How to make Basic “Creamy” Risotto

The title is a bit of a misnomer as even in its most standard form it isn’t basic at all. When I first started cooking my favorite type of food was Italian but where I grew up pasta and pizza was about as Italian as it got. As an adult I learned to make risotto (really learned) from a great Italian Chef and I was hooked. Most think risotto is hard to make and I have seen some bad versions but it is real easy. It just takes some attention and stirring. It is thought that you need cheese and butter to make it creamy but it is the process of cooking and the natural starch of the Arborio rice that gives it the “creamy” texture. For this recipe I didn’t add anything extra and you can see from the picture it still has that “creamy” feel to it. If you like feel free to add vegan butter or your favorite cheese at the end to finish but if watching calories it isn’t needed to still be great.

See the end of this post for suggestions of ways to change up this basic recipe. The orangish color from this recipe comes from the particular veggie stock I used so yours may be a bit lighter or whiter.


1/2 c yellow onion small diced

2 cloves garlic minced

2 Tbs olive oil

1/2 cup white wine

1 c Arborio or risotto rice

1 cup veggie stock

1 1/2-2 c water

Salt to taste

Vegan butter or your favorite vegan cheese can be added at the end. The amount is up to you but don’t over do it as Risotto on its own is pretty rich.


1. In a medium sauce pan over medium heat add the olive oil to the pan. Add in onion and sauté until translucent. Add garlic and sauté about 1 min.

2. Pour in rice and with a wooden spoon stir the rice so it is evenly coated in the olive oil. Stir about 1 min until the rice is slightly translucent.

3. Pour in white wine and cook until all the wine has been soaked up. Be sure to stir at least most of the time.

4. I combine the veggie stock and water together. Once the wine has cooked down add the water/stock mixture in about 3/4 cup portions. Be sure to stir the rice consistently and allow each portion of liquid to cook down before adding the next 3/4 cup. The amount of liquid is an approximation so add liquid until the rice is thoroughly cooked but still has a little “bite” to it or Al dente like pasta. The whole process will take about 35 minutes depending on how much you are making.

To know you have the right consistency the Risotto should spread just a bit when spooned onto a plate but not be soupy, Somewhat like oatmeal. I usually prefer a soup plate like in the picture or pasta bowl for serving. If adding “butter”or cheese you will want the consistency to be a little firmer as the latter will make it a thinner. Serve immediately.

*I will often make a bigger batch than I need and pour onto a sheet pan to firm up and make risotto cakes the next day or so.

**Want to mix flavors up a little- use a fresh juice like carrot or beet instead of stock or water. Use different wines instead of white. When your comfortable maybe try using different grains like barley and do a risotto style. You would need the vegan butter or cheese for the creamy consistency if you do but it is fun to play with. Or make them a little sweet and treat like a breakfast option I would probably leave out the onion and garlic if going that route though☺️.

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