This is our go-to recipe for homemade Risotto. It is a classic Italian side dish with short-grain rice cooked in stock until it’s creamy. Adding parmesan makes it cheesy, decadent, and irresistible. Homemade Risotto is probably the most impressive method for cooking rice. Watch the video tutorial and see how easy it is.

We love Rice from Fluffy White Rice to Shrimp Fried Rice and even Instant Pot Chicken and Rice. If you are a fan of rice recipes and crave interesting sides, this parmesan Risotto recipe is a must-try!

Risotto in blue bowl garnished with parmesan and parsley

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Risotto Recipe

This classic parmesan risotto is a terrific recipe to start with. You can change it up in so many ways to make everything from mushroom risotto to shrimp and even lobster risotto if you’re feeling fancy.

It’s true that a good risotto takes time and you have to be willing to stand over the stove and stir almost constantly, but the good news is that risotto can be made ahead and it reheats well. If you find ways to stay entertained (I put my headphones on and watch an episode of the office on my phone), the time goes by quickly.

Risotto Video

Watch Natasha make this classic Risotto. You will be surprised at how easy it is. Now go forth and impress everyone with your cooking skills.

What is the Secret to a Good Risotto?

There are several things that make differentiate a decent risotto from a great one. Follow these tips for best results:

  • High-quality stock – Since the stock is infused into the rice, using homemade chicken stock or a great store-bought stock will give you the best flavor. One of my favorite brands is Kettle & Fire and I find it’s the closest in flavor to homemade.
  • Risotto Rice – use a short grain rice that is high in starch and can absorb liquid without becoming mushy. We use Arborio rice, but Carnaroli or Vialone Nano rice are good options.
  • Don’t rinse your rice – the starch on the rice helps to create a creamy risotto so you don’t want to rinse it away.
  • Patience – add the chicken stock one ladleful at a time and wait for it to incorporate before adding more.
  • Cook time – cook the rice to your desired texture. If you like it softer, keep adding more broth at the end. If you like it firmer to the bite, cook it for less time. You’ll know when the texture is right for you by tasting the rice.
  • Finishing touches – adding the butter and parmesan at the end transforms this risotto into a decadent side dish and adds tons of flavor.
Cooked risotto in a red dutch oven pot

Ingredients

For the best Risotto, the quality of your ingredients is just as important as the method. Here’s what you will need (scroll down for the full list of ingredients with measurements in the print-friendly recipe card):

  • Butter and olive oil – used for sauteeing the onions, plus we add more butter at the end.
  • Onion – we use yellow onion and finely chop it up. By the time the rice is done cooking, the onion blends very well into the rice.
  • Garlic – adds great flavor. We use a garlic press or grate the garlic so the texture blends better with the rice.
  • Chicken stock – use a high-quality low sodium stock, or homemade chicken stock if possible.
  • Short-grain rice Arborio is our rice of choice, but you can use a different short-grain rice such as Italian Vialone Nano or Carnaroli.
  • White wine – use a dry white wine that is drinkable and avoid using anything labeled as ‘cooking wine.’ Some good options include chardonnay, Moscato, prosecco, sauvignon blanc.
  • Parmesan Cheese – makes the risotto extra creamy and cheesy. Use it in the recipe and to garnish.
  • Salt, pepper, and parsley – to season and garnish.
Ingredients for homemade risotto

Pro Tip: If your stock is very concentrated, you can swap some of it out with filtered water so it doesn’t end up too salty or overpowering.

How to Make Risotto

  1. Heat the stock – In a separate large saucepan, heat your chicken stock to a simmer then reduce to the lowest heat just to keep it very hot without boiling.
  2. Cook aromatics – in a heavy pot or dutch oven over medium-low heat, add butter and oil, and sautee onions with salt, stirring with a spatula until softened (do not brown the onions). Add garlic and stir for 30 seconds.
  3. Toast rice – add rice, increase to medium heat, and stir for about 3 minutes until the rice is toasted and starting to look translucent.
  4. Add white wine – stir in the white wine and continue stirring for 2 minutes or until mostly evaporated.
  5. Add stock – using a ladle, add one ladle-full at a time and continue stirring until absorbed before adding another ladle-full. Continue this process until the rice reaches your desired doneness. This takes 20-25 minutes.
  6. Add-ins – add the remaining butter and parmesan cheese then season to taste with salt if needed and serve garnished with more cheese and freshly cracked black pepper.
how to make risotto step by step collage

Pro Tip: Take care not to brown your onions, or it will change the final outcome, color and taste of the risotto. Sautee patiently over medium-low heat until the onions are soft and translucent.

Risotto served in a blue plate

Common Questions

Can I Substitute white wine?

White wine adds an extra layer of flavor but if you prefer to make it without alcohol, you can substitute with more chicken stock, vegetable stock or even water.


When is risotto done?

Similar to pasta, you want to cook the rice until it’s al’dente. Taste until the rice is al’dente and just barely crunchy. If you prefer your rice softer, you can add more stock and continue cooking a few more minutes.

How much liquid to rice for risotto? 

Depending on your desired rice tenderness, use 7 to 8 cups of low-sodium chicken stock plus 1 cup of white wine to 2 cups of arborio rice.

Can I substitute chicken stock?

You can use water instead, or substitute half of the stock with water if needed and add salt to taste at the end.

When do you add more stock to the risotto?

Once you can scrape the bottom with a spatula and it holds without easily flowing back, add another ladle of stock. Be careful not to wait too long so it doesn’t burn or scorch on the bottom.

Risotto cooking in a pot

Make-Ahead

  • To Refrigerate: Once the risotto has cooled to room temperature, store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days.
  • Freezing: We don’t recommend freezing risotto since it can change the texture of the rice making it seem hard and grainy.
  • To Reheat: Risotto reheats really well. Set a portion in a saucepan and reheat over medium heat with some chicken stock or water, stirring until it’s hot and creamy again. 

Serve Risotto with

Risotto is an impressive side dish and feels even more special when paired with simple sides like Roasted Broccoli or Cauliflower and these main courses:

Risotto served on a fork

This homemade Risotto recipe is worth the effort. Imagine a bowl of creamy risotto paired with a hunk of Focaccia Bread. Yum!

More Italian Recipes to try

If you love this Risotto, then you won’t want to miss these Italian recipes:

Natasha's Kitchen Cookbook

Classic Risotto Recipe

4.97 from 52 votes
Author: Natasha Kravchuk
creamy Risotto cooked in a red dutch oven pot
Follow this technique for how to cook risotto to make the best creamy parmesan risotto which you can modify in so many ways with various add-ins or toppings.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients 

Servings: 8 people

Instructions

  • Heat up your chicken stock in a separate large saucepan or pot. Bring it to a simmer then reduce heat to the lowest setting just so it stays hot.
  • Place a large pot or 5 1/2 qt dutch oven on a second burner over medium-low heat and add 2 Tbsp butter and oil. Add onions and 1/2 tsp salt and sautee the onions over low heat stirring frequently with a spatula until softened and translucent (don’t brown), about 6-7 minutes. Add garlic and stir another 30 seconds.
  • Add rice, increase to medium heat, and stir constantly for 2 minutes until toasted. The rice will start to look translucent and barely golden, about 3 minutes.
  • Add white wine to deglaze the pan and stir until the liquid has absorbed, about 2 minutes.
  • Add 1 ladle of chicken stock and continue stirring until the rice has absorbed the broth. Add the remaining broth one ladle at a time allowing the liquid to almost completely absorb each time (don’t let it get too dry or it can stick and burn). Continue adding one ladle full at a time while stirring continuously. This process can take around 20-25 minutes depending on your desired doneness.
  • Once the rice is firm tender or your desired doneness, add 2 Tbsp butter and freshly grated parmesan (1/2 cup). Season to taste with salt and pepper. Season with more parmesan, pepper and parsley.

Notes

*You may substitute half of the chicken stock with filtered water if desired which will produce a milder tasting risotto so be sure to aedd salt to taste at the end.

Nutrition Per Serving

333kcal Calories45g Carbs9g Protein11g Fat5g Saturated Fat1g Polyunsaturated Fat4g Monounsaturated Fat0.2g Trans Fat20mg Cholesterol320mg Sodium266mg Potassium2g Fiber1g Sugar271IU Vitamin A1mg Vitamin C73mg Calcium3mg Iron
Nutrition Facts
Classic Risotto Recipe
Amount per Serving
Calories
333
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
11
g
17
%
Saturated Fat
 
5
g
31
%
Trans Fat
 
0.2
g
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
1
g
Monounsaturated Fat
 
4
g
Cholesterol
 
20
mg
7
%
Sodium
 
320
mg
14
%
Potassium
 
266
mg
8
%
Carbohydrates
 
45
g
15
%
Fiber
 
2
g
8
%
Sugar
 
1
g
1
%
Protein
 
9
g
18
%
Vitamin A
 
271
IU
5
%
Vitamin C
 
1
mg
1
%
Calcium
 
73
mg
7
%
Iron
 
3
mg
17
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: how to make risotto, parmesan risotto, risotto, risotto recipe
Skill Level: Medium
Cost to Make: $$
Calories: 333

Natasha Kravchuk

Welcome to my kitchen! I am Natasha, the blogger behind Natasha's Kitchen (since 2009). My husband and I run this blog together and share only our best, family approved and tested recipes with YOU. Thanks for stopping by! We are so happy you're here.

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Comments

  • Angel S.
    February 29, 2024

    Natasha! You never fail me! Ty for the recipe. I had risotto at a fancy restaurant in Washington DC, and this is a great re hope for that great flavor! One bite, and hubs said, “Oh!! This risotto is good”. I’ll be making this again!

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      February 29, 2024

      Aaaw, thank you for your good comments and feedback Angel. So happy to hear that you and your hubby enjoyed it!

      Reply

  • Christie
    February 14, 2024

    Natasha, I am going to try this recipe! My favorite restaurant makes a “basil risotto”, if I were to try and recreate, at what stage would I add the basil?

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      February 14, 2024

      Hi Christie! That sounds amazing. It doesn’t take long for the Basil to leave its flavor. I assume you’d be able to juts add it towards the end. Let us know how it turns out.

      Reply

  • Corinne
    January 13, 2024

    Made this tonight without the wine and it was amazing!
    As always another recipe from you thats a keeper 🙂

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      January 13, 2024

      Glad you loved it, Corinne!

      Reply

  • Matt Lee
    December 15, 2023

    This is a good, solid recipe. I added diced cremini mushrooms in with the onions at the beginning. I used a beef and mushroom stock and it worked wonderfully. I wanted a dairy free version (used plant butter instead of butter to sauté the onions and mushrooms). This recipe works well with bending some of the some of the steps to produce the flavors we want at the time.

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      December 15, 2023

      Thank you for sharing, Matt!

      Reply

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