This No-Stir Pumpkin Risotto recipe is a delicious autumnal risotto, just as easy to make as it is to eat! Pumpkin purée is stirred into perfectly al dente risotto with plenty of parmesan cheese & nutmeg, adding festive color & the perfect touch of earthy, sweet pumpkin flavor. Using just 10 simple ingredients, this pumpkin risotto recipe comes together in about 20 minutes of active cooking time, making it perfect for easy weeknight dinners & festive holiday gatherings alike. Naturally vegetarian & gluten-free. Easily vegan & dairy-free.
Planning your Thanksgiving menu? Be sure to check out Sidesgiving! This year PWWB is doubling down on the BEST part of a Thanksgiving plate…the side dishes! Sidesgiving is a holiday side dish extravaganza, including traditional dishes you already know & love, as well as some new & fun takes on the classics.
I REPEAT: NO-STIR PUMPKIN RISOTTO!!!
Sorry to yell, but it feels pretty necessary. The best pumpkin risotto, with practically no stirring necessary. Needless to say, we’re about to change your risotto-makin’ world!
This pumpkin risotto cooks with less than 20 minutes of active prep time, & requires very minimal stirring. You’d never guess it, though, since it has that dreamy creamy texture you want out of any good risotto dish.
As a bonus, it’s a total show-stopper! I mean…
Make this pumpkin risotto whenever you want a special, festive meal this fall. It’s also a fun update for the classic Thanksgiving side dish line up, & doubles as an amazing hearty dish for any of your loved ones who are vegetarian, pescatarian, or vegan.
This pumpkin risotto recipe was originally developed & shared in 2019 in partnership with ALDI. As a life-long ALDI shopper, ALDI is near & dear to my heart, especially during the holiday season.
The affordability of shopping at ALDI means squeezing even more special moments of connection with my family & friends into the holiday season. I know I can stretch my dollar a little further to add extra festive touches to our family gatherings without worrying about breaking our holiday budget or compromising on quality. & I seriously love that.
The best pumpkin risotto, & it’s seriously easy, too! Don’t be surprised when everyone asks you for the recipe! ♡ Read on to learn more about this Pumpkin Risotto recipe, or jump straight to the recipe & get cookin’!
Pumpkin risotto ingredients:
A big reason to love this no-stir pumpkin risotto recipe is the ingredients are simple, real foods. You need 10 basic ingredients, many of which you probably already have in your pantry.
Note: full ingredients list & measurements provided in the Recipe Card, below.
The cast of characters includes…
- Vegetable broth – When it comes to cooking risotto, a high-quality broth is really important. The Simply Nature Organic Vegetable Broth from ALDI is my favorite.
- Arborio rice – The high-starch, short-grain Italian rice typically used in risotto dishes. Arborio rice is very readily available in the rice & grains aisle in most grocery stores. Carnaroli rice is another common variety of rice used in risotto. Use whichever you love most.
- Pumpkin – Feel free to DIY it & make homemade roasted pumpkin puree or use canned pumpkin puree (which is exactly what I do!).
- Onion & garlic – Plain & simple!
- White wine – A dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio, will work best. I actually
- Parmesan – Use freshly grated Parmigiano, if you want to take your risotto to the next level!
- & lastly, a couple of other simple staples: butter, bay leaves, nutmeg, & salt
Vegan Pumpkin Risotto: If you try to avoid dairy or you are vegan, making this pumpkin risotto recipe dairy-free & vegan is totally do-able. Check the Recipe Notes in the Recipe Card, below, for the exact how-to.
How to make no-stir risotto:
The miracle of this pumpkin risotto recipe lies in the no-stir cooking method. Traditionally, risotto achieves its signature creamy texture by having been stirred continuously over a longer period of time. This easy pumpkin risotto recipe strips almost all of the stirring out of the process, cooking the rice with a gradual simmer & steam instead.
There are a couple of moving parts, but the process itself is very easy.
Note: full Recipe Directions with step-by-step photos provided in the Recipe Card, below.
A quick run-down of the key steps…
- Cook the aromatics: Sauté up some onion & garlic in a bit of olive oil, just until the onion is translucent & the garlic is fragrant.
- Toast the Arborio rice: Add the rice to the pot & let it toast up for a few minutes. This step adds beautiful nutty flavor to the risotto rice.
- Deglaze: Pour dry white wine into the rice. The wine will bubble up & your kitchen will smell like a dream! Let it cook for a few minutes, just until the rice absorbs the wine.
- Simmer: Add some warm veggie broth to the pot. Bring the mixture to a light simmer, then cover the pot & let the risotto cook for 20 minutes. If you want to peek halfway through & give it a quick little stir, go for it!
- Pumpkin-ify the risotto! After 20 minutes have passed, your risotto will be very creamy & nearly al dente. Remove it from the heat, then add in some pumpkin, parmesan, nutmeg, & a little extra veggie stock & butter. Stir to combine, then cover the pot & let it sit for 5 minutes more. The rice will steam to the perfect al dente texture, & the risotto will be so creamy & festively orange.
How to serve pumpkin risotto:
Because of its gorgeously vibrant color, this pumpkin risotto is a total show-stopper. You really can go as minimal or as festive as you’d like when it comes to serving it.
A couple of serving ideas for inspiration:
- Garnishes! Top with plenty of cracked black pepper & extra parmesan cheese. Pick & choose a couple of special touches as desired:
- For extra flavor: finely chopped fresh herbs (rosemary, thyme) or crispy fried sage leaves.
- For festive color: a sprinkling jewel-toned pomegranate arils.
- For extra cheesiness: top with crumbled goat cheese or feta.
- Delicious add-ins: Swirl cranberry sauce throughout the risotto for an extra festive touch. If the pumpkin risotto is the main event, feel free to serve with meat like shrimp, pancetta, or parmesan chicken (yum!).
- Family-style: Keep it casual & serve the risotto in a large serving dish. Let everyone help themselves!
Other Risotto FAQs:
What is risotto?
Risotto, which originated in the northern regions of Italy, is a creamy savory rice dish. Unlike most pasta dishes, risotto’s creaminess comes from the rice itself, not a sauce. Typically, risotto is stirred continuously as it cooks, allowing the rice to release its starches as it absorbs the cooking liquid, creating a creamy sauce-like consistency.
In its most basic form, risotto is made with butter, onion, wine, & cooking stock. Because of its mild flavor, risotto also makes for a great vehicle for other flavors & bolder ingredients, such as spices (saffron is very traditionally used in risotto), proteins (e.g. seafood risotto), or veggies (like this pumpkin risotto recipe!).
What is risotto rice?
You can make risotto with any high-starch short-grain rice. Typically you’ll find risotto made with Arborio rice (“ar-bor-ee-oh“), which is very readily available in the rice & grains aisle in most grocery stores. Carnaroli rice (“car-nah-roll-ee“) is another common variety of rice used in risotto.
- gluten-free? Yes! Rice is a naturally 100% gluten-free food. As long as it is made with other gluten-free ingredients, risotto should be totally gluten-free. If keeping risotto gluten-free is important to you, be sure to check the labels of the broth or any other ingredients you add to your risotto for any wheat products.
- dairy-free? It depends. Traditionally, risotto is made with butter & cheese, but it’s very easy to adapt a risotto recipe to be 100% dairy-free. Check the Recipe Notes, below, for specific instructions to make this pumpkin risotto recipe dairy-free & vegan.
Thanksgiving 2020: Meal prep, make-ahead, & portions.
In the spirit of flexibility – especially since the 2020 holiday season is unlike any other holiday season we’ve experienced before – all of our Sidesgiving recipes include guidance for meal prep & for scaling the recipe up/down based on the size of your holiday gathering.
Here’s everything you need to know about this easy Pumpkin Risotto recipe:
- Meal prep: By dicing the onion & chopping the garlic ahead of time, all you have to do on Thanksgiving Day get cooking – easy! See Recipe Notes, below, for step-by-step guidance.
- Make-Ahead: Pumpkin Risotto can also be made up to 5 days in advance, stored covered in the refrigerator, & reheated in a slow cooker or on the stovetop on Thanksgiving day. See Recipe Notes, below, for step-by-step guidance.
- Portions: As written, this pumpkin risotto recipe yields a medium batch, serving up to 8 as a side dish. For a different sized crowd…
- Scaled up: To serve up to 14 as a side dish, double the recipe. See Recipe Notes, below, for step-by-step guidance.
- Make it a mini: To serve a cozy crowd of up to 4, halve the recipe. See Recipe Notes, below, for step-by-step guidance.
I hope you try this No-Stir Pumpkin Risotto recipe for dinner this fall, or as a side dish this holiday season. It couldn’t be easier to throw together & it’s seriously tasty – you’re going to LOVE it!
If you do give it a try, be sure to let me know!: Leave a comment with a star rating below. You can also snap a photo & tag @playswellwithbutter on Instagram. I LOVE hearing about & seeing your PWWB creations! Happy cooking! ♡Print
Creamy pumpkin purée stirred into perfectly al dente risotto with plenty of parmesan cheese & nutmeg, adding such festive color & the perfect touch of mild pumpkin flavor. This easy No-Stir Pumpkin Risotto recipe is the perfect festive fall dinner, & it doubles as a great side dish to serve at holiday dinners like Thanksgiving or Christmas!
- 6 cups vegetable broth
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
- 2 cups arborio rice
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan
- 1 15-ounce can pumpkin purée (not pumpkin pie filling!)
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- for serving, as desired: fresh sage leaves, extra grated parmesan
PREP: This no-stir risotto recipe comes together pretty quickly, with a couple of moving parts. For that reason, I highly suggest taking a couple of minutes to get yourself prepped & organized before you begin cooking. Chop the onion & garlic. Measure the rice & wine. Grab all the ingredients you need & set them within arm’s reach from the stove so cooking is a smooth process – it’ll make a world of difference!
- Simmer the broth: Add the vegetable broth & bay leaf to a large pot over high heat. Bring the broth to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low or medium-low to maintain a very light simmer.
- Cook the aromatics: Meanwhile, as the broth comes to a simmer, begin cooking the risotto. Add 2 tablespoons of the butter to a large, heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Once melted, add the onion and salt. Stir to combine. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion has softened, about 4-5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Toast the arborio rice: Add the arborio rice to the pot with the aromatics, stirring to combine. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the rice is lightly toasted, about 5 minutes. The rice will take on some golden-brown color, but should not burn – if you feel like it’s creeping toward the burnt end of the spectrum, reduce the heat.
- Cook the risotto: Increase the heat under the rice & onion to medium-high, then add in the wine to deglaze. Bring the wine to a boil and cook, stirring constantly, until the wine is absorbed, about 3-4 minutes. Reserve 1 cup of the simmering vegetable broth, then carefully transfer the remaining 5 cups of warm broth to the pot with the rice. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low to achieve a steady simmer. Cover the pot and cook the risotto for 20 minutes.
- Finish the pumpkin risotto: Remove the risotto from the heat. Stir the remaining 2 tablespoons butter, the reserved vegetable broth, pumpkin puree, parmesan cheese, and nutmeg into the risotto. Cover and let the pot stand for 5 minutes.
- Serve the pumpkin risotto immediately, topped with fresh sage leaves &/or extra grated parmesan as desired. Enjoy!
- Dairy-free &/or Vegan Pumpkin Risotto: Use coconut oil in place of the butter. Omit the parmesan cheese – be sure taste and add some extra salt to account for the saltiness that parmesan would add. Jazz it up, as desired, with some extra spices or herbs – think: cinnamon, rosemary, crispy fried sage.
- 5-Minute Meal prep: Dice 1 small yellow onion & finely chop or grate 3 cloves of garlic, storing in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. All you have to do on Thanksgiving Day get cooking – easy!
- Make-Ahead Pumpkin Risotto: Pumpkin Risotto can also be made up to 5 days in advance, stored covered in the refrigerator, & reheated in a slow cooker or on the stovetop on Thanksgiving Day. To make ahead of time:
- Prep the risotto through Step 4 of Recipe Directions, above.
- Transfer the par-cooked risotto to a sheet pan, spreading the risotto into a thin layer to help it cool quickly. Once cooled, transfer to an airtight container & store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
- Reheat in a slow cooker: 3-4 hours before serving, place the par-cooked risotto in a slow cooker, along with remaining pumpkin risotto ingredients. Reheat on low, stirring occasionally. Just before serving, stir in a little extra broth as needed to loosen up the texture of the risotto. If the risotto gets too loose, add in some extra parmesan cheese to tighten it back up.
- Reheat on the stovetop: 10-15 minutes before serving, place the par-cooked risotto in a pot, along with remaining pumpkin risotto ingredients. Reheat on low, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Just before serving, stir in a little extra broth as needed to loosen up the texture of the risotto. If the risotto gets too loose, add in some extra parmesan cheese to tighten it back up.
- Portions: As written, this pumpkin risotto recipe yields a medium batch, serving up to 8 as a side dish. For a different sized crowd…
- Scaled up: To serve up to 14 as a side dish, double the recipe. Be sure to use a large enough pot or vessel to comfortably fit the risotto – about 7-qts.
- Make it a mini: To serve a cozy crowd of up to 4, halve the recipe.
- The no-stir method used in this pumpkin risotto recipe is inspired by & adapted from America Test Kitchen’s Almost Hands-Free method.
Keywords: pumpkin risotto recipe, no-stir risotto, vegetarian, easily vegan, easily dairy-free, gluten-free, fall recipe, side dish, Thanksgiving, Christmas, easy, creamy, stovetop
Recipe by Jess Larson, Plays Well With Butter | Photography by Eat Love Eat
Craving all things pumpkin?! We got you! Here are a few more savory pumpkin recipes you’ll love…
- The BEST Pumpkin Mac & Cheese with Brown Butter Sage Breadcrumbs (or, try a Vegan Pumpkin Mac & Cheese)
- Hearty Vegan Pumpkin Chili
- Extra-Flaky Pumpkin Biscuits
- Creamy, Dreamy Pumpkin Hummus
- + one pumpkin dessert for good measure: Seriously Perfect Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust
- All PWWB Fall Recipes
Ready for Thanksgiving?
Sidesgiving starts on Sunday, November 8th! Be sure to give @playswellwithbutter a follow on Instagram – I’ll be sharing step-by-step video demos & Q&As for each Sidesgiving recipe, so be sure to follow along!
To make things even easier, we’re sending the recipes + more Thanksgiving tips to our email friends. Use the form below to sign up to have Sidesgiving delivered straight to your inbox. Subscribe below!
Hosting for the first time? No worries! If you’ve never hosted before, I encourage you to head over to our 3-Hour Thanksgiving, where we share all of our best recipes, tips & how to make this your EASIEST Thanksgiving yet!
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