All About Arborio Rice, Including 2 Ways to Make Risotto That Don’t Involve Standing at the Stove
This story is part of our Rice-o-pedia, a cook’s guide to a dozen of the most commonly used types of rice. Click here for the full guide.
You probably use Arborio rice for risotto and not much else, but this starchy rice is more versatile than you might think. Here’s all you need to know about the grain — plus cooking ideas that go beyond the classic Italian dish.
What Is Arborio Rice?
Named for the area in Italy where it was first cultivated, Arborio is a medium-grain white rice that’s the most common variety used for risotto. Its grains are quite plump, which is why you’ll sometimes see it referred to as short-grain rice. Arborio is high in amylopectin starch, which is released during the near-constant stirring when you cook risotto, giving the dish its trademark creamy texture. Because of its tendency toward creaminess, Arborio isn’t typically cooked on its own as a side dish, but is instead most often used for dishes where its texture is welcome, such as risotto or rice pudding.
How Should You Cook Arborio Rice?
Stovetop? Oven? A countertop appliance? No matter how you cook Arborio rice, we have the best method.
How to Cook Arborio Rice on the Stove
For classic stovetop risotto, warm 8 cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth in a saucepan over low heat. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a 10- or 12-inch sauté pan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add 1 large, finely chopped shallot and a pinch of kosher salt and cook 4 minutes. Add 2 cups unrinsed Arborio rice and stir to coat with butter. Continue stirring until edges of rice grains are translucent but center is still opaque, about 2 minutes. Add 1/2 cup white wine and simmer, stirring constantly, until the pan is nearly dry, about 3 minutes. Slowly add warm broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring almost constantly between additions. Wait until liquid is almost completely absorbed before adding the next ladleful of broth. Continue adding broth until rice is al dente and broth is creamy, and the dish has the consistency of thick porridge, 20 to 30 minutes (you might not use all the broth). Stir in 1 or 2 more tablespoons butter, if desired, and 1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.
How to Cook Arborio Rice in an Instant Pot
For Instant Pot risotto, warm 4 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth in the microwave or in a saucepan over low heat. Set the pressure cooker to sauté and melt 2 tablespoons butter. Add 1 large, finely chopped shallot, and cook 2 minutes. Add 2 cups unrinsed Arborio rice; stir to coat with the butter. Continue stirring until edges of the rice grains are translucent, but the center is still opaque, about 2 minutes. Turn off the sauté function and stir in 1/2 cup white wine, scraping the bottom of the pot to remove any stuck rice; continue stirring until most of the wine evaporates. Add the warm broth, cover the pressure cooker, and set to cook on High pressure for 5 minutes. Immediately quick-release the pressure and remove lid. Using oven mitts, remove the insert from the cooker to prevent overcooking. Stir in 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.
How to Cook Arborio Rice in a Rice Cooker
We do not advise cooking Arborio rice or making risotto in a rice cooker. Rice cookers are mostly designed for making fluffy individual grains of rice, not creamy Arborio rice.
How to Bake Arborio Rice in the Oven
Preheat the oven to 350°F with the oven rack in middle of the oven. In a saucepan, warm 5 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth over low heat. Place 3 ounces finely chopped pancetta or bacon in a Dutch oven over medium heat and cook until crisp, 6 to 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer pancetta to a paper towel-lined plate. Add 1/2 cup thinly sliced onion to the drippings in pan and sauté 2 minutes. Add 2 cups unrinsed Arborio rice and stir to coat with drippings; cook until lightly toasted, 1 to 2 minutes. Increase the heat to high and add 1 cup white wine. Scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen any browned bits; stir constantly until liquid is absorbed, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in 4 cups broth and bring to a boil. Cover and bake until the rice is slightly underdone, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and place over medium heat. Uncover, add the remaining 1 1/2 cups broth, 1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, and 2 tablespoons butter. Cook, stirring constantly, until the rice is al dente and creamy, 2 to 3 minutes. Serve immediately.
How to Cook Arborio Rice in a Slow Cooker
We do not advise cooking Arborio rice or making risotto in a slow cooker; it has a tendency to overcook.
How to Store Arborio Rice
Store uncooked Arborio rice in your pantry, either in its original packaging or in an airtight container, such as a Mason jar or tightly lidded plastic container.
How Long Does Arborio Rice Last?
- Uncooked Arborio rice will keep almost indefinitely in your pantry when stored in an airtight container.
- Cooked risotto (made with Arborio rice) will last in the refrigerator for up to five days. If the risotto contains meat, it will keep for up to three days. We don’t advise freezing risotto because the texture could become grainy.
Our Favorite Arborio Rice Recipes
These are our favorite recipes that take advantage of Arborio rice’s rich, creamy texture.