Shrimp Risotto

This simple shrimp risotto was inspired by a trip to Venice. It's made with tiny pink shrimp, shallots, parsley, and lemon zest. Super creamy! You'll think you're in Italy!

Shrimp Risotto in serving dish
Elise Bauer

Venetian-Style Seafood Risotto

Have you ever had a food epiphany?

Years ago I had a seafood risotto at a restaurant on the Grand Canal of Venice (back in the cushy days of business trips with expense accounts) that was so silky, so luscious, so creamy yet still light, I didn't know what hit me. I ate every grain with a stunned and happy look on my face and still remember that risotto more than what was inside St. Mark's.

Although I had no idea at the time, according to my friend Hank, seafood risottos are a specialty of Venice. There they are typically served all’onda, or “wave" risotto, which means a looser and almost soupy risotto best eaten with a spoon.

Shrimp Risotto

Hank and I spent the day cooking together and he showed me in great detail how he makes this Venetian-style shrimp risotto.

My father happened by in time for lunch and ate his bowl of shrimp risotto completely, proclaiming, "Hank, I don't like shrimp, and I don't like rice, but I love this." So there you have it.

What Shrimp to Buy

Use the smallest shrimp you can find. Try to find tiny pink shrimp in the supermarket’s freezer section. These “boreal” shrimp or Maine shrimp are uncommonly sweet and come pre-shelled and pre-cooked.

Any shrimp you find larger than the last digit on your little finger should be cut in half.

What Rice to Use

Risotto recipes require risotto rice, an Italian rice that has enough starch to help make the risotto's creamy sauce.

Arborio rice works for this purpose, but if you can get it, use a Carnaroli rice. Even better is a rice called Vialone Nano, which is more delicate and creamy than the other risotto rices and is well suited for this shrimp risotto.

Love Shrimp? Try These Recipes


Watching This Shrimp Risotto Recipe

Shrimp Risotto

Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Servings 2 servings


  • 8 ounces clam juice or fresh seafood stock

  • 4 cups water

  • 3 tablespoons butter

  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped

  • 1 cup risotto rice (Arborio or if you can get it, Carnaroli or Vialone Nano)

  • 1 cup dry white wine (Sauvignon Blanc)

  • 2 cups small pink shrimp, the smallest you can find

  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley

  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest

  • Salt


  1. Heat the clam juice and water:

    Add the clam juice to 4 cups of water in a pot, heat until steamy. Do not let it boil.

  2. Sauté shallots:

    In separate pot (thick-bottomed), heat 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat, and sauté the minced shallots for 2-3 minutes, until just translucent.

    heat clam juice and Sauté shallots for Shrimp risotto
    Elise Bauer
  3. Add the rice to the pot. Stir-fry the rice for 2-3 minutes:

    until all the grains are well coated in butter and are beginning to toast.

    adding rice for shrimp risotto
    Elise Bauer
  4. Add white wine and stir:

    Increase the heat to high and add the white wine. With a wooden spoon, stir the rice vigorously. Once the wine boils, turn the heat down until the wine is just simmering gently.

    Stir almost constantly. You are doing this to agitate the rice, which releases its starch and creates the creamy sauce you want in a risotto.

  5. Add two ladles of clam juice water mixture:

    When the wine is almost cooked away – under no circumstances should you let the rice sizzle on the bottom of the pot – pour in two ladles of the hot clam broth-water mixture. Stir well to combine, and add a healthy pinch of salt.

  6. Stirring almost constantly, let this liquid reduce until it is almost gone, then add another ladle of broth:

    Continue this until the sauce coats the back of a spoon. Taste the spoon and see if the risotto needs salt. If so, add a small pinch.

    Cooking risotto for shrimp risotto dish
    Elise Bauer
    How to make shrimp risotto
    Elise Bauer

    This much risotto rice should need about 4-5 cups of liquid total (including the wine) to come together, so start tasting the rice at the 3rd cup. If it is almost there – firm in the center but translucent on the outside, and fully surrounded with a creamy sauce – add one more cup of broth, stir well, and taste one more time for salt. (If not, you have old rice and you’ll need to go one more cup and let it cook away.)

  7. Now add in the shrimp, the parsley, and the remaining tablespoon of butter:

    Stir constantly until this last cup of broth is about half gone: Remember you want this risotto to be loose and creamy.

    Adding shrimp to shrimp risotto
    Elise Bauer
    how to make shrimp risotto
    Elise Bauer

    Right before you serve, add in the lemon zest and serve at once. Best served with bowls and spoons rather than plates and forks.


Risotto with shrimp and asparagus from Lydia of The Perfect Pantry

Coconut shrimp risotto from Framed Cooks

Shrimp risotto with sweet peas and leeks from Little Spatula

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
578 Calories
20g Fat
40g Carbs
37g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 2
Amount per serving
Calories 578
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 20g 26%
Saturated Fat 12g 59%
Cholesterol 355mg 118%
Sodium 2366mg 103%
Total Carbohydrate 40g 14%
Dietary Fiber 2g 6%
Total Sugars 5g
Protein 37g
Vitamin C 11mg 55%
Calcium 200mg 15%
Iron 3mg 17%
Potassium 686mg 15%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.