A forkful of creamy lemon risotto

Lemon Risotto (Risotto al Limone)

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6 as a starter and 4 as a main 1x


Lemon Risotto or Risotto al Limone is a simple risotto with a light, delicate flavour with the citrus juice and zest taking centerstage, without ever overpowering.



Lemon Risotto

  • 1.5 litres (6 cups) chicken or vegetable stock
  • 400g (2 cups) carnaroli rice (or any risotto rice you can get)
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 Tbsp salted butter
  • 2 Tbsp EV olive oil
  • 125ml (1/2) cup dry white wine (skip if you don’t do alcohol)
  • salt if needed
  • freshly ground black pepper

For finishing the Risotto

  • 2 Tbsp cold salted butter
  • 60g (2 oz) parmesan cheese
  • 1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten
  • 2 Tbsp limoncello (completely optional)
  • juice of 1 large lemon
  • zest of 2 large lemons

To serve

  • lemon wedges


  1. Place your stock, or water plus stockpots on high heat. Once it’s boiling, lower the heat down and leave it to simmer happily.
  2. While waiting for the stock, chop the onion up finely. Set aside.
  3. Heat the butter and olive oil on low heat and sauté the onions for 3 minutes, stirring.
  4. Add the rice and coat with all that fat, stirring well. Toast the rice for 3 more minutes, until the edges turn translucent.
  5. Increase the heat to medium and pour in the wine, stir, and leave to evaporate, stirring a little. Skip this step, if you don’t do alcohol.
  6. Add 1 cup of the simmering stock and stir gently. You can take a break, it doesn’t need to be round and round constantly, just regular stirring while the stock evaporates.
  7. When the stock has evaporated, add half a cup more of the stock, stir, and repeat this process for 12 minutes. Yes, watch the clock or put your kitchen timer on.
  8. Check the rice at the 12 minute mark. It should be just about done, depending on your rice, and the heat. Is it cooked – soft on the outside with just a bite in the middle? Is the risotto looking creamy, like a thick version of rice pudding? If it is, it’s done. If it’s not, add 1/4 cup stock, and stir. When that stock has been absorbed, check again. You shouldn’t really need to cook longer than 15-17 minutes in total.
  9. Then check the seasoning – does it need salt? Add some if you think it does, and stir it in.
  10. Take the risotto off the heat. Tip the butter, parmesan, egg yolk, limoncello, if using, lemon juice and half the lemon zest onto the risotto. Using a wooden spoon, stir it all in thoroughly and vigorously for a whole 30 seconds.
  11. Cover and leave to rest for 2 minutes.
  12. Spoon out the risotto onto serving plates and top with a small scatter of the lemon zest.
  13. Serve with a wedge of lemon for each diner to squeeze more juice on if desired.

  • Category: First or Main Course
  • Cuisine: Italian