Arancini pairs best with Champagne, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio and Etna Rosso. Also known as Sicilian Deep Fried Rice Balls, Arancini is made from Risotto, rolled into a ball, breaded, and deep-fried golden brown. In fact, Arancini means ‘small oranges’ as that’s what this delicious dish kind of looks like.

There are a wide variety of fillings for Arancini, which can alter your pairing. I’ll touch upon these different fillings below.

Best Wine with Arancini

Metodo Classico & Arancini Ball Pairing


  • Bubbly – Cuts through fats

  • Complementary Bready Flavours

  • Refreshing Citrus/Pear Flavours


  • Easier to go with Champagne

If your Arancini filling is plain Risotto inside, Metodo Classico makes for a beautiful pairing, as the bready notes of this sparkling wine complement the deep-fried crust of the Arancini.

Metodo Classico refers to any Italian sparkling wine made in the Champagne style. We can not call it Champagne, though, as it is not made in the Champagne region of France. Champagne will also go great with Arancini. However, I’m tossing Metodo Classico down for this pairing as I realize I have never written about it. In addition, if you’re eating something Italian, you most likely want something Italian to drink.

Returning to Metodo Classico, the high acidity of this sparkling wine will cut through the rich and creamy centre of your Arancini Ball. Meanwhile, you’ll get all these amazing flavours of brioche, apricot, ginger, honey peach, smoke and toast that will add extra excitement to the pairing! Plus bubbles. Bubbles and deep-fried goodness are a match made in heaven!

Pinot Grigio & Arancini Ball Pairing


  • Familiar/Everywhere

  • Acidic/Refreshing

  • Lemon, Citrus, Mineral, Pear, Green Apple Flavours


  • Not Complementary

I get it; sometimes you want a wine you recognize when pairing food with wine, and Pinot Grigio is the most recognizable wine out there. Virtually on every white wine list, Pinot Grigio is the top-selling white wine in the world, and it goes excellent with Arancini.

Arancini is creamy on the inside and crispy and bready on the outside. With this composition, acidity is a must, and the crisp flavours of Pinot Grigio can rip through the deep-fried exterior while cutting through the rich fats of the Risotto on the inside. Pinot Grigio won’t complement Arancini, however, it will keep you refreshed!

Pinot Grigio is what you want if your Arancini is rather plain, as this is a quiet white wine with light flavours of citrus, figs, lemon, minerals, pear and green apples.

Etna Rosso & Arancini Ragu Filling


  • Sicilian!

  • Acidic/Refreshing – Holds up to Tomatoes

  • Cherry, Fig, Earl Grey Tea, Licorice


  • Trickier to hunt down GREAT bottles (outside of Sicily)

Etna Rosso is a Sicilian red wine made in the volcanic soils of Mount Etna. Made from the Nerello Mascalese grape, Etna Rosso is medium-bodied and high in acidity, meaning it can hold up to the tomato sauce in your Ragu stuffed Arancini. You’ll also have a touch of tannin in there to work with any meat in your Ragu sauce.

Side note, Mount Etna is a big deal in Sicily.  Sometimes, Arancini is made in a cone shape (instead of balls) to pair tribute to this mountain.

In addition, expect big flavours of strawberry, macerated cherry, plum, baked fig, leather, Earl Grey tea and cinnamon in this warm and acidic red wine.

Etna Rosso can be difficult to find in North America, especially great versions of the wine, as most of that stays in Italy.  If you have trouble hunting it down, or can’t be bothered, select a Chianti Classico.  Balanced with acidity and tannin, Chianti will hold up to the tomato sauce, and provide enough bite for all the delicious meat stuffed into your deep-fried rice ball.

Grillo & Arancini Melanzane


  • Sicilian!

  • Acidic/Refreshing – Cuts through Deep Fried Exterior

  • Lemon, Pear, Mineral, Sea Breeze, Rosemary


  • Trickier to hunt down GREAT bottles (outside of Sicily)

Arancini Melanzne is a rice ball that has an eggplant filling. Eggplant is bitter, creamy and earthy. The texture of Eggplant is also sponge-like, absorbing the flavours of whatever you toss at it.

Grillo makes a wonderful pairing with Arancini Melanzane as it’s crisp, medium-bodied and fruity with notes of lemon, pear, minerals, sea breeze, rosemary and spice. High in acidity, Grillo cuts through the creamy center of Arancini and the deep-fried exterior. In addition, Grillo’s lovely flavours are absorbed by the Eggplant, adding a refreshing contrast to the savoury flavours of Arancini.

Did I mention Grillo is also Sicilian?