Frittelle di riso – rice fritters

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Antonella la Macchia shares her mother’s recipe for rice fritters, a traditional Sicilian snack made with risotto rice, orange zest and cinnamon.

First published in 2015
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The Sicilian pastry tradition was influenced by the Swiss pastry chefs that arrived on the island in the eighteenth century. However, most of the desserts were born in the Sicilian monasteries and developed by the nuns

The Italian name of these fritters is, 'crespelle di riso alla benedettina', because they were prepared in the Benedictine Monastery of Catania, a jewel from the late Baroque period and traditionally eaten on Saint Joseph's Day. Nowadays, these fritters are eaten throughout the winter period and even for Christmas day.

The original recipe is without yeast, but this is my mother's recipe and a little bit faster. It's not easy to ask my mother for a recipe! She writes nothing down and when I try to get more details, she typically gives me answers such as 'the rice needs as much flour as needed' or 'the dough must be creamy, but not too much'. But believe me, this is the tested recipe and it works.




  • 300g of risotto rice
  • 400ml of whole milk
  • 60g of sugar
  • 100g of flour
  • 10g of fresh yeast
  • 1 orange's zest
  • 1 pinch of cinnamon
  • 200g of honey
  • sunflower oil, for deep frying


In a heavy-based pan, bring the water, milk and sugar to to boil. Add the rice and cook like a risotto, stirring with a wooden spoon for about 30 minutes, or until the rice is cooked through. Put the rice in a bowl and let it cool completely
Dissolve the yeast in a couple spoonfuls of lukewarm milk, add this liquid to the rice, along with the flour, orange zest and a good pinch of cinnamon
Cover with cling film (or wrap with a kitchen towel, like my mother does) and let it rise for 1 hour or until it doubles in size
Preheat the sunflower oil to 180°C in a heavy-based saucepan or deep-fryer
Place the rice onto a work surface and use a wet knife to form it into a 1cm thick rectangle. Cut out batons, about 1cm thick, and let them fall directly into the hot oil. Fry until golden, then drain on kitchen paper
Heat the honey in a small pan. Place the rice fritters on the serving plate and drizzle over the warm honey

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Having previously worked in tourism, Antonella la Macchia decided to turn her passion for food into her career, and is now a food blogger, personal chef and cooking teacher based in Tuscany.

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