Rice fritters

Rice fritters

Frittelle di riso

25–30 fritters
Lauren Bamford

These sugar-crusted, fluffy fritters are essentially deep-fried blobs of rice pudding. They like to say in Tuscany, ‘Fritta è bona anche una ciabatta’ (even a slipper is good deep-fried). The Florentines love deep-fried foods, whether it’s fried sage leaves sandwiching an anchovy fillet or deep-fried rabbit and artichokes. Carnival time is a special time for deep-fried sweets such as bomboloncini and cenci (‘rags’ of pastry, deep-fried).

These frittelle di riso can be found in Florentine bakeries and food vans parked at fairs in February for Carnival, but are perhaps even more commonly associated with la Festa del Papà on March 19, Italian Father’s Day and St Joseph’s Day. It’s fitting – aside from being the exemplar father, Joseph is also the patron saint of friers.

Like anything deep-fried, these fritters are best eaten when still hot and crisp. Once cold they turn soggy and the sugar melts away, so cook a batch of these when you have people around and you can share them right away.


Quantity Ingredient
100g short-grain risotto rice, such as arborio or carnaroli
500ml milk
2 eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
40g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
A pinch salt
1 lemon, zested
1 orange, zested
1 teaspoon natural vanilla extract
125g sugar
vegetable oil, for frying


  1. Place the rice and the milk in a saucepan and cook over low–medium heat, stirring frequently until the rice is soft and the mixture is thick and creamy, about 20 minutes (keep a careful eye on it that it doesn’t overflow or burn).
  2. Remove from the heat and let the rice cool slightly before mixing in the eggs, butter, flour, baking powder, salt, the citrus zest, vanilla and 1 tablespoon of the sugar.
  3. Leave to cool completely and rest the mixture for several hours, or better, cool overnight in the fridge. The mixture should be a little bit runny, similar to pancake batter.
  4. Pour enough oil in a saucepan so that the fritters will be able to float in it, and heat the oil to about 160°. Drop a small cube of bread in the oil to test whether it’s ready – if the bread turns golden in 15 seconds, the oil is hot enough. Drop heaped-teaspoon-sized blobs of rice mixture (measure out the rice mixture onto 1 teaspoon, then use another to push each fritter off the spoon) into the boiling oil. Deep-fry in batches of three or four for 2 minutes on each side (turning them over once) or until evenly deep golden brown.
  5. When cooked, drain the fritters on paper towel for a moment and then roll them in the remaining sugar while still hot. Serve immediately. These are best eaten straight away.


  • It’s important to use starchy rice in this recipe, such as one that you would use for risotto. The starch released from the risotto rice ensures a softer, creamier filling than other types of rice.
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