Shrimp Risotto

This Shrimp Risotto recipe is an immensely comforting, impressive, restaurant quality dish baked in the oven for foolproof, easy risotto every time!

This Shrimp Risotto recipe is unbelievably creamy, garlicky, warm, and comforting, loaded with succulent, pan-seared shrimp, caramelized shallots, sun-dried tomatoes and fresh herbs. It’s restaurant quality for special occasions (hello Valentine’s Day) but easy enough for every day thanks to the 100% foolproof oven method that will blow your mind! This recipe is also extremely versatile – add any veggies you like, more or less butter, cream, cheese etc.  This Shrimp Risotto also reheats beautifully (unlike traditional rice), so it’s the meal that keeps on giving! Serve it up with pear salad or Caesar salad and garlic bread for a crave-worthy feast.

I am pretty obsessed with luxurious risotto, especially because it can be baked in the oven! If you also love its velvety creaminess, don’t miss Baked Butternut Squash RisottoGreek Chicken Risotto, Parmesan Risotto, Mushroom Risotto  or Pumpkin Risotto.

How to Make Shrimp Risotto Video

top view of shrimp risotto garnished by basil
showing how to serve shrimp risotto by adding risotto to a bowl with shrimp on top

What You Will Need to make Shrimp Risotto

This Shrimp Risotto recipe looks and tastes gourmet but is easy to make with easy-to-find ingredients. In addition to the Arborio rice, you will need the following (full recipe with measurements in the recipe card at the bottom of the post):  

  • Shrimp: Use large shrimp, 26-30 count (which means there are 26-30 shrimp in a pound).  See my notes below for more details.
  • Seasonings: The shrimp is independently scrumptious, seasoned with garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, salt, and pepper – you’ll want to eat them plain! The risotto portion is simply seasoned with red pepper flakes, dried oregano, salt and pepper, and later finished with fresh herbs.
  • Fresh basil: Chopped fresh basil is added at the very end of cooking to brighten up the dish. You may used ½ tablespoon dried if needed.
  • Butter:  The shallots and rice are sautéed in butter for decadent buttery bliss. You may substitute some of the butter for olive oil if you like. Butter is also stirred into the risotto at the end for creamy decadence.
  • Olive oil:  Use extra virgin olive oil for superior flavor.  The olive oil adds flavor and prevents the butter from burning.
  • Heavy cream:  This is often called “heavy whipping cream” at your grocery store. You don’t have to use it, but it adds the extra “wow factor” to the risotto that is sublime.
  • Chicken broth: Use low sodium broth which allows you to salt to taste. The broth is absorbed by the rice, so it’s best not to substitute with vegetable broth or it won’t be as flavorful.
  • Parmesan cheese:  The cheese infuses the risotto with its fantastic salty, nuttiness. For best results, use ONLY freshly finely shredded Parmesan cheese.  It is much more flavorful and melts into silky oblivion unlike powdered or pre-shredded cheese.
  • Sun-dried tomatoes:  Purchase sun-dried tomatoes in a jar packed in oil, not water. They are usually located near the olives or pickles at your grocery store.  You can rinse the tomatoes before chopping if you’re concerned about extra oil, but it isn’t necessary. 
  • Shallot:  You will need one shallot for its mild onion flavor or you may substitute with ¼ of a yellow onion. One shallot is considered the entire bulb, regardless of how many cloves the bulb contains.
  • Garlic:  I use 4 cloves garlic and it is divine but feel free to use less if you prefer. You may also use 1 teaspoon garlic powder – but the real stuff is so much better!
  • Lemon juice: Freshly squeezed is best, but use bottled if that’s all you have.
top view of best shrimp risotto recipe showing how creamy it is

hOW TO MAKE Shrimp Risotto

You’ll notice this isn’t your average Shrimp Risotto recipe. Instead of cooking the risotto on the stovetop — which involves continual stirring and additions of broth — it’s made in the oven for an easy foolproof recipe! Here’s an overview of how to make it (full recipe in the printable recipe card at the bottom of the post): 

  • Step 1:  Season the shrimp.  In a large bowl, whisk together 1 tablespoon oil from sun-dried tomato jar, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, salt and pepper.  Add the shrimp and turn to coat.  
showing how to make garlic creamy Tuscan Shrimp by seasoning shrimp in a bowl with salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder and paprika
  • Step 2:  Cook the shrimp.  Working in two batches, cook the shrimp in a large Dutch oven for about 2 minutes per side, just until the shrimp are opaque; transfer to a plate using a slotted spoon. You’ll notice I used a shallow braiser in the photos/video, but I suggest a larger Dutch oven, so you have plenty of room to vigorously stir the risotto at the end, without it spilling over.
showing how to make shrimp risotto by searing the shrimp in a pan
  • Step 3: Toast the rice. Next, melt some butter in those delicious shrimp drippings. Sauté the shallots for a couple minutes, then add the rice and sun-dried tomatoes and stir until well coated with butter and edges begin to look translucent, about 3 – 4 minutes. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and sauté an additional 30 seconds.
a collage showing how to make shrimp risotto by sautéing rice, shallots and sun dried tomatoes
  • Step 4: Add broth and seasonings. Add the chicken broth and all seasonings. Turn heat to high and bring to a simmer. When it starts to simmer around the edges, cover the pot and transfer it to the oven.
  • Step 5: Bake. Bake the risotto for 15-18 minutes or until the Arborio rice is al dente.
showing how to make shrimp risotto by baking the risotto in the oven
  • Step 6: Stir vigorously. Remove the rice from the oven and add some cubed butter and Parmesan cheese. Stir vigorously until the butter and cheese are melted (this releases starch and makes the risotto creamier). Lastly, stir in the heavy cream (if using) and fresh basil. Top with cooked shrimp.
a collage showing how to make shrimp risotto by adding butter and Parmesan to the baked risotto, then stirring vigorously, then adding fresh basil
  • Step 7: 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).
showing how to make creamy Italian shrimp risotto recipe by garnishing with basil
  • Correct pot. In order for the rice to cook evenly, use a wide pot, preferably a cast iron Dutch oven, with a tight-fitting lid. A heavy, cast-iron pot retains more heat. If you don’ have a tight-fitting lid, 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 shrimp risotto recipe can easily become mushy. Arborio rice ensures creamy, but never mushy rice, every time.
  • Don’t rinse the 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.
  • 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. I warm the broth in a glass liquid measuring cup in the microwave for ease.
  • 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. 
  • Season to taste. If your risotto tastes like it’s missing something – it is probably salt and pepper. Salt enhances all of the flavors in the dish. Add additional salt to taste a little at a time if needed.
  • Use a hot pan. Add your shrimp only once the pan is hot – you should hear the shrimp sizzle the second it touches the pan. This is what creates the beautiful golden sear on the outside without overcooking the inside.   
  • Don’t overcrowd the shrimp. Cook the shrimp in batches so it has room to spread out and sear and not just steam for the best flavor and texture.
  • Don’t overcook the shrimp. Shrimp can become rubbery if overcooked.  Cook shrimp just until opaque for the juiciest shrimp. If your shrimp is opaque but it doesn’t have much color, you should still remove it from the pan. This means your pan wasn’t hot enough for a nice sear – heat the pan with the oil for longer or at higher heat next time before adding the shrimp.
showing how to make shrimp risotto by adding shrimp to top of risotto

  • Swap seasonings: The shrimp can be seasoned with anything you like, even Cajun seasoning would be delicious.
  • Add vegetables:  Add any chopped vegetables such as asparagus, broccoli, zucchini, green beans, bell peppers etc. and sauté them with the sun-dried tomatoes. 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.
  • Add mushrooms:  If you’re a mushroom lover, consider pan frying sliced baby Bella mushrooms, removing them from the pan, then adding them back to the risotto at the end of cooking with the shrimp. Check out my Mushroom Risotto recipe to see exactly how I caramelize my mushrooms.
  • Greek inspired: Add your favorites of Kalamata olives, chopped artichokes, bell peppers, etc. and finish the dish off with ¼ cup feta and sliced almonds.
  • Make it lemony: Add lemon juice and lemon zest to taste.
  • Spice it up. Amp up the heat with additional red pepper flakes. I always add at least ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes but if you want to really taste the kick, add ½ teaspoon. You can also add additional red pepper flakes to individual servings to keep recipe family friendly.  
  • Add-ins: You can stir anything into this Shrimp Risotto recipe such as basil pesto, fennel, sage, bacon, pistachio, slivered almonds, toasted pine nuts, raisins, etc.

We love this Shrimp Risotto recipe with a Caesar Salad and Garlic Bread. It is also delicious with any of the following:

top view of best shrimp risotto recipe that's super creamy

Shrimp Risotto FAQS

What 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 and the risotto emerges every bit as heavenly without all the babysitting. 

Risotto vs. 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.

Why is it called Arborio rice?

The rice is named after the town of Arborio in Piedmont Italy.

Why do you use Arborio rice in risotto?

Arborio rice is traditionally called for in risotto recipes because it is a short-grained, starchy rice that, when cooked, the rounded grains become creamy and chewy due to the high starch content without becoming gluey or mushy.

Should Arborio Rice Be Rinsed Before Using? 

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 shrimp 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.

Is It Possible to Overcook Risotto? 

Risotto is more forgiving than rice but it can be overcooked, so be sure to check the 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 do you know when shrimp is done cooking in risotto?


Color:  Raw shrimp starts off translucent gray and turns pink and opaque with some pink and bright red accents as it cooks.  You will want to remove the shrimp from the skillet as soon as it is fully opaque without any gray left.  Look at the crevice in the back of the shrimp where the vein was removed.  When the base of this crevice becomes opaque, the shrimp is done.

Shape:  You can also check the shape of your shrimp but this is not as good of an indicator as color.  As shrimp cook, their muscle contract which cause them to curl into a “C” shape.  As soon as the shrimp begin to curl, they are usually done cooking.  If they are left to curl into an “O” shape, they are usually overcooked.

serving Italian shrimp risotto with creamy risotto and sautéed shrimp

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showing how to make shrimp risotto by adding shrimp to top of risotto

Shrimp Risotto

This Shrimp Risotto recipe is unbelievably creamy, garlicky, warm, and comforting, loaded with succulent, pan-seared shrimp, caramelized shallots, sun-dried tomatoes and fresh herbs. It’s restaurant quality for special occasions (hello Valentine’s Day) but easy enough for every day thanks to the 100% foolproof oven method that will blow your mind! This recipe is also extremely versatile – add any veggies you like, more or less butter, cream, cheese etc.  This Shrimp Risotto also reheats beautifully (unlike traditional rice), so it’s the meal that keeps on giving! Serve it up with pear salad or Caesar salad and garlic bread for a craveworthy feast.
Servings: 6 servings
Total Time: 45 minutes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes

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Ingredients

SHRIMP

  • 1 pound large shrimp (26-30 ct.), peeled and deveined
  • 2 tablespoons oil from sun-dried tomatoes jar, divided
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp EACH garlic powder, onion powder, salt
  • 1/4 tsp EACH pepper, paprika
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

RISOTTO

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice, don't rinse (DON’T USE DIFFERENT RICE)
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, drained, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 4 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth, warmed
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 tsp EACH dried oregano, pepper

ADD LAST

  • 1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons butter, cubed
  • 1/2 cup freshly shredded Parmesan cheese, or more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4-1/2 cup heavy cream (may sub evaporated milk)
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, minced (may sub ½ tablespoon dried)

Instructions

SHRIMP

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together 1 tablespoon oil from the sun-dried tomato jar, 1 tablespoon lemon juice and all of the shrimp seasonings. Add the shrimp and turn to coat.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon sun-dried tomato oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat.
  • Working in two batches, add the shrimp in a single layer and cook just until opaque, about 2 minutes per side; transfer to a plate using a slotted spoon. Repeat. You can remove the tails once cool enough to handle if desired.

RISOTTO

  • Add a drizzle of oil to the shrimp drippings if they look dry. Melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add shallots and sauté 2 minutes. Add the rice and sun-dried tomatoes and sauté until the shallots are tender and the edges of the rice begin to look translucent/toasted, about 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and sauté an additional 30 seconds.
  • Add 4 ½ cups warm chicken broth, dried parsley, oregano, salt and pepper. Increase 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 the rice is on the softer side of al dente (taste at 15 minutes, and bake longer as needed).

COMBINE

  • Remove the pan from the oven and stir in ½ cup chicken broth, 3 tablespoons cubed butter, Parmesan cheese and lemon juice. Stir vigorously until the the butter and cheese are melted (this releases the starch and makes it creamier).
  • Stir in desired amount of heavy cream and the fresh basil. Stir in additional heavy cream or chicken broth if desired for an even creamier/saucier risotto.
  • Top with shrimp or stir the shrimp directly into the risotto. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste (I add both).

Video

Notes

  • Arborio rice: This is a MUST for risotto, otherwise, your dish will be mushy instead of creamy.  Almost every grocery store carries Arborio rice; otherwise, you can purchase it on Amazon. I use Rice Select which is sold in bulk on Amazon.
  • Correct pot: You’ll notice I used a shallow braiser in the photos/video, but I suggest a larger Dutch oven so you have plenty of room to vigorously stir the risotto at the end without it spilling over.
  • Adjust consistency: The rice in Shrimp 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 risotto is too thick, stir in additional chicken broth or heavy cream until it reaches the desired consistency and texture. 
  • Recipe variations:  See the post of ideas!
  • Storage:  Store leftover in an airtight container in the refrigerator for three to four days.

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4 Comments

  1. Pauline Gudas says

    I have never made risotto until last night. This recipe is AMAZING. The directions were well written and easy to follow. My husband said it was the best risotto he has ever eaten. Next time I will add mushrooms and peas

    • Jen says

      YAY, I love hearing that Pauline, thank you so much!

  2. Ginny says

    This was a total hit with my family, including my 8 year old son! Very well done—I followed the recipe without any variation and it was incredible. Thank you so much for sharing ❤️

    • Jen says

      You are so welcome, Ginny! I am so pleased this was such a hit! Thank you for your great review!