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Cozy up with a bowl of this warm and creamy pumpkin risotto. While it may seem “fancy,” It requires minimal stirring so you can get this fall comfort meal onto the dinner table even on the busiest of weeknights.

A close up shot of plated risotto with parsley, pecans, and parmesan.
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Reasons to love this pumpkin risotto

Traditionally risotto is made by standing over a stove and constantly stirring and ladling. While not complicated, it truly is a labor of love, and I do vaguely remember finding this therapeutic…that is until I had kids.

With all the things I have to tend to, I NEED quick and easy family meals that require as little hands on cooking as possible.

If you are in the same boat, then you’re in luck! This pumpkin risotto requires very minimal stirring so you don’t need to be glued to the stovetop, just like this quinoa risotto.

But don’t worry! You will still experience the creaminess of a traditional risotto with the addition of fall flavors!

Enjoy this simple and comforting dish during the holidays or any time of year, just like this creamy pumpkin pasta sauce!

Ingredients

All the ingredients laid out on a white background.

I am highlighting just the ones that need further explanation. The complete list is in the recipe card below.

  • Risotto rice – arborio rice, a short grain Italian rice, is the best rice for making creamy risotto due to its high starch content. Some people swear by carnaroli rice, but I’ve never found it at my grocery stores.
  • Pumpkin – you can use homemade pumpkin puree or store-bought canned pumpkin. Make sure it’s not pumpkin pie filling.
  • Parmesan cheese – for an umami flavor that contrasts with the pumpkin. Also adds creaminess to the dish. Use freshly grated parmesan, not the processed cheese shaker. It TRULY makes a huge difference.
  • Stock – I like to use low-sodium chicken stock but feel free to use vegetable stock, if you wish.

Step-by-Step Instructions

A four image collage of how to make risotto.
Pumpkin risotto with minimal stirring.
  • Combine stock and water in a medium saucepan and bring to a low simmer.
  • In a large Dutch oven, heat the butter over medium heat. Once it starts to bubble, add the onion and celery, and cook until softened. Add the garlic.
  • Add the rice and toast, stirring constantly for 2-3 minutes.  Add the hot liquid to the pot (reserve 1 cup) and bring to a boil. Reduce to medium-low heat, cover, and cook for 15-18 minutes.
  • Once the risotto has finished, give everything a good stir, making sure to scrape the bottom of the pan. Stir in in pumpkin, parmesan, nutmeg, paprika, remaining broth, and cheese. Remove from the heat, cover, and let it sit for 5 minutes. Stir in any of the optional ingredients.

Variations

  • No pumpkin? you can use sweet potatoes or butternut squash instead
  • Dairy-free? Use olive or coconut oil instead of butter.
  • Add fresh herbs, like parsley, rosemary, and sage for a pop of freshness. If you want to get fancier, try adding crispy sage.
  • More umami? top with feta, goat cheese, or cheddar cheese
  • Have leftover Thanksgiving cranberry sauce? swirl some in to the finished risotto! You can also add some dried cranberries.
  • A splash of balsamic vinegar adds a lovely touch.

Tips for Success

  • Don’t skip heating the stock and water. This will help ensure rice cooks evenly.
  • Be sure to toast the rice first. This simple step will help the grain to absorb moisture slowly without getting mushy. Creamy rice dish shall be your reward ;).

Serving Suggestions

How to serve risotto to baby.

Enjoy this easy comfort food as a side dish or main meal with some protein, such as:

If serving this risotto to your baby, here are some recommended changes to the recipe:

  • Once the risotto has cooked, set aside a portion for your baby. Then stir in the parmesan to the rest of the risotto, as it is high in sodium.
  • To the baby’s bowl, combine with pumpkin puree, a drizzle of olive oil, and a little bit of seasonings. You can also stir in some breastmilk or formula, if you wish.

Equipment

The trick to making a perfectly cooked risotto using this minimal stir method is to use a heavy bottomed pan. A cast iron Dutch oven works beautifully.

They are great for making bolognese, stews and soups, dried beans, and really any one pot meals!

Storage

Risotto tastes best the day of. Once stored, it can get mushy and soft. Having said this, if you do have leftover risotto, here’s how to best store and reheat.

  • Transfer to an airtight container and keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
  • To reheat, take it out of the refrigerator 10-15 minutes prior. Add to saucepan with a little stock or water and stir until evenly heated. Avoid using high heat and stir consistently.
  • I do not recommend freezing.

More One Pot Meals

Did you make this recipe? Leave a rating below and let me know how you liked the recipe! Your feedback means so much to me!

5 from 6 votes

Pumpkin Risotto

Cozy up with a bowl of this warm and creamy pumpkin risotto. While it may seem "fancy," It requires minimal stirring so you can get this fall comfort meal onto the dinner table even on the busiest of weeknights.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 6
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Equipment

Ingredients 

  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup finely diced yellow onion (125g)
  • 1 cup finely chopped celery (135g)
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups arborio rice (300g)
  • 1/2-3/4 cup parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 15 ounce can pumpkin puree

Optional stir-ins

  • Cranberry sauce, balsamic vinegar, 1/3 cup chopped pecans, fresh herbs (parsley, rosemary

Instructions 

  • Combine stock and water in a medium saucepan and bring to a low simmer.
  • In a large Dutch oven, heat the butter over medium heat. Once it starts to bubble, add the onion and celery, and cook until softened, about 6-8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  • Add the rice and toast, stirring constantly for 2-3 minutes.  Add the hot liquid to the pot (reserve 1 cup) and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer, cover, and cook for 15-18 minutes. Stir once or twice during the cooking process. It’s important to maintain a low simmer. 
  • Once the risotto has finished, give everything a good stir, making sure to scrape the bottom of the pan.
  • Stir in in pumpkin, parmesan, nutmeg, paprika, remaining broth, and cheese. Remove from the heat, cover, and let it sit for 5 minutes. Stir in any of the optional ingredients.

Notes

  • Dairy-free? Use olive or coconut oil instead of butter.
  • Add fresh herbs, like parsley, rosemary, and sage for a pop of freshness.
  • Have leftover Thanksgiving cranberry sauce? swirl some in to the finished risotto! You can also add some dried cranberries.
  • A splash of balsamic vinegar adds a lovely touch.
To store:
  • Transfer to an airtight container and keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
  • To reheat, take it out of the refrigerator 10-15 minutes prior. Add to saucepan with a little stock or water and stir until evenly heated. Avoid using high heat and stir consistently.
  • I do not recommend freezing

    Nutrition

    Calories: 311kcal | Carbohydrates: 52g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 9g | Iron: 3mg
    Like this recipe? Rate and comment below!

    About Min

    Thank you so much for stopping by! I am Min, a Registered Dietitian, a Christ follower, a wife, and a mom to our two miracle babies! Currently, I’m having a ton of fun feeding their tummies and sharing our baby led weaning journey! Follow me on Instagram if interested in seeing daily menu as well as tips and tricks.

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