotter in order to get them to brown more nicely. In any event, I think you’re going to really dig these and as usual, NO – CAULI RICE WON’T BE THE SAME! Thanks for coming to my Ted Talk. 

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Air Fryer Cheesy Risotto Balls

  • Author: Jennifer Robins


  • 4 cups water
  • 1.75 cups arborio rice [4]
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup shredded romano
  • 1/2 cup shredded Italian blend cheeses
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons cassava flour  [5]

For the coating:

  • 1 cup tigernut flour [6]
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder

To garnish:

  • Marinara sauce
  • Fresh parsley to garnish
  • Extra romano to garnish


  1. In a medium saucepan, bring the rice, water, butter, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, and pepper to a boil. Cook until all of the water is absorbed and the rice is tender.
  2. Remove from heat and fold in the cheeses.
  3. Now stir in the cassava flour and allow to cool slightly
  4. In a separate small bowl, whisk the eggs together and let sit until risotto combo cools as to not cook the eggs. It will also help thicken the mixture
  5. On a small plate, mix the tigernut flour and remaining seasonings
  6. Mix in the eggs to the risotto mixture
  7. Now use a cookie scoop to take about a tablespoon of the risotto and drop into the tigernut flour
  8. Roll it around and then form it into a ball
  9. Repeat with remaining risotto
  10. If making in an air fryer, place the coated risotto balls into your air fryer, spray them with avocado oil, and cook on the air fry setting at 400F for 6 minutes
  11. If frying traditionally, heat avocado oil over medium/high heat and gently fry the risotto balls until they are golden brown, removing them from a slotted spoon and placing them on a towel lined plate
  12. Serve with warm marinara, a sprinkle of extra romano, and some fresh or dried parsley flakes on top

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