13 Risotto Recipes You'll Want To Make On Repeat

Ah, risotto — a delightfully rich and savory dish that can feature inclusions as simple as Parmesan cheese or as extravagant as lobster. While known for its delectably creamy texture, traditional risotto is prepared without cream as an ingredient; instead, the method of gradually adding warm broth to starchy rice while constantly stirring the mixture is what makes risotto the delicacy that it is — well, that and plenty of butter and cheese. 

If you've ever made risotto before, then you know that the process can be a bit stressful and tricky at times. Risotto is one of those dishes where timing matters, so you want to work slowly and ensure that your rice cooks at an even pace. If you inundate your rice with too much broth right off the bat, you'll end up with a mushy mess. On the other hand, if you don't add enough broth, your rice might not reach that velvety smooth texture, resulting in some unwanted crunchy bites. 

Since it's easy to make mistakes when making risotto, many people steer clear of homemade versions and instead enjoy this starchy specialty solely when dining out. Fortunately, thanks to our best risotto recipes, you can take all of the guesswork out of the cooking process, leaving you with perfectly cooked risotto each and every time. Keep things classic with a basic risotto or get adventurous and add vegetables like asparagus, squash, and mushrooms into the mix. 

1. Buttery Hazelnut Risotto

Though hazelnuts may be most commonly associated with sweets thanks to their Nutella fame, they really do shine in savory contexts, too. This buttery hazelnut risotto recipe is the perfect example of how the ingredient can bring an irresistibly nutty flavor to a dish without overpowering it; paired with the buttery flavors that risotto offers by nature, then you've got a dish that's more complex than your typical risotto, but still just as warm as comforting as a classic recipe. 

Aside from the hazelnuts, which are certainly the oddball ingredient here, the rest of the ingredients are pretty standard for risotto. Arborio rice (which is the best type of rice for risotto), white wine, and stock will all make appearances in this recipe, as will Parmesan cheese and butter. 

Bringing it back to the hazelnuts, you'll start by toasting them to bring out optimal warmth in the nuts. And, if the toasted nuts weren't enough on their own, this recipe also calls for hazelnut oil, which will really hone in on those nutty flavors. You'll drizzle the hazelnut oil on as a final garnish, so this does technically make it an optional ingredient, but it's one that you'd be wise to not skimp on.

Recipe: Buttery Hazelnut Risotto

2. Mushroom and Roasted Garlic Risotto

It's one thing to simply include garlic in a risotto recipe — most do, in fact, so while this ingredient is delicious, it's really nothing special. What is special, however, is including roasted garlic; the caramelized flavors lend themselves well to the buttery nature of risotto, and while it does require some extra patience, the results are well worth the wait. This recipe allows roasted garlic to shine alongside sautéed mushrooms, resulting in a risotto that is a little more exciting than the plain variety. 

This is a great recipe to make when you're already using roasted garlic in your main course and are making risotto as a side. Throw an extra head of garlic into your roasting pan and let the oven work its magic as you focus on the risotto — you won't stir the soft, caramelized garlic in until the end, so you can multitask as all of the elements of this dish come together. Pair your finished risotto alongside roasted chicken, steak, or fish, or simply enjoy it with a side salad to help counter all of those rich flavors.

Recipe: Mushroom and Roasted Garlic Risotto

3. Saffron Zucchini Risotto

Saffron has a history as the world's most expensive spice, so naturally it deserves a spot in one of the world's most decadent dishes, aka risotto. This recipe pairs up the sacred spice alongside a more humble inclusion, zucchini, to make for a risotto fit for royalty — or, at least, fit for your dinner guests. One glance at the finished dish will prove that this isn't your typical risotto, with the vibrant yellow hue from the saffron turning the usually white dish into a golden one, beautifully complemented by the green-yellow zucchini slices.

The process of making this risotto is similar to nearly any risotto recipe, and you can count on it requiring about 30 minutes of active cooking time. Something that sets this apart (aside from the saffron and zucchini, of course) is the inclusion of grated pecorino cheese, which will add a slightly different flavor profile than traditional Parmesan. You can still count on the same rich, creamy, subtly cheesy flavors nonetheless, with a delicate earthiness from the saffron really setting this recipe apart from the rest.

Recipe: Saffron Zucchini Risotto

4. Carbonara-Style Risotto

Risotto pairs up with another Italian favorite in this dish, resulting in a carbonara-style risotto that takes creaminess to a whole new level. Carbonara influence comes into play thanks to the addition of pancetta, eggs, and pecorino Romano cheese, whereas risotto staples like arborio rice, white wine, broth, and butter are also crucial components. With so many overlapping flavors, it really does make sense to combine the two creamy-by-nature dishes, and if you're having trouble deciding between pasta or rice for dinner tonight, well, this is the solution.

Despite this being a two-for-one special, you'll begin cooking the recipe as you would nearly any risotto (after crisping the pancetta, that is) — you'll toast the arborio rice, deglaze with wine, then start ladling in the chicken broth. Once you've got a nearly complete risotto, that's where the carbonara part of this recipe will come into play. All told, this double-duty dish will be ready to go in under an hour, and you might be so inclined to serve this as the main course instead of a side dish. If so, think light fare for the sides: roasted vegetables or a green salad will contrast nicely.

Recipe: Carbonara-Style Risotto

5. Roasted Garlic and Butternut Squash Risotto

Butternut squash is undeniably associated with one season — fall — but that doesn't mean that you can't enjoy it year-round. In fact, you might enjoy incorporating squash into your wintertime or springtime routine to help keep that autumnal spirit alive. If so, there's no better way to do it than with this roasted garlic and butternut squash risotto recipe. Both the garlic and butternut squash get the oven-roasted treatment in this recipe, and while that extra roasting does take some time, you can prepare both simultaneously — each ingredient will require about 30 minutes in the oven.

Meanwhile, you'll get the risotto going on the stovetop, first warming up the broth before getting the rice nice and toasty. The roasted garlic and squash won't go into the risotto until the end, so you can easily multitask and start making the risotto as the other components are still baking. An expected finishing touch of Parmesan helps round out the risotto while a less-expected addition of fresh sage helps amp up the fall feel of this dish. 

Recipe: Roasted Garlic and Butternut Squash Risotto

6. Garden Fresh Asparagus And Broad Bean Risotto

If you've never heard of broad beans before, then perhaps you'd recognize them as fava beans instead. Whatever you want to call these light-green beans, you'll find them in abundance in this recipe, alongside another garden favorite: asparagus. Together, the vegetables provide a nice contrast against a classic creamy risotto, making for a dish that essentially knocks out two side dishes in one. 

Not only will your finished risotto feature asparagus tips, but you'll blend the middle parts of each stalk with basil to create a vibrant, earthy puree. Then you'll get the risotto going as usual, gradually ladling in broth until you have a thick, creamy rice mixture. 

For the grand finale, things will get interesting again; not only will you add the broad beans to the pan, but you'll also stir in that green puree you made earlier. The asparagus tips serve as a finishing touch, then voilà — you've got a dish that's loaded with rice, Parmesan, and plenty of greens.

Recipe: Garden Fresh Asparagus And Broad Bean Risotto

7. Asparagus And Morel Risotto

Mushroom fans are in for a treat with this risotto recipe, which features both asparagus and morel mushrooms for a dish that boasts savory and earthy flavors. You'll also find porcini mushrooms in the mix for the broth, but just a small amount — a little goes a long way to providing that deep umami flavor. And, if you aren't able to source morels or they aren't in season, you can swap in creminis or other types of mushrooms

We mentioned a mushroom broth, and it's safe to say that it's really the star of this risotto. Most risotto recipes call for using either chicken or vegetable broth, and some might even call for just warm water. This one infuses both morels and porcinis, resulting in an umami-rich broth that will add a whole lot of flavor to your rice. The asparagus provides a nice green contrast amongst all of the fungi flavors, though there's no denying that this risotto recipe is a true mushroom lover's dream.

Recipe: Asparagus and Morel Risotto

8. Autumnal Pear And Balsamic Risotto

It's not too often that you'll find a sweet inclusion in risotto, seeing as the rice dish is generally savory by nature. That said, even the most savory of dishes have space for sweet elements, as proven by this pear and balsamic risotto recipe. Pears are a mild fruit, offering up subtle sweetness and plenty of bright juiciness — all features that bode well in creamy rice. You'll incorporate the pears in two ways: one via a puree stirred into the cooked risotto, and the other as a final garnish of softened diced pears. 

Of course, pears aren't the only unique inclusion in this risotto, and a final drizzle of balsamic vinegar helps provide a tangy finish that complements both the sweet pears and savory risotto. Unlike many types of risotto that really focus on building rich, creamy flavors, this recipe allows a multitude of flavor profiles to shine, resulting in a dish that seems sophisticated but really isn't all that difficult to make. Pair this pear risotto alongside a simple main course like grilled chicken to let the sweet, savory, and tangy flavors really shine.

Recipe: Autumnal Pear And Balsamic Risotto

9. Lobster Risotto

Risotto is a dish that seems elegant all on its own, despite including mostly inexpensive ingredients ... though if you really want to hone in on those elegant vibes (and include a more high-end ingredient while you're at it), then this lobster risotto recipe is the way to go. The buttery, subtly sweet lobster meat pairs beautifully with rich and creamy risotto — just be warned that once you make this recipe, you'll be wanting to include lobster in all of your future risottos.

While this recipe doesn't walk you through the best way to cook lobster, the process is actually a pretty easy one. You could opt for pre-cooked meat, though it'd be best to start with a whole crustacean, as you'll put those shells to good use — yes, this recipe takes decadence to a whole new level with a homemade lobster stock. Though not strictly necessary, the lobster stock helps ensure that you put every last bit of this pricey seafood to good use while ensuring that your risotto will be absolutely infused with flavor.

Recipe: Lobster Risotto

10. Parmesan Risotto

If you're looking for a tried-and-true risotto recipe that you can use as a dinnertime go-to, then this Parmesan risotto is just the solution. While it can be fun to experiment with fancy additions, you really can't beat the classic flavors that arborio rice, chicken broth, and Parmesan cheese can come together to create. Okay, there are a few other key players here, but nothing that you wouldn't expect to find in just about any risotto recipe: white wine, butter, onion, herbs, and lemon juice.

There is one unique aspect of this recipe, and it requires the Parmesan rind, so be sure not to throw it into the trash. Instead, you'll pop the rind right into the broth as it heats up, helping infuse that sharp flavor into the liquid itself. As a result, there will be a more prominent Parmesan flavor in your risotto, making an already decadent dish somehow even more delicious. This small step requires essentially no extra time or planning, but it really does help yield extra-cheesy results — this is a Parmesan risotto, after all, so you might as well play it up as much as possible.

Recipe: Parmesan Risotto

11. Autumn Harvest Pumpkin Risotto

We're not going to pretend like this pumpkin risotto recipe doesn't scream fall through and through — this is a very autumnal recipe, from the inclusion of pumpkin to the sage to the toasted hazelnuts. Of course, all the ingredients in this risotto can be sourced year-round, so no matter the season, you can enjoy a taste of pumpkin-y goodness and switch things up from classic risotto all in one go.

There are a few elements that make this dish special, and the pumpkin puree is just one of them. You'll also find crispy bacon as a garnish for this risotto, along with fried sage leaves for a crispy surprise. Toasted hazelnuts add a certain warmth to the finished dish, and all garnishes work together to complement the earthy, pumpkin-infused risotto base. You could enjoy a warm bowl of this pumpkin risotto all on its own, though you might want to pair it with some crusty bread or perhaps a bright side salad — whether that's fall-themed is strictly up to you.

Recipe: Autumn Harvest Pumpkin Risotto

12. Cauliflower Rice Risotto

It's no secret that rice is necessary to make risotto, and typically arborio rice or short-grain rice is the best bet. Well, it is possible to veer away from arborio rice and still make a successful risotto — in fact, you can veer away from starchy rice entirely. This cauliflower rice risotto recipe puts a veggie-forward spin on the dish we all know and love, ideal for those who follow a low-carb diet or simply want to put cauliflower to inventive use. 

You have two options when it comes to the cauliflower rice; you can simply use the pre-made stuff, or you can chop a cauliflower head into florets then break those down in a food processor. Whichever rice option you choose, you'll be treating it a little differently than you would in a typical risotto. Instead of slowly ladling broth into the rice, you'll instead hit it with coconut milk, which helps make up for the creaminess that the starchy rice would provide in traditional risotto. Since you don't have to cook the risotto nice and slow, this recipe will be ready to go in record time — we're talking less than 20 minutes, including both prep and cook time.

Recipe: Cauliflower Rice Risotto

13. Instant Pot Mushroom Risotto

If you love risotto but hate the traditional stovetop cooking method, then this is one of many Instant Pot recipes here to save the day. Indeed, you can whip up risotto in the nifty kitchen appliance, which both makes things easier for you and helps remove any guesswork from the cooking process. You'll start by using the pot's sauté function to cook the onion, garlic, and mushrooms, then in goes the rice and broth for pressure cooking. The process is nice and short, so that means that the Instant Pot method will also reduce the time you have to spend in the kitchen.

Once the risotto is done cooking, you'll finish it off with some butter and Parmesan cheese. Though the mushrooms do add an extra level of heartiness to this risotto, you might want to pair it with a protein like chicken, tofu, or fish to round out the meal — and, since the Instant Pot will handle the risotto, you can easily focus your attention on the main course.

Recipe: Instant Pot Mushroom Risotto