The Best Creamy Leek Risotto Recipe (With Parmesan)

There are few things as luxurious and comforting as a creamy risotto. My Leek Risotto recipe is cooked perfectly al dente and has a nice, buttery, creamy consistency. I love to serve this as is, with extra added veggies, or with lemony roast chicken! Plus, you can fry these up into crispy rice risotto cakes for an elevated side! This traditional recipe uses minimal ingredients to make the best creamy leek risotto. 

Leek risotto on a white plate with fresh leeks on the side.

Leeks are in season from September to April – this risotto is perfect for a fall or early spring dish! It’s a good risotto to pair with seafood too! I would serve this with some brown butter scallops for a complete meal. This risotto with leek recipe is simple – it follows my fool-proof risotto method for perfectly cooked arborio rice. The key to perfect risotto is to cook the rice over medium heat, slowly, while adding a ladleful of stock and cooking until the stock is absorbed by the rice. The cooking process seems intimidating, but I promise, with my step by step instructions, you will cook risotto like a pro! It’s the traditional method and trust me, it’s delicious. Don’t forget the extra knob of butter at the end for that silky finish! 

If you are a fan of risotto, check out my cacio e pepe risotto, lobster risotto, crab risotto, and arancini recipes, too!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • It’s versatile. Serve this risotto as is, on the side with chicken, or top it off with brown butter scallops!
  • It’s hearty, but vegetarian-friendly. This dish is comforting and filling!

Ingredients

Ingredients for leek risotto.

  • Arborio Rice – The star of risotto, Arborio rice has short, plump grains with high starch content, creating a creamy, velvety texture while maintaining a delightful bite.
  • Leeks – Cousins to onions, leeks offer a mild, sweet, and earthy flavor. Their subtlety enhances dishes like risotto without overpowering other ingredients. We use the green and white part of the leek, but not the dark green leaves! For best results,  clean your leaks first as they can have a lot of dirt in them.
  • Chicken Broth – Low sodium chicken broth adds depth and richness. It’s the liquid gold that turns simple rice into a savory, comforting dish. You can also use chicken stock! Make sure to use warm broth! 
  • White Wine –  Dry white wine adds brightness and acidity, balancing the creaminess of risotto. Choose a dry variety like Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio for the best flavor.
  • Shallot – Milder and more elegant than onions, shallots bring a touch of sweetness, melting seamlessly into risotto. 
  • Garlic – Garlic adds warm, savory depth. Minced cloves sautéed with shallots infuse the dish with irresistible flavor, enhancing without dominating.
  • Parmesan Cheese – Parmesan adds a nutty, salty, and umami-packed punch. I prefer to use real Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, grated myself. 
  • Butter – Unsalted butter brings luxurious creaminess and rich flavor. A couple of tablespoons added at the end make the risotto silky smooth and utterly satisfying.
  • Olive Oil –  Extra virgin olive oil, the Mediterranean’s liquid gold, offers a fruity, peppery flavor. We use it to saute the garlic, leeks, and shallot. 
  • Salt and Pepper – Essential for bringing out the best in your ingredients. Salt enhances flavors, while freshly ground black pepper adds warmth and spice.
  • Fresh Parsley – Fresh parsley adds a pop of color and a bright, herbaceous finish.

Substitutions and Additions

  • Substitute for Arborio Rice – Carnaroli rice is another Italian variety perfect for risotto. It has a higher starch content than Arborio, making it even creamier while still holding its shape.
  • Substitute for Chicken Broth  For a vegetarian version, swap out the chicken broth with vegetable broth. It still provides a rich, savory base without any meat. You could even use vegan butter!
  • Add Protein –  For a protein boost, top your risotto with some grilled shrimp. Their sweet, tender flavor pairs perfectly with the creamy leeks and Parmesan. You could also add scallops! 
  • Add Vegetables –  Stir in a cup of fresh or frozen peas a few minutes before the risotto is done. They add a pop of color, a touch of sweetness, and a bit of texture.

Step by Step Instructions

Shallot and garlic sauteing.

Start by rinsing the sliced leeks thoroughly under cold water to remove any grit. Drain well.

In a large skillet or saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallot and garlic, sauté for about 2 minutes until softened.

Sauteed leeks.

In a saucepan, keep the chicken broth warm over low heat. This helps maintain the cooking temperature of the risotto and ensures even cooking.

Next, add the sliced leeks to the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the leeks are tender and slightly caramelized, about 5-7 minutes. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper.

Leek risotto simmering.

Add the Arborio rice to the pan with the leeks. Stir to coat the rice with the oil and toast it for about 2 minutes until the edges become translucent.

Leek risotto cooking.

Pour in the white wine and stir constantly until it is absorbed by the rice.

Begin adding the warm chicken broth, one ladleful at a time, stirring frequently. Allow each addition of broth to be absorbed before adding the next. Continue this process until the rice is creamy and tender but still slightly firm to the bite (al dente). This should take about 18-20 minutes.

Leek risotto in a pot off the heat, with grated parmesan and butter ontop, about to be stirred in.

Remove the skillet from the heat. 

Stir in the grated Parmesan cheese and butter until melted and fully incorporated. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Divide the risotto among serving plates or bowls. Garnish with chopped parsley and additional grated Parmesan if desired. Serve hot.

Leek risotto on a white plate on a wooden cutting board.

Tips and Notes

  • Keep the Broth Warm – Keep the chicken broth warm in a saucepan over low heat. Adding cold broth to the risotto can shock the rice and slow down the cooking process, resulting in uneven texture.
  • Stir Constantly, but Not Too Much – Stir the risotto frequently to release the starches that make it creamy, but don’t stir too vigorously or too often. Over-stirring can break down the rice grains and make the risotto gluey.
  • Add Broth Gradually – Add the warm broth one ladleful at a time, allowing each addition to be absorbed before adding more. This slow addition ensures the rice cooks evenly and achieves the perfect creamy consistency.
  • Finish with Butter and Cheese Off Heat – Stir in the butter and Parmesan cheese after removing the risotto from the heat. This ensures they melt smoothly into the dish, adding richness without overcooking. This is how you get an extra luxurious texture! 

Leek risotto on a white plate.

Serving Suggestions

  • Wine Pairing –  Choose a crisp, dry white wine like Sauvignon BlancPinot Grigio, or Chardonnay. These wines enhance the flavors of the leeks and Parmesan cheese while balancing the richness of the risotto!
  • Serve as a Starter or Main Dish – Serve the leek risotto in smaller portions as an elegant starter or larger portions as a comforting main dish. It pairs well with grilled chicken, fish, or roasted vegetables for a complete meal.
  • Complimentary Dishes – I suggest serving appetizers like sausage crostini, burrata bruschetta, or pesto bruschetta before this main! Serve them up with some fun cocktails like a limoncello spritz, aperol spritz, or aperol margarita

Serve Immediately!

  • Risotto is best served immediately. You can use any leftover risotto to fry up into risotto cakes!

Did you try this recipe? I’d love to see it! Tag @seasonedandsalted on Instagram and leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ review below!

Leek risotto on a plate.

The Best Creamy Leek Risotto Recipe (With Parmesan)

Allie Hagerty
Looking for a comforting and satisfying meal? Try this creamy leek risotto recipe, cooked perfectly al dente and bursting with buttery goodness.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Pasta
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4 servings
Calories 441 kcal

Equipment

  • Large skillet or saucepan
  • Medium saucepan
  • wooden spoon
  • ladle
  • cutting board
  • Knife

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 2 leeks thinly sliced (white and light green parts only)
  • 4 cups chicken broth low sodium
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 shallot finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • Fresh parsley chopped (for garnish)

Instructions
 

Prepare the Leeks:

  • Rinse the sliced leeks thoroughly under cold water to remove any grit. Drain well.

Warm the Broth:

  • In a medium saucepan, keep the chicken broth warm over low heat.

Sauté the Aromatics:

  • In a large skillet or saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
  • Add the shallot and garlic, sauté for about 2 minutes until softened.

Cook the Leeks:

  • Add the sliced leeks to the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the leeks are tender and slightly caramelized, about 5-7 minutes.
  • Season with a pinch of salt and pepper.

Toast the Rice:

  • Add the Arborio rice to the pan with the leeks. Stir to coat the rice with the oil and toast it for about 2 minutes until the edges become translucent.

Deglaze with Wine:

  • Pour in the white wine and stir constantly until it is absorbed by the rice.

Add the Broth:

  • Begin adding the warm chicken broth, one ladleful at a time, stirring frequently.
  • Allow each addition of broth to be absorbed before adding the next.
  • Continue this process until the rice is creamy and tender, but still slightly firm to the bite (al dente). This should take about 18-20 minutes.

Finish the Risotto:

  • Remove from heat.
  • Stir in the grated Parmesan cheese and butter until melted and fully incorporated.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Garnish with chopped parsley and additional grated Parmesan if desired.
  • Serve hot.

Notes

Keep the Broth Warm – Keep the chicken broth warm in a saucepan over low heat. Adding cold broth to the risotto can shock the rice and slow down the cooking process, resulting in uneven texture.
Stir Constantly, but Not Too Much – Stir the risotto frequently to release the starches that make it creamy, but don’t stir too vigorously or too often. Over-stirring can break down the rice grains and make the risotto gluey.
Add Broth Gradually – Add the warm broth one ladleful at a time, allowing each addition to be absorbed before adding more. This slow addition ensures the rice cooks evenly and achieves the perfect creamy consistency.
Finish with Butter and Cheese Off Heat – Stir in the butter and Parmesan cheese after removing the risotto from the heat. This ensures they melt smoothly into the dish, adding richness without overcooking. This is how you get an extra luxurious texture! 

Nutrition

Calories: 441kcalCarbohydrates: 52gProtein: 9gFat: 17gSaturated Fat: 7gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0.2gCholesterol: 31mgSodium: 1105mgPotassium: 255mgFiber: 2gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 1030IUVitamin C: 6mgCalcium: 160mgIron: 4mg
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