Are you stuck in a side dish rut when it comes to hosting?
Try the delicious Italian finger food delicacy known as arancini balls.
With crispy crunchy outside, and a satisfying gooey cheesy center, they’re wonderful for everything from your morning brunch parties, to your dinner get togethers.
However–like all things good–arancini need the right side dishes to compliment them giving your palate an exciting range of flavors each time you bite into one.
That’s why we have compiled 14 fantastic sides that pair perfectly with these crunchy cheese balls!
So say “goodbye” to boring sides and let’s dig into some incredible samples that will make any meal special!
What to Serve with Arancini Balls? 14 Sides You Should Try
Spaghetti is a classic Italian dish that can be enjoyed by everyone.
It is made with long, thin strands of pasta that are cooked in boiling water.
The spaghetti is then usually served with a tomato or meat-based sauce.
Spaghetti has a subtle taste and a slightly chewy texture.
The best way to elevate this dish is by choosing high-quality ingredients.
For pasta, look for a brand that uses durum wheat semolina flour.
This type of flour will give the pasta a slightly yellow color and a firm texture.
For the sauce, choose a recipe that uses fresh tomatoes or a good quality tomato paste.
Lastly, don’t forget to top your spaghetti with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
A simple green salad is a perfect complement to arancini balls.
The crispness of the lettuce and the acidity of the dressing will help cut through the richness of the dish.
I like to use a mix of greens in my salad, such as spinach, arugula, and kale.
For a bit of sweetness, I add some diced apples or pears.
And for a bit of crunch, I add in some toasted nuts or seeds.
To elevate this dish, you could also add in some roasted vegetables, such as roasted Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, or beets.
Or you could top it with grilled chicken or shrimp.
A simple green salad is a great way to round out this dish and make it a complete meal.
Breadsticks are one of those classic side dishes that can be served with just about anything.
They’re perfect for dipping into sauces, spreading with butter, or just eating on their own.
But what makes breadsticks so great is their taste and texture.
Breadsticks are usually made from a dough that is high in gluten, which gives them their chewy texture.
This also means that they hold up well to dipping and can be used as a utensil for other dishes.
Breadsticks are typically long and thin, which makes them perfect for sharing.
And because they’re so versatile, they can be flavored in a variety of ways.
If you’re looking to elevate your breadstick game, there are a few things you can do.
First, try topping them with shredded cheese or herbs before baking.
This will give them an extra boost of flavor.
You can also try using different types of flour to give them a unique flavor and texture.
And finally, don’t be afraid to experiment with different dipping sauces.
4. Chicken Parmesan
Chicken parmesan is a classic Italian dish that is beloved by many.
The dish typically consists of chicken that is breaded and fried, then covered in tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese.
It is then baked until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
The taste of chicken parmesan is savory and slightly acidic from the tomato sauce, with a hint of sweetness from the cheese.
The texture is crispy from the breading on the outside, while the inside is moist and tender.
There are many ways to elevate this classic dish.
One way is to use high-quality ingredients.
Another way is to add additional flavorings to the dish, such as herbs or spices.
Finally, you can try serving it with a side of pasta or a salad for a complete meal.
5. Garlic Knots
Garlic knots are a delicious and easy way to add some extra flavor to your meal.
They’re basically just bite-sized pieces of dough that are wrapped around a piece of garlic, then baked or fried.
The result is a flavorful, slightly chewy knot that’s packed with garlicky goodness.
While garlic knots are typically served as a side dish, there are a few simple ways to elevate them into the main course.
For example, you could stuff them with cheese or top them with a flavorful sauce.
Or, if you’re feeling really adventurous, you could try making mini garlic knot pizzas.
6. Zucchini Sticks
Zucchini sticks are the perfect side dish to accompany your arancini balls.
They are crispy, full of flavor, and pair perfectly with the creamy sauce that is often served with arancini balls.
These sticks can be baked or fried, and both methods will result in a delicious dish.
If you are baking your zucchini sticks, we recommend coating them in a light layer of breadcrumbs before baking.
This will give them a crispy outer layer that is absolutely irresistible.
If you are frying your zucchini sticks, be sure to use high-quality oil so that they do not absorb too much oil and become greasy.
7. Mozzarella Sticks
Mozzarella sticks are always a hit, whether you’re serving them as an appetizer or a main dish.
They’re gooey, cheesy, and just all-around delicious.
But what if you want to take your mozzarella sticks to the next level? Here are some tips on how to do just that.
First, let’s talk about taste.
If you really want your mozzarella sticks to stand out, use high-quality cheese.
A good rule of thumb is to use cheese that’s made in Italy – it just has a better flavor.
You could also experiment with different types of cheese, like provolone or even goat cheese.
Next, let’s talk about texture.
The key to getting that perfect balance of crispy exterior and the molten interior is all in the breading.
For a truly crunchy coating, use a combination of bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese.
And make sure to double-coat your mozzarella sticks – it’ll help them stay nice and crispy when they’re fried.
Finally, let’s talk about the presentation.
Mozzarella sticks are usually served with marinara sauce, but you could get creative and try other dipping sauces as well.
BBQ sauce, honey mustard, and ranch dressing are all great options.
Or, for a more grown-up twist, try serving your mozzarella sticks with a drizzle of balsamic glaze.
8. Onion Rings
Onion rings are one of America’s favorite fried foods.
They are usually made with a thick cut of onion that is battered and deep-fried, resulting in a crunchy exterior and a soft, flavor-packed interior.
The key to making perfect onion rings is to get the batter just right.
It should be thick enough to coat the onion slices evenly but not so thick that it overwhelm-drowns out the taste of the onions.
The batter should also be seasoned well, with a touch of salt, pepper, and paprika.
Once you’ve perfected your batter, it’s time to elevate your onion rings.
One way to do this is to add a flavorful dipping sauce; aioli, ranch dressing, or BBQ sauce are all great options.
Another way to make your onion rings stand out is to use a different type of onion; sweet onions like Vidalia or Maui work well, as do red onions.
So don’t be afraid to experiment with your ingredients.
9. Jalapeño Poppers
Jalapeño poppers are a delicious and easy appetizer to make.
They are essentially just jalapeños that have been stuffed with cream cheese and then breaded and fried.
The result is a tasty, slightly spicy bite that is perfect for any party or gathering.
The key to a good jalapeño popper is all in the balance of flavors.
You want the cream cheese to be flavorful but not overpowering, and the jalapeño should provide a nice kick of heat.
The breading should be light and crispy, so it doesn’t overwhelm the other flavors.
There are a few things you can do to elevate your jalapeño poppers and make them even more delicious.
One tip is to use fresh jalapeños instead of jarred ones.
This will give them a brighter flavor and a more pronounced spice.
Another tip is to experiment with different types of cream cheese.
You could use goat cheese or mascarpone for a richer flavor or even add in some shredded cheddar cheese.
Finally, don’t be afraid to get creative with your breading.
Panko breadcrumbs will give them a nice crunch, or you could try using crushed-up tortilla chips.
10. French Fries
Who doesn’t love French fries? They’re salty, crispy, and just plain delicious.
But have you ever stopped to think about what makes them so special?
It all comes down to taste and texture.
French fries are typically fried in hot oil, which gives them a crispy exterior.
But what really sets them apart is the fluffy, potato-y interior.
When done right, French fries are light and airy on the inside, while still being nice and crispy on the outside.
So how can you elevate your French fry game? One way is to experiment with different seasonings.
Instead of just salt, try adding some garlic powder or paprika for extra flavor.
You could also try dipping your fries in ketchup or BBQ sauce.
11. Sweet Potato Fries
There’s nothing like a good sweet potato fry.
They’re crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside, and have just the right amount of sweetness.
But what really makes them special is how versatile they are.
You can eat them as a side dish or as a main course, and they go with just about anything.
Sweet potato fries are one of those rare dishes that are both healthy and delicious.
They’re packed with vitamins and minerals, and they’re a great source of fiber.
But the best part is that they’re relatively low in calories, so you can indulge without guilt.
If you’re looking for a way to elevate your sweet potato fries, here are a few tips:
- Try dipping them in ketchup or BBQ sauce for an extra zing.
- Add some spice by sprinkling on some chili powder or cayenne pepper.
- For a cheesy twist, top them with shredded cheese or crumbled blue cheese.
- For a healthier option, bake them instead of frying them.
12. Mac and Cheese
There’s nothing quite like a big bowl of mac and cheese.
The creamy sauce, the cheesy flavor, and the comforting texture all come together to make this dish irresistible.
And while it’s pretty delicious on its own, there are a few things you can do to elevate your mac and cheese game.
First, let’s talk about taste.
If you want your mac and cheese to be extra flavorful, try using a mix of different cheeses.
A sharp cheddar will give it a nice bite, while a creamier cheese will add some richness.
You can also add in some extra spices like garlic powder or paprika to really kick up the flavor.
If you want a perfectly smooth and creamy sauce, be sure to cook your pasta in the sauce so that it can absorb all of those delicious flavors.
And if you’re looking for a little bit of crunch, try topping your mac and cheese with some breadcrumbs before baking it.
Finally, don’t be afraid to get creative with your toppings.
Bacon, diced tomatoes, and green onions all make great additions to mac and cheese.
Pizza is one of those classic comfort foods that everyone knows and loves.
It’s the perfect dish for a movie night, a game night, or just when you’re craving something cheesy and delicious.
But what makes a good pizza? Well, it all comes down to taste and texture.
A good pizza should have a crispy crust, a slightly chewy center, and be loaded with flavor.
The best way to get a crispy crust is to cook the pizza on a preheated stone or steel.
This will help to evenly distribute the heat and prevent the dough from getting soggy.
As for the toppings, go ahead and load them up on your favorites.
Cheese, pepperoni, sausage, vegetables, it’s all up to you.
Just make sure that the toppings are well balanced so that each bite is packed with flavor.
If you’re looking to elevate your pizza game, try adding some unique toppings or using a different type of cheese.
Gourmet pizzas are all about experimentation, so don’t be afraid to try something new.
14. Chicken Wings
Chicken wings are a delicious and easy-to-prepare dish that can be enjoyed as a main course or as a side.
They are typically made with chicken breasts, but you can also use thighs or drumsticks.
The wings are usually breaded and fried, but you can also bake them.
These wings have a great taste and texture that is perfect for any occasion.
They are crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside.
You can also add different sauces and spices to elevate the dish.
- Make sure the chicken is cooked all the way through before serving.
- Season, the chicken with your favorite spices.
- Coat the chicken in a light layer of flour before frying. This will help create a crispy exterior.
- Fry the chicken in hot oil until it is golden brown and cooked through.
- Serve with your favorite dipping sauce.
In conclusion, there are a variety of great side dishes that go well with arancini balls.
I hope this blog post has helped you in your decision of what to serve with your next batch of arancini balls.
Whether you are looking for something to complement the taste or texture, there is definitely a side dish on this list for you.
Make sure to try out a few of these side dishes the next time you make arancini balls, and let us know which ones were your favorites.
Carrie is a food writer and editor with more than 15 years of experience. She has worked for some of the biggest names in the food industry, including Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, and Martha Stewart Living.
As the Editor in Chief of IntroChicago.com, Carrie oversees all of the content on the site. She also manages the team of contributing writers and editors, who help to create delicious recipes, helpful tips, and informative articles that you’ll find on the site.
A native of the Chicago area, Carrie is passionate about all things food. She loves trying new restaurants and experimenting with new recipes in her kitchen. She’s also a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, so she knows a thing or two about food!