On The Table

A collection of knowledge-based articles to inspire overall wellness.

Healthy Parmesan Chicken Risotto Recipe

Our chicken risotto cuts out the time and calories most risotto recipes require, all while yielding exactly what you could ever want in a warm comfort food!

Healthy Parmesan Chicken Risotto Recipe

A creamy texture, golden brown color, and truly good food…

This chicken risotto recipe is all you could ever want in comfort food.

Unlike most risotto recipes that are often labor-intensive, ours is super easy and takes just a little over 30 minutes to prepare! And not to mention, free of heavy pours of cream and gobs of butter.

Dinner tonight is served with this healthy chicken risotto recipe, perfect for a dinner party or family night in!

(Also read on to find out the answers to common questions when preparing risotto.)

Chicken Risotto Recipe

Yield: 6 servings

Nutrition per serving: 330 calories, 9 g fat, 25 g protein, 37 g total carb, 2 g fiber

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 35 minutes
Total time: 40 minutes


• 1 Tbsp olive oil
• 1 lb chicken breasts, skinless and boneless
• 2 tsp ground black pepper
• 1 tsp sea salt
• 5 cups low-sodium chicken stock, warmed
• 1 Tbsp butter, unsalted
• 1 medium onion, chopped
• 1 1/2 cups arborio rice, uncooked
• 1/2 cup dry white wine (optional)
• 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
• Fresh parsley, chopped (optional)


1. Pat the chicken completely dry with paper towels then season with salt and pepper on each side.

2. Heat a large saucepan over medium heat with the olive oil then add chicken. Cook chicken for about 5 minutes on each side, or until golden brown and the internal temperature reaches 160°F. Remove cooked chicken from the pan, allow to cool, then chop into bite-sized pieces. Set aside.

3. In the same saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter then add and cook the chopped onion for about 5 minutes.

4. Lower heat to medium-low, add and cook the rice, stirring constantly, for about 5 minutes. The rice should be just slightly toasted and translucent in color. Also stirring constantly, add wine and cook until absorbed about 1 minute. (If not using wine, jump to step #5.)

5. Add in about 1 cup of the chicken stock, stirring until the stock is absorbed. Repeat this process about 5 times until all of the stock has been added and the rice is tender, creamy, and thickened. This should take about 15 to 20 minutes.

6. Add the chopped chicken and parmesan cheese to the risotto. Gently stir to combine and add more stock as needed if too thick. Garnish with freshly chopped parsley as desired.

Your Chicken Risotto Questions, Answered

"I do not have arborio rice on hand, can I use another grain?" "I am trying to watch carb intake, is cauliflower rice a viable option?"

Your risotto questions answered here!

Q: Must arborio rice be used?

A: Arborio rice has a natural starchiness that allows water to absorb without becoming mushy. This quality makes it a primary contender to prepare a creamy risotto!

However, other grains have comparable starchiness and can be used interchangeably. These include carnaroli rice, pearled barley, and orzo.

Also as a pro tip, do not rinse the rice prior to using, as doing so can compromise its desired starchiness content for proper risotto prep.

Q: What about cauliflower rice?

A: If you hopped on board the cauliflower craze, you might be wondering if it is a viable substitute to prepare low-carb risotto. With some minor changes, cauliflower can be used and often is!

However, the non-starchy veggie will not absorb liquid the way starchy rice does, so a few simple tweaks are needed.

Follow these steps for a low-carb, creamy chicken risotto:

1. Melt the butter then add and cook the chopped onion for about 5 minutes.

2. Add riced cauliflower and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring often. Add a splash of wine and chicken broth and allow to cook for about 5 minutes more, until liquid has reduced.

3. Stir in the parmesan cheese and salt to and pepper to taste. Allow to cauliflower and cheese to cook, stirring occasionally, until cauliflower is tender and the mixture is thick and creamy, about 5 minutes.

Q: Is risotto gluten-free?

A: First and foremost, arborio rice is naturally gluten-free. But this does not automatically designate risotto as a gluten-free recipe.

Other ingredients used to prepare risotto, including stock and broth, may contain gluten. So if needing or wanting a gluten-free recipe, always doublecheck labeling on purchased and used ingredients.

Q: Can risotto be prepared without chicken?

A: Of course! And while this chicken risotto is delicious, we would be selling the recipe short if we confined it to poultry.

Other tasty risotto combinations to try include:

• Cremini mushroom risotto with sauteed mushrooms and garlic

• Seafood risotto, including with parmesan shrimp, crab, or scallops (or even a hearty combo of all!)

• Vegetable risotto with veggies of choice such as asparagus and red bell pepper

Q: Can risotto be made entirely vegan?

Of course! Risotto can be prepared with entirely plant-based ingredients, making it both vegan and dairy-free-friendly.

While following the same steps to prep the risotto, simply swap the butter for olive oil and chicken stock for vegetable broth. Omit the parmesan cheese and flavor with nutritional yeast, too.

Instead of chicken or other animal meats, feel free to add a plant-based protein such as peas and tofu.