Pesto Risotto

Don’t be intimidated by risotto! This Creamy Pesto Risotto recipe is super easy to make and fool proof. I’ve included step by step pictures to guide you through making the creamiest pesto risotto ever!

Love quick and easy weeknight meals? Then you’ve got to try my Creamy Mushroom Carbonara and my Homemade Hamburger Helper!

Easy Homemade Pesto Risotto

Risotto has a bad rap for being a difficult and time consuming dish. But in truth, risotto is quite simple if you learn some of the basics (which I included below). This dish is super easy and takes only 40 minutes to make start to finish. It’s a fancy dish without a lot of effort. (Just how I like it!)

However this pesto risotto is a twist on the standard risotto. It has everything a typical risotto has: butter, wine, parmesan cheese and arborio rice but homemade pesto is added for a punch of fresh flavor! I also added fresh squeezed lemon juice to brighten up the dish. Warm stock is added periodically as the rice absorbs the liquid. The rice turns out creamy, rich and still has a nice al-dente bite.

You can use either store bought or homemade pesto for this recipe! My basil pesto or walnut pesto would both be great in this. You can also leave out the pesto if you prefer traditional risotto!

Key Ingredients

You only need a few pantry staples and fresh ingredients to make your own Homemade Pesto Risotto, including extra virgin olive oil, arborio rice, white wine, and chicken broth.

Additionally, you’ll need some grated Parmesan cheese, freshly squeezed lemon juice, unsalted butter, and pesto.

How To Make Risotto with Pesto in 5 Steps

  1. Heat oil in a medium skillet until shiny. Toast rice in oil until lightly golden brown (approximately 2 minutes).
  2. Add wine, and cook for 1-2 minutes, or until most of the wine is absorbed and the alcohol has mostly cooked out.
  3. Pour in chicken broth half of a cup at a time, stirring continuously until well incorporated.  Cook for 20-30 minutes or until all of the chicken stock is absorbed, stirring occasionally.
  4. Once finished cooking, add butter and stir until melted.
  5. Remove from heat, and add in Parmesan cheese, lemon juice, and pesto. Stir to combine, and serve immediately. Garnish with chopped bail and more parmesan, if desired.

Tips for Making Perfect Risotto

  • Choose the proper rice. Medium or short grain rice is typically used for risotto. Arborio rice is a medium grain rice with a starchy coating. The extra starch helps make the risotto extra creamy.
  • Toast the rice. An important step in risotto is toasting the rice. This allows the rice to absorb more liquid and not become soggy.
  • Use warm stock. It is important to add warm stock to the rice. I usually just keep it in a small saucepan on the burner behind the risotto. Adding cool stock to the risotto will bring down the temperature of the pan.
  • Wait until this dish is tossed together to season with salt and pepper. The chicken stock adds salt to the dish. Adding more salt could push it over the edge. Always taste before seasoning.
  • Add shrimp, scallops or shredded chicken to make this a full meal. You can substitute vegetable stock if you are a vegetarian and add in some veggies.

More Side Dish Recipes To Try

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Pesto Risotto

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 2
Creamy Pesto Risotto made with arborio rice, chicken stock and basil pesto. This dish takes less than 40 minutes to make!


Pesto Risotto

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 3 cups warm chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2-3 tbsp pesto
  • salt and pepper


  • Add oil to a medium skillet. Add rice and toast until lightly golden brown about 2 minutes.
  • Pour in wine and cook for 1-2 minutes or until most of the wine is absorbed.
  • Pour in warm chicken broth 1/2 cup at a time until liquid is absorbed. (Keep chicken stock warm in a saucepan) Stir rice occasionally. Cook for 20-30 minutes or until all of the chicken stock is absorbed.
  • Add in butter and stir until melted.
  • Take off of heat and add in Parmesan cheese, lemon juice and pesto. Stir to combine and serve immediately.
Nutrition Facts
Pesto Risotto
Amount Per Serving
Calories 556 Calories from Fat 360
% Daily Value*
Fat 40g62%
Saturated Fat 5g31%
Cholesterol 2mg1%
Sodium 903mg39%
Potassium 321mg9%
Carbohydrates 44g15%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 7g14%
Vitamin A 633IU13%
Vitamin C 22mg27%
Calcium 70mg7%
Iron 4mg22%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Fresh herbs, Homemade Pesto, Pesto Risotto, Risotto

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Recipe Rating


  • Your tips for making risotto are so helpful, thanks for sharing! I can’t wait to give this recipe a try. I love risotto AND pesto, so this is a match made in heaven for me 🙂

  • Lauren

    Hi there, this looks delish! I love adding pesto to anything. Just so I know the measurements, if I don’t make my own pesto, but use one I have that is pre-made, how much should I add to the recipe? Or in other words, how much pesto does your recipe make?

  • Thanks Lauren! I would add 1/2 cup. But to be on the safe side start with 1/4 cup and add more if you need it.

    Hope you like it! Thanks!


  • Abi

    Hi, are you supposed to use chicken broth or stock for this recipe? Both are mentioned above. Thanks!

  • Hi Abi,

    Sorry about that. I see how that can be confusing. You can use either! I typically use whatever I have on hand which is usually chicken broth.



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