Risotto recipes always call for adding the stock slowly. Why do we do that?

I've read in a couple of places it may help cooking the rice more evenly, or prevent it going stodgy?


4 Answers 4


All due respect, it's a myth. You don't need to add liquid slowly. Perhaps there used to be a reason (maybe years ago rice was processed differently), but at this point you're pretty much wasting your time constantly stirring.

Many cooking publication/blog has a "no stir" risotto. You can check out Serious Eats - which has a great breakdown of why risotto can be cooked w/out stirring every minute, and Cook's Illustrated - though CI doesn't have any of their usual "science" notes.

Yes, people call the "no stir" a half way risotto, or say that the technique is what makes it risotto. But it's only backed up by tradition and hand-waving, "The starch is on the outside, so the grains need to rub each other." Of course the grains need to rub each other, and you probably still sear your meat to "keep the juices in" too.

  • 3
    Using a pressure cooker works a treat too, this replaces the simmer part of most no stir recipes, and cuts time in half. About 3 minutes fry, 8 to 9 minutes in pressure cooker, 3 minutes creaming
    – TFD
    Sep 30, 2015 at 19:45
  • I usually do 7 minutes in the pressure cooker. Use 210% liquid compared to rice in weight.
    – Stefan
    Oct 1, 2015 at 5:33
  • @TFD : a properly adjusted pressure cooker will lose little to evaporation, making it so that you can double the recipe without trouble -- that is not true when cooked on your stovetop.
    – Joe
    Oct 1, 2015 at 21:10
  • 2
    Imagine how amazing the risotto would be if you cooked it in a pressure cooker and stirred it constantly. :P Oct 1, 2015 at 23:41
  • 1
    I'm not sure this answers the question. You say it isn't needed and refer us to links, but your answer itself doesn't summarise anything from those links, and as we know... links are not forever. Could you summarise some of Serious Eats breakdown of the why?
    – Spagirl
    Jan 17, 2019 at 13:00

For the risotto to be "creamy", the rice starch need to be released slowly.

You add the hot liquid (water, broth, bouillon) slowly to let the rice absorb it and let the rice release some of its starch to the remaining liquid.

Adding the liquid slowly also let you control the cooking more closely, you can then add a little bit more or stop adding when your preferred texture is attained.

I, personally like my risotto on the "dryer" but the more classic risotto is more "wet" and runny.

  • 5
    especially the last, getting the amount of liquid "just right" is a lot easier if you add it slowly. Having the temperature of the dish remain more even during cooking is another benefit. Temperature shock can be a bad thing when cooking (though some recipes call for it).
    – jwenting
    Oct 1, 2015 at 6:28

Agreeing with Trey Jackson But there is also a reason to add stock slowly that's because the person hasn't made it enough times to know how much stock is require for a certain amount of rice And if you don't know how much stock is needed and you dump stock in halfway and don't stir it, the stock will sit on top while the bottom burns. And that's how the whole you gotta add slowly all the while stirring comes from :P

So if you know how much stock is required and what heat setting ... you just set and forget and start cooking something else while your waiting for the risotto to be done


The rice has no idea if it's surrounded by a ladleful of stock or a bucketful. "Only one ladle at a time" is simply claptrap.

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