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!

Pesto Risotto in large skillet with wooden spoon

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    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 has a creamy texture and is super rich and comforting.

    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!

    pesto risotto in skillet topped with black pepper and fresh parsley


    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

    • Heat oil over medium high heat in a large skillet or pot until shiny and hot. Saute rice in oil until lightly golden brown (approximately 2 minutes).

    toasting rice in large skillet

    • Add wine, and cook for 1-2 minutes, or until most of the wine is absorbed and the alcohol has mostly cooked out.
    • Ladle in chicken broth half of a cup at a time, stirring continuously until well incorporated.  Simmer for 20-30 minutes stirring occasionally or until all of the chicken stock is absorbed and the rice is al dente.

    stirring risotto in skillet

    • Once finished cooking, add butter and stir until melted.
    • Remove from heat, and add in Parmesan cheese, lemon juice, and pesto sauce. Stir to combine.

    adding pesto to skillet with rice

    • Season with a pinch of salt and black pepper. Serve immediately with fresh parsley on top!

    stirring pesto risotto with wooden spoon

    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.

    serving pesto risotto in white bowl with spoon

    More Side Dish Recipes To Try

    Pesto Risotto

    5 from 3 votes
    Creamy Pesto Risotto made with arborio rice, chicken stock and basil pesto. This dish takes less than 40 minutes to make!
    Servings: 2
    Prep Time: 10 minutes
    Cook Time: 30 minutes
    Total Time: 40 minutes


    Pesto Risotto


    • 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 Information

    Calories: 556kcalCarbohydrates: 44gProtein: 7gFat: 40gSaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 2mgSodium: 903mgPotassium: 321mgFiber: 2gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 633IUVitamin C: 22mgCalcium: 70mgIron: 4mg

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