Risotto is so good fresh, but if you've got leftovers (lucky you!) you're going to want to know how to reheat risotto properly!
Whether it's from dinner at home or at a restaurant, if you have leftover risotto in your fridge, consider yourself lucky! This creamy grain is delicious as a main course or side dish. It pairs well with just about anything: chicken, beef, seafood and vegetables.
Can You Reheat Risotto?
The short answer is YES.
However, the best way to eat risotto (also known as arborio rice) is immediately after it's made. Any leftovers of this traditional Italian dish can thicken and aren't quite as fresh the following day.
That said, the leftovers are absolutely salvageable and can be enjoyed again if reheated properly. Do not throw away perfectly good risotto!
How to Store Risotto
Depending on the ingredients used, cooked risotto keeps in the fridge for about 5 days. Make sure to store it in an airtight, food-safe container.
However, if it contains meat or seafood, like grilled chicken thighs, then 3 days is on the safer side. (No one wants bacterial growth or food poisoning!)
If your risotto is in a takeout container from a restaurant, transfer it to an airtight container when you get home. Styrofoam and paper containers can take on the flavors and aromas of your fridge, which isn't nice, so proper storage is key.
Keep in mind that risotto will thicken up when refrigerated, so you'll need to revive this delicious dish a little bit. Let's talk about how to do that.
How to Revive Thick Risotto
Risotto that's been refrigerated tends to thicken and can lose its creamy texture. That's due to the starch content of risotto — which is what lends to the creaminess of the dish.
Once it's been refrigerated, it can tend to become thick and glue-like, but you can restore it to almost glory by stirring in some liquid. Ideally you should use the same liquid that you originally cooked the risotto with, but if you are out of it, a little water will work. These are what's typically used to :
- vegetable broth
- chicken broth or chicken stock
- beef or other meat broth
- dry white wine
You'll need about ¼ cup liquid for every 1 cup risotto. Add risotto and the liquid to a skillet (for a small portion) or pot (for a large batch of risotto). Warm over medium heat, stirring often, until heated through.
Keep in mind that fresh risotto is cooked to al dente and reheating it will cook the rice further, so it will be softer. Be careful not to overcook it when reheating.
Can You Freeze Risotto?
Freezing risotto isn't recommended. That's because cooked rice can become hard when frozen. As such, frozen risotto can take on a grainy texture when thawed and reheated.
How to Reheat Risotto
The reheating process for risotto is fairly simple, and there are a couple of different methods. The best method (and my preferred method) is the stovetop, but the microwave is an easy way to do it too.
To reheat risotto on the stove: Bring broth, dry white wine or water to a boil over medium high heat on the stove in a frying pan or pot large enough for your risotto. (Use ¼ cup liquid for every 1 cup risotto.) Add the risotto and stir until heated through. If it is still thick, you can add a splash of more liquid to thin it out.
To reheat risotto in the microwave: Remove the risotto from the fridge. Place it in a glass bowl or other microwave-safe dish. Stir in liquid. (Use ¼ cup liquid for every 1 cup risotto.) Let it sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes so the risotto can take on the liquid. Microwave the bowl of risotto on medium power for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
If needed, you can stir in a little butter or a tiny splash of olive oil after warming the risotto (with either method) for extra flavor and to help thin out the risotto a little more.
What to Do with Leftover Risotto
If you have risotto leftovers, you can add your favorite protein or cooked veggies on top. It's fun to dream up your own combinations because risotto is so versatile!
Here are a few ideas:
- Pan-Seared Chicken Thighs
- Cast Iron Skillet Grilled Steaks
- Grilled Pork Chops
- Shrimp Skewers
- Grilled Zucchini and Squash
You could also shape the risotto into rice balls or fritters and pan-fry them. Fried arancini balls are a great appetizer for Italian meals.
Because of the thick consistency of the leftover risotto, it doesn't need additional binders to stay intact when fried, but you can use one.
If you'd like to use a binder, mix an egg to cold risotto, then form balls and coat them in Italian bread crumbs before frying or pan-frying.
Delicious Risotto Recipes to Try
Risotto can be cooked so many different ways! Try one of these risotto dishes: