August 31, 2022

Creamy Parmesan & Lemon Risotto

This creamy parmesan lemon risotto is a super luscious, melt in your mouth risotto with a pop of acidity and a touch of salt thanks to the fried capers.

If I have learned one thing, it’s that people love risotto. This, dare I call it, superior carb is a blank canvas for endless flavor profiles. Once you learn how to make it, you can really make it any way you like, or come here for risotto inspiration. Like my other risotto recipes, this quick and easy dish can indeed be made without that constant stirring arm workout.


This risotto is a play on my Lemon Caper Pasta…. and all my other lemon caper recipes (I have a lot). What can I say? I love a good briny lemon combo. These little pops of salt and lemon flavor add so much brightness to a dish. However, adding capers straight out of the jar didn’t feel right. Once fried, these capers lose a lot of their vinegar taste and instead become nutty and crispy. Please don’t skip these! I know frying can be intimidating, so below are some tips on frying these little buggers.

Use a Small Pot – The smaller the pot the less oil you need to use. You are looking for about an inch of oil.

Drain and Dry – Make sure the capers are absolutely dry before placing them in the hot oil. Lay the capers out on a few layers of paper towels and pat them dry. Any moisture left on them will cause the oil to violently bubble and splatter.

Multiple rounds – Don’t be impatient here, fry a single layer of capers at a time. Depending on how many you are making this might be 2-3 rounds of frying.

up close of creamy lemon parmesan risotto


  • Arborio Rice– Or Carnaroli, although this variety is harder to come by. Unfortunately, the long grain rice you have chilling in your pantry won’t work for this recipe. Different varieties of rice absorb liquid differently, have a different starch level, and in the end just won’t yield the same results.
  • Broth– Either chicken or vegetable work well with this risotto.
  • Wine – FINALLY! Do you know how many comments I received on TikTok about why I do not add wine to my risotto. Contrary to popular belief you do not need wine in your risotto. In fact, choose the WRONG wine and you are left with an unpleasant bitter taste. I will say though; this recipe needs the wine. Choose a nice dry white that you would drink.
  • Shallot– I love substituting onions for shallots when appropriate. Shallots are sweeter and have a less pungent taste than a white onion, which works well for this recipe.
  • Garlic – Fresh only, as always.
  • Lemon – Fresh only, not only because nothing beats the brightness of fresh lemon juice, but you will also need the zest.
  • Parmesan Cheese – Leave the pre-shredded, pre-powdered parm for a different recipe. Fresh only here. You’re free to add more than what the recipe calls for.
  • Heavy Cream – Obviously this is what makes this dish super creamy. A lot of times I say that you can sub out heavy cream for half and half but here you really need the full cream to make this risotto luscious.
  • Butter


  • Capers – While this recipe is delicious on its own the capers really take it to the next level. Jarred non-pareil capers in brine are preferred for this recipe. Stay away from the really large ones or capers brined in salt.
  • Olive Oil
plate of creamy lemon parmesan risotto


Warm the Broth – Before starting the risotto, place the broth on the stove over low heat. You want to keep the broth warm throughout the entire cooking process. Adding cold broth to the risotto will bring down the temperature, increasing the cooking time.

Sauté the base – Add butter to a wide pot or pan over low heat. Once hot, add the shallots, garlic, and a generous pinch of salt. Cook for 2-3 minutes until they are soft and fragrant, but not browned. If the garlic begins to brown, the heat is too high.

Toast the risotto – Add the dry, unwashed rice to the pan and toast it for 3-4 minutes until the grains start to become translucent. I cannot stress this enough: do not wash the rice beforehand. Washing the rice will strip it of the starches needed to make this dish super creamy.

Add the Wine – Add the wine and cook for another 2-3 minutes until it has reduced and almost been completely absorbed by the rice. Typically, you would cook off wine for longer, but the risotto will absorb most of it.

Add the Broth – Once all the wine is absorbed, it’s time to add the broth, lemon juice, and zest. Add the lemon juice, zest, and warm chicken broth to the risotto, but not all at once! For every cup of risotto, you need approximately 4-5 cups of broth, so have extra on hand. I found that with different brands of Arborio rice, I needed ±1 cup. My rule of thumb is to pour just enough broth to cover the risotto; when the broth starts to dip below the grains, it’s time to add more.

This is also the perfect time to add salt. I recommend salting once when you first add the broth and then again after adding the cheese, as the cheese also contributes sodium to the dish.

Mix, Add, Shake – Mix 2-3 times per broth addition. If you end up mixing more, no biggie! You will naturally stir more the closer the risotto gets to being done. Also, give the pan a stir or shake midway to ensure the rice isn’t sticking to the bottom. Once the broth has mostly absorbed, add more.

Around the 4-cup mark, taste the rice. Is it al dente? Is it too hard? This is the time to use your intuition; you might not need all 5 cups of broth. Risotto should be al dente when done, similar to the bite of perfectly cooked pasta. The risotto should be loose but not completely soupy; it will come together on its own in the few minutes after adding cheese and bringing it to the table.

creamy al dente lemon risotto

Finish & Serve – When the risotto has absorbed the majority of the broth and is al dente (if it isn’t al dente yet, continue adding broth), add the Parmesan cheese and heavy cream, and mix to incorporate and cook for about 20-30 seconds. Serve immediately.

plate of creamy parmesan lemon risotto


This is the part of the risotto post where I tell you that it won’t bounce back the same way. Risotto is meant to be enjoyed immediately, so please enjoy it right away. Any leftovers can be stored in the fridge for 2-3 days in an airtight container.

The best way to reheat it is to place the risotto back in a pan over low heat with a splash of chicken broth to loosen it up and add moisture back to the rice.

Looking for more risotto recipes? You have come to the right place! Check out the collection below!

Mushroom Parm Risotto // Kale & Pancetta Risotto
Sweet Corn Risotto // Cacio e Pepe Risotto
Spicy Vodka Risotto // Brown Butter & Sage Risotto
Creamy Tomato Risotto // Smoked Gouda Risotto
Lobster Risotto // French Onion Risotto
Risotto Carbonara // Crab Risotto

August 31, 2022

Creamy Lemon Parmesan Risotto

Print Recipe Pin Recipe
This dreamy melt in your mouth risotto is creamy, lemony, and cheesy.
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Keyword Cream Sauce, Lemon, Risotto
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 3 people


  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 5 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 medium shallot mined
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup white wine dry
  • 4+ cups broth chicken or vegtable
  • 1 1/2 lemons juiced, zest from 1 whole lemon
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese freshly grated approx 90g
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • salt

Fried Capers

  • olive oil do not use EVOO
  • capers drained and dried on a paper towel


Fried Capers

  • Fill a small pot with about an inch of olive oil. Heat the oil to approx 300 degrees. If you don't have a thermometer do a single caper test after a few minutes on the stove.
  • Carefully ladle in a single layer of capers and fry for 3-5 minutes until the majority of capers have popped open and are crispy.
  • Remove with a slotted spoon and dry on a paper towel.

Creamy Lemon Parmesan Risotto

  • Warm the broth separately on the stove.
  • In a wide pot on medium-low heat melt the butter. Once melted add shallots, garlic and a 1/2 tsp of salt. Sweat and cook down for 3-5 minutes until fragrant and soft.
  • Once sweated out add rice. Toast rice for another 3-4 minuted until grains begin to become translucent.
  • Add the wine and stir. Cook for 2-3 minutes before adding the first round of broth + all of the lemon juice, and lemon zest. Depending on the pan add broth until it just covers the risotto. (could be 1 cup to 1 1/2 cups). Give it a quick mix, a shake of the pan to ensure all grains are covered and cook until rice absorbs the majority of the broth. Feel free to mix a few times throughout the cooking process.
  • This is also the perfect time to add salt. I recommend salting once when you first add the broth and then again after adding the cheese, as the cheese also contributes sodium to the dish.
  • Add more broth and repeat above steps. If you are worried about the rice sticking you can shake the pan or mix at any time.
  • Around the 4-cup mark, taste the rice. Is it al dente? Is it too hard? Add more broth if it is. Rice should still be loose, yet al dente.
  • Once the rice is al dente, add the Parmesan cheese and heavy cream. Mix to incorporate. Top each dish with a generous amount of fried capers and enjoy!

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