Bacon and Onion Risotto is a creamy rice dish full of flavor and comforting vibes. Pair this side dish with everything from chicken to seafood.
This post was originally published in July 2018 and has been updated.
Risotto is a family favorite in our house, and this bacon and onion risotto is my go-to. It's packed with flavor and goes perfectly with everything from grilled steak to baked chicken or pork.
If making risotto seems intimidating, I'm going to show you just how easy it is to make this restaurant classic at home. With a few easy tips - and a little bit of patience - you can enjoy this comforting side dish anytime.
Why you will love this
- Simple ingredients - Just a few staple ingredients are all you need to whip up this recipe.
- Very versatile - Once you know the method, you can easily incorporate flavors that you love.
- Casual yet fancy - Perfect for weeknight dinners with your family and special enough for guests.
- Arborio rice is a starchy short-grain white rice. It is cooked low and slow by gradually adding broth until the rice is tender and has developed a creamy consistency.
- Chicken broth or vegetable broth adds flavor. Using broth in place of water is an easy way to amp up the flavors in a dish.
See the recipe card for complete instructions and ingredient amounts.
- Add the chicken broth to a saucepan and keep warm over low heat.
- In a large pan, cook the bacon until brown and crisp. (Images 1 and 2)
- Transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate. Set aside. Remove the excess fat, leaving about 2 tablespoons.
- Add the onion and cook until soft and translucent. (Image 3)
- Add the rice (Image 4).
- Cook for 1-2 minutes until lightly toasted. (Image 5)
- Add two ladles of stock. Stir occasionally until the stock is absorbed. Then add another 2 ladles of stock (Image 6), stirring until absorbed. Continue adding stock, letting each addition absorb into the rice completely before adding more stock. This process takes 15-20 minutes or so. The rice should have a creamy consistency and should be tender but firm.
- Turn off the heat and stir in the Parmesan cheese, pepper, and bacon. The bacon is usually salty enough, but you can adjust the seasoning as needed. (Images 7 and 8)
- Serve and enjoy!
- Store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Risotto reheats well in the microwave.
Tips for making risotto
- Use stock instead of water to add extra flavor. White wine can also be used. Replace 1 cup of broth with 1 cup of wine.
- Heat the broth before adding it to the rice. Adding cold liquid will slow down the cooking process.
- Toast the rice before adding liquid for extra flavor.
- Make sure the rice has absorbed the liquid before adding more liquid. This will ensure the rice has a creamy consistency when fully cooked. Don't rush this process.
- Stir in a touch of cream or mascarpone cheese at the end for extra creaminess.
More rice recipes to try
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Bacon and Onion Risotto
- 5 cups chicken stock (plus more if needed)
- 4 slices bacon
- ¾ cup diced yellow onion (about 1 medium onion)
- 1 ½ cups arborio rice
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- black pepper (to taste)
- Heat the chicken stock over low heat. Keep the broth warm while preparing the rest of the recipe.
- Heat a heavy pan over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook until it is brown and crisp. Transfer it to a paper towel-lined plate. Set aside.
- Remove excess grease from the pan, leaving 2 tablespoons. Add the onion and cook until it is soft and translucent.
- Stir in arborio rice and saute for a few minutes until lightly toasted.
- Start adding the stock, 2 ladles at a time. Stir the rice until the stock is absorbed. Then add another 2 ladles of stock, stirring until absorbed. Continue adding stock, letting each addition absorb into the rice before adding more stock. This process will take 15-25 minutes. The rice will have a creamy consistency and should be tender but firm.
- Turn the heat off and stir in the Parmesan cheese and bacon. Season to taste with black pepper.
- White wine can be used in place of some chicken broth. Use 1 cup of white wine in place of 1 cup of broth.
- For added creaminess, stir in some heavy cream and/or mascarpone cheese right before serving.
Nutritional information is an estimate and will vary depending upon the exact amounts and specific ingredients used.