Barley Risotto Croquettes

December 11, 2012

Cheesy barley risotto, rolled into a ball, stuffed with mozza, breaded, and then pan-fried. This recipe is inspired by Arancini di Riso ( literally translated from the Italian as “little oranges of rice”), and it makes a great appetizer or casual munch at cocktail time.

You could use any kind of leftover risotto to make the recipe, but I felt like testing it with barley. I went with pot barley because of its heartiness (unlike pearl barley, it has not been stripped of nutrients). The end result met my expectations, resembling al dente arborio rice. You’ll need to soak the barley overnight. But don’t let that put you off. Pouring barley in a bowl and covering it with water isn’t that big a job.

Serve the croquettes with a spicy mayo (mayo + hot sauce!).


Barley Risotto

The risotto recipe is a simplified one–you add stock to the barley in two doses instead of the traditional way, which is to add it little by little. In the end, there’s not much of a difference. For a traditional risotto recipe see here.

serves 4-6

• 1 cup pot barley (yields about 2 cups once soaked)
• 2 medium onions, chopped
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 4-5 cups chicken or veg stock (or water)
• 3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 2 tablespoons butter
• a few pinches of sea salt

Soak the barley overnight and drain the next day.
In a large skillet cook the onions in the olive oil and butter on medium-high heat until they are translucent, stirring often.
Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
Stir in the barley, you want the barley to soak up the onion-garlic flavors.
Add 2 cups of stock (or water) and keep on a low boil, stirring often until the liquid is absorbed.
Add the rest of the stock and repeat the cooking and stirring. Add more liquid if needed, the risotto should start to look starchy. This should take about 30-40 minutes
Remove from heat, add the parmesan and season to taste.

Eat right away or continue this recipe to make croquettes.


Makes 10 jumbo or 16 small

• 2 1/2 cups barley risotto, cooled
• 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
• 1/2 cup parmesan
• 1 egg
• 1 tablespoon flour
• about 75g mozzarella, cut into 10 cubes (or 16 for smaller croquettes)

Mix the risotto with the breadcrumbs, parmesan, egg, and flour.
Taste and season with salt and ground black pepper.
Form 10 large (or 16 small) balls, tuck and enclose a piece of mozzarella into the middle of each.
Roll again with your hands to get a round shape.


• 2 eggs,
• 1/2 cup flour
• 1 cup breadcrumbs
• 1/2 cup frying oil (I use sunflower)

Gently roll each risotto ball in the flour, then dip in the eggs, and roll in the breadcrumbs.
In a large skillet, heat the oil until it’s hot and sizzling.
Put half of the croquettes in the pan and cook on all sides until browned and crispy.
Keep an eye on them, it should take about 4-7 minutes depending on the size.
Transfer them to a wire rack and repeat with the rest.

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Sue/the view from great island December 11, 2012 at 2:22 pm

These look soooo good. I love the simple mayo and hot sauce idea, too. I think I’d make a dinner of these!


Bryan December 11, 2012 at 2:36 pm

Hey Sue,
Yeah the hot sauce mayo really did the job!


frugalfeeding December 11, 2012 at 2:48 pm

Hey, these look great! Otherwise known as arancini 😀


Roe December 11, 2012 at 7:26 pm

Great Balls of Barley, Bryan! Great rendition of the arancini you researched and modified so deliciously Buon Appetito.


Karista December 12, 2012 at 3:04 am

I love that you used barley for these croquettes. Such a lovely hearty, earthy grain. Underused and under appreciated I think. Adding these to my holiday starter list. 🙂


Jan December 14, 2012 at 8:09 am

Made these yesterday and we love them. They are great treats for my daughters lunches at work. I loved them with a tangy home-made mayo. Thank you for sharing the recipe.


Bryan December 14, 2012 at 10:23 am

Thanks for the feedback, glad you enjoyed.


Jozy December 15, 2012 at 4:00 am

This looks so deliscious! Very nice for Christmas time parties 🙂


Valeria Pestana Gianvittorio December 22, 2012 at 7:30 am

I was wondering what changes would I have to do to the recipe if I decided to go with pearled barley, you see, we don’t have (it’s not produced nor imported) pot barley in my country


Bryan December 22, 2012 at 10:14 am

Hi Valeria,
If using pearl barley, simply skip the soaking process and proceed with the recipe.


Valeria Pestana Gianvittorio December 22, 2012 at 1:59 pm

Thanks!! I started making them already 🙂 can’t wait to see/taste how they turn out


Bryan December 22, 2012 at 7:40 pm

Nice! Let me know how they turn out.


Valeria Pestana Gianvittorio December 22, 2012 at 7:53 pm

Well, they turned out great!! I love that the barley has a much more earthy flavor and texture (more than arborio rice I mean). I ended up serving them with some napoletana sauce as I was out of hot sauce. I will be recommending these.

Katherine January 23, 2013 at 9:53 pm

Woah. And is that a tiny copper bowl? A tiny copper anything? Please send it to me because I want it.


Bryan January 23, 2013 at 9:58 pm

They’re measuring cups, but hey, I use them for everything.


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