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How to Cook Risotto

How to Cook Risotto

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How to Make Risotto

Learn how to make risotto through this simple cooking technique. Creamy, the ideal texture, and full of flavor, you can use it with all your favorite ingredients from proteins to vegetables. Learn how to make it and then make it your own! Serves 4.

One of the first things I challenged myself to cook when I started Cake ‘n Knife almost a decade ago was risotto.

I don’t know why I decided that this was the recipe to master, but it became the first big hurdle for me getting back in the kitchen.

Imagine my surprise when I made it for the first time and it came out… DELICIOUS.

The creamy texture made me absolutely swoon with happiness, so much so that I continued to make risotto after risotto after risotto for the months following.

So now I am going to impart my tried-and-true cooking technique for how to make risotto. I know that it can be a little intimidating for some, but it’s really not that hard to create.

The recipe does require some time and attention, so go ahead and pour yourself a glass of wine. You are going to be cooking with wine anyways!

Put some of your favorite music on or pull your partner into the kitchen for a chat.

Enjoy the process, the smell that fills your kitchen, and the love that you put into that skillet of creamy deliciousness!

Some ways to make this simple parmesan risotto your own:

Use red wine instead of white wine for a heartier flavor.

Drizzle with a little truffle oil as a finishing touch.

Stir in crispy prosciutto or bacon.

Add in your favorite fresh herbs like basil, thyme, and/or oregano.

Chop up some vegetables and stir them in at the end.

Want some tomato flavor? Stir in a little tomato paste.

Incorporate seasonal flavors all year long!

Here are some of my favorite mains to pair with risotto: Baked Lemon Garlic Salmon | Roasted Chicken with White Wine and Herbs | Grilled Salmon with Charred Corn Salsa | Grilled Avocado Caprese Chicken


The Restaurant Secret for Quick, Make-Ahead Risotto

You sit down at an Italian restaurant and order the special of the day: risotto alla milanese. Ten minutes later, it's sitting in front of you. Perfectly al dente individual grains of rice, in a creamy sauce that flows across the plate like liquid-hot magma. Delicious.

But wait a minute. Anyone who's made risotto at home knows that it takes at least half an hour to cook, and that leftover risotto turns mushy even a few hours later. How the heck did they get that perfect risotto in front of you within 10 minutes?

It's a pretty simple and common restaurant trick, and one that I employ at home when I know that I've got a tight week coming up and want a no-prep, 10-minute meal ready to go in the fridge. Here's how it works.

As hot risotto sits, rice grains start to absorb excess moisture, going from perfectly al dente to mushy. Meanwhile, the saucy liquid binding them together suffers doubly as it gets robbed of water and cools down, turning from creamy to stodgy in no time. There's no real way to fix this. The key, instead, is to undercook the risotto and cool it rapidly to prevent that rice from overcooking, so you can easily finish cooking it later.

At home, I generally start by cooking up a batch of risotto on the stovetop. When the rice is about 75% cooked—no need to be precise it should be starting to get tender but still have a chalky, raw bite in the center—I pour it out into a wide vessel. Quarter sheet pans are perfect for the job. The key is to spread the rice out into a thin, uniform layer so that it cools rapidly and evenly. Giving it a few gentle stirs as it starts to cool can hasten the process.

Once it's cooled, you can transfer that half-cooked risotto to sealed containers and keep it in the fridge for up to a week.*

*If you're cooking your risotto in a pressure cooker, just cut the cooking time down by about 25%, and leave out the last spoonful of liquid.

When you're ready to serve it, just scoop the half-cooked risotto into a skillet and add a ladleful of stock or water.

Heat the risotto, stirring the whole time. If your risotto recipe uses heat-sensitive ingredients, like green vegetables or seafood, it's a good idea to leave them out of the initial cook and stir them in fresh when you're reheating.

Keep stirring and cooking, adding liquid a little at a time, until you hit that perfect point at which the rice is tender, but still retains some bite, and the sauce is creamy. Depending on how far you took the risotto the first time, this should take between three and five minutes.

Finish off the risotto however the recipe calls for it to be finished (generally with a grating of Parmesan cheese), and you're good to go.

If you want to streamline your week even more, try cooking a double batch of risotto and scooping out half the rice onto a rimmed baking sheet three-quarters of the way through cooking. Then let it cool so it's ready to go for later in the week, while you finish off the other half on the stovetop and serve it for dinner. One prep for two meals is a pretty solid formula for good eating with minimal effort.


Best risotto recipes

Looking for a risotto recipe? Try one of our best risotto recipes for a midweek meal or easy entertaining. They’re quick, easy and hassle-free. From vegetarian risottos such as wild rice and mushroom, to chicken risotto for midweek and posh seafood risottos to serve at a dinner party. We have some inventive ideas using barley, spelt and farro as an alternative to your risotto rice.

Ingredients

Perfect risotto

With a little bit of know-how (and some soothing, meditative stirring), a creamy, umami-rich risotto with perfectly cooked rice is guaranteed. Here’s how to master this classic dish and make our best seafood risotto.

Pea and ham risotto

This risotto combines tender ham hock flakes with sweet frozen peas, brilliant for a summery Italian dish to enjoy outdoors.

Green veg risotto

A green-speckled risotto, made vibrant with peas, baby spinach and asparagus. Chives, mint, lemon zest and pecorino add extra bursts of flavour, too.

Cheddar and spring onion risotto with balsamic tomatoes

Try our creamy risotto oozing with mature cheddar cheese topped with pan-fried cherry tomatoes bursting with flavour.

Chicken risotto

Cook a dinner you can count on tonight with our simple, warming dish. This easy risotto recipe comes flavoured with chicken thighs, smoked bacon lardons and plenty of parmesan.

Saffron risotto

This soothing risotto is delicious on its own, or served with a roast chicken and the roasting juices from the tin. An impressive entertaining idea, if you've got friends round for dinner.

Vegan risotto

Fennel, courgette, peas and parsley make for a wonderfully green risotto. This one is flavoured with a little nutritional yeast in place of parmesan, to keep it plant-based.

Vegan mushroom risotto

Typically laden with butter and cheese, risotto is well known for its comforting and indulgent qualities. Here we've invented a much lighter (and totally vegan) option that still packs in plenty of umami flavours.

Crab risotto with spinach and peas

Make our vibrant crab risotto, with lots of green goodness from peas and spinach. This is a low-calorie dinner for the whole family.

Beetroot risotto

Brighten up your risotto with beetroot for an easy vegetarian meal topped with goat's cheese and walnuts.

Courgette risotto

A fresh and creamy risotto which makes the most of baby courgettes. It's also flavoured with mint, lemon and plenty of salty parmesan. Check out more of our best risotto recipes.

Spelt and mushroom risotto

Try this creamy risotto uses pearled spelt as a healthier alternative to classic risotto rice and dried porcini mushrooms for a more intense flavour.

Vegetable risotto verde

Check out this show-stopping risotto verde recipe. It's low calorie and a great way to feed a crowd. Full of seasonal summer veg this dish has under 450 calories per serving. More vegetarian meal ideas here.

Orzo risotto with cavolo nero, peas and chilli

Check out this creamy veg risotto with cavolo nero, crunchy peas and punchy chilli. Make this quick and easy recipe for a warming midweek meal. Plus, it's low in calories too.

Baked bolognese risotto

If you like bolognese and risotto, then you'll love our baked bolognese recipe with risotto. This hearty dish is super easy to make and will soon become a firm family favourite. Try our baked bolognese sauce for an easy dinner idea.

Mushroom and lemon risotto

Try our creamy mushroom risotto recipe with zesty lemon. This quick veggie risotto dish is easy to make and ready in 35 minutes.

Jerusalem artichoke risotto

Check out our risotto recipe with Jerusalem artichokes and chopped hazelnuts. This simple one-pot is an easy, midweek winter warmer recipe for the whole family.

Chicken risotto with beans & kale

Broad beans are in season from June to September, and this recipe for creamy but fresh barley risotto with chicken, beans and kale is a great way to make the most of them while you can.

Scallop and prawn risotto

Our recipe for scallop and prawn risotto is easy to make but looks and tastes impressive. Make it as part of a dinner party to really impress your guests. Here are some individual pudding recipes to serve as dessert.

Pea, courgette and artichoke barley risotto

Barley is a great alternative to normal risotto rice, and when paired with pea, courgette and artichoke, makes for a delicious summery dish that feels indulgent but is under 300 calories. If you're looking for a low calorie vegetarian meal, here are our ideas.

Mushroom risotto with wild rice roast garlic

This recipe for wild rice and mushroom risotto with roast garlic is vegetarian, low salt and sugar and under 500 calories but packed with flavour.

Brown-buttered crab risotto

Our indulgent recipe for brown-buttered crab risotto is really easy to make and ready in just 35 minutes, making it a great option midweek.

Smoked ham hock and barley risotto primavera

The best recipe for slow-cooked risotto. First cook the ham hock then shred the meat and create this indulgent (but quite easy) barley risotto. The spring veg work a treat with the ham. Worth every bit of effort.

Sausage, radicchio and barolo risotto

A stylish but fuss-free one-pot that delivers on flavour – perfect for your next dinner party. If you don't want to go to the expense of using barolo, use another sturdy Italian red.

Hot-smoked salmon, dill and lemon risotto

You don't have to spend hours cooking to make something delicious. This hot-smoked salmon, dill and lemon risotto is full of light, fresh flavours and is ready in just 30 minutes. We've got some great ideas for recipes that use up leftover red wine here.

Porcini and spinach risotto

Dried porcini mushrooms are a really useful ingredient to keep in your store cupboard. Added to this creamy risotto with fresh mushrooms and spinach they give a deeply savoury concentrated flavour. A smart quick vegetarian supper for two.

Freekeh risotto with spring greens

Freekeh is made from cracked, roasted green wheat. It works well for risotto as the grains keep their bite when cooked, and it's under 300 kcals.

Wild mushroom and taleggio risotto cake

This wild mushroom and taleggio risotto cake is easy but looks impressive and serves a crowd. This recipe makes a great vegetarian dinner party dish, here are more vegetarian entertaining ideas.

Quail, confit garlic and celeriac risotto

Try this easy but impressive recipe for quail, confit garlic and celeriac risotto from Oldroyd's in Islington.

Leek and parmesan risotto

Our seriously simple risotto recipe is ideal for meat-free Monday. Spring onion and leek risotto is cooked traditionally in white wine and topped with parmesan.

Bacon and roasted tomato risotto

This comforting risotto is ready in just 30 minutes and can be made using ingredients you may already have in your fridge and store cupboard - perfect to whip up after work.

Radicchio and pancetta risotto

Radicchio and pancetta are a classic Italian pairing. Sharp and salty, they have been brought together to complement this creamy risotto, which can be whipped up for a quick midweek dinner.


Gordon Ramsey Hell's Kitchen Lobster Risotto Recipe

This lobster risotto tastes decadent and utterly delicious - an irresistible combination of creamy Arborio rice and fresh seafood.

What makes this dish extra special is the fact that the rice is cooked in a homemade lobster broth.

The first few steps of the recipe involve cooking the lobster tails in their shells, then removing the meat and cooking the shells for longer, along with some fresh vegetables and seasonings.

The resultant broth is fresh, tasty and so much better than store-bought seafood stock. Cooking the rice in this broth really helps develop the flavor of the lobster in the finished dish!

Tips for perfect risotto

Make sure the stock is warm

You'll note that this recipe tells you to keep the stock warm over a low heat as you begin to assemble the ingredients for the risotto.

This is important - if the stock is cold, it will cool down the skillet and the other ingredients, affecting the results. A warm stock will ensure everything cooks nice and evenly.

Stir, stir, stir. but not too much!

That may sound a little contradictory - but it's important to get the amount of stirring you do just right!

Stirring 'occasionally' is ideal. It's enough to stop the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pan and will also agitate the rice enough to produce starch. This is what gives risotto its hallmark creamy texture.

Slow and steady wins the race!

When making risotto you're told to add the liquid to the rice a ladle full at a time. So why can't you just save time and pour it in all in one go?

Because the rice will end up boiled, instead - and nothing like risotto rice should be! By adding the liquid a bit at a time, and allowing it to be absorbed before adding more, you are helping to create that fabulous creamy texture a good risotto should have.

Don't overcook

Be sure to pay special attention to the guidelines at the end of the recipe that tell you how the rice should look when its cooked. A perfect dish should have a little 'bite' - you do NOT want your risotto to be mushy.

And for a little extra pizazz.

Follow the suggestion at the start of the recipe to substitute wine for some of the water. It adds a little depth to the flavor that we think shouldn't be missed!

And while we're on the subject of lobster, be sure to give Ina Garten's Lobster Mac and Cheese Recipe a try too!


Risotto recipes

Risotto is an icon of northern Italian cuisine, stemming from the Mediterranean climate’s suitability for growing short-grain rice after it was introduced to the country in the Middle Ages. The rice used for a risotto should be semi-rounded, short-grain Italian rice attributes perfectly suited to slow cooking, enabling the grains to slowly absorb the flavour of the liquid and release starch to create the classic silky smooth texture. Risotto rice is divided into four categories based on the length of the grain: commune, semifino, fino and superfino. Superfino is the longest of the four, and the most commonly used for risotto. Arborio rice, a superfino variety, is the most commonly used outside of Italy, while Carnaroli, Vialone Nano and Baldo are all routinely popular varieties used to create this quintessential Italian dish.

This collection of delicious risotto recipes includes secrets and tips from some of Italy’s best chefs. Francesco Sposito uses Vialone Nano rice to create his citrus-infused seafood risotto of Vialone Nano risotto creamed with lemon jam, raw prawns, clams and Bronte pistachio oil, while Emanuele Scarello adds drama to the dinner table with his striking Risotto with sabayon sauce, licorice powder and green asparagus, which is caramelized with a blowtorch just before serving . At the other end of the spectrum, Rosanna Marziale’s Risotto San Marzano recipe uses soft, white mozzarella to create a deliciously creamy risotto, while the Costardi Brothers’ Risotto with garlic and chilli recipe makes a fantastically simple vegetarian dish.



Mushroom Risotto

When people ask me what I like to cook most (and people ask alllllll the time), my answer is always risotto. I find the stirring very therapeutic. And every time I make it, I think it's better than the last. It's all about knowing what your rice needs and when it needs it, which comes more naturally each time. I PROMISE! But below are a few pointers to get you started on the right track.

1. Use hot stock.

As you start to make your risotto, get your stock warm in another pan over medium heat. Hot stock will help keep the temperature from dropping each time you add it to the rice. And the faster your rice absorbs the liquid, the better your risotto texture will be.

2. Just keep stirring.

I know. This isn't exactly a fun step, but you must persist. Arborio rice (the kind most commonly used in risotto) is extra starchy, which increases it's chances of burning. Walking away, even if only for a second, can make your rice start to stick (and burn). Like I said, I find the stirring kinda relaxing. If you don't, I understand. But at lease you can kinda zone out while you're doing it.

3. Use good cheese.

You're making risotto which means you're probably looking forward to a nice meal. Which means you deserve GOOD cheese&mdashthe kind Queen Ina would approve. A freshly grated block of Parmesan is going to taste 1,000x better than the pre-grated fake stuff. Trust me.

You should also feel free to experiment. Parm is classic, but asiago or Gruyère would be phenomenal too.

Short on time? Try Instant Pot Risotto! We we're shocked at how well it turned out.


Recipe Summary

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 3/4 cup Arborio rice
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine, (optional)
  • 2 to 2 1/4 cups hot water
  • 1/2 cup homemade or low sodium canned chicken stock
  • 3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, (optional)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In an ovenproof saucepan or Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the rice and cook, stirring to coat the grains with oil, about 1 minute.

Stir in the wine and cook until it has completely evaporated, about 1 minute. Stir in 1 1/2 cups water, the stock, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Cover, transfer to the oven, and bake, until most of the liquid has been absorbed by the rice, 20 to 25 minutes.

Remove from oven. Stir in 1/2 to 3/4 cup water (the consistency of the risotto should be creamy), the butter, cheese, and parsley. Serve immediately.


  • 4 teaspoons salt
  • 2 chocolate bar biscuit croissant topping
  • 1 jelly cotton candy
  • ½ jelly gummies
  • 2 cups liquorice chocolate
  • 2 jelly beans bonbon
  • 2 caramels tart gummi bears
  • 6 butterscotch caramel lollipops
  • 12 tbsp butter
  • ¼ cup sugar

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Chupa chups sesame snaps chocolate cake tart icing chupa chups sesame snaps. Croissant marshmallow biscuit. Cookie topping wafer bonbon tootsie roll tart. Fruitcake topping tart caramels wafer donut topping pie pastry. Tiramisu caramels tiramisu marshmallow pudding pastry. Jelly jelly beans candy. Brownie muffin pastry cupcake cake dessert chocolate cake.

Cupcake ipsum dolor sit amet chocolate bar halvah carrot cake donut. Caramels chocolate bar donut cookie. Halvah apple pie apple pie brownie donut cheesecake. Powder sugar plum liquorice. Jelly jelly beans candy. Brownie muffin pastry cupcake cake dessert chocolate cake. I love cake indeed.

Chupa chups sesame snaps chocolate cake tart icing chupa chups sesame snaps. Croissant marshmallow biscuit. Cookie topping wafer bonbon tootsie roll tart. Fruitcake topping tart caramels wafer donut topping pie pastry. Tiramisu caramels tiramisu marshmallow pudding pastry.

Cupcake ipsum dolor sit amet chocolate bar halvah carrot cake donut. Caramels chocolate bar donut cookie. Halvah apple pie apple pie brownie donut cheesecake. Powder sugar plum liquorice. Jelly jelly beans candy. Brownie muffin pastry cupcake cake dessert chocolate cake.

Chupa chups sesame snaps chocolate cake tart icing chupa chups sesame snaps. Croissant marshmallow biscuit. Cookie topping wafer bonbon tootsie roll tart. Fruitcake topping tart caramels wafer donut topping pie pastry. Tiramisu caramels tiramisu marshmallow pudding pastry. Jelly jelly beans candy. Brownie muffin pastry cupcake cake dessert chocolate cake.

Cupcake ipsum dolor sit amet chocolate bar halvah carrot cake donut. Caramels chocolate bar donut cookie. Halvah apple pie apple pie brownie donut cheesecake. Powder sugar plum liquorice. Jelly jelly beans candy. Brownie muffin pastry cupcake cake dessert chocolate cake. I love cake indeed.

Chupa chups sesame snaps chocolate cake tart icing chupa chups sesame snaps. Croissant marshmallow biscuit. Cookie topping wafer bonbon tootsie roll tart. Fruitcake topping tart caramels wafer donut topping pie pastry. Tiramisu caramels tiramisu marshmallow pudding pastry.

Cupcake ipsum dolor sit amet chocolate bar halvah carrot cake donut. Caramels chocolate bar donut cookie. Halvah apple pie apple pie brownie donut cheesecake. Powder sugar plum liquorice. Jelly jelly beans candy. Brownie muffin pastry cupcake cake dessert chocolate cake.

Chupa chups sesame snaps chocolate cake tart icing chupa chups sesame snaps. Croissant marshmallow biscuit. Cookie topping wafer bonbon tootsie roll tart. Fruitcake topping tart caramels wafer donut topping pie pastry. Tiramisu caramels tiramisu marshmallow pudding pastry. Jelly jelly beans candy. Brownie muffin pastry cupcake cake dessert chocolate cake.