Mushroom risotto never fails to impress. Creamy, comforting, and packed with rich umami flavors, this mushroom risotto recipe is the perfect comfort food for any occasion.

mushroom risotto in a skillet with a wooden spoon.
Photo Credits: Andrea Gralow

Decades ago, I used to make a lot of mushroom risotto. This was when my husband and I were beginning to understand what it means to be married and compromise. When we weren’t quite newlyweds, but still new enough that we had much to learn. Mushroom risotto was my “take a breather” recipe. The dish I made when we would disagree or argue and needed a little space. 

Something about slowly stirring the rice and watching it transform from individual grains into a glorious, cohesive meal of creamy risotto, and rich, meaty mushrooms gave me just the time I needed to see our conversation in a different light and cool the heat of the moment. Making mushroom risotto had a calming effect, perhaps that’s the real reason it’s considered comfort food. 

Now that we are much older, and much quicker to forgive and forget we stand in the kitchen together. He will make a simple side, something like this Lemon Parmesan Salad because it has crunchy lettuce so our kids will eat it and I will stir the rice as I always have. If it’s a weekend, I usually pour us a drink. A Limoncello Spritz for me, a whiskey neat for him. 

In the hour it takes to put this recipe together, we have time to catch up on the events of the day and reconnect. A quick and easy dinner is nice, but sometimes time is needed to make a mushroom risotto recipe (or a marriage) exceptional. 

Table of Contents
  1. Mushroom Risotto Ingredients 
  2. How to Make this Mushroom Risotto Recipe
  3. Ways to Make this Recipe Your Own
  4. What to Serve With Mushroom Risotto 
  5. Comforting Dinner Recipes You’ll Make On Repeat
  6. Mushroom Risotto Recipe
ingredients for mushroom risotto including chicken stock, olive oil, onion, mushrooms, thyme, parsley, rosemary, salt, pepper, garlic, balsamic vinegar, arborio rice, and parmesan cheese.

Mushroom Risotto Ingredients 

Making a perfect mushroom risotto requires some patience and attention to detail, but the end result is definitely worth the effort. The key is to use high-quality ingredients and take your time to develop the flavors and textures.

  • Chicken stock: I make homemade chicken stock at least once a month. I find it’s a resourceful way to get the most out of a roasted chicken and I prefer the flavor. However, store bought stock will work just as well.
  • Olive oil: Olive oil is liquid gold around here. I tried to evoke the flavors of Italy by using our Italian Nocellara variety, which has a slightly spicy finish. 
  • Yellow onion: Yellow onions are the workhorse of the kitchen, however, white onions will also do a fine job. Even red will do, but they turn gray when cooked, so just keep that in mind. 
  • Cremini mushrooms: It’s easy for me to pick up cremini mushrooms at the grocery store, but white button mushrooms or even portobellos will work too. If you’re feeling fancy, then a mixture of more exotic mushrooms like shiitake, morels or chanterelles would be delicious. 
  • Fresh thyme and rosemary: Woody herbs like rosemary and thyme are two of my favorite ingredients to pair with mushrooms. They complement the mushroom’s earthy flavor. This trio is like a group of friends that bring out the best in each other. If you don’t have fresh herbs you can use dried. 
  • Freshly ground black pepper and salt: Salt is to flavor what lipstick is to lips. You already have all of the ingredients you need for a great recipe, salt just helps them stand out. And pepper, well, pepper has that subtle heat we all know and love so well. 
  • Garlic cloves: The subtle spice of garlic pairs beautifully with the gentle sweetness of the onion, and the earthy flavors of mushrooms and herbs. You might think, five cloves of garlic is a lot, but it helps those mushrooms sing.  
  • Balsamic vinegar: This saucy wonder adds just the right amount of acidic sweetness making the mushrooms stand apart from the risotto. 
  • Arborio or carnaroli rice: Arborio is pretty easy to find in most well-stocked grocery stores. The grain is not quite as starchy as other rice varieties used for making risotto, but it’s a great middle of the road rice and easy to find. Carnaroli is the crème de la crème of risotto rice, however you will likely have to order it online or visit a specialty grocer to find it. 
  • Parmesan cheese: Many people think risotto has milk or heavy cream in it, but the only dairy is cheese. All the creaminess comes from the starch in the rice, and just a little bit of finely grated parmesan. I prefer to buy parmesan in the blocks and grate it myself on a microplane zester for light fluffy cheese that melts well into the rice. 
  • Fresh parsley, for garnish (optional): A little green always brightens things up. If you have parsley go ahead and mince up some and sprinkle it over the mushroom risotto just before serving. If you’re out, don’t worry about it.
two bowls of mushroom risotto with spoons next to two glasses of white wine.

How to Make this Mushroom Risotto Recipe

When it comes to making risotto start with warm stock. It is an extra step and one more dish to wash, but the goal is creamy risotto and warm stock helps the rice release its starch resulting in the consistency and texture you’re taking the time to create. 

  • Warm the stock: Set a small pan over medium low heat and add the stock. Let it warm while you prepare the other ingredients. You don’t want it to boil. Just keep it warm—just below a simmer is perfect.
  • Saute the mushrooms: Set a large skillet over medium high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the skillet. Once the oil begins to shimmer add the diced onion and sauté, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon until the onions begin to soften, about 2 minutes. Add the sliced mushrooms, thyme, rosemary, freshly ground pepper to taste and ½ teaspoon salt. Stir to coat and let cook for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. The mushroom should take on color. Add the garlic, and balsamic vinegar. Stir, and cook for an additional minute. The mushrooms will shrink, soften and darken in color. Transfer to a plate.sauteed sliced mushrooms in a skillet.
  • Make the risotto: Return the skillet to the stove and set over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Once it shimmers add the rice and stir for about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Ladle about ¾ cup of warm stock into the pan with the rice and stir. Reduce the heat to medium. Let all of the liquid absorb and plump the rice before adding more stock. Add ½ teaspoon of salt along with an additional ¾ cup of stock. Stir regularly while the stock absorbs. Keep adding stock a little at a time, stirring continuously until all of the stock has been used up, and the rice is creamy and al dente, this process will take about 25 minutes. When ready, the stock should be mostly absorbed, but the rice should still look wet, and creamy. You don’t want risotto to look like wet clumpy rice.
  • arborio rice cooking in chicken stock in a skillet.Finish and Serve: Remove from heat. Stir in the parmesan cheese. Fold the mushrooms into the risotto (save a few mushrooms to garnish individual servings if you’re feeling fancy). Remove the thyme stems. Taste and adjust salt and pepper to your liking. Divide into 4 warmed bowls, top with more fresh herbs and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar if you want to and serve!arborio rice and sauteed sliced mushrooms cooking in chicken stock in a skillet.

Ways to Make this Recipe Your Own

Once you get the foundational elements of making risotto down (stirring rice with warm stock until it’s thick and creamy) you can add anything to dress it up.  

  • Skip the mushroom step and instead make Easy Sauteed Shrimp. When it’s ready, add it to the risotto at the end to create shrimp risotto. 
  • If you have asparagus lying around, swap out the mushrooms for asparagus or even with them for a lovely spring asparagus risotto dish. 
  • If it’s fall and the weather is cooling down, add a little sage along with the rosemary and thyme and swap the mushrooms for butternut squash to make a lovely butternut squash risotto. 
a bowl of mushroom risotto with a spoon.
Photo Credits: Andrea Gralow

What to Serve With Mushroom Risotto 

Risotto is a traditional Italian dish typically served as a main course, but it can also be used as an appetizer or side. 

When it comes to a comfort food mushroom risotto recipe like this one, I tend to eat it as a main with little else. However, if I want to boost my veggie intake for the day I will start with a simple salad like the Lemon Parmesan Salad

If it’s a holiday or we are having a nice dinner with friends. I will likely serve this mushroom risotto alongside Pan Seared Pork Chops for meat-eating friends or I may create a vegetarian feast and serve it with Eggplant Parmesan. Go with whatever suits your fancy! I’ve even reheated it for breakfast and topped it with a poached egg.


Comforting Dinner Recipes You’ll Make On Repeat

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Mushroom risotto never fails to impress. Creamy, comforting, and packed with rich umami flavors, this mushroom risotto recipe is the perfect comfort food for any occasion.
Prep – 15 minutes
Cook – 50 minutes
Total – 1 hour 5 minutes
Cuisine:
Italian
Serves – 6
Course:
Entree

Ingredients
  

  • 6 cups low sodium chicken stock, store bought or homemade
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 pound cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 small fresh thyme sprigs (or ½ teaspoon dried thyme)
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 ½ teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 ½ cups arborio or carnaroli rice
  • ½ to ¾ cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • Minced fresh parsley, for garnish (optional)

Instructions
 

  • Warm the stock: Set a small pan over medium low heat and add the stock. Let it warm while you prepare the other ingredients. You don’t want it to boil. Just keep it warm—just below a simmer is perfect.
  • Saute the mushrooms: Set a large skillet over medium high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the skillet. Once the oil begins to shimmer add the diced onion and sauté, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon until the onions begin to soften, about 2 minutes. Add the sliced mushrooms, thyme, rosemary, freshly ground pepper to taste and ½ teaspoon of the salt. Stir to coat and let cook for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. The mushroom should take on color. Add the garlic, and balsamic vinegar. Stir, and cook for an additional minute. The mushrooms will shrink, soften and darken in color. Transfer to a plate.
  • Make the risotto: Return the skillet to the stove and set over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Once it shimmers add the rice and stir for about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Ladle about ¾ cup of warm stock into the pan with the rice and stir. Reduce the heat to medium. Let all of the liquid absorb and plump the rice before adding more stock. Add ½ teaspoon of salt along with an additional ¾ cup of stock. Stir regularly while the stock absorbs. Keep adding stock a little at a time, stirring continuously until all of the stock has been used up, the rice is creamy and al dente, this process will take about 25 minutes. When ready it’s finished the stock should be mostly absorbed, but still look wet, and creamy. You don’t want risotto to look like wet clumpy rice.
  • Finish and serve: Remove from heat. Stir in the parmesan cheese. Fold the mushrooms into the risotto (save a few mushrooms to garnish individual servings if you’re feeling fancy). Remove the thyme stems. Taste and adjust salt and pepper to your liking. Divide into 4 warmed bowls, top with more fresh herbs and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar if you want to and serve!

Video

Notes

  • Mushrooms absorb water easily. Instead of rinsing them under your tap, fill a bowl with cold water. Add the mushrooms and toss to clean, replacing the water a few times if they're especially dirty.  
  • Check out our full guide on how to mince garlic for all the tips and tricks for mincing garlic the easy way. 
  • Visit our shop to browse quality Mediterranean ingredients including olive oilshoneyjams and spices.

Nutrition

Calories: 340.8kcalCarbohydrates: 48.8gProtein: 13.2gFat: 10.9gSaturated Fat: 2.8gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1.2gMonounsaturated Fat: 6.5gCholesterol: 5.7mgSodium: 598.6mgPotassium: 629.8mgFiber: 2.3gSugar: 2.7gVitamin A: 97.8IUVitamin C: 3.2mgCalcium: 135.4mgIron: 3.2mg
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Summer Miller is an award-winning cookbook author, journalist, and an IACP finalist in essay writing and memoir. Her recipes, food writing, and editing chops span both print and digital media. You can find her work at Simply Recipes, Eating Well, Saveur, Bon Appétit, and the Kitchn among others. She is the Senior Executive Editor at The Mediterranean Dish.
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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Loved this risotto. Simple to make but does take time. I threw in some asparagus that I had on hand. I will be making this again!

  2. 5 stars
    I cooked this for Mother's Day dinner, and it was amazing! My son, who is a picky eater, came back for seconds!