How To Make The Perfect Risotto

How To Make The Perfect Risotto
How To Make The Perfect Risotto

Risotto is a traditional Italian dish that has been upgraded from being served as a rustic family meal to gracing the tables of fine-dining Italian restaurants all around the world. Despite its reputation for being fussy and time consuming, risotto is essentially easy to make. Coincidentally, it’s also very easy to mess up! Common mistakes could turn your culinary masterpiece into a heavy, mushy mess on your plate. With these easy tips you can learn how to make the perfect risotto in the comfort of your own home.

I cannot deny the fact that overindulging in a plate of rich and creamy risotto in an elegant Italian restaurant sounds appealing however, I’ve known risotto all my life – before it was pretentious and expensive, so I’d much prefer a delicious and rustic homemade version. Risotto doesn’t necessarily take skill, but more so attention to detail. There’s a certain degree of satisfaction involved once you’ve mastered this not-as-difficult-as-it-may-seem-recipe, and once you’ve mastered it, you’ll keep wanting to make it, creating unique flavour combinations every time.

How To Make The Perfect Risotto

First and foremost, the key to a perfect risotto starts with short-grain arborio rice, which is the most commonly available variety. Short-grain rice contains a specific type of starch that easily breaks down when cooked, thus giving risotto its traditional creamy texture.

Secondly, when it comes to flavour, good quality ingredients-fresh, homemade broth, good quality extra-virgin olive oil, and fresh herbs and spices-can make or break a risotto. Be sure to use flavourful, fresh ingredients and seasonal vegetables, when available.

Thirdly, traditional risotto should be rich, creamy, and somewhat soupy. The best I can describe the degree of ‘soupiness’ is that the risotto should almost spread out slowly like a pool of honey once dolloped onto the plate. Having said that, the perfect risotto consistency has always been debatable-some like it soupy, some prefer it less creamy and more compact. I prefer the latter, but consistency preference is all subjective, so prepare it according to your tastes.

Learn how to make perfect risotto with these helpful hints and tips:

  1. Add warmed or hot broth: Cold broth will cool down the rice and prolong the cooking time. Keep the broth at a simmer in a separate small pot on the stove.
  2. Stir the rice at five-minute intervals: Over-stirring will add air to the risotto, which will cool it down and result in a sticky risotto. Not stirring enough will result in the rice sticking to the pan and burning.
  3. Add broth a little at a time: Slowly add the broth (about 3–4 cups of broth per 1 cup of rice), 1-2 ladles a at time, stirring each time. Adding too much broth will result in a soupy risotto and will prevent the starches in the rice from creating that creamy consistency.
  4. Do not overcook the rice: The rice should be al dente, meaning cooked on the outside and with a slight bite on the inside. Risotto should be creamy and light, not mushy and starchy.
  5. Cooking temperature: Cook at a medium to low simmer in order to avoid burning the rice or prolonging the cooking process.
  6. Cook the vegetables separately: Except for the mirepoix (onions, celery, and carrots), you should add cooked vegetables a few minutes before the rice is done, to ensure they do not lose their flavour or texture. Alternatively, if you prefer the flavour and texture of caramelized veggies, you can saute them in the frying pan first, remove when cooked, then mix with the rice a few minutes before the the risotto is ready.

This Shrimp Sweet Pea Pesto Risotto is elegant enough for a swanky dinner party and simple enough for a weeknight comfort food. The traditional risotto base is laced with creamy, nutty pesto, which is an ideal match for the crunchy peas and fresh shrimp.

How To Make The Perfect Risotto

Still not comfortable with making the traditional version? Thankfully, there are a variety of methods you can use to prepare a knock-off risotto. These easy risottos are made by combining pre-cooked rice with the freshly prepared condiments. Be sure to use a good quality extra virgin olive oil to add richness and always garnish with a healthy dose of Parmesan cheese!

Healthy Spring Risotto 


Tex-Mex Risotto


Easy Marinara Risotto


Cheesy Zucchini Pesto Risotto


What’s your favourite risotto dish? Do you make traditional risotto, or do you prefer knock-off recipes?

39 thoughts on “How To Make The Perfect Risotto”

  • Stefanie Cornwall 7 years ago

    I have never tried risotto before, but I have heard of the dish. I never knew that there were so many options to preparing it though. All of those look delicious.

  • Lauren Marie Happel 7 years ago

    Thank you for this! I have tried many times and I have failed each time. I am hoping that your tips help me the next time i try to make it. I don’t like ending up with it being soupy and that is what normally happens 🙁

    • You might be adding too much broth or water. Always add one to two ladles at a time and stir the rice until the liquid evaporates. When it nears the end of the cooking process I add even less liquid (about 1/2 a ladle) at a time. Hope these tips help!

  • I was never a fan of risotto as a child as it was too ‘soupy’ for my taste but now I love to try it and almost every restaurant i visit. Yours looks delicious and yummy

  • Alison 7 years ago

    I love risotto, but I’ll be honest, I never make it I always order it when it’s on the menu somewhere. Maybe I can handle it after all because these options look delicious!

  • I’ve never had or attempted to make Risotto but I have heard how difficult it can be. These tips definitely look like they can help make the process a lot easier.

  • I don’t recall ever eating risoto. I’ve heard of it but never have given much thought to what it is. Looking through these recipes, I believe I am missing out! My first taste test will be on the Cheesy Zucchini Pesto Risotto. Looks yummy!

  • Censie ‘Mumby’ Sawyer 7 years ago

    I love Risotto but have never thought to make it on my own. Thank you for the idea and the recipe. This looks so good and easy to make. Yummy!!

  • I’ve never had risotto before, but I see it being made on the Food Network all the time! haha I always thought it was so difficult to make, but you’ve outlined the steps so perfectly. I think I will have to try this out sometime and see for myself! I also really like short-grained rice, too so this would be perfect.

  • I haven’t made risotto is so long. Your tips are spot on especially about the broth. Now I will have to make my famous seafood risotto next week. I’ll definitely try your shrimp and pesto risotto recipe as well.

  • This looks and sounds delicious. My whole family enjoys a meal with risotto, but for our teenage daughter being a vegan, I’ll have to stick with water. Still so tasty!

  • Now THIS is a dish that I’ve been trying to perfect! Thank you so much for sharing yours. I’ll be giving it a try and I bet it will be lovely!

  • I remember having risotto at a few italian restaurants and it was so delicious.I’ve never made it at home, because I always feared it was too hard to recreate at home. Thanks for sharing some tips on how we can make risotto at home. I’ll try this recipe soon.

  • Britni 7 years ago

    Okay I have always wanted to try risotto but never knew exactly how to make it. Your post is great and has given me the confidence to try it out. Your dishes look amazing. Hopefully it will be a hit with the kids!

  • Melissa Dixon 7 years ago

    I have never had risotto before but it looks like something I need to try out! These all look like great options that my whole family would enjoy. These would be great ideas to add into the weekly rotation. We could use a little change!

  • Kristy 7 years ago

    Risotto is a dish that I’ve never really thought about much. You’ve definitely made me start to rethink that, as these risotto dishes look so flavorful! The Tex-Mex Risotto would probably be my favorite!

  • Eileen Mendoza Loya 7 years ago

    This is the perfect comfort food! We always order risotto every time we get to dine in an Italian restaurant. I had no idea that it was this easy to make. It would just take a lot of “watching the pot” moments. I guess that is just a small thing to mind in exchange for a delicious bowl of risotto!

    • Exactly! I usually prepare risotto when I’m in the kitchen anyway doing something else. That way I’m not inclined to walk away from it…and forget about it!

  • Risotto is so delicious! I love to make it and to eat it, but it can be labor intensive. I do love your tips. I also have a faux risotto recipe that I like to make that takes less time.

  • Aio Kona 7 years ago

    Perfect comfort food! I love risotto and always order it when we dine in Italian restaurants. I am glad you shared the steps to make the dish at home. It seems simple enough to do. I would want to try the shrimp and sweet peas variant! Yum.

  • Stockpiling Moms 7 years ago

    I have never tried making Risotto because I have been afraid of it! You keep it so simple and easy that I think I can make the perfect risotto too! Plus this is gluten free and I need to give it a go!

    • And that’s why I make it often…it’s naturally gluten-free! Sometimes it gets too tricky making regular pasta, gluten-free pasta, AND sauce all at once!

  • Rochkirstin Santos 7 years ago

    We haven’t tried making risotto because we thought we can always order a perfectly made one in restaurants. In any case, it’s great to know how it’s done. Getting the right rice is very important apparently.

  • Jason Nail 7 years ago

    Thanks for sharing the risotto recipe. Anything good with rice is better with risotto. We were supposed to have rabbit with white wine risotto tonight before the power went out.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You might be interested in these other posts!