The silkiest, creamiest, absolute best risotto recipes

It starts with butter or olive oil and ends with lots of cheese — what’s not to love?

Published January 29, 2022 4:29PM (EST)

 (Ty Mecham / Food52)
(Ty Mecham / Food52)

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Have you ever met someone who wasn't absolutely head over heels for risotto? No? Same here. There's something about this cheesy, creamy dish that will instantly transport your taste buds to a hole-in-the-wall trattoria in Milan, no matter where in the world you're dining. Since most people can't fly to Italy on a moment's notice, we're bringing a taste of Nonna's cooking to your own kitchen with these 22 risotto recipes.

Here, you'll find traditional methods for cooking risotto in a large skillet or saucier, as well as a modern-day technique, which calls for cooking risotto in an Instant Pot. Whether you're looking for an excellent vegan version or want to cook an extra-special saffron-infused dish — for a crowd or just for one — our best risotto recipes will make you say, "That's amore!"

Best risotto recipes

1. Basic Risotto

Is this the ultimate risotto recipe? We think so. There's nothing overly fussy or unexpected here — just a classic combination of butter, shallots, garlic, white wine, lemon zest and juice, and grated Italian cheese.

2. Porcini Mushroom Risotto

Whether you want to impress dinner guests or are just looking for an elegant vegetarian meal that you can whip up any night of the week, this quick risotto recipe should do the trick. It calls for 7 ounces of fresh porcini mushrooms, but feel free to swap in any mushroom variety that you love.

3. Risotto alla Milanese (Saffron Risotto)

Go for gold with this Italian-inspired risotto recipe that gets its intense yellow hue from a pinch of dried saffron threads. Amp up the flavor even more with a couple tablespoons of bone marrow and butter for sautéing the onion and rice.

4. Farro Risotto

Instead of the usual Arborio rice, this quick and easy risotto recipe gets its nuttiness and color from farro. Cook the grains in advance, so that all you need to do is sauté them with butter, onion, white wine, and, of course, lots and lots of Parmesan cheese.

5. Risotto Alla Carbonara

Two timeless Italian recipes — risotto and spaghetti carbonara — are paired together for the dish of our dreams. Instead of toasting the rice in butter, sauté it in bacon fat (you can thank Eric Kim for that idea). At the end of the cooking process, fold in the carbonara essentials — egg yolks, heavy cream, black pepper, and Parm.

6. Pesto Risotto for One with Shrimp

Party of one? Instead of making a big batch of risotto, make this single-serve recipe that doesn't skimp on flavor. The process for making this risotto recipe is straightforward, but the real magic happens at the end, when a few tablespoons of pesto and sour cream are stirred in.

7. Butternut Squash Risotto with Mushrooms

"When in doubt, serve rice," says recipe developer Eric Kim. But this is no ordinary rice dish. He folds puréed butternut squash into cooked risotto, which gives it a vibrant orange hue and slightly sweet flavor that pairs perfectly with wild mushrooms.

8. Summer Corn Risotto in Sweet Corn Broth

When summer rolls around, we can't wait to cook with fresh corn. This risotto recipe gets plenty of sweet corn flavor from both a homemade stock and kernels cut straight off the cob.

9. Leek Risotto

Hot take: Leeks are underutilized! We took matters into our own hands and developed a risotto recipe that gives this allium its well-deserved 45 minutes of fame, which is all the time it takes to cook.

10. Shrimp and Artichoke Risotto

If you've only ever enjoyed fresh artichokes stuffed with bread crumbs or dipped into a silky hollandaise sauce, meet your new favorite preparation.

11. Squid Ink Risotto (Risotto al Nero di Seppia)

Squid ink may sound mysterious and spooky, but we promise this umami-packed ingredient shouldn't be reserved only for Halloween dinner. Paired with fresh squid and peeled tomatoes, it's a decidedly Italian meal that's super special.

12. Butternut Squash and Saffron Risotto

Together, saffron threads and cooked butternut squash bring a vivid hue and floral notes to this autumnal vegetarian risotto recipe.

13. Vegan Lemon Asparagus Risotto

There's no butter (just olive oil!), and instead of Parmesan cheese, we swapped in nutritional yeast for a rice bowl that's as rich as the original. Pro tip: Make this during spring when asparagus is at its peak.

14. Farro Risotto with Caramelized Apples and Fennel

Nutty farro is cooked in a combination of apple cider and chicken stock, then mixed with caramelized Honeycrisp apples and fresh fennel for the ultimate fall feast.

15. Shrimp and Grits Style Risotto

This genius fusion of two beloved comfort food recipes brings umami flavor from sliced mushrooms, a kick from hot sauce, and so much good fatty flavor from bacon.

16. Lemon and Saffron Risotto

Don't underestimate the power of lemon and saffron. Though each flavor is simple enough on its own, when joined together, they make one spectacular vegetarian risotto.

17. Celery Risotto with Asian Pear and Shiso

It's not easy being green, unless you're this risotto recipe that gets its pastel color and bright, crisp flavor from pears, celery, and shiso leaf, an herb that's part of the mint family. In addition to the usual Pecorino Romano, we also folded in a few tablespoons of ricotta.

18. Instant Pot Risotto Primavera

See how everyone's favorite multi-cooker works its magic in this risotto recipe that features a trio of greens including peas, baby spinach, and asparagus.

19. Roasted Cauliflower Brown Rice Risotto with Lemon, Walnut, and Mascarpone

Both the florets and leaves of cauliflower are used in this low-carb risotto that's perked up with aromatic Meyer lemon, mascarpone cheese, and roasted walnuts.

20. Farro Risotto with Sausage, Mushroom, Peas, and a Poached Egg

From now on, we're always going to top a bowl of risotto with a poached egg. Once you try it, you too will realize that there's simply no other way.

21. Seaweed Risotto with Clams and Peas

"Seaweed is a super versatile pantry staple and nutritional powerhouse that helps build layers of flavor with notes of earthy mushroom and briny sea. This risotto features a type of dried kelp referred to as wakame in Japanese and miyeok in Korean," writes recipe developer Kay Chun. If you're looking for a new recipe to add to your Christmas Eve feast, this is it.

22. Parsnip Risotto with Caraway-Paprika Oil and Orangey Walnuts

If I'm being honest, I struggle to figure out what to do with parsnips. I can roast or mash them, but that's about where my creativity ends. This zesty risotto uses puréed parsnips for creaminess, which is brilliant. What will parsnips do next?

By Kelly Vaughan

MORE FROM Kelly Vaughan

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