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Horizontal top-down image of three white bowls filled with a thick and creamy yellow stew topped with herbs and shredded parmesan.

Chicken Risotto with Saffron

  • Author: Nikki Cervone
  • Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x


A creamy risotto hearty enough to serve as the main course, this rendition includes tender pieces of chicken breast and aromatic saffron.


  • 6 1/2 cups chicken stock, or more as needed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, divided (about 34 ounces)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed and room temperature
  • 1/8 cup roughly chopped fresh basil or parsley, for garnish


  1. In a medium saucepot over low heat, bring the chicken stock to a very gentle simmer. Keep it warm without boiling.
  2. In a large 4-quart pot, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the cubed chicken, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper to the pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is just cooked through, about 3-5 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pot and set aside on a plate.
  3. Add the remaining oil to the pot. Add the onion and remaining salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions start to turn translucent, about 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds, just until fragrant.
  4. Add the rice and stir frequently until the grains begin to turn opaque and just start to emit a subtle toasted smell, about 1-2 minutes.
  5. Add the wine to the rice mixture to deglaze the pot, stirring and scraping the bottom and sides of the pot to release any browned bits. Continue to cook for another 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently, until most of the wine has been absorbed. Add the saffron and stir.
  6. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Carefully ladle 1/2 cup of the simmering stock to the rice and cook, stirring frequently, until the broth has been absorbed. Continue this process of adding stock in 1/2-cup increments and stirring frequently, being sure to wait until the rice absorbs the stock each time before adding more.
  7. Cook the rice until it is tender, for 35-45 minutes total. You may not need to use all of the stock. The consistency should be similar to a very thick porridge – if it is too dry for your liking, add more stock. If it is too runny, continue cooking to reduce the liquid until it reaches the desired consistency.
  8. Reduce the heat to low. Stir in the reserved cooked chicken, 1/2 cup of the grated cheese, and the cubed butter. Cook for 1-2 minutes to warm the chicken and melt the cheese and butter, stirring constantly.
  9. Remove from the heat, season to taste with additional salt and pepper, and serve warm, garnished with the chopped herbs and remaining cheese.
  • Prep Time: 20 mintues
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Category: Risotto
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Rice

Keywords: chicken, risotto, saffron