This Creamy Lemon & Herb Baked Risotto is made using an entirely hands-off oven method that will bring risotto onto your dinner table even on the busiest of weeknights! It’s ultra creamy, there’s no stirring and you don’t even need to sauté onion!
An effortless creamy Baked Risotto recipe
There will always be a time and place for risotto made the traditional way, stirring leisurely at the stove for a good 25 minutes as cookbooks and Italian nonnas have always insisted.
This no-stir, no-sauté, “dump and bake” risotto recipe is for all the other times. It is:
✅ Incredibly creamy;
✅ Results in perfectly cooked “al dente” rice;
✅ Requires no stirring during cooking – not even once; and
✅ Does not even require sautéing of onion or garlic beforehand. It “self sautés” in butter in the oven because it floats on the surface.
I tell people it is 98.5% as good as the traditional way made on the stove. But truthfully, most ordinary folk would not be able to tell the difference. Hand on heart, it is that good!
What you need for Creamy Baked Risotto
Here’s what you need to make this entirely hands-off creamy risotto in the oven. The base recipe is a creamy Parmesan Risotto which is delicious just as it is, but I’ve also added a lemon and herb flavouring option which is insanely good!
- Risotto rice – To make any risotto dish, you need to use risotto rice, which is different to ordinary white rice because it’s got higher levels of particular starches that thickens and makes the risotto beautifully creamy without the need for cream. While there are actually a number of risotto rice varieties (eg. Carnaroli, Vialone Nano), by the far the most common you’ll encounter is Arborio rice. I am using Arborio rice here;
- Chicken stock/broth – We use a whole large carton in this recipe (4 cups / 1 litre). Nice and handy because no measuring is required! Be sure to use low sodium stock (ie. low salt) otherwise the end result will be a touch on the salty side after the parmesan is added;
- Parmesan cheese – For an umami flavour punch, to compensate for not sautéing the garlic and onion nor deglazing the pot using white wine like I do with all my stovetop risotto recipes such as my favourite Mushroom Risotto;
- Garlic and onion – Standard risotto foundations, finely chopped and minced as usual; and
- Butter – Some for the cooking part, and some to stir in at the end. You can cut down on the butter at the end if you insist, but don’t skimp on the butter for the cooking part because the onion and garlic “self-sautés” in the butter. If you cut the butter down, the onion will just boil!
This is what the plain Creamy Parmesan Risotto looks like. I call it “plain”, but there’s certainly nothing plain about how it tastes!!
Lemon and Herb flavouring option
To make the Lemon and Herb flavour, all you need is one lemon, and any herbs you choose – I used parsley, chives and dill.
- Lemon – we use the lemon rind for lemon flavour, as well as the juice for freshness; and
- Herbs – I’ve used a 1-2-3 combination of parsley (1 tbsp), chives (2 tbsp) and dill (3 tbsp). Using a ratio like that is a handy way to strike a good flavour balance between the “lead vocals” in flavour (dill, in this case) with the “backup singers” (parsley and chives in this case, which are more subtle in flavour). You can use any herbs you want and it’s easy to figure out how much to add because we just add the herbs in right at the end so just keep adding to your taste!
How to make Creamy Baked Risotto
Recipes don’t get any easier than this: Put it all in a dish, cover and bake! It’s so ridiculously hands-off I’m surprised it doesn’t wash up and do the dishes for you as well afterwards. (OK, OK – there is stirring required at the end, but I still maintain that it’s a “dump and bake” recipe!)
- Heat stock using whatever means you want – stove, microwave. Heat until just hot and steamy; it doesn’t need to be boiling. This pre-heating ensures the rice cooks evenly. Can’t be bothered? That’s fine too. Just add 10 – 12 minutes to the bake time, to factor in the time it takes for the stock to heat up in the oven;
- Put everything in casserole dish – The rice, stock, butter, onion and garlic;
- Bake 35 minutes – Cover with casserole lid or tightly with foil, then bake for 35 minutes or until the rice is just cooked. Ovens are never the same so it may take a bit longer or less in yours;
- Yes, it will appear liquid-y – It will look somewhat watery when you take it out, rather than creamy or appetising. But have faith! It will become creamy in the next step……..
- Stir vigorously – Add the parmesan and extra butter, then stir the risotto vigorously until you see the liquid starting to thicken and turn white. By stirring the risotto, you are activating the starch in the risotto which emulsifies with fat (butter in this case) and thickens the liquid to make it creamy!
- Goal: Thick and creamy, never dry and stodgy! Risotto should always be thick and creamy, oozing on the plate. It should never clump in a stodgy and dry pile. Nobody likes stodgy risotto!
- Lemon and herbs last, if using – Lastly, add the lemon and fresh herbs. We do this right at the end to preserve the fresh flavour; and finally …
- Plate up quickly while it’s still oozy and creamy! If it gets too thick waiting in the casserole, just add 1 tbsp of boiling water at a time and stir it in well to loosen it up.
Reheating risotto (this one reheats well!)
Ordinarily you will read in recipes that risotto does not keep well and that leftovers are just good for making Arancini balls. And there’s no denying that risotto is at its best when freshly made!
However, if you cook the risotto rice so it is just al dente tender (rather than mushy and soft) and the risotto is creamy enough (like pictured) it actually reheats very well. Nice and creamy, and 100% delicious!
What to serve with risotto
Risotto is a wonderfully versatile dish. It can be a humble dish – simple, comforting and rustic – or an extravagant one, fancied up with decadent ingredients at fine restaurants (like truffles! 😱).
Risotto can also play many roles. It can be a starter (as it would in a traditional Italian meal), star as a main course (for example, this Shrimp/Prawn Risotto) or, often as in my case, deployed as a side dish. Because it’s so creamy, it’s ideal for mopping up with each bite of steak or chops, prawns or fish and it acts as a semi-sauce.
Lemon & Herb Risotto is particular excellent with fish, since fish loves lemon, and the soft texture of the risotto isn’t too harsh against tender fish flesh.
In fact, I’m sharing this risotto recipe today by popular demand after I showed it as the accompaniment for a Crispy Skin Salmon I shared on Monday! That is why the risotto is heavy on the dill – because we all know dill and salmon are best of friends! – Nagi x
Watch how to make it
No-Stir Creamy Lemon & Herb Baked Risotto (it’s magic!)
- 1 1/2 cups Arborio risotto rice (Note 1)
- 4 cups chicken stock , low sodium (or vegetable)
- 1/2 onion , finely diced (brown, white, yellow)
- 1 garlic clove , finely minced (large!)
- 30g/ 2 tbsp butter , unsalted, cut into 1.5cm / 1/2″ pieces
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/3 cup parmesan cheese , finely grated (store bought pre grated is fine)
- 30g/ 2 tbsp extra butter , unsalted, cut into 1.5cm / 1/2″ pieces (Note 3)
Lemon Herb Flavour (excellent with fish & prawns, Note 4):
- 2 tsp lemon rind (1 lemon)
- 2 – 3 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp parsley , finely chopped
- 2 tbsp chives , finely chopped
- 3 tbsp dill , finely chopped
- Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F (all oven types).
- Heat stock: Heat up the chicken stock until just before boiling using whatever method suits – stove or microwave.
- Pour everything into casserole dish: Pour the stock into a small casserole pot ~24cm/10" wide. Then add all the remaining Risotto ingredients – rice, butter, onion, garlic, pepper.
- Bake 35 minutes: Cover with lid or foil, bake 35 minutes or until rice is just cooked – tender but not mushy. The risotto will still look liquidy – that's what you want to ensure risotto is creamy at the end!
- Stir vigorously: Remove from oven, stir ta few times to break up rice. Add finishing butter and parmesan, then stir vigorously until the watery liquid becomes creamy, and mostly evaporates/gets absorbed.
- Goal – oozy and creamy:The risotto should be oozy and creamy, not thick, gluey or stodgy. If it gets too thick, add 1 tbsp of boiling water at a time to loosen it up, stirring well after each addition.
- Taste for salt: Taste for seasoning and adjust (I find it's just right).
- Serve asap! Serve while hot and creamy, topped with more parmesan if desired!
Lemon Herb flavouring option:
- Add lemon rind, juice and herbs, stir through gently just before serving.
Life of Dozer
That time he tried to plead innocence over the big wet patch on my newly mopped floors but the evidence clearly showed he was guilty! (Although actually, the outline I marked up on the photo looks more like a bandicoot rather than Dozer! 😂)