Seafood Rice Balls

Inspired by the Italian arancini recipe, these crispy seafood balls are made with sweet potato risotto and a gluten-free coating.

Gluten-Free Seafood Rice Balls Recipe


Nutrition per serving
Net Carbs23.5 g8.6%
of which Sugars0.9 g1%
Fibers1.5 g5.3%
Fats7.1 g10.9%
of which Saturates1 g5.1%
of which Omega 30.5 g46.5%
Proteins9.2 g19.9%
Calcium34 mg3.4%
Vitamin A91 mcg13%
Vitamin C1 mg1.6%
Iron1 mg7%
Potassium267 mg7.6%
Sodium105 mg4.6%
Cholesterol42.1 mg14%
Kcal195 9.7%
Macro split
  • net carbs 57%
  • sugars 2%
  • fats 17%
  • saturates 2%
  • proteins 22%
  • fibers 4%
*RDA based on a 2000 kcal diet;
**Nutritional data sources: USDA, food labels.
195 per serving
1h 30m

It's portable, nutritious, and brings back happy memories of seaside holidays. What is it? It's our new seafood rice balls recipe!

Inspired once again by the Sicilian arancini, we add a new member to our family of rice balls, one filled with tasty surprises.

Our seafood arancini differ from the original Italian crispy rice bites in three ways.

First, we made these rice balls without breadcrumbs. Instead, we used a gluten-free coating made with nuts and seeds - so that our celiac friends can enjoy a crunchy treat without worries. This coating bursts with wholesome plant-based fats, vitamins and minerals, and makes a much healthier crust than plain breadcrumbs.

Then, we gave the rice a little boost. Just like tradition demands, we cooked rice al dente, but we used fish stock during the process for added seafood flavour. Moreover, we gave some colour and added nutrients to the rice by mixing it with a few mashed sweet potatoes.

Finally, we baked our risotto balls instead of deep-frying them, reducing the unnecessary fats that would otherwise soak in the coating.

The result? A healthy appetiser in just 190 calories, and with half the fats and almost 10 grams of proteins per croquette.

Follow our easy steps below, and you'll be nibbling on these crispy treats in no time! Don't forget to check our FAQ and tips section after the recipe, for more info and help.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are all rice balls gluten-free?

Not all rice balls are gluten-free, because not all rice balls use the same ingredients and cooking techniques.

Take the Italian arancini, for example, and let's ignore the filling for a moment. The Italian rice balls are just rice coated in breadcrumbs. Traditional breadcrumbs are not gluten-free, as they are a byproduct of wheat bread.

To make gluten-free arancini, you could either buy gluten-free breadcrumbs or use a different coating as we have done in our gluten-free seafood rice balls above. We have used a mix of nuts and seeds, which is not just free of gluten but also more nutritious than bread.

There are naturally gluten-free rice balls out there. Take the Japanese onigiri as an example. Onigiri use dry seaweed nori to wrap the rice instead of breadcrumbs. Nori is a nourishing alga used extensively in Japanese cuisine, and it's gluten-free.

If you can't eat gluten, don't forget to pay attention to what's inside. Even onigiri can pose a risk to celiacs if they make use of classic soy sauce, for example.

If you would like to bake gluten-free arancini but are not sure the recipe you are looking at is appropriate, use this recipe above and replace the fillings with whatever you fancy! We also have a recipe for vegan arancini you can use as a guideline.

Can you make rice balls with basmati?

Basmati rice is not sticky enough to make rice balls. If you look at recipes for arancini or Japanese onigiri, you'll notice they use glutinous short-grain rice, be it sushi or Arborio rice.

When we say glutinous rice, we refer to its sticky nature, and not to the gluten that celiacs can't eat.

Basmati rice is not glutinous. So if you want to use it to make rice balls, you will have to come up with ways to keep the balls from crumbling apart. While making our seafood arancini above, we found a way to solve this problem.

Although we have used Arborio in our recipe, we have added in some mashed sweet potatoes to enhance the flavour and colour of the rice. The result was an incredibly glutinous mix.

By doing the same with basmati rice, you could get a paste that is gluey enough to mould into balls. Sweet potatoes are starchy vegetables that excel at making creamy dishes, therefore perfect for this goal.

If these orange veggies are not your favourite, replace them with other fibrous vegetables. Good options are Russets and Yukon gold potatoes (best varieties for mashes) or butternut squash.

Are seafood rice balls good for dieting?

Seafood rice balls that use wholesome ingredients and are not deep-fried can be a satisfying snack for people on a diet.

Dieting is more than just eating low carbs. When on a path to lose weight, there are many factors to consider:

  • are we eating balanced food?

  • are we getting enough fibres?

  • are we cutting off added sugars and unhealthy fats?

In our seafood rice balls recipe, we took all of this into account and crafted a flavourful dish that won't compromise your waistline.

Dieting is about moderation. Everything (except celery, maybe) can have drawbacks if over-eaten. Don't be afraid to dive into the nutritional profiles of foods you eat; count the calories and fats you consume and stay within your diet recommended values.

We designed our seafood rice balls with health in mind, like we do any other of our recipes. Each of these croquettes has only 190 calories and provides almost 10 grams of proteins. Also, compared to the classic arancini recipes, one rice ball has half the fats and four times fewer saturated fats. So feel free to incorporate a handful of these crispy treats in your weekly weight-loss meal plan.

Can rice balls be baked instead of fried?

We think rice balls should be baked instead of fried. That is what we did in our recipe.

Fried food is delicious, but is it worth the price? Sure, eating a fried treat every once in a while won't be our doom, but oven-baking is healthier and can yield equally tasty and crispy results.

Whenever possible, we turn to our oven to crisp our bakes and snacks. We have an air-fryer as well, which we use for extra crunch - or when we are lazy and don't want to wait for the oven to reach the desired temperature!

For our seafood rice balls above, frying wouldn't be a good option anyway. We haven't used traditional batter and breadcrumbs but opted for a coating of nuts and seeds. This mix is rich with healthy fats, and the added oils from frying would spoil its delicate and nutty taste with unnecessary grease.

If you prefer to fry these rice balls, we suggest you use traditional breadcrumbs instead of our gluten-free coating for a better outcome.


Measuring System
Ground Flaxseeds20 g
Water50 mL
Almonds40 g
Cashew Nuts30 g
Pumpkin Seeds30 g
Prawns150 g
Squid130 g
Fresh Parsley1 tbsp
Extra Virgin Olive Oil11/2 tbsp
Garlic Cloves2
Short-Grain Arborio Rice300 g
Fish Stock600 mL
Sweet Potato150 g

Step 1

In a large skillet, sizzle 1 tbsp of olive oil with 1 crushed garlic clove until fragrant.

Then, add the short-grain arborio rice and cook it for 3 minutes or until the rice is slightly toasted.

Pour a ladle of boiling fish stock over the rice and stir well. Allow each ladleful to become absorbed before adding the next.

Repeat until the rice is cooked through but firm to the bite, it should take about 10-15 minutes.

Arborio risotto rice cooked in pan with oil, garlic, and fish stock.

Step 2

In the meantime, peel and dice the sweet potatoes and boil them in little water. When you can easily poke them with a fork, drain them and mash them into a paste with a fork or a potato masher.

Once the arancini risotto is cooked and creamy, remove the pan from the heat, add the mashed potatoes and season with salt to taste.

Next, transfer the rice over a tray, spread it flat, and cover it with cling film.

Keep the rice in the fridge for 30 minutes while you cook the filling ingredients.

Mashed sweet potato added to the risotto rice.

Step 3

In a skillet, heat the remaining 1/2 tbsp of olive oil with 1 crushed garlic clove.

Then, stir in shredded squid and prawns and season with freshly chopped parsley.

Cook the ingredients until the prawns turn pink.

Prawn and squid cooked in a skillet with garlic and parsley.

Step 4

Once the rice has cooled down, it's time to shape your arancini.

Scoop a handful of sweet potato risotto, keep it over your palm, make a well in the centre, and fill it with one teaspoon of seafood mix.

Seal the croquette by wrapping the rice around the filling and pressing it until a rice ball comes together (1).

Then, get the coating ingredients ready. Soak the flaxseeds in water for 10 minutes in the fridge until they form a gel-like mixture called 'flax egg'. Blitz the almonds, cashews, and pumpkin seeds in a food processor until finely ground.

Dip each rice ball in the flax batter and then roll it into the nuts and seeds coating mix (2).

Arancini stuffed with seafood filling and shaped into balls.
Rice balls coated in flax egg batter and then in gluten-free crumbs with nuts and seeds.

Step 5

Place the prepared seafood rice balls over a non-stick baking tray and cook them in the oven for 30 minutes at 220°C (430°F) for conventional ovens or at 200°C (390°F) for fan ovens.

Make sure the croquettes are nicely browned and crispy outside before removing them from the oven.

Finally, allow the arancini to cool down a wire rack for a few minutes before serving.

Arancini rice balls baked in the oven.


  • You can also bake prawn balls in an air-fryer. Set it at high heat for 15 minutes, and you'll get evenly crunchy arancini in half the time!

  • For extra flavour, you can add chilli flakes to the seafood filling mix.