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This shrimp risotto recipe makes a crowd-pleasing dinner, pairing the bold flavors of Parmesan and lemon with creamy rice and juicy shrimp.

Shrimp Risotto
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Looking for a fun dinner idea? Try this shrimp risotto recipe! This Italian-style dish is full of bold flavor: juicy, succulent shrimp sit over a bed of creamy, Parmesan and lemon-scented rice.

Why we love this recipe: Shrimp risotto is great for impressing guests as a main dish, but it’s simple enough to work as a weeknight meal, too. Our entire family gobbles it up when we make it.

Ingredients for this shrimp risotto recipe

Risotto is an Italian rice dish where short grain Arborio rice is cooked in broth until it becomes creamy. It’s generally served as a first course in Italy, where meals are structured as antipasti, first plate, and second plate. But when we’re looking to conjure up the flavors of Italy at home, we eat it as a dinner with a green salad.

Most risotto methods use butter, onion, and garlic, white wine to deglaze the pan, and Parmesan cheese to finish. Here’s what you’ll need for this shrimp risotto recipe:

  • Protein: Medium shrimp
  • Spices: Smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper
  • Dairy: Butter, Parmesan cheese
  • Pantry ingredients: Onion, garlic, olive oil, seafood stock, Arborio rice
  • Fresh ingredients: Lemon
  • Special ingredients: Dry white wine (optional)
Shrimp Risotto

Tips for buying shrimp

It can be overwhelming shopping for shrimp at the store, because there are so many variations! Here’s what to look for when shopping for this shrimp risotto recipe:

  • Medium shrimp: We like medium shrimp here, but you can also use large or jumbo which looks elegant on the plate. Medium is labeled as 41 to 50 count (the number of shrimp per pound). Large is 31 to 35 count, and jumbo is 21 to 25 shrimp.
  • Wild caught: Fish that is wild caught in your country is usually a sustainable choice. There are also quality options in well-regulated farms; see Seafood Watch Consumer Guide.
  • Tail on or peeled: Tail on looks the best for shrimp risotto. But it can be messy when you’re eating it! Make sure to serve it with a bowl for the tails. Or, buy peeled shrimp for easier eating.
  • Fresh or frozen: Both are similar in quality. Frozen shrimp can be as high quality as fresh if it’s frozen as soon as it’s caught. Make sure to fully thaw the shrimp before you make the recipe.

How to make shrimp risotto (basic steps)

Making a risotto is simple, but it requires a bit of patience. Once you’ve made it once, the process becomes familiar and you can make it with different ingredients like shrimp, asparagus, mushrooms, and more. Here are the basic steps for how to make a shrimp risotto (or jump to the recipe below):

  • Heat the broth first. Arborio rice immediately absorbs the broth if it’s hot. However, if the broth is cold it changes the temperature of the dish and affects the cooking process.
  • Sauté the shrimp. To get a nice sear on the shrimp, cook them first in a hot pan and then set aside while making the risotto.
  • Sauté the onion and garlic, then deglaze the pan with wine. Using wine to deglaze the pan adds a tangy, sophisticated flavor to risotto. Skip the deglazing if you prefer not cooking with alcohol.
  • Stir in broth gradually, about 12 to 14 minutes. Add a few ladles, then keep stirring to incorporate the broth. Once it’s absorbed, add more. Continue in this way for about 12 minutes. Grab a glass of wine and enjoy the process!
  • It’s ready when it’s tender but slightly al dente. The grains of rice should be slightly al dente (to have a bite of chew in the center) and stay separate from each other as they float in the thickened broth. Add the shrimp and serve!
Shrimp Risotto

Variation for serving size

This shrimp risotto tastes best the day of serving, so you may want to adjust the serving size accordingly. Using 2 cups rice makes quite a bit of risotto rice. If you want a smaller serving size with more protein, make half of the risotto and use the same quantity of shrimp. Or of course, you can make half of the entire recipe!

Storing leftovers

The flavor and texture of this shrimp risotto best the day of making. You can store leftovers refrigerated for up to 3 days, but keep in mind: the texture becomes less creamy when chilled. Reheat the risotto on the stovetop and add a little extra broth and Parmesan cheese, and a few pinches salt to taste.

Shrimp Risotto

Ways to serve shrimp risotto

What to pair with this shrimp risotto recipe? We love adding a green salad. Roasted broccoli, broccolini or asparagus also makes a lovely addition to the plate. Here are some ideas:

More shrimp recipes

Love cooking with shrimp? Here are a few of our favorite shrimp recipes for dinner and healthy shrimp recipes:

Dietary notes

This shrimp risotto recipe is gluten-free and pescatarian.

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Shrimp Risotto

Creamy Shrimp Risotto


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  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 4 to 6 1x

Description

This shrimp risotto recipe makes a crowd-pleasing dinner, pairing the bold flavors of Parmesan and lemon with creamy rice and juicy shrimp.


Ingredients

Scale

For the shrimp*:

  • 1 pound medium shrimp, deveined (tail on or peeled)
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika (or substitute standard paprika)
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons butter

For the risotto:

  • ½ cup minced white onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 quart seafood stock
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups dry white arborio rice
  • 1 cup dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio or Chardonnay**
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
  • Zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Prep the vegetables: Prepare the onion and garlic and noted above.
  2. Heat the broth: Combine the broth with 4 cups water and 1 teaspoon kosher salt in a saucepan and bring it to a low simmer. Reduce heat to low.
  3. Sauté the shrimp: Pat the shrimp dry. In a medium bowl, mix the shrimp with ½ teaspoon kosher salt, smoked paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder. In a large skillet, heat the butter on medium high heat. Add the shrimp and cook for 1 to 2 minutes per side until just opaque and cooked through, turning them with tongs. Remove the shrimp to a bowl.
  4. Sauté the vegetables: In the same skillet, add the olive oil and set the heat to medium. Add the minced onion and cook for about 2 minutes until tender. Add the garlic and dry rice and cook, stirring occasionally, about 2 minutes until the rice starts to turn light brown.
  5. Add the wine: Stir in the wine and cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is fully absorbed, about 2 minutes.
  6. Add the broth: Add two ladles of the hot broth to the risotto. Cook, stirring occasionally until the liquid is fully absorbed, then add two more ladles of both. Cook in this same manner for about 12 minutes, adding two ladles and stirring frequently. Continue to adjust the heat to make sure the risotto is at a steady simmer. After 12 minutes, taste a grain of rice. If it’s creamy but still al dente in the center, you’re ready for the final step! If not, continue to cook and add broth for a few minutes more. (You’ll have some broth left over: save it for reheating leftovers.) 
  7. Finish the risotto: When the rice is al dente, reduce the heat to low. Add two more ladles of broth, the Parmesan cheese and a few grinds of black pepper. Stir vigorously for 1 to 2 minutes until you’ve got a thick and creamy risotto. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, and black pepper. Taste and add more salt as desired (we add another heaping ¼ teaspoon kosher salt).
  8. Serve with shrimp, additional Parmesan cheese, lemon wedges and parsley. Drizzle with the shrimp juices if desired. Storage info: Flavor and texture are best the day of making. You can store leftovers refrigerated for up to 3 days, but the texture will become less creamy when chilled. Reheat on the stovetop and add a little extra broth and Parmesan cheese, and a few pinches salt to taste.

Notes

*If you want a smaller serving size with more protein, make half of the risotto and use the same quantity of shrimp. 

**If you prefer avoiding wine, you can skip Step 4 and move straight to adding the broth.

  • Category: Main dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian inspired
  • Diet: Gluten Free

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes for memorable kitchen moments! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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2 Comments

  1. Jennifer Pena says:

    My son’s just started eating shrimp and I’m excited to try this! However, my husband can’t have the parmesan cheese. Any non-dairy parmesan cheese suggestions? I’m sure you have at least one! Love your vegan nachos! I could eat your vegan nacho cheese sauce as a soup! It makes me sooo happy!

    1. Sonja Overhiser says:

      Great question! In this case I might try a store-bought dairy free Parmesan cheese alternative — I googled and looks like there’s a lot of options out there, even at Target, so looks like it’s easy to find! We don’t have a preferred brand (yet!) but it looks like Violife is a trusted brand. We do have a vegan Parmesan recipe, but it’s more for garnishing than putting in a risotto to add flavor. You could also try using cashew cream: maybe start with 1/2 cup and add more if necessary. Here’s our cashew cream recipe: https://www.acouplecooks.com/cashew-cream-recipe/ Good luck!! Also I loovvee that vegan nacho cheese too, so glad you enjoy it!