This article was updated on 5th September 2023 for freshness and to incorporate new tips.
A freshly cooked risotto is delicious, creamy, and thick. But after a stint in the fridge, it turns from a velvety bowl of heaven to a dry stodgy mess.
Is it possible to restore your risotto to its former glory? I experimented with six different risotto reheating methods to see what works best. In a rush? Here’s the short answer:
The best way to reheat risotto is on the stove. First, heat 2-3 tablespoons of low-sodium stock or water for each cup of leftover risotto. Once hot, reduce the heat to medium and add the risotto. Reheat the risotto for 4-5 minutes until it’s nice and creamy again. Stir frequently while reheating.
How I tested reheating risotto
The next day I tested these reheating methods:
- On the stove: My favorite method.
- In the microwave: Okay for a quick lunch.
- In the oven: A bit dry.
- In a steamer: Worked really well.
- By making risotto fritters: Super tasty.
- Using sous vide: Bonus method!
Reheating risotto on the stove
Time: 4-5 minutes
- Heat 2-3 tablespoons of stock, water, or dry white wine for each cup of risotto in a pan. Use a low-sodium stock to avoid over-salting your dish.
- When the stock is simmering, reduce the heat to medium.
- Add the risotto and stir gently for 4-5 minutes until the liquid is incorporated and the rice is heated through. 4-5 minutes is for one portion. If you have more risotto, it will take longer.
- Remove the pot from the stove and serve immediately.
Bigger portions of risotto will take longer to heat, but remember to keep stirring periodically to prevent the bottom from catching.
Stock adds a lovely flavor to your risotto and will restore its creamy consistency, but water will work in a pinch. If you think you need more than 2-3 tablespoons, feel free to add more as you’re heating the risotto. Adding a little butter, milk, or cheese to the risotto will also help revive its flavor.
If you prefer a crispier texture, use less liquid and add some oil to the pan. You can then saute your risotto and crisp the rice.
Results: Out of the six methods I tried, heating the risotto on the stove was my favorite. It was easy to adjust the amount of liquid to achieve the consistency I wanted, and I could taste the dish as I was heating it to adjust the seasoning. The end result was almost as good as the day before.
Reheating risotto in the microwave
Time: 2 minutes
- Spoon 1-2 portions of risotto into a microwave-safe dish.
- Add 1-2 tablespoons of water (or stock or milk) per portion of risotto.
- Cover the dish with a damp paper towel or some pierced plastic wrap.
- Microwave the dish for 30 seconds at a time, stirring during each break, for up to 2 minutes.
- Let the risotto rest for a further 30 seconds before serving.
The microwave tends to dry food out, so using a damp paper towel will create steam and keep the risotto moist. You can also use plastic wrap to trap moisture. Just remember to poke a few holes in it to prevent the pressure from building up.
Pro tip: most risotto variations heat okay in the microwave, but I would avoid using it to heat seafood risotto. Seafood tends to get super rubbery in the microwave.
Results: I think the microwave gets a bad rep when it comes to risotto. True, the risotto was nothing like a freshly cooked one (mine was a bit mushy), but if all you want is a quick lunch I think the microwave is fine. The key is not to overheat the risotto, which is why I recommend using such short bursts of heat.
Reheating risotto in the oven
Time: 10-15 minutes
- Preheat your oven to 300°F (150°C) and spread the risotto out in an oven-safe dish.
- Add a tablespoon of water or stock per cup of risotto and stir it in.
- Cover the dish with foil to trap the moisture.
- Place the dish in the oven and heat for 10-15 minutes, depending on portion size.
- At the halfway mark, stir the risotto and add a little more stock or water if required.
If you’re worried about the risotto sticking to the bottom of the baking dish, grease it with some butter or cooking spray before adding the risotto.
Towards the end of heating, a good tip is to remove the foil and sprinkle some fresh cheese over the risotto so it melts. Yum!
Results: This method worked okay, but I found the risotto slightly stodgy. And I didn’t like the fact I couldn’t check on the progress too often, which meant I had less control over the final outcome. For a smaller portion of risotto, I wouldn’t recommend the oven.
Reheating risotto in a steamer
Time: 3-4 minutes
- Set up your steamer and bring the water to a boil.
- Place a bowl or plate of risotto into the steamer, or line the steamer with parchment paper and put the risotto on top.
- Replace the steamer lid.
- Reduce to low heat and steam the risotto for 3-4 minutes, stirring the risotto every minute.
If you’re using parchment paper, ensure you don’t cover all the holes in the steamer, as this will prevent the steam from getting through. You could also poke some holes in the parchment paper.
Stirring the risotto helps it heat evenly. Without stirring, the middle will take longer to heat up, and you may overcook the rice on the outside.
Pro tip: To add a subtle flavor to your risotto you can use stock instead of water, or flavor the risotto with lemon and herbs.
Results: I was pretty surprised at how well this method worked. It was really quick, which meant the risotto didn’t overcook. And the steam added some much-needed moisture back into the dish. I’d definitely try this method out if you have a steamer big enough to fit a portion of risotto in.
Reheating risotto by making risotto fritters
Time: 15 minutes
- Whisk an egg and mix it into your leftover risotto. You just need enough egg so you can shape the risotto.
- Roll the mixture into flat discs and optionally cover them with bread crumbs.
- Heat some oil in a frying pan until sizzling and shallow fry the fritters until the breadcrumbs are golden. You can also shape them into balls and deep fry them.
If you don’t want to fry the fritters, you can bake them. Preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C) and bake the risotto fritters for 15-20 minutes or until the coating is crispy.
For added variety, add cheese, extra meat, some tomato sauce, or whatever ingredient takes your fancy! There are no hard and fast rules to follow, so feel free to experiment.
Psst… here’s a recipe if you want one to follow.
Results: No reheated risotto will be perfect; it just isn’t possible. So, if you can’t stand the thought of eating day-old risotto, this is the perfect solution. And it’s fun too!
How to store risotto
Leftover risotto will last for 3-5 days in an airtight container in the fridge. Seafood risotto should be kept for a maximum of 3 days. If you’re planning ahead, cook the risotto for 10 minutes less than you normally would. Then when you reheat it, it won’t overcook.
Once you take the risotto off the stove, you want to cool it quickly so it stops cooking. I like to spread my risotto out in a thin layer on a baking tray, but you can also transfer it from the pan into several smaller containers.
Never leave risotto out at room temperature for more than 2 hours (or 1 hour in hotter climates) – after this, it can start to harbor harmful bacteria.
Can you freeze risotto?
Risotto is not the best dish to freeze. The rice can become hard with a grainy texture. Any vegetables you have in the risotto will also suffer. If you do decide to freeze the risotto, use it within one month. It will stay safe to eat beyond that, but its quality will deteriorate.
How to freeze risotto:
- Allow the cooked risotto to reach room temperature. You can spread it out on a baking tray to cool more quickly.
- Portion the risotto out and scoop each portion into a freezer bag or airtight container.
- Remove as much excess air as possible from the freezer bag (if using one).
- Label and date the bag or container and place it in the freezer.
- Use the risotto within one month of freezing.
I prefer using a freezer bag because you can get rid of excess air, which helps protect the risotto against freezer burn. Also, you can lay the bag flat in the freezer to save space.
Always make sure the risotto is at room temperature before you freeze it. If the risotto is still warm, condensation will turn to ice in the freezer and ruin the risotto’s texture.
To thaw the risotto, leave it in the fridge overnight or use the microwave.
How To Reheat Risotto [Tested Methods]
- 1 portion risotto
- 1 portion stock or water
- Heat 2-3 tablespoons of stock or water for each cup of risotto in a pan. Use a low-sodium stock to avoid over-salting your dish.
- When the stock is hot, reduce the heat to medium.
- Add the risotto and stir gently for 3-4 minutes until the liquid is incorporated and the rice is heated through. 3-4 minutes is for one portion. If you have more risotto, it will take longer.
- Remove the pot from the stove and serve immediately.