Butternut Squash Risotto

Creamy butternut squash risotto recipe, perfect for autumn. Arborio rice, slowly cooked in broth, with onion, butternut squash, white wine, butter, Parmesan and chives.

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4 to 6


  • 6-8 cups chicken broth (use vegetable broth for vegetarian option, and gluten-free stock for gluten-free version)
  • 5 Tbsp unsalted butter, divided into 4 Tbsp and 1 Tbsp
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cups butternut squash, peeled, and finely diced
  • 2 cups arborio rice (can substitute medium grained white rice, but arborio is preferred)
  • 1 cup dry white wine (such as Sauvignon Blanc)
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tbsp chopped chives or garlic chives
  • Salt


1 Heat broth in medium sized saucepan and keep warm over low heat. Melt 4 Tbsp of butter in a large saucepan; add onion and butternut squash. Cook over medium heat until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.

2 Add rice to onion and squash. Cook 1 to 2 minutes. Add wine. Cook, stirring constantly until wine has been absorbed by the rice or evaporated. Add a few ladles of broth, just enough to barely cover rice. Cook over medium heat until broth has been absorbed. Continue cooking and stirring rice, adding a little bit of broth at a time, cooking and stirring until it is absorbed, until the rice is tender, but still firm to the bite, about 15 to 20 minutes.

3 During the last minutes of cooking, add remaining tablespoon of butter, 1/3 cup Parmesan, and chives. At this point the rice should have a creamy consistency. Add salt to taste. Serve with remaining grated Parmesan.

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  • jacomien

    This looks very much like the risotte I made last week… I can recommend stirring in some (soft) goat cheese before serving. I think you can leave the butter out then. Yum!

  • lydia

    This is a dish I never eat except in the Fall, when the butternut squash is abundant at the market and it’s cool enough outside to make me want to eat risotto again. I love the sweetness of the squash combined with the creaminess of the rice. Yum!

  • Dana

    Haha, I just posted a recipe for butternut squash risotto as well. SO good!! There must be something in the air :).

  • Jerry

    Butternut squash hs become a recent favorite of mine. I’ve been looking for an excuse to try risotto, perhaps this will be the catalyst for it!

  • missb

    Ooooh…this is my very, very, very favorite early fall dish. gets me all excited about the cool weather. For a variant, I start with frying up some pancetta or even just plain bacon then draining off some of grease and sauteeing the sweet onion in it. I stir the crumbled bacon in with the cheese. And I always end up adding even MORE parmesean! SO naughty.

  • Katerina

    Oh this looks good, I actually made a zucchini and lemon risotto the other day and was just saying that I still have never gotten around to butternut. It seems like a real oversight. I am also glad to see just how much butter you used, risotto needs a healthy amount of butter to be truly indulgent :)

  • stefanie

    Wow. I’ve been looking for a new, creative risotto recipe and this looks perfect. I’ll be trying this one soon.

  • Karina

    Elise- This is *so* my kind ‘a recipe. Totally fall. Your pic of it is gorgeous, too.

  • jennbec

    Hmmmm….I’m so torn…I have a butternut squash sitting on the table that I’d planned to put into butternut squash and pear soup, but now I might have to do this instead. Or both…yes, I’ll just have to do both! :-)

  • Michele

    Can this be made with squash puree? It sounds wonderful!

  • Tanvi

    Elise, do you have any tips on how to prepare the butternut squash? Cutting and cubing that vegetable is definitely a workout for me…Thanks so much, I love your pictures and recipes!

  • Elise

    Hi Tanvi – Great question. I usually get my superhero father to cut it in half. Then I scoop out the center and peel it. You’re right, they can be tough to work with.

  • jonathan

    Excuse me, but did missb mention something about bacon?

    Apart from the mad case of tennis elbow I’ll get from the stirring…and stirring….and stirring of the risotto, I’m all over this one.

    And why can’t I have a next door neighbor Pat? :(

  • Lawgirl

    Thanks for the great recipe! Do you have any recommended substitutions for the wine if I wanted to prepare this without wine? Would you just add more chicken broth? Thanks!

    Note from Elise: I would just add more chicken broth, and maybe just a little lemon juice.

  • Amy

    I think you are a mindreader! I almost made this just last night. I roasted my squash in preparation, but then had a last minute change of plan. Do you think I can just substitute my roasted squash for the raw diced? I can add it at the end, just before the parmesan.

    Note from Elise: Sure, why not? Try it and see how it works.

  • Sunny

    Any of you who might live in New England, one can find one pound peeled butternut squash in the vegetable section. I used to buy it when I lived in MA.at either Star Market or Stop and Shop. Perhaps they still carry it. I sure do miss that convenience living here in SW Florida. Can’t wait to make this risotto.

  • Nabeela

    That looks so warm and hearty! I LOVE risottos…my husband is crazy aboout them. That’s the only dish he’ll pitch in his help :)

  • bindi

    Elise, I’ve been reading your blog for ages and this recipe finally gave me courage to post a comment! I’m from Australia and I make this often, but we use ‘butternut pumpkin’ ;) Glad to see you leave out garlic which can overpower the sweetness of the squash/pumpkin. Sometimes when I fancy a bit of a change I stir through some baby spinach leavesat the last minute, and top with some toasted pinenuts for a yummy finish! Love your work!!! :)

  • Christine

    to Tanvi who asked about an easy way to cut the squash: I use a very sharp butcher knife and I cut the squash vertically into 1 inch thick slices (round discs). When I get to the end with the seeds, I cut it horizontally, seed it and then cut it in vertical slices slices. Then I can easily place each disc flat on the cutting board and slice off the rind with the same butcher knife, chunk, chunk, chunk around the edges until it is peeled. You don’t want to hold the slices while you cut. The rind is quite hard. I love to cook winter squash and I haven’t lost any fingers yet.

  • Helen

    This looks like it would be really nice with a bt of Gorgonzola stirred (blue cheese and butternut squash are made to go together)
    Regarding the butternut squash peeling thing – I recently discovered that if you roast your squash in olive oil for about 45 minutes (depending on the size of the pieces) the skin will go soft enough to eat. Saved my poor arms, and my made my squash prep a lot quicker.

  • Yakumo

    Can’t wait to try this out. Never cooked or ate a risotto before so I’m very curious. Not entirely sure where to get the rice though :(

  • Buckethead

    Cook’s Illustrated has a really good butternut squash risotto recipe too, it starts with scooping the seeds and guts out, cooking them briefly, then adding them to the stock. It makes a big difference.

  • JLA

    This looks lovely, but I think I’d add some garlic and fresh thyme. Seems like it might be just a touch bland as is.

  • Gail

    I made this for a potluck at work this week, and it was a HUGE hit. I ended up taking the suggestion from the comments and used goat cheese instead since we were a bit short on parmesan. I got requests for the recipe during the potluck and everything. I will definitely be directing them to your site too. So many delicious things!

  • Julia

    To people looking for an easier way to cut squash: Put the whole thing in the microwave for 2 minutes on HIGH. That softens the squash considerably and makes it much easier to prepare.

  • Lisa

    Cooks Illustrated’s Best Light Recipe has a great version where they use fresh sage & toasted Almonds to top off the dish. We can’t get enough of it in my house!

  • Wendy

    Wishing I’d made this last night instead of my usual risotto blanco… :)

  • Lane

    Absolutely heavenly.

  • Lisa

    I must make this. Last week I tried a recipe for pasta with butternut squash and tomato sauce from a recent Mark Bittman NYT article; it was great. But there are always more squash! So a risotto would be in order as well.

  • Tonya

    I made this tonight using brown rice and am in absolute heaven. The brown rice takes longer to cook than arborio rice, however, so it’s not the best weeknight dish to make. Then again, I also got a late start. But still, it was worth the wait and the arm cramp!

  • Kelley

    I make this with pancetta and saffron. It is wonderful.

  • k

    This is one of my favorite dishes. To prevent the squash from getting mushy I blanch it, put it on ice to stop the cooking and then add it at the last stage to heat it back up. I recommend adding some thin slices of fresh sage in the final stage. I use much less butter and sometimes throw in some fat free half & half to make is extra creamy.

  • Jan

    Hi Elise,

    I made this recipe last week, just as you wrote it, it was fabulous. Thanks once again for a great timely recipe. I love your website and use it often.

    Thank you,

    Jan in Massachusetts,
    (I’ve always wondered what your connection to MA is, you’ve probably posted about it but i’ve missed it.)

  • Daneen

    This is amazing–I made it last night, and we loved it. I might try it with the pre-chopped winter squash medley that Trader Joe’s sells right now next time for speed, ease, and added color. Thanks!

  • cathy

    Can you use fresh sugar pumpkins for this recipe?

    Note from Elise: Sure!

  • Melissa

    I made this recipe for the first time last week and it was a HUGE hit with my family! I had never made risotto before but this recipe was so simple that I couldn’t resist trying something new. I used just the 6 cups of chicken broth and (accidentally) omitted the final Tbsp of butter… I can’t thank you enough for posting this delicious recipe! (A word to the wise though… make sure your peeler is sharp enough to cut through the squash’s hard skin or it could take a while to prep for this, I found out the hard way.)

  • Julie

    Risotto has been my nemesis for a couple of years now but this recipe encouraged me to try again, and I did, and it was perfect! I used veg stock to make it vegetarian and it made a perfect supper on a cold evening.

  • Betty Theis

    This is a wonderful recipe; full of flavors and textures. It came out so perfectly due to the great instructions of what the rice would look like when done. I did make one addition because I had fresh black eyed peas in the fridge. Adding them at the same time as the squash (1/2″ cubes) resulting in them absorbing the wine and broth flavors and coming out tender with a little touch of crispness. Because I was looking for a simple, hearty recipe that included the southern tradition of the peas to serve for New Year’s Day, I took a chance they would work with the squash. They did! (Black eyed peas and ham hocks are not my thing!) I look forward to trying more recipes from this site! Thanks!

  • April

    I made this the other day and it was sooooooo good! I was worried we were going to have too many leftovers, but we made short work of them.

    I love the idea of adding blue cheese or gorgonzola. Maybe with some pecans too? Hmmm, I do have the other half of the squash left!

  • Jen

    Made risotto for the first time ever with this recipe for a dinner party- it was a hit! The only thing I did differently was to sub olive oil for the butter in the beginning- I was worried about the butter burning. Thought about gorgonzola and reserved a small amount to try that, but thought it overpowered the risotto a little. Liked the parmesan. Thanks!

  • Heather

    This is a wonderful fall dish. I made this as a side dish for an Apple Cider Roasted Pork Tenderloin; the flavors worked so well together. My guests raved about the creamy texture and wonderful buttery flavor of the squash. One reccomendation in terms of the squash; I would soften the squash a bit before adding to the risotto. I had to cook the squash a bit longer to make sure the squash was tender. It still worked, but next time I will throw the squash in the oven with some olive oil for just a few minutes. I will definately add this to my staple for my fall/winter specialties.

  • Tracy

    I had half of a butternut squash leftover after making Everyday Food’s squash and sage cannelloni, and this was the perfect way to use it!

    I agree with previous commenters about par-cooking the squash ahead of time. My 1/4-inch dice (which I thought would be plenty small) could have been just a bit softer, but I didn’t want to over-cook the rice.

    The dish was delicious though, and I have enough squash left to try your squash with browned butter and thyme! Thanks!

  • Jacky Hackett

    Oh goodness was this good! I softened the squash by cooking it in the broth for about 5 mintues, worked well. Thank you!

  • Tracy

    I just made this again with a mixture of butternut and acorn squashes (about 2 c. roasted and mashed), added after the wine, for the sole purpose of having leftovers for baked arancini (breadcrumb coating, mozzarella filling). Fabulous!

  • Jennifer

    This was my first try (and success) at risotto!! I come from an Italian family but for some reason they never made anything with rice so it was new ground for me. It was fantastic!! My husband and I ate so much that I didn’t even make the chicken that was the “main course”, lol! It was darn tasty and I will make it again for sure.

  • KelliSue

    This is DELICIOUS! I have a trick for those with hard butternut squashes. Poke a few holes in it, and microwave for 10-15 minutes. Let cool, then merely scoop out the guts and seeds, (and roast the seeds with salt later), and toss the guts into the compost. Then scoop the flesh and you’re ready to add it at the end with the last ladles-full of broth.

    Conversely, you could use a well-drained, thawed box of butternut squash from the freezer section, and add it at the end instead of the beginning as well. It tastes really good, done either way.

  • Sophie

    I made this last night and it was heavenly. My first time with risotto. It’s a whole lot of stirring but SO worth it. Yum!

  • emily

    I substituted sherry for the sauvignon blanc, and gruyere for the parmesan because that was what I had on hand. I also added some fresh thyme I found in the refrigerator. This was my first risotto and it was really good.

  • Amanda

    This risotto was wonderful! I made it on a cold, snowy day and it was a huge hit with my roommates. Very simple directions to follow too. All that stirring was worth it!

  • Kristen

    Wow- my first try at risotto and it was great!!! Will use this recipie many more times :) Thanks!

  • chantal

    So yummy!!!! I always use this site for recipes :-) I am wondering if I can freeze left overs?

    I have found that risotto is best eaten right after it is made. Once even refrigerated the texture changes and never recovers. ~Elise

  • Lisa

    This was my first crack at risotto and it was absolutely delicious! My son who is not a vegetable eater was in love!
    Thanks as usual Elise for a fabulous recipe!

  • ALFagan

    This recipe will become a family staple. My 13-month old daughter LOVED it. I loved how simple the recipe was, just a few ingredients, easy-to-follow instructions. Thank you! I’m now addicted to your blog.

  • Amanda S

    Well, lesson one: either leave out the wine or make sure it’s dry. Lesson two: this recipe makes a whole lot.

    I was looking for something more spectacular and flavorful. I don’t LOVE it, but it’s good.

  • keith davis

    im a chef in cornwall. i usually pre cook half of the diced squash by roasting it with sage leaves. Then puree the roasted squash and stir into the finnished risotto it makes a lot of difference i also deep fry sage leaves and place them over the top its divine!!!

  • Sharlene

    I’ve always wanted to make risotto — what took me so long? This recipe was easy and so delicious! Thank you.

  • Lauren

    I made this dish tonight and it was a big success. Next time I will chop the butternut squash in larger pieces.
    I also used 6 C of vegetable stock. I forgot to put in the last tablespoon of butter. And I didn’t use chives.
    Will make again.

  • johanna

    I have made so much butternut squash risotto lately, it’s almost insane. I bake my squash first, though, just as it is, pop in the oven for 45 minutes and worry about the (easy) peeling later. It finds its way into my risotto half pureed, half diced – and when I really want to indulge, I stir in some diced gorgonzola for good measure… mmmh!

  • johanna

    I have been making a lot of butternut squash risotto lately, but I tend to roast the butternut squash first, then puree one half and dice the other. Gives it an even creamier consistency if that’s at all possible and I prefer the taste of the roast squash… I also add gorgonzola rather than parmesan, for pure indulgence ;-)