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Overnight Grits Arancini

By: Hannah Lee Leidy
Overnight Grits Arancini
Photographs copyright © 2022 by Kelly Marshall. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Random House, a division of Penguin Random House LLC.

Try this easy, delicious overnight grits arancini recipe from Adrienne Cheatman to help use your leftover grits.

If you’ve ever stored cooked grits in the fridge, you know they turn into a solid brick that requires a lot of coaxing in a pot with milk, stock, or butter in order to loosen up.

This is exactly how risotto behaves—made from Arborio rice, and popularly formed into the fried balls of love known as arancini. The lesson here is, whatever you do with risotto, you can totally do with any starchy grain, such as an excess batch of Southern-style grits.

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Makes 18 to 20 arancini

  • 2 cups overnight grits or other cooked grain
  • 1½ cups mushroom ragout or other mix-ins
  • ⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 large eggs, divided
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup fine breadcrumbs
  • Kosher salt
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  1. Place grits in a large microwave-safe bowl with the mushroom ragout. Microwave until just softened around the edges, about 2 minutes, and stir until smooth.
  2. If steaming hot, allow grits to cool until just warm before folding in the Parmesan and 1 beaten egg. Spread mixture into the bottom of a shallow baking dish, cover with plastic wrap, and cool in refrigerator until cold and firm, 1 to 2 hours.
  3. In a medium bowl, beat remaining 3 eggs. Place flour in a second medium bowl and breadcrumbs, along with the heavy pinch of salt, in a third medium bowl.
  4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Scoop 2-tablespoon portions of the grits and roll into balls (dampen your hands as needed to keep them from getting sticky). Roll each ball in the flour, then transfer to bowl with the egg and roll with two forks to coat completely. Use the forks to transfer the arancini to the bowl of bread crumbs and roll to coat again. (Congrats, you just executed the breading procedure “dry-wet-dry,” which is the gold-standard technique for breading anything!) Place breaded arancini on the prepared baking sheet.
  5. Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat; add enough vegetable oil to reach ½-inch deep. When oil is hot but not smoking, gently place the arancini in the pan, working in batches, and cook, turning as they brown, until crunchy and GBD (that’s golden brown and delicious) all over, about 8 minutes, adjusting heat as necessary so they don’t overbrown.
  6. Transfer arancini to a paper towel-lined tray to drain. Season with salt while hot and serve as soon as they’re cool enough to handle.


  • Recipe by Adrienne Cheatham, Sunday Best: Cooking Up the Weekend Spirit Every Day (Clarkson Potter/Publishers) Copyright ©2022

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