Lemon Risotto

Updated April 08, 2016
Lemon Risotto

Editor's Note: This tangy Lemon Risotto recipe makes for a delicious, romantic dinner. Parmesan cheese and lemon juice give this risotto rice a tangy burst of flavor, while a little lemon zest provides a pop of bright color that dresses up the dish. People sometimes shy away from risotto recipes because they mistakenly think that it's too complicated a dish, but with a little patience, you'll learn how to make a risotto that's a perfect 10 every time. This easy risotto recipe is a great place to start.


Cooking MethodSauteeing



Total Timeunder 1 hour

Make Ahead RecipeYes

Kid FriendlyYes

One Pot MealYes

OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Formal Dinner Party

Recipe CourseMain Course


Taste and TextureCheesy, Creamy, Savory, Tangy, Umami


  • 5 cups chicken stock, homemade or low-sodium canned
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1½ cups arborio rice
  • ¾ cup good-quality vodka
  • ¾ cup fresh lemon juice
  • Zest of 1½ lemons, finely minced
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and freshly ground white pepper, to taste


In a medium saucepan, bring the broth to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and keep the broth at a bare simmer.

In a large, heavy saucepan, heat the butter and oil over medium heat. When the butter has melted, add the onions and sauté until translucent, about 6 to 8 minutes. Add the rice and coat with the mixture stirring constantly with a wooden spoon.

Add the vodka, stirring constantly until the rice absorbs the liquid, about 3 minutes. Add the lemon juice and continue stirring until the liquid is absorbed. Add the broth, a ladle at a time, stirring constantly. Continue adding until you reach a point where the liquid is absorbed and the rice is creamy and al dente, about 25 minutes.

Fold in the lemon zest and ½ cup of the Parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve immediately, accompanied by the remaining ½ cup of Parmesan cheese.


Classic risotto is prepared using only broth for the cooking liquid. Two of my favorite variations on the traditional risotto are adding steamed asparagus tips and cooked fresh peas when the rice is al dente; or substituting the first ladle of stock with 1 cup of good Italian red wine and adding sautéed porcini mushrooms just when the rice is al dente.



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Bold flavors - I thought it was tasty. I used Stoli vodka and a cheaper parmesan. I didn't use as much zest as called for and I'm glad. I would suggest using a bit less lemon juice and about half the zest. I just had it for lunch and it hit the spot.

Yuck! Vodka and Onions and parmesan should not be used together. In anything. I regret using my good cheese from Parma, Italy. Just weird flavors together. I am so disappointed, I took the effort to make an account and make sure no one else jumps on this recipe. Not even worth bearing it down and eating it. And I was really hungry. Nothing to see here. Move along!


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