How to cook risotto for beginners

Learn how easy it is to cook creamy risotto at home with these tips and tricks!

You'll master this Italian classic in no time so you can enjoy this cosy, warming dinner while the weather is chilly.

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How to make risotto for beginners

We’re ready to enjoy classic Italian risotto all through the cooler months! This comforting rice dish is so easy to make once you know the basics, and there are endless flavour combinations to enjoy. You can even customise it with your favourite flavours and additions, and make crunchy fried arancini balls with any leftovers. Learn to make risotto with these tips and tricks for beginners!

What is risotto?

Risotto is a creamy rice dish that originates from Northern Italy. It’s usually made from a short or medium grain rice in stock, and may be flavoured with wine, vegetables, meats, and cheese. See lots of risotto recipes below!

Watch how to make risotto

Get the recipe: Roast Pumpkin and Spinach Risotto

What type of rice is best for risotto?

Aborio rice is the most commonly used and easiest to find, though Carnaroli, Vialone Nano, Baldo and Padano are particularly good for risotto if you can find them. They are medium to short grain rices that are particularly high in starch, which is important to give the dish its creaminess.

Long grain rices such as jasmine and basmati won’t work for risotto, as they will break down too much. You also can’t make risotto with brown rice, as the bran on the rice stops the starch from being released.

Related: Don’t want to buy a whole bag of rice just for risotto? Here are 5 ways you can use risotto rice!

Does risotto rice need to be rinsed before cooking?

No, don’t rinse the rice! Rinsing will wash off the starch which is so important to get the right texture. Without it, your risotto may come out watery and thin instead of thick and velvety. 

Warm up your stock first

Adding the stock warm will not only speed up the process, it will also help your risotto to cook evenly and become even creamier. Keep your risotto at an even simmer while cooking.

When should you start adding stock to risotto?

You need to toast the rice before adding stock. The rice from the packet is relatively opaque and white, when you toast it in the pan, it will become coated in oil and translucent and shiny on the surface. When it looks glassy like this, it’s time to add stock.

Why do you add stock slowly to risotto?

Adding the stock gradually means you can ensure you get the right al dente texture and won’t accidentally add too much stock. Adding the stock slowly and stirring also rubs the grains of rice together, and as the starch gets rubbed off it thickens the sauce. 

Why is my risotto rice still hard?

If your risotto is still hard, it hasn't finished cooking. Keep adding more stock until it becomes al dente or your preferred texture.

How do you make risotto creamy?

To make risotto even creamier, add butter and good quality grated cheese like parmesan or Romano at the end of the cooking and stir well. Take off the heat and let risotto sit, covered, for 2-3 minutes. Adding these fats at the very end will give you a creamy, silky finish.

Risotto recipes

Now you know how it’s done, get cooking with these risotto recipes! Find vegetarian ideas, classic recipes and more.

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