Easy Traditional Risotto

Easy Traditional Risotto

The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 25 mins
Total: 35 mins
Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
247 Calories
14g Fat
23g Carbs
6g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 247
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 14g 17%
Saturated Fat 5g 24%
Cholesterol 21mg 7%
Sodium 1049mg 46%
Total Carbohydrate 23g 8%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 6g
Vitamin C 1mg 6%
Calcium 90mg 7%
Iron 1mg 7%
Potassium 117mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Risotto is an Italian main or side dish that uses short-grain rice. This type of rice, which is quite round and looks very different from long-grain rice, releases lots of starch during cooking so the finished dish is very creamy and rich. This recipe for easy traditional risotto is classic, and to make it the best it can be, just closely follow the recipe.

You can easily add cooked meat or vegetables to this risotto to make it a main dish. For example, try gently cooked asparagus, peas, mushrooms, or sausage.

Pair the risotto with a fresh, crisp green salad dressed with a simple vinaigrette, and some toasted garlic bread on the side is a nice touch.


  • 5 cups warm chicken broth 

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 medium onion, diced

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 2 cups Arborio rice

  • 1/2 cup dry white wine, or chicken broth

  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • Salt, to taste

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Easy traditional risotto ingredients

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  2. Place chicken broth in a heavy saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer over low heat.

    Chicken broth in a heavy saucepan

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  3. Heat the olive oil in another heavy saucepan over medium heat. Cook the onion and garlic, stirring frequently, until the onion becomes translucent, about 4 to 5 minutes—don't let the vegetables brown.

    Olive oil and onions in a saucepan

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  4. Stir in the rice and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, for 3 to 4 minutes, until some grains begin to look translucent.

    Add rice to the onions in the saucepan

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  5. Add the wine or extra 1/2 cup chicken broth. Cook and stir until liquid is absorbed.

    Wine and chicken broth cooking with rice in the saucepan

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  6. Add about 1/2 cup of simmering chicken broth to the rice mixture, stirring constantly and cooking until the liquid is absorbed.

    Broth added to the onion and rice mixture in the saucepan

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  7. Add more broth, about 1 cup at a time, cooking and stirring until it's absorbed and repeating until the rice is done. The whole cooking process should take about 20 to 25 minutes. The rice should be tender but firm in the center (or al dente). Test it by biting into some grains.

    Risotto cooking in the saucepan

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  8. When the rice is done, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cheese and butter, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir until melted, then serve.

    Stirring in the cheese, butter, salt, and pepper

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi


  • Make sure the broth or stock you use is warmed. Adding cold liquid to the risotto as it's cooking will slow down the cooking process and may even "shock" the rice so that it won't absorb as much liquid. Keep it on low heat and add it a ladle at a time, stirring while the broth is added.
  • The stirring action is necessary to help the rice release starch so that the liquid thickens and the risotto is very creamy. The classic recipe calls for adding butter at the very end of cooking time to add some richness, but you can skip this step if you're trying to cut down on dietary fat.
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese is a must. Don't even think about using pretreated cheese, especially the cheese in the green can. You have to use the real thing for the best flavor and texture in risotto.

What Types of Rice Can Be Used for Risotto?

The best types of rice and most popular to use when making risotto are Arborio (which is easily found), carnaroli, and vialone nano. These types of rice are high in starch, can absorb liquid, and hold their shape better.