Arancini are a popular finger food that originated in Italy, specifically in Sicily. They consist of rice balls stuffed with some type of filling such as meat, cheese, peas, or ham. The rice balls are then coated with breading and fried. Arancini go back as far as the 10th century and may be related to kibbeh, a Middle Eastern food. They’re traditionally served for the feast of Santa Lucia on December 13th, but the Sicilian favorite is now served year round.
And for a limited time, you can buy arancini at Aldi. It’s always interesting to see how the discount grocery store sometimes has an international flair.
Appetitos Arancini cost $3.99 at the time of publication for a 9-ounce package that contains 12 pieces. These come in Sweet Pea or Mushroom varieties. The packages describe them as breaded rice balls with either sweet peas or mushrooms. The filling for these also contains mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses and various seasonings.
These are an Aldi Find, so they’re only in stores for a short time. Each store gets one shipment, and after that sells out, they’re gone until whenever Aldi decides to bring them back. Aldi does not offer online ordering for products not in stock at your local store.
These are sold under the Appetitos brand, which is not a company but instead is the private label Aldi uses for various frozen appetizers such as spinach and artichoke dip, mini spring rolls, everything franks in a blanket, and more.
Each box contains three 4-piece servings. The arancini boxes have directions for cooking these from frozen in a conventional oven or in an air fryer.
To bake in a conventional oven, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place frozen product one inch apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Place the baking sheet on the middle rack of the oven. Bake for 12-15 minutes. Let cool for 3 minutes before serving.
To cook in an air fryer, preheat the air fryer to 300 degrees. Place frozen product one inch apart on the air fryer rack. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Let cool 3 minutes before serving.
I cooked these in my Aldi 6-quart air fryer. They were done after about 10-11 minutes, and I checked them every few minutes to make sure the cheese in the filling didn’t ooze out. I cooked a few pieces of each flavor at once, and it was easy to tell the two flavors apart because the Mushroom flavor is darker than the Sweet Pea flavor.
The package says you can serve these with marinara or your preferred dipping sauce. They’re fine on their own, but I set out some Simply Nature Organic Marinara Sauce from Aldi.
My family had mixed opinions about these. Most of us agreed the Sweet Pea version was the best. It features a generous amount of sweet green peas that taste very fresh and pop in your mouth when you bite into them. The Sweet Pea version also has cheese and rice, as expected. The Sweet Pea Arancini tastes fine on its own without marinara dipping sauce, but I liked dipping them in sauce.
We all thought the Mushroom Arancini was the weaker option here. Even our one family member who really likes mushrooms didn’t care for these and only ate one piece. The filling features very small pieces of mushrooms along with cheese and rice, and the filling has a mushy consistency. Our mushroom-loving relative said the taste was okay, but they didn’t like the mushy texture. Marinara dipping sauce helps some with these.
Keep reading for nutrition information about both flavors.
Appetitos Sweet Pea Arancini
If you’re looking out for allergens, these contain egg, wheat, and milk.
One 4-piece serving has 220 calories, 11 grams of total fat (14% DV), 3 grams of saturated fat (15% DV), 500 mg of sodium (22% DV), 26 grams of total carbohydrates (9% DV), and 1 gram of added sugars (2% DV).
Appetitos Mushroom Arancini
If you’re looking out for allergens, these contain egg, wheat, and milk. They may contain tree nuts (cashew, almond, pistachio).
One 4-piece serving has 200 calories, 9 grams of total fat (12% DV), 2 grams of saturated fat (10% DV), 450 mg of sodium (20% DV), 24 grams of total carbohydrates (9% DV), and no added sugars.
Appetitos Arancini are breaded rice balls filled with cheese and either sweet peas or mushrooms, depending on which variety you purchase. Arancini are are a traditional Italian dish with origins on the island of Sicily, and they’re a popular finger food appetizer. We air fried these and followed the box suggestion and served these with marinara sauce for dipping. The Sweet Pea Arancini is good if you like peas, while we didn’t care much for the mushy texture inside the Mushroom Arancini.