Italian supplì combine amazing textures of creamy risotto, cheesy filling, and a satisfyingly crunchy shell.
This traditional Italian street food is typically deep-fried, but you can also make it in the air fryer or even oven without the guilt of using a lot of oil.
Why settle for reheating leftover risotto when you can transform it into a whole new dish? Today, I am taking this delicious tomato risotto leftovers from yesterday and turning them into crispy and cheesy Suppli.
If you are beginner in making risotto I recommend checking out my article how to make perfect risotto.
Recipe tips and improvements
- Make sure the risotto is completely cold, otherwise, the suppli will not hold its shape.
- Set up the breading station before making suppli.
- If you do not want to deep fry, use an air fryer or the oven to make this recipe (you can find the instruction for both below).
- Chilling shaped and breaded suppli for at least 20 minutes helps to hold their shape during frying.
Roman Supplì vs Sicilian Arancini
Suppli and Sicilian Arancini are closely related and are made with the same main ingredients, such as cooked short-grain risotto rice, cheese, bread crumbs, and the filling.
They both represent a different variation of fried rice balls with specific flavor profiles of their respective regions.
There are a few main differences between the two:
- Origin: suppli comes from Rome and Lazio region, while Arancini originated in Sicily.
- Shape: Suppli are shaped like a cylinder or a cone. Arancini are usually shaped like a ball.
- Filling: Suppli contain a filling of stringy mozzarella cheese and often tomato sauce. Arancini are traditionally filled with ragu meat sauce, mozzarella cheese, and sometimes peas.
In Italy, they often call them Supplì al telefono. When the hot suppli is broken apart, the melted cheese inside creates long strands that remind a telephone wire.
You can find the quantities in the recipe card below.
- Cooked risotto - you can use any type of risotto leftovers. If you decide to make it from fresh risotto, make sure to cool it down completely before making the recipe.
- Mozzarella cheese - cheese sticks, cubed or shredded. You can also try it with Provolone (for smoky taste), Gorgonzola (for tangy taste) or Fontina (for rich and nutty flavor).
- Eggs - two large eggs to make the egg wash for the suppli.
- Flour - I used all-purpose flour. You can also use gluten-free flour if needed.
- Breadcrumbs - Regular or Panko works great. Panko breadcrumbs create a better crunch and absorb less oil. While regular breadcrumbs stick better to the rice and brown better.
- Oil - vegetable oil is the best for deep frying. If you decide to use an air fryer or oven, olive or avocado oil are both great options.
How to shape and bread supplì
Prepare the breading station. Set it up by preparing three separate shallow dishes on a counter or a table. Pour all-purpose flour in one, beaten eggs in the second, and breadcrumbs with grated Parmesan in the third. Place them in order flour, eggs, and breadcrumbs for convenience.
Line the cutting board or a baking sheet with some parchment paper. That's where you will be placing breaded suppli until ready to fry.
Form. Take a small portion (about 2 Tablespoons) of cooked risotto and flatten it slightly in the palm of your hand. Place a small cube of mozzarella in the center, then cover it with the rice, folding it from the sides. You can add more risotto to cover the cheese if you feel like it is not enough. Shape it into an oval (or a ball), ensuring the cheese is completely enclosed.
Bread. Now, roll the shaped suppli in the flour, coating it evenly and shaking off any excess flour.
Next, dip it into beaten eggs. Finally, transfer it to the bowl with breadcrumbs, rolling gently to cover the entire suppli.
You can gently press the breadcrumb into the rice to stick better. It should be fully coated with breadcrumbs.
Place it on a prepared baking tray lined with parchment paper or a clean plate. Repeat the process of forming and breading with the rest of the rice.
Once all the suppli are shaped and coated, refrigerate them for about 20-30 minutes. Chilling will help suppli to hold their shape better during the frying process.
How to cook suppli
Traditionally, suppli are deep-fried in vegetable oil. You can also find the instructions how to air fry or bake them below.
Heat the vegetable oil in a deep saucepan or a deep fryer to 350°F. Carefully place breaded suppli into the hot oil. Fry for about 3-4 minutes over medium heat, or until they turn golden brown on the outside.
Use a slotted spoon to remove them carefully from the oil. Place them on a plate lined with some paper towels to drain any excess oil.
Enjoy them warm with a side of marinara sauce for dipping.
Preheat your air fryer to 390°F for a few minutes. Lightly coat the air fryer basket with cooking spray to prevent it from sticking.
Place breaded suppli in the air fryer basket in a single layer, making sure they are not touching each other.
Cook them for about 10-12 minutes until golden brown, flipping them over halfway through the cooking time. Carefully remove crispy suppli from the air fryer using tongs. Enjoy crispy and cheesy suppli without using so much oil.
Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly grease it with olive oil or cooking spray.
Place breaded suppli on the prepared baking sheet in a single layer, leaving a bit of space between each other.
Lightly spray the top of suppli with cooking spray or drizzle some extra virgin olive oil over them. This will help them be crispy and browned.
Bake the suppli for about 20-25 minutes or until they are golden brown and crispy on the outside.
Let them cool down slightly before serving.
Suppli is a popular street food, so it is enjoyed informally with hands. It is best when served hot straight from the fryer.
In Italy, you can buy it outside from fried food stands (friggitorie) or order it as an appetizer at a pizzeria restaurant.
They are usually small enough to be eaten in one or two bites, but you can make them bigger, of course.
Some places may serve it with a side of tomato sauce, such as marinara.
In the US, I've seen suppli as an appetizer in Italian restaurants or as a small meal at places that specialize in Tapas.
Suppli is made from already cooked risotto rice. Since it is not recommended to reheat rice twice (risk of bacteria growth), freshly cooked suppli should be consumed right away and it is better to toss any leftovers.
If you need to make them ahead of time, simply shape and bread suppli, and place them in the fridge for up to 6 hours.
When ready to serve, simply deep-fry, air fry or bake premade suppli following the directions above.
Frequently asked questions
Use short-grain risotto rice like Carnaroli or Arborio rice to make traditional suppli.
No, I do not recommend reheating suppli. Since the dish is made with already cooked rice, freezing and reheating will be considered as reheating them twice, which is not recommended with rice.
Yes, if you want to avoid deep frying, you can bake or air fry them.
Italian Supplì Recipe (Risotto Rice Croquettes)
- 1 deep pot, for frying
- 1 slotted spoon
- 2 cups cooked risotto classic, tomato, meat or any other
- 4 oz mozzarella cheese, cut into small cubes.
- 2 eggs, beaten
- ½ cup all purpose flour
- ¾ cup breadcrumbs, Italian or Panko
- vegetable oil for frying
- If you already have cooked risotto, make sure to let it sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes. If you are making a fresh one, allow it to cool down completely before shaping suppli.
- Line a tray or a baking sheet with a parchment paper.
- In a three separate shallow dishes, add beaten eggs, flour and breadcrumbs.
- Take a small amount of risotto (about 2 Tablespoons) in your hand and flatten it slightly. Place one or two cubes of mozzarella in the center.
- Cover the mozzarella with the risotto, ensuring the cheese is completely enclosed. You can add more rice if needed to cover the cheese. Shape suppli into an oval (or a ball).
- Roll shaped suppli in the flour, shaking off any excess flour. Next, dip it into beaten eggs. Lastly, roll it gently into breadcrumbs until fully coated. Place breaded suppli on a prepared tray. Repeat the process with the rest of the rice.
- Chill breaded suppli in the fridge for at least 20 minutes. Chilling helps to hold the shape better while frying.
- In a deep saucepan or deep fryer, heat vegetable oil to around 350°F. *see notes below how to air fry or bake them.
- Carefully add chilled suppli into hot oil, 3-4 at a time, to avoid overcrowding the pan. Fry them for about 3-4 minutes or until they turn golden brown.
- Use a slotten spoon to remove suppli from the hot oil and place them on a plate lined with some paper towels to absorb any excess oil.
- Serve them while they are hot and fresh with some marinara sauce for dipping.