Mushroom Risotto

Recipe updated. Originally posted 2004.

Risotto is one of those dishes that we love to eat, but neither my father nor mother have the patience to make often. It takes about 25 minutes of careful stirring, and every few minutes adding a half cup of hot stock to the rice, as the rice slowly absorbs the liquid it’s in. For this mushroom risotto, mushrooms are sautéed first, then cooked in brandy (or vermouth). Arborio (or any other kind of risotto rice) is cooked slowly with stock and when done, you stir in some freshly grated Parmesan cheese. (Hungry yet?) I actually don’t mind watching over risotto, it’s easy enough to do, and you can prepare other things while keeping the corner of your eye on the risotto. The result is so worth the effort.

You will need at least 5 cups of stock to make this much risotto, but the exact amount will vary depending on how hot your stove is, how much you stir the rice and how wide your pot is. Your best bet is to heat up a full 7 cups of stock, so you don’t run out. You can use any leftover stock to loosen up the risotto if you need to hold it on the stove before serving. Risotto is best served immediately.

Mushroom Risotto Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4-6.

The recipe calls for risotto rice, Italian rice varieties that are high in a particular type of starch, with grains that are shorter and fatter than most other rices: Arborio, Carnaroli and Vialone Nano are the most famous varieties. The high starch content of these rices yields a creamy texture when cooked.




  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 cups flavorful mushrooms such as shiitake, chanterelle, or oyster mushrooms, cleaned, trimmed, and cut into half inch to inch pieces
  • 2/3 cup brandy, vermouth, or dry white wine
  • 5-6 cups chicken stock* (use vegetable stock for vegetarian option)
  • 1/3 cup of peeled and minced shallots (OR 1/3 cup of yellow or white onion, finely chopped)
  • 1 3/4 cups arborio rice or other risotto rice
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley or chives

*If cooking gluten-free, use homemade stock or gluten-free packaged stock.


1 Bring stock to a simmer in a saucepan.

2 Melt the butter in a deep, heavy, medium sized saucepan over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and shallots and sauté about 5 minutes (if using chanterelles, dry sauté first for a minute or two and let the mushrooms cook in their own juices before adding the butter). Add the rice and stir to combine.

3 Add brandy, bring to a boil, and reduce liquid by half, about 3-4 minutes. Add simmering stock, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring enough to keep the rice from sticking to the edges of the pan. Stir the rice almost constantly — stirring sloughs off the starch from the rice, making the creamy sauce you're looking for in a risotto. Wait until the stock is almost completely absorbed before adding the next 1/2 cup. This process will take about 25 minutes. The rice should be just cooked and slightly chewy.

4 Stir in the Parmesan cheese and season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley or chives.

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  1. Sean

    Shave french black truffle over the finished product. He he, so good!

  2. irene

    A tip on cooking chanterelles: you can wash chanterelles all you want (and if you pick them yourself, you might need to) and then dry-saute them. If you add the mushrooms to a hot cast iron pan on high heat without any oil or butter, they will give off all of their juices. Cook them without stirring on high heat until most, but not all, of the water is gone, then continue sauteing them as you would otherwise (e.g., on medium with some butter or olive oil). Hope this helps.

  3. BrianB

    Great recipe !

    When I make risotto I saute the rice with the chopped onion for about 5 minutes before I start to add the liquid. It helps to break the starch and let it absorb more liquid. It cuts the cooking time down some. I like to use Piave cheese instead of Parmesan.. just my preference because I love the intense, nutty flavor.

  4. jenny

    On Sunday, my parents ordered a side of mushroom risotto at a restaurant we went to in state college, PA. It had chives mixed in, and the flavor was surprisingly fantastic. It would be a really great addition to yours, I recommend trying it!

  5. Jessica

    I love risotto. Though it takes a lot of stirring, I think the time spent preparing it really pays off! The only reason I don’t make it more often is because I feel like you must serve it immediately. It is sometimes difficult to get everyone to the table on time. Is this a misconception? Can risotto survive a 5 or 10 minute wait?

  6. Paul

    Great recipe–thanks. I’ve found you can cut down a little on the stirring by adding about half the stock right away and letting it simmer until it’s almost absorbed before starting the stirring routine, without changing the texture of the rice. In response to Jessica, my experience has been that risotto will hold fine for ten minutes–I usually turn off the heat, add some additional stock, and cover while I wait for folks to get seated. BUT–waiting much longer will tend to make it mushy.

  7. chef shamus

    I haven’t tryed your recipe, though, mine is so similar it made me think about running out to the store for mushrooms and risotto. Just in case there are any leftovers, here is a great idea to serve with the next meal. Warm leftovers to room temp, (you may want to add some additional cream or milk) add some chopped scallions, chives or parsley, make small burger shaped pattys and dip in lightly toasted panco bread crumbs. Heat a pan with oil, and gently sauté up to serving temp. M mm mmm… as good as or perhaps better than the first go round. :O)

  8. Martin

    I share your love of risotto not just for the taste, but the 20 minutes of culinary therapy it provides. It’s not difficult cooking but it demands attention and repays instantly! A current favourite is to use something like curly kale (or any strong tasting green) and stilton, an English blue cheese. Maybe some bacon for that pile in the centre.

  9. LimeCake

    Everytime I make mushroom risotto, I make it different every time. Sometimes with a little fresh thyme, deglazing with a white wine… I love the slow cooking process. It’s just so therapeutic after a long day.

  10. Brianna

    What’s the advantage of using hot broth? I always use broth directly from the can, and the risotto comes out fine if I add a small enough amount at a time.

    The advantage of adding hot broth is that you don’t shock the rice — adding cold broth to hot rice will seize it up briefly, and that will make your risotto less creamy. Adding broth directly from the can will work fine, but you will want to add it in increments smaller than 1/2 cup. Beware of canned broth, though! It can be very salty in large amounts. ~Elise

  11. Arlene

    I, too, love the kitchen therapy of making risotto but there are times when I don’t want to be chained to the stove. I suggest that you look at Cook Illustrated’s most updated recipe for risotto where you add almost all of the liquid after the rice has been added and cover the pot and walk away. It is an EXCELLENT method and has resulted in creamy risotto every time.

  12. uknownchef

    I have some experience making mushroom risotto :). Many people ask, how do restaurants make multiple portions of risotto, made to order, in less than the 25 to 30 minutes needed to make the dish?! Secret: in the restaurant we cook plain risotto half-way then pull it off the heat. When a risotto order comes in, we add whatever other ingredients such as sauteed mushrooms and finish the risotto to perfection. This is how its done in the best restaurants around the world. You can do this at home too if you want to save time and/or have multiple courses to serve before the risotto. Lovely recipe. Enjoy?

  13. Mary

    Funnily enough I just came across some arborio rice this morning and thought about a pea and asparagus risotto, I enjoy the process and my family usually enjoy the result!

  14. Matt

    I’ve been making this for a while in my rice cooker due to mostly a lack of time, and it turns out delicious but probably not as creamy as risotto is supposed to be. I think I’ll try doing it the * right * way now and compare results.

  15. Fortycloves

    I had a wonderful mushroom risotto on a recent trip to Rome. They used porcini mushrooms. I think I’ll try to replicate that dish using your recipe. Thanks!

  16. Dahlia

    Any chance of using dried mushrooms and reconstituting them with the warm broth? They are such a deal compared to fresh mushrooms and a lot easier to keep on hand. I just Love your blog. Many thanks!

    You’ll need to simmer the dried mushrooms for 20-30 minutes, or just let them reconstitute in the stock for an hour or two. Bring the stock to a boil, then put in the mushrooms. Cover the pot and turn off the heat. Works fine. ~Elise

  17. Ray

    A comment about all the stirring. More stirring gets you a creamy risotto, less stirring results in a looser one. Think what’s in your risotto before you start stirring. Seafood – loose, saffron – creamy, etc.

    The stirring also generates texture. That’s why a decent home cooked risotto blows away anything done at a restaurant. They interrupt the process, make one base for all variations and don’t have the time to stir. In Italy the norm is call ahead if you plan to have a risotto. In the US, better to do it at home.

  18. Zee

    Can I use Marsala wine instead of brandy, vermouth, or dry white wine? I’d think it’d be an acceptable substitute, but I wonder if there’s a certain taste I’d be missing out on.

    Yes, you could easily use Marsala. It would be delightful. ~Elise

  19. Jules

    I fell in LOVE with risotto after having it for the first time in Croatia. Mushroom is my favorite type to make. I, like a previous commenter, saute the rice for a few minutes in butter/oil before adding stock or wine. Also, I usually add a half cup or so of half and half or cream when I add the Parmesan at the end of the recipe. Makes it even more decadent (if you can afford to splurge on the calories of course.)

  20. Hanna HI 98129

    Hey, I thought that any kind of rice could be used to make Risotto… but then it seems you have to buy special rice for that, just like if you were going to make some sushi, then you would need “sushi rice” :(

    I’ve never seen that they sell Risotto rice here in Colombia… but still your recipe looks really delicious! I’m looking forward to make some rice with mushrooms to compensate xD

    Thanks for sharing! :D

  21. Linda

    I used the brandy and at the end I finished it with 1/4 c. cream and 1 T. butter and 1/3 c. pecorino romano rather than parmesan – covered and let it sit for about 3 minutes. I used the chives. This was amazing! :-)

  22. Lara

    I tried the newer recipe compared to the older. Is there a reason this one tastes “earthier” as someone said to me?

    The main difference is that now we are making the recipe without cream. A classic risotto should not need cream; it gets its creamy texture from the constant stirring of the risotto rice while slowly adding in the stock. ~Elise

  23. Fred

    I absolutely despise cream in risotto. I know Thomas Keller puts cream in. So what. Its gross. Beat the cheese in at the end (and some butter too). Let it sit covered for a minute or two and it will be creamy. The dish really comes together the last few minutes and that’s where care is taken to get the right texture.

    It’s a dish where the home cook can and should do better than a restaurant.

  24. carolina p

    planning on making this for dinner tonight as i have a pound of cremini mushrooms from sat morning’s farm market…hoping that they are an equally ‘flavorful’ mushroom substitution?

    Sure, you can make these with cremini. ~Elise

  25. Tom

    If your store has only sushi rice, that will still work great for risotto! it’s a high starch, short grain rice, and I’ve yet anyone tell the difference when I’ve used it (which has been at least a dozen times).

  26. Katy

    I could only get ahold of was cremini and shittake, and this turned out wonderfully! Luckily I had fresh parmesan; that always adds a nice flavor. The long stirring process allows lots of time for dancing, which is one of my favorite parts cooking. I recommend the recipe!

  27. Kyle

    I love the flavor of marsala wine in cooking. How would a marsala wine be in this? Would you use the full 2/3 cup of marsala wine or split it with some white wine?

    • Elise

      Hi Kyle, I love the flavor of marsala with mushrooms too. I probably wouldn’t use a whole 2/3 cup though. Maybe just 1/4 cup or a 1/3 cup. No need for other wine.

  28. Kate Feininger

    Will this recipe double okay? I’ve made it before and loved it! Now I’d like to make it for a bigger group.

    • Elise

      Hi Kate, good question! I haven’t tried doubling the recipe but don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t work. Just use a wider pot.

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