How to Make Risotto Without All the Stirring | Yummly

How to Make Risotto Without All the Stirring

Surprise: The best risotto recipes for home cooks take very little work! Skip all that stirring and instead make risotto in your Instant Pot, slow cooker, or even in the oven.

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I didn’t grow up eating risotto — in my 1970s childhood, I don’t recall ever seeing it on a restaurant menu. My Italian-American husband, on the other hand, enjoyed his great-grandmother’s homemade risotto regularly. That traditional family recipe is how I learned to cook the dish. It calls for constant stirring to release the rice’s starches and create the classic creamy texture. 

Standing in front of the stove, wooden spoon in perpetual motion, is not my idea of fun, especially in the warmer months. Luckily, I don’t have to. And neither do you, thanks to the equally delicious alternative methods you’re about to learn, along with 12 easy risotto recipes.

Jump ahead to:

Risotto FAQs >>

Instant Pot risotto recipes >>

Slow cooker risotto recipes >>

Oven risotto recipes >>

What to serve with risotto >>

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Risotto FAQs

Here are answers to your burning risotto questions.

What is risotto?

Simply put, it’s an Italian rice dish cooked with broth. As with many Italian recipes, the ingredients you use — especially the type of rice —  really matter. Without the right kind of short-grain rice, typically arborio, carnaroli, or vialone nano, you won’t get the starchy, creamy effect that makes risotto risotto.

How to make risotto the old-school way

Let’s say for a moment you’re still considering traditional risotto. First you heat chicken broth or vegetable broth and keep it hot over low heat. Put two or three tablespoons butter or extra-virgin olive oil in another large saucepan over medium heat, and add in finely chopped shallots, garlic, or other aromatics. Let them soften, then add one or two cups arborio rice and stir another minute or two. That’s when the fun begins: the constant stirring. First you add some dry white wine and stir until it’s mostly absorbed. Once that’s done, you’ll pour in one ladle of broth at a time, stirring as the rice plumps up and releases its starch. Add another ladleful of broth when the pan is nearly dry, and keep going until the grains of rice are al dente and the dish has a luxuriously creamy texture. At the very end, stir in some soft butter and grated Parmesan cheese, and serve.

How long does it take to cook risotto?

Stovetop risotto — just the stirring part — takes around 20 minutes. Add in some prep time, and the total time clocks in between 30 and 40 minutes. So it’s weeknight-friendly, in theory. But when I’m making dinner, I’m usually doing a half-dozen other things at the same time. I don’t have 20 minutes to stand at the stove and stir! Which is why I haven’t cooked risotto that way since I became a mom. 

Instead, I use one of these nifty, low-stir techniques:

  • Instant Pot risotto takes less time than the stovetop version — most recipes get dinner on the table in around 20 minutes total. When you lift the lid you’ll see plenty of liquid and think something’s wrong, but stir for just a minute or two and you’ll get that creamy, starchy effect.

  • Slow cooker risotto definitely isn’t a time-saver, but it couldn’t be easier. Some recipes call for nothing more than adding the ingredients to the cooker, turning it on, and walking away. Here, too, you’ll stir just before serving.

  • Oven risotto takes about an hour from start to finish, and I find the results are often a little drier than the other techniques, so I like to stir in a little more broth just before serving.

How to reheat risotto

Risotto is at its peak right out of the pot, but we almost always have leftovers, which I refrigerate in an airtight container. To reheat risotto, you’ve got two options: To use your stovetop, put your cold risotto into a saucepan and add a splash of water or broth to loosen it. Cover and cook over low heat, stirring often, until hot. Or use the microwave. Put the risotto into a microwave-safe bowl, again with a splash of liquid, and reheat.

I’ll clue you in on a secret: I’m much more likely to use leftover risotto to make something else, like arancini (fried rice balls) or risotto cakes

Instant Pot risotto recipes

Grab your risotto rice and let’s get cooking! If you’ve got an Instant Pot or similar stovetop pressure cooker, perfect risotto is just minutes away.

Risotto ai Funghi (Mushroom Risotto) | Slow or Pressure Cooker

This handy recipe lets you choose your gadget — it provides instructions for both slow cookers and pressure cookers. Either way the result is delicious, full of umami from the mushrooms and Parmesan, and laced with the aroma of fresh thyme.

Risotto Primavera

“Primavera” means “spring” in Italian, so this easy risotto recipe features several hallmarks of the season, like asparagus and fava beans. At the end you’ll stir in baby spinach and lemon (both juice and zest) along with the grated Parmesan cheese, for an extra pop of bright flavor and color.

Instant Pot Chicken Risotto

With tender chunks of chicken and sliced mushrooms and creamy, al dente rice, this recipe cooks up a complete meal while you’re busy doing other things. The spice blend on the chicken — paprika, dried herbs, kosher salt, and black pepper — adds tons of flavor to the finished dish.

20-Minute Fresh Tomato Risotto

When you get your hands on some perfectly fresh roma tomatoes, you’re going to want to make this dish. It swaps grated tomatoes for chicken stock to create a creamy, pink risotto that tastes like summer. If I have fresh basil on hand, I like to stir some in at the end.

Slow cooker risotto recipes

Risotto in the crockpot isn’t your usual cook-all-day recipe — in many cases, you’ll be eating in less than two hours. And still, no hovering and stirring.

Slow Cooker Pumpkin Risotto

This might be the easiest recipe of them all. There’s no pre-saute at all. You just put canned pumpkin puree, arborio rice, minced garlic, vegetable broth, and another ingredient or two into your slow cooker, turn it on, and come back a few hours later.

Asparagus, Leek and Lemon Risotto

This light, bright-tasting dish uses a clever technique to ensure the asparagus doesn’t overcook and get mushy: The leeks and rice cook together for 30 minutes, then you stir in the chopped asparagus stalks. After another 30 minutes, you’re good to go.

Sweet Corn Risotto With Basil and Bacon

This flavor combination, bacon, corn, and basil, just knocks my socks off. Using bacon drippings to saute the sweet onion and rice infuses the entire dish with smoky goodness, and those little pops of corn kernels and crisp bacon make such a nice contrast.

Slow Cooker Risotto with Italian Sausage and Butternut Squash

When you’re in the mood for something heartier, this butternut squash risotto fits the bill. With protein from the sausage, carbohydrates from the rice, and vitamins and fiber from the squash and spinach, it’s not just a main dish, it’s a complete meal in a bowl.

Oven risotto recipes

In cooler weather, I’d rather turn on the oven and walk away than stand in front of the stove, stirring. These recipes are easiest with a Dutch oven, which can go from stovetop to oven, but you can also transfer your ingredients to a baking dish. 

Simple Baked Risotto

Think of this easy risotto recipe as the ideal side dish, creamy and cheesy, or as a jumping-off point for your favorite add-ins (the recipe even includes a few suggestions). Once it goes into the oven, you have a blissful 45 minutes to put up your feet.

Oven-Baked Risotto with Sweet Potato and Kale

Ribbons of kale and soft chunks of sweet potato make this a fantastic vegan main course, full of interesting flavors and textures. The recipe doesn’t call for any butter or cheese, but if you’re not vegan feel free to stir some in just before serving.

Baked Risotto Carbonara

Spaghetti carbonara features a sauce made with eggs, cheese, and cured pork. This rice-based version comes out uber-creamy thanks to a last-minute addition of eggs and creme fraiche. You can’t go wrong with crisped-up pancetta studding the dish.

Creamy Baked Sausage Risotto

This hearty risotto is just the thing for a cozy weeknight dinner, thanks to canned, diced tomatoes and Italian chicken sausage. Treat it like a meal-in-a-bowl (it’s got everything you need), or add a simple green salad alongside.

What to serve with risotto

Whether you’re serving it as a side dish or a main dish, you may want to add a little something to fill out the meal. Here are four great options.

Beet, Goat Cheese, and Grapefruit Salad

Yummly Original

Sophisticated yet simple, a bright salad with roasted beets, tart citrus, and crunchy hazelnuts makes a perfect pairing for a heartier risotto. 

Easy Balsamic Roasted Vegetables

Yummly Original

With very little effort, sweet and tangy balsamic vinegar, garlic, and rosemary liven up whatever vegetables you have on hand. The recipe plays nicely with a creamy rice dish.

Juicy Herbed Weeknight Chicken Thighs

Yummly Original

When the risotto itself is relatively unadorned — just a vegetable or two, or no add-ins at all — you’ll want to treat it more like a side dish. That’s where easy, Italian-accented chicken comes in.

Baked Garlic Butter Shrimp Scampi

Yummly Original

Ready in just 15 minutes, garlicky, buttery shrimp can top all kinds of risottos. I especially like it with lighter, lemony versions — here’s one you can make in the oven at the same time.

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