This Mushroom Risotto made super easy in the oven will blow your mind!
Mushroom Risotto is a classic Italian favorite that is unbelievably creamy, garlicky, warm, and comforting loaded with caramelized shallots and buttery mushrooms for umami packed pleasure. This Mushroom Risotto recipe is gourmet enough for special occasions (hello Easter) but easy enough for every day – you seriously will be BLOWN away at how easy it is! The oven version is 100% foolproof and doesn’t require constant stirring or babysitting. Mushroom Risotto can be served either as a side or a main course, and is extremely versatile – add peas, spinach, chicken, Italian sausage, etc. This Mushroom Risotto recipe also reheats beautifully (unlike traditional rice), so it’s the meal that keeps on giving.
MUSHROOM RISOTTO RECIPE
With Easter just around the corner, I’ve had to narrow my recipes down to the best of the best to share with you – and my Hashbrown Casserole and this Mushroom Risotto made the cut – because they are INSANELY delicious. (And thank you, I am at home now with IVs and feel 10X better.) For more helpful Easter recipes, see this categorized collection of over 75 Easter recipes or you can see them at a glance here.
Now back to the main event! I wanted to share this Mushroom Risotto recipe because it’s elegant comfort food at its most addicting AND SO easy! Risotto has a reputation of being temperamental and time consuming, but it is actually extremely easy and forgiving to make. The only prerequisite is that you use the correct rice – that’s it to achieve unbelievably creamy, velvety, buttery, savory, salty Mushroom Risotto!
The traditional technique for making risotto calls for stirring small amounts of warmed broth into a large pot of rice a little at a time, which is tedious, hands-on and time consuming. This traditional technique began when Italians cooked risotto in tall, narrow pots which required constant stirring for even cooking.
While this old-school technique still works, it has been debunked that it is the only way to properly cook risotto by established food authorities such as Kenji Lopez-Alt at Serious Eats. My beloved oven method which I’ve shared in Parmesan Risotto, Spinach Risotto, Butternut Squash Risotto, Greek Chicken Risotto and Creamy Chicken Risotto, emerges every bit as creamy and dreamy without all the babysitting!
BEST MUSHROOM RISOTTO RECIPE
It’s a sad day when your order Mushroom Risotto and it’s gluey or mushy with speckles of meager, squishy, lackluster mushrooms – but not this Mushroom Risotto recipe! This recipe is better than the finest restaurant! It’s decadently creamy, al dente perfection bursting with the tastiest mushrooms you ever sunk your teeth into – every time.
For this Mushroom Risotto recipe, the arborio rice is toasted with shallots and garlic, then brought to a simmer with chicken broth and herbs, then transferred to the oven to bake to velvety glory. While the risotto bakes, the mushrooms are sautéed to glorious caramelized perfection, then stirred into the baked risotto after it drinks up additional butter and Parmesan cheese. Drooling yet?
Reasons to love this Mushroom Risotto Recipe:
- Easy without any babysitting. If you know how to stir, then you can make this Mushroom Risotto – and most of the time is hand-off baking!
- Multi-tasking. The risotto bakes while you sauté the mushrooms which cuts the prep time in half.
- Flavor. The Mushroom Risotto is savory, garlicky, buttery infused with parsley, basil, thyme, salt and pepper – and you’ll love my secret ingredient that really makes the mushrooms sing!
- Best mushrooms. The mushrooms are caramelized by cooking without stirring for three minutes then sautéed to golden perfection with a splash of soy sauce, salt and pepper. You’ll be using this mushroom technique for all your mushroom recipes!
- Versatile. Add anything! Try asparagus, petite peas, spinach, zucchini, bell peppers, tomatoes or protein such as ground beef, Italian sausage or shredded chicken.
WHAT IS RISOTTO?
Before we dive further into this Mushroom Risotto recipe, what exactly is risotto? Risotto (from the Italian word for rice, “riso”) is a northern Italian rice dish slow cooked in a broth until delectable creamy consistency – it is essentially creamy rice but NOT mushy rice.
Risotto is often associated with gourmet restaurants, but it is actually the epitome of Italian home cooking and very simple to prepare. In fact, most Italians will tell you risotto should require no more than 18 minutes to make.
The traditional technique for making risotto calls for stirring small amounts of warmed broth into a large pot of rice a little at a time, allowing the rice to absorb the liquid then stirring in some more. This method has given home cooks the impression that risotto is too time consuming to make at home BUT my oven version solves all that!
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN RISOTTO AND RICE?
Risotto is a type of rice dish; not all rice is risotto but all risotto is rice. Rice can be any variety of rice and prepared in any preparation. Risotto, on the other hand, should only be made with high starch short grain rice – either arborio or carnaroli – and cooked in broth to create a creamy rice dish.
MUSHROOM RISOTTO INGREDIENTS
In addition to arborio rice, Mushroom Risotto also contains mushrooms, butter, garlic, shallots, broth and Parmesan cheese – all you need for comforting decadence. You can also add additional vegetables or any protein such as chicken, Italian sausage or even shrimp or lobster.
WHAT TYPE OF RICE SHOULD I USE?
The secret to making restaurant quality Mushroom Risotto at home is using arborio rice. Arborio rice is a short-grained, starchy rice. When cooked, the rounded grains become creamy and chewy due to the high starch content without becoming gluey or mushy.
CAN I USE A DIFFERENT RICE?
Arborio rice is the most common and most reliable rice for any risotto recipe. It is also easy to find at most supermarkets. You may also use carnaroli rice which is dependable and hard to overcook but can only be found at specialty markets.
Please use only these two varieties of rice. If you use any other rice variety, your Mushroom Risotto recipe will not taste the same or have the correct consistency and texture due to the different starch content.
For example, both basmati and jasmine rice will not work due to their low starch content. Basmati creates rice with individual grains when cooked and jasmine tends to stick together. Only arborio rice creates perfect risotto every time.
WHERE CAN I BUY ARBORIO RICE?
Almost every grocery store carries arborio rice. It is often found in a plastic container alongside the other rice varieties. I use Rice Select which is also sold in bulk on Amazon. You can also purchase smaller quantities of other brands on Amazon.
What mushrooms are best?
I chose to use every day, easy-to-find cremini/baby bella mushrooms and elevate them with the cooking technique. Cremini mushrooms are a more mature version of the white button mushroom and therefore heartier, earthier and overall more flavorful. White mushrooms would be my very last choice for Mushroom Risotto.
Cremini Mushrooms, on the other hand, are younger than the next mature variety, the portobello and that is why they are often called “baby bella” or “baby portobello” mushrooms. Once they reach about 4″ – 6″ in diameter, they are deemed a portobello. The younger cremini mushrooms still boast a deep savory flavor.
You are also welcome to use other flavorful mushrooms such as portabello, shiitake, or oyster mushrooms or more exotic mushrooms such as chanterelle, morel, enoki or king oyster mushrooms. You can even mix and match different varieties of mushrooms.
What BROTH IS best?
The broth itself can be from meat, fish, mushrooms or other vegetables. I prefer chicken broth because it boasts the most flavor.
DO I HAVE TO ADD Parmesan?
Parmesan is what infuses the risotto with the classic Italian flavor. This Mushroom Risotto recipe calls for 3/4 cup Parmesan but you can use less (1/2 cup) or more (1 cup) to taste. Use finely freshly shredded Parmesan (shredded on the smallest holes of your grater, doesn’t need to be grated into powder), and never the Parmesan in the green can. Freshly shredded Parmesan melts and tastes far superior and will elevate your entire risotto.
dO I HAVE TO ADD HEAVY CREAM?
The heavy cream is optional but it is fabulous! Heavy cream isn’t always added to risotto – instead, the starches in the rice mix with the butter to create the creaminess and if you want creamier risotto, you simply stir in additional broth. That being said, a splash of heavy cream really elevates the Mushroom Risotto in my opinion. If you are choosing between finishing your risotto with butter or heavy cream, I’d opt for heavy cream.
IS RISOTTO GLUTEN FREE?
This Mushroom Risotto recipe is almost gluten free. To make it 100% gluten free, omit the soy sauce when cooking the mushrooms or substitute with tamari.
HOW TO MAKE MUSHROOM RISOTTO
You are going to love how easy this Mushroom Risotto recipe is to make. Here’s how with step by step photos and instructions:
- Toast Rice: Melt 2 tablespoons butter with 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat in a large Dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid. Add shallots and sauté 2 minutes. Add the rice and stir until well coated with butter and edges begin to look translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and sauté an additional 30 seconds.
- Add broth and seasonings. Add 5 1/2 cups warm chicken broth and all seasonings. Turn heat to high and bring to a simmer. When it starts to simmer around the edges, cover, and transfer to the oven. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until rice is tender.
- Caramelize mushrooms. While the risotto is baking, cook the mushrooms in two batches. Spread mushrooms into an even layer and let cook for 3 minutes in butter and olive oil without touching, then continue to cook and stir an additional 3-5 minutes, until all the liquid is evaporated and mushrooms are browned. Season with a splash of soy sauce, salt and pepper.
- Stir vigorously. When rice is tender, remove from oven and stir in remaining 1/2 cup chicken broth, 3 tablespoons butter (cubed) and Parmesan Cheese. Stir vigorously until butter and cheese are melted (this releases starch and makes it creamier).
- Add mushrooms. Stir mushrooms back into risotto.
- Adjust consistency. Stir in heavy cream or additional chicken broth if desired for an even creamier/saucier risotto. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste (I add both).
DO YOU WASH ARBORIO RICE BEFORE COOKING RISOTTO?
While it is good practice to rinse most rice before cooking it to eliminate extra starch, do NOT rinse arborio rice – we WANT the extra starch to create creamy risotto. Some of the starch is released while cooking and once again while vigorously stirring. This starch adds body and creaminess to the risotto and gives it the characteristic velvety consistency.
Tips for the best Mushroom Risotto Recipe
This Mushroom Risotto recipe is pretty straightforward, but here are a few tips to ensure success:
- Correct pot. Use a wide pot, preferably a cast iron Dutch oven, with a tight-fitting lid in order for the rice to cook evenly. A heavy, cast iron pot holds in more heat. If you don’ have a tight-fitting lid, then you can use foil, but make sure it is TIGHT otherwise the broth will evaporate before the rice is cooked, leaving you with crunchy rice.
- Use arborio rice. As detailed earlier, you must use arborio rice or your Mushroom Risotto recipe can easily become mushy. Arborio rice ensures creamy rice every time.
- Don’t rinse rice. In contrast to other rice recipes, we WANT the extra starch because that is what translates into creaminess.
- Toast rice. The brief step of sautéing the arborio rice is critical to perfect risotto. Toasting the rice not only infuses it with flavor, but more importantly, creates a protective barrier around each grain which helps the grains absorb moisture slowly. This allows the grains to maintain their structural integrity and become soft without becoming soggy or exploding from absorbing moisture too quickly.
- Use low sodium chicken broth. The broth will be reduced and absorbed into the rice so make sure to use LOW sodium chicken broth. You can add salt but you can’t take it away!
- Warm broth. Only use warm broth so the rice will cook evenly. Adding cold broth reduces the temperature of the rice and interrupts the cooking process. Warming the broth before adding it to the rice also releases more starch from each grain of rice whereas cold broth will cook the rice while shocking it into holding onto its starches.
- Bake on. If your rice is not done (too crunchy) but the broth is gone, simply add more broth and bake until the rice is on the softer side of al dente.
- Stir vigorously. After you add the butter and Parmesan, stir vigorously. The stirring isn’t just to combine the ingredients but is to stimulate the rice. Arborio rice becomes creamy as it is vigorously stirred and the starch is released.
- Mushroom variety. You can use whatever mushrooms you prefer such as cremini/baby bella mushrooms or shiitake that are nice and mushroomy.
- Don’t Submerge Mushrooms. If you rinse mushrooms in water, they will absorb water like a sponge and not brown as well or become as flavorful because they are full of water. Instead, clean them with a damp paper towel.
- Be patient. It is tempting to not cook your mushrooms to the point all the liquid is absorbed, but keep cooking until they are browned all over for maximum flavor.
- Cook mushrooms separately. It is best to cook the mushrooms separately from the rice and stir them into the risotto before serving. If you cook them with the rice, the mushrooms lose color, flavor and texture.
- Salt mushrooms at the end. Add salt and pepper when instructed at the end of cooking the mushrooms. If you salt your mushrooms while cooking, it will prevent them from browning in the pan.
- Salt to taste. If your Mushroom Risotto tastes like its missing something – it is probably salt. Salt enhances all of the other flavors. Add additional salt to taste a little at a time if needed.
- Heavy cream. Is optional but makes the Mushroom Risotto even creamier. I would not add heavy cream, however, if your rice is already on the saucier side.
WHAT IS THE CORRECT CONSISTENCY OF RISOTTO?
The rice in Mushroom Risotto should be on the softer side of al dente – slightly firm but not crunchy. The risotto should be saucy but not soupy – more like porridge. If your risotto is too crunchy but the broth is gone, simply add more broth and cook until the risotto is al dente. If your Mushroom Risotto is too thick, simply stir in additional chicken broth at low heat until it reaches the desired consistency and texture. You can also stir in additional heavy creamy for extra decadence.
CAN YOU OVERCOOK RISOTTO?
Risotto is more forgiving than rice but it can be overcooked, so be sure to check the Mushroom Risotto for doneness after 15 minutes. If the rice is not al dente, then continue to bake just until the softer side of al dente.
HOW TO STORE MUSHROOM RISOTTO
It’s hard to imagine there would be any leftovers of this decadently delicious Mushroom Risotto, but I’m always excited when there is! To store risotto, transfer it in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for three to five days.
HOW TO REHEAT MUSHROOM RISOTTO
Mushroom Risotto will thicken in the refrigerator due to the starch in the rice, but you can easily thin it out to and restore it to its glory. To reheat risotto:
- Add risotto and some chicken broth or water to a skillet, about ¼ cup liquid for 1 cup risotto.
- Heat over medium heat until warmed through, stirring often.
- If the risotto is still thick, stir in additional liquid one tablespoon at a time.
- You can also add additional butter and salt to taste as the salt will mellow when refrigerated.
CAN YOU FREEZE MUSHROOM RISOTTO?
Mushroom Risotto is best eaten fresh or refrigerated, never frozen. Freezing risotto will change its texture – the risotto won’t be as firm or creamy and the mushrooms will become soggy.
If you aren’t a stickler for perfect risotto, then make sure you let the risotto cool completely before freezing to help preserve some of the texture.
WHAT TO SERVE WITH MUSHROOM RISOTTO?
Mushroom Risotto can be served as a side or a main dish because it is quite rich and hearty. You can also add protein directly to the risotto for a meal-in-one. It also pairs beautifully as a side to proteins such as chicken, salmon, shrimp, pork and steak. It would be fabulous with:
- Baked Ham with Cider Maple Glaze
- Brown Sugar Glazed Ham
- Thanksgiving Turkey
- Sheet Pan Cashew Honey Soy Salmon
- Slow Cooker Honey Balsamic Beef
- Slow Cooker Beef Brisket
- Honey Dijon Chicken
- Chicken Cordon Bleu
- Creamy Parmesan Pesto Chicken
- Italian Meatballs
- Swedish Meatballs
- Spice Rubbed Steaks with Herb Butter
- Pan Seared Steak with Balsamic Herb Cream Sauce
MUSHROOM RISOTTO VARIATIONS
Once you make this easy Mushroom Risotto recipe once, you’ll want to add anything and everything to it so you can serve as a side or main course multiple nights a week! Here are just a few ideas:
- Protein: add cooked chicken, ground turkey, Italian sausage or lean ground beef to the broth and bake it with the rice. You can also stir in cooked bacon, sautéed shrimp or cooked salmon or lobster at the end of cooking.
- Vegetables: add any chopped vegetables such as asparagus, broccoli, zucchini, bell peppers, green beans, etc. and sauté them in in the butter and olive oil with the shallots and rice. You can also add faster cooking vegetables such thawed petite frozen peas or spinach or roasted vegetables directly to the risotto at the end of cooking.
- Spice it up: sauté a pinch of red pepper flakes in the butter for a kick.
- Cheese: mix up the flavor profile by adding your favorite cheeses. For example, pair broccoli with cheddar and bacon or feta with sun-dried tomatoes, spinach and olives. You can even add feta for a tangy Greek flair or Pepper Jack for a kick.
- Add-ins: you can stir in anything to this Mushroom Risotto such as lemon juice, lemon zest, sun-dried tomatoes, kalamata olives, basil pesto, bacon, pistachio, slivered almonds, toasted pine nuts, raisins, etc.
MORE FLAVOR VARIATIONS:
- Tomatoes and basil risotto
- Fennel and lemon
- Bacon and cheddar
- Spinach and pea
- Peas and mint
- Swiss chard and shrimp
- Gorgonzola and radicchio
- Asparagus, spinach and lemon
- Sun-dried tomato, spinach and feta
HELPFUL TOOLS TO MAKE Mushroom Risotto Recipe
- Deep Cast Iron Pan/Dutch Oven: This pan is the ultimate multitasker! It is awesome for searing, sautéing, browning, steaming, stir frying, and deep frying. It also seamlessly transfers from the stovetop to oven. You can also use a larger Dutch oven.
- Quality Knives: a chef’s knife will be your most used kitchen tool by far! Quality knives make prep time much quicker and are important for safety as well. If you’re concerned about moola, please remember that your best chef knives, depending on how hard you use them and how well you take care of them, can easily last 25 years or more. I love my Wusthof but there are hundreds of less expensive knives with great reviews such as this one.
- Cutting Board: I use my big solid cutting board daily so it’s worth the investment. This extra-large cutting board allows you to prep all your veggies on one surface and the bamboo is easier on knives than plastic.
- Garlic press: I use this every single day! It is the ultimate garlic press- it is easy-to-use, easy-to-clean and minces garlic with one squeeze. Unlike other presses, this garlic press has beveled holes that finely cut the clove rather than bruising it, bringing out the best flavor.
LOOKING FOR MORE ITALIAN RECIPE FAVORITES?
- World’s Best Lasagna
- Lasagna Soup
- Shrimp Fettuccine Alfredo
- Sun Dried Tomato Pasta
- Minestrone Soup
- Million Dollar Baked Penne
- Skinny Fettuccine Alfredo
- Spaghetti Bolognese
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