How to Make Risotto

Don't let risotto intimidate you any longer.

Rich and creamy risotto has a reputation for being finicky and laborious to make. But, the process, when done right, is simple and intuitive. Use these visual and texture cues to guide you through making the perfect pan of risotto.

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1 Choose Your Rice

Short grain rice is a must when making risotto. This starchy rice is responsible for creating the thick, luxurious sauce that makes risotto so delicious. For the best risotto, choose an Italian short grain variety like Arborio or Carnaroli.


2 Prepare Your Ingredients

Before beginning your risotto, prepare the ingredients so they are ready to go when needed. Finely dice one onion, shred one cup of fresh Parmesan cheese, measure 2 cups of short grain rice, and four tablespoons of butter. Place five cups of high quality, low sodium chicken broth in a saucepot and bring the pot to a simmer. Keep the broth at a low simmer throughout the risotto-making process.

3 Cook Your Onion

Sauté the diced onion with the butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat until the onions are soft and transparent. To keep the onions from browning, reduce your heat as needed.

4 Toast Your Rice

Add the dry rice to the skillet with the butter and onions. Avoid the temptation to rinse the rice first, as the powdery starch coating helps develop the sauce. Sauté the rice for a couple minutes, or until the grains begin to look transparent, but not brown.

This toasting process helps the rice cook slowly and produces a deep, toasty flavor

5 Deglaze with Wine

If desired, the skillet can be deglazed with a dry white wine for extra flavor. Add 1/3 to 1/2 cup of wine, stirring to loosen any browned butter from the bottom of the skillet. If you prefer not to use wine, you can skip ahead and begin with the hot broth

6 Add Broth

Add one cup of the simmering broth to the skillet. Stir the rice and broth constantly until the liquid is absorbed. Add a second cup of broth and repeat the process.

7 Test Your Sauce

As each cup of broth is absorbed, it will begin to form a thick sauce. Continue to add broth, one cup at a time, until the rice is tender, but still slightly firm. You'll need to taste the rice throughout the process to test the texture and determine doneness. The sauce should be thick, creamy, and flow slowly like hot lava. If you run out of broth before the rice becomes tender, continue the process with hot, simmering water.


8 Add Your Cheese

Once the rice is cooked through, stir in one cup of shredded Parmesan cheese and freshly cracked pepper to taste. Feel free to experiment with other flavor add-ins, like lemon zest, truffle oil, or other cheeses.

9 Serve & Enjoy!

Serve the risotto immediately after cooking. Risotto will begin to gel and thicken as it cools and reheated risotto can become stiff and dry, so always make your risotto just before serving.

About Budget Bytes

Beth from Budget Bytes is a food lover and a number cruncher who dishes up  healthy recipes on her blog that won't put a huge dent in your wallet. She is the author of the cookbook, Budget Bytes: Over 100 Easy Delicious Recipes to Slash Your Grocery Bill in Half, and she also works as a microbiologist in a hospital laboratory. Follow her on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.