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Parmesan Risotto

You’ll gently stir this pot of rice, adding butter, heavy cream, parmesan, and white wine until you have a creamy, rich bowl of risotto worthy of your best spoons.


a bowl of homemade parmesan risotto drizzled with olive oil and topped with freshly cracked pepper with a spoon in it
Photography by Gayle McLeod

Classic Parmesan Risotto Is Easy To Make

We’ve got an easy Parmesan risotto recipe that you can add to your weeknight repertoire, subbing it in when you’re craving a rich and creamy side dish. We love to make this Parmesan risotto with lemon and garlic and serve it along with our One-Pot Braised Chicken with Kale and White Beans, Fish Puttanesca, or cook up a few vegetables like Perfectly Roasted Broccoli, and Roasted Mushrooms and serve everything into a bowl for a satisfying vegetarian meal. It requires just a handful of ingredients, and a little time to make this cozy Parmesan risotto recipe. If you’d like the risotto to be the star of the show, you could serve it as the main dish with a Simple Butter Lettuce Salad on the side. Don’t forget the wine! We recommend a dry white wine (one that you might like to drink with your meal!), like sauvignon blanc or chardonnay.

stock, butter, shallot, garlic, arborio rice, white wine, lemon zest & juice, cream, parmesan, salt & pepper in prep bowls

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What Is Risotto?

Risotto is one of our favorite Italian dishes, made from starchy short-grained rice–arborio rice is the most common variety used to make risotto, but there are a handful of varieties that can absorb liquids and release starch when they are cooked. Risotto, unlike other rice preparations, has a standard method of preparation. First, the rice shouldn’t be rinsed because you don’t want to remove any of the starch from the grains. To begin cooking, the rice is cooked briefly with shallot onions and butter to coat the grains. What Is The Secret To Creamy Risotto? The first secret is this: you can’t rush the cooking process. Risotto is not a pop-in-the-rice-cooker kind of meal. Make sure you give yourself 45 minutes to prepare, and you’ll be pleased as punch with the results. The next secret is to add warmed stock, a little at a time, so the rice can absorb it, along with gentle stirring so the rice can release its starches. This give and take process will produce a perfectly creamy risotto, with a firm toothsome texture.

wine, chicken stock, butter, shallots, garlic, arborio rice, lemon juice and lemon zest being cooked in a pot for risotto
chicken stock, butter and shallots being cooked together in a pot for parmesan risotto
chicken stock, butter, shallots, garlic and arborio rice being cooked together in a pot for parmesan risotto
wine being poured into a pot with chicken stock, butter, shallots, garlic, arborio rice, lemon juice and lemon zest

How To Make Parmesan Risotto

We hear you wondering, does risotto need Parmesan? And our answer is no, but it’s a very good idea to add it to this rice after it’s slowly cooked in wine and stock for about 20-25 minutes.

  1. Prepare the chicken stock (or vegetable stock if using)–warm it in a small saucepan over low heat.

  2. Start the risotto base–in a large saucepan or dutch oven, over medium heat, melt the butter. Add shallots and cook until translucent, then add garlic and the rice and cook, stirring often, until rice is fragrant and evenly coated in oil.

  3. Begin to add the liquids. Start with the white wine, lemon juice and lemon zest. Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly until liquid is absorbed. Next, add one cup of broth and stir continuously until broth is absorbed, about 5 more minutes. Continue adding broth one cup at a time, stirring constantly, until all broth is mostly absorbed, about 20-25 minutes.

  4. Cook until nice and creamy. Reduce heat to low and gently stir in heavy cream, the remaining butter and parmesan cheese, salt and pepper, until fully incorporated and cheese has melted, about 5 minutes. The consistency will be thick and creamy, and delightfully rich.

  5. Enjoy! Transfer risotto to a serving bowl and top with freshly ground pepper and more parmesan to suit your taste.

cream, butter, parmesan, salt and pepper being added to a pot with the other ingredients for making parmesan risotto
a pot of homemade parmesan risotto being stirred with a wooden spoon

Tools You’ll Need

a bowl of homemade parmesan risotto drizzled with olive oil and topped with freshly cracked pepper with a spoon in it
a bowl of homemade parmesan risotto drizzled with olive oil and topped with freshly cracked pepper with a spoon in it

More Delicious Recipes–Risotto And Risotto-ish Dishes

Once you get the hang of it, we have more great risotto dishes (and a few other fun ones!) for you to try, like:

Once You Put Your Spoon Down, We’d Love To See Your Risotto!

Since you gave this parmesan risotto so much tender loving care, we’d love to see pictures of your creation. Tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper. Happy eating!

Parmesan Risotto

  • Serves: 4
  • Prep Time:  5 min
  • Cook Time:  40 min
  • Calories: 642


  • 5 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 8 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1 large shallot, finely diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1½ cups arborio rice
  • ¾ cup dry white wine
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper, plus more for serving


  1. Add the stock to a small saucepan and heat over medium low.

  2. In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, melt 4 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and rice and cook, stirring frequently, until garlic is fragrant and rice is evenly coated, 3 to 4 minutes more.

  3. Add the wine, lemon zest, and lemon juice and bring to a simmer, stirring constantly, until the liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes. Add 1 cup of warm broth and cook, stirring constantly, until broth is absorbed, about 5 minutes. Repeat with remaining stock, 1 cup at a time, until mostly absorbed, 20 to 25 minutes more.

  4. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the heavy cream, remaining 4 tablespoons of butter, parmesan, salt, and pepper, until fully incorporated and the cheese has melted, about 5 minutes.

  5. Divide risotto between bowls and top with more pepper and parmesan if desired. Serve immediately.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories642
  • Protein20 g
  • Carbohydrates27 g
  • Total Fat43 g
  • Dietary Fiber2 g
  • Cholesterol107 mg
  • sodium2027 mg
  • Total Sugars2 g

Parmesan Risotto

Questions & Reviews

Join the discussion below.

  • Janelle

    I know you have an Orzo recipe for risotto, but we really love Parmesan and it’s easier for us to get in our country. We’ve got tonnnns of orzo at our house currently due to an order mixup 😂 would it be possible to swap the Arborio for Orzo, or would that change the recipe timings/liquid amounts etc?

    Follow the Orzo risotto recipe and use parmesan instead of the manchego cheese listed in the ingredient list. Hope you enjoy Janelle!


    What would be a flavorful substitute to the white wine in this recipe??

    If you are wanting to avoid alcohol in the recipe you could use chicken stock but it would probably need extra lemon juice to add the acidity it would be missing from the wine. We have not tested this specific recipe without wine.

  • Gretchen

    This is the best risotto recipe I’ve tried. Sinfully delicious! My family devoured it. Do you think I could double it, or would that screw up the liquid absorption in any way?

    Yes! You can double it!

  • Kay

    Everything you could want risotto to be! Love this recipe.

    Thank you Kay!