Baked Lemon Risotto

5 from 1 vote

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This baked lemon risotto is basically risotto without all the work. It’s different than traditional risotto recipes where you have to continually stir broth into the rice a little bit at a time to coax the creaminess out of the grains until they’re tender. When you bake this risotto, it starts on the stove and then spends the rest of the cook time in the oven where it only takes 15 minutes to bake.

Interested in another baked risotto recipe? Try this kale barley risotto.

Lemon risotto on a plate.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

This one-pot vegetarian meal is an easier version of risotto. I love to cook, so I never shy away from a more involved recipe. Making risotto the usual way, simmering it on the stove, isn’t hard. The tough part is that it requires a lot of attention, and that doesn’t work for us kitchen multitaskers. Baking it frees you to do everything else you need to get dinner on the table.

There is minimal prep. You just have to chop shallots and herbs, mince garlic cloves and grate Parmesan. That’s it when it comes to getting all the necessary ingredients ready.

You can make this risotto in less than 30 minutes. The stovetop sautéing time plus the baking time in the oven don’t take long.

The flavors of fresh lemon and herbs are simple and go with lots of other things. That’s why this makes a great option for a no-fuss main or side dish. There is so much to get excited about when you can keep things uncomplicated.

What is Risotto

This northern Italian dish is usually served before the main course. Risotto is rice that is known for it’s creamy consistency, but there’s no heavy cream in it. When you gradually pour broth into the grains, stirring after each addition, they release starch. That’s what gives you the creaminess. Arborio, Carnaroli and Vialone Nano are types of short grain rice that are used for risotto.

The Ingredients

Ingredients including arborio rice, lemon, parmesan, shallots, garlic, herbs, vegetable broth, salt and pepper.

This is what you need:

  • Arborio rice: You can find this kind of risotto rice at most grocery stores.
  • Lemon: The recipe requires the zest and juice of one lemon
  • Parmesan: You don’t stir in the Parmesan cheese until you pull the baked risotto out of the oven. It quickly melts adding to the taste and creaminess.
  • Fresh herbs: Along with lemon and Parmesan, I also fold in chopped fresh parsley and chives. 
  • Shallots: Sautéing shallots is the starting point for the aromatics in the recipe. I prefer shallots over onions because their flavor is more delicate, and they have a touch of sweetness.
  • Garlic: Depending on how much garlic you like, you can mince 2-3 cloves.
  • Dry white wine: After you stir in the rice, you pour in a half cup of wine. That deglazes the bottom of the pan. The alcohol content cooks out, leaving behind nice acidity and sharpness that balances out the richness of the risotto.
  • Vegetable broth: Use low-sodium broth, so you can control the amount of salt. You can substitute with chicken broth if you don’t need the risotto to be vegetarian.
  • Seasonings: I season the risotto with kosher salt, black pepper and a pinch of red pepper flakes.
  • Olive oil: Use high-quality extra-virgin olive oil for the best flavor.

Optional Additions

  • Frozen peas (or fresh): You can stir peas in with the cheese and herbs. The heat from the risotto will thaw and warm them.
  • Roasted vegetables: Two great options are roasted asparagus or roasted zucchini. It’s best to add warm cooked veggies. You can stir them in or top the risotto with them.
  • Shredded roasted chicken or shrimp are good for the non-vegetarians interested in adding a protein.
  • Butter: Some risotto recipes end with stirring a little butter into the cooked grains. This gives it even more rich creaminess.
  • Pesto can actually be a substitute for chopped fresh herbs. Or you can go all in on herby flavor and add basil pesto with the parsley and chives. 
  • Toasted nuts: Add chopped walnuts or almonds to the cooked risotto.

How To Make Baked Lemon Risotto

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

1. Sauté the shallots. Warm 1 tablespoon olive oil in an oven-safe dutch oven or big pot over medium heat. Sauté the shallots until they become soft and translucent, about 2-3 minutes.

2. Stir in the garlic, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. The shallots will become fragrant in about 1 minute.

Shallots sauteing in a dutch oven. Garlic and seasonings stirred into sauteed shallots.

3. Add the rice. Cook for 1 minute until the grains are opaque. Pour in the wine and squeeze in the lemon juice. The liquid will bubble and the rice will absorb it in a couple minutes.

4. Add the vegetable stock. Bring it to a boil and cover the pot with a lid.

Arborio rice stirred into sauteed shallots. Vegetable broth poured into dutch oven.

5. Bake the risotto in the oven until the grains are tender. This will take about 15 minutes. There will still be some liquid in the pot. Just taste a couple grains to make sure they are cooked.

6. Stir in the lemon zest, parmesan and fresh herbs. When you divide the risotto into bowls to serve it, you can garnish it with more cheese and herbs.

Baked risotto in a dutch oven. Parmesan and herbs stirred into baked risotto.

What To Serve with Risotto

I like a salad or a veggie side dish to go with risotto when I enjoy it as a main. Because baked risotto needs the oven, I look for sides that are no-cook or cook on the stovetop. You can make a basic arugula salad with lemon vinaigrette, a classic house salad or an Italian chopped salad. For a vegetable side dish, try sautéed brussels sprouts.

Leftovers & Storage

You can keep leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 3 days. Warm them on the stove in a skillet over low heat, stirring the risotto. You can also warm them in the microwave. The grains will become softer the longer you store them and when you reheat them.

Lemon risotto in a dutch oven.

Recipe Tips

When the risotto finishes baking, you will still see some broth in the pot. Just make sure the grains are tender, but you don’t want them to be mushy. After you take it out of the oven and stir in the cheese and herbs, the risotto will continue to thicken.

Use a lemon for the recipe. Don’t be tempted to use bottled lemon juice and skip the zest. Lemon zest is what gives you more lemon flavor than the actual juice, which is primarily there for acidity.

You can add more cheese and herbs. Taste the risotto to see if you need to adjust the amount of seasonings, Parmesan or herbs.

Recipe FAQs

Is arborio rice gluten free?

Yes. This is a gluten-free recipe.

Can you freeze risotto?

I don’t recommend freezing leftovers because they will end up mushy when you thaw and reheat them.

Is it ok to use regular rice instead of risotto rice?

You need to use one of the three types of risotto rice (Arborio, Carnaroli or Vialone Nano) because their high starch content will give you that wonderful creaminess.

More Risotto Recipes

Baked Butternut Squash Risotto
Easy Pumpkin Risotto
Tomato Farro Risotto

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Baked Lemon Risotto

5 from 1 vote
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 22 minutes
Total: 27 minutes
Servings: 4
This baked lemon risotto recipe is the easiest way you can make this traditional Italian dish. It is fresh with lemon zest (and juice) along with chopped parsley and chives.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese plus more for serving
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley and chives plus more for serving


  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  • In a large ovenproof saucepan or dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Sauté the shallots for 2-3 minutes until they soften and turn translucent.
  • Stir in the garlic, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes, sautéing until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  • Add the arborio rice and cook for 1 minute until opaque. Pour in the wine and lemon juice, letting it bubble and be absorbed by the rice.
  • Add the vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Cover the saucepan with a lid and transfer to the oven. Bake for 15 minutes until the rice is tender. You will still see some liquid in the pot.
  • Stir in the lemon zest, parmesan and fresh herbs.
  • Divide into serving bowls and garnish with additional parmesan and herbs.


Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge up to 3 days. Warm the risotto on the stove in a large skillet over low heat, stirring it. Or warm it in the microwave. The grains will soften more the longer you store them and when you rewarm them.
Optional Additions
  • Frozen or fresh peas: Stir them in with the cheese and herbs. The heat from the risotto will thaw and warm them.
  • Roasted vegetables: Asparagus and zucchini are great options. They should be warm when you add them. Stir them in or spoon them on top of the plated risotto.
  • Shredded roasted chicken or shrimp are good for the non-vegetarians wanting to add a protein.
  • Butter (1 tablespoon) adds even more rich creaminess. Stir it into the cooked risotto right after you take it out of the oven.
  • Pesto adds more herby flavor. Stir it in with the cheese and fresh herbs.
  • Toasted nuts: Add chopped walnuts or almonds.


Calories: 300kcal | Carbohydrates: 48g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 7mg | Sodium: 736mg | Potassium: 191mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 707IU | Vitamin C: 18mg | Calcium: 99mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Main Dishes
Cuisine: Italian
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Hi, I'm Paige.

Welcome to Last Ingredient where you will find simple seasonal recipes with plenty of fruits and vegetables, all for the home cook.

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