Is Rissoto Dairy-Free? Dairy-Free Risotto Rice Brands

Risotto is not inherently dairy-free, as it often includes butter and cheese to add richness and creaminess. However, it can be made dairy-free with appropriate substitutions, such as using plant-based butter or oil and omitting cheese.


Origin Of Risotto

The origin of risotto is traced back to northern Italy in the 16th century. Arborio rice, the key ingredient, was introduced by the Arabs, and the creamy dish was born when these grains were combined with local ingredients and cooking techniques.

What is Risotto?

Risotto is an Italian rice dish cooked in broth to a creamy consistency. The grains are typically sautéed in onion and butter, then simmered in wine and broth. Ingredients like meat, vegetables, or seafood may be added for various flavors.

What is Risotto

Ingredients of Dairy-Free Risotto

  • Arborio Rice: This starchy, short-grain Italian rice absorbs liquid while maintaining its shape, resulting in a creamy risotto texture.
  • Vegetable Broth: This provides the liquid in which the rice simmers. It imbues the risotto with a deep, savory flavor and can be homemade or store-bought.
  • Onions and Garlic: They add depth to the risotto’s flavor profile. Typically, they’re finely chopped and sautéed before adding the rice.
  • Mushrooms (or other veggies): Mushrooms offer a meaty texture and umami taste. Other vegetables can also be used based on preference.
  • Olive Oil: Used for sautéing onions, garlic, and rice. It adds a richness that mimics the creaminess typically achieved with dairy.
  • Nutritional Yeast or Dairy-Free Cheese Substitutes: These can replace traditional cheese to give the risotto a cheesy flavor and creamy texture without any dairy.

Dairy-Free Risotto Recipe


  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup diced onions
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Nutritional yeast or dairy-free cheese substitute (optional)


  • Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add onions and garlic, and sauté until translucent.
  • Add the mushrooms and cook until they are soft.
  • Add the Arborio rice to the pan and stir well, ensuring all grains are coated with the oil.
  • Start adding the vegetable broth, a half cup, stirring often. Wait until the liquid is almost fully absorbed before adding more broth.
  • Continue this process until the rice is cooked and creamy, about 20-25 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper. If desired, sprinkle with nutritional yeast or dairy-free cheese substitute before serving. Enjoy your dairy-free risotto!

Dairy-Free Alternatives to Use in Rissoto

  • Plant-Based Butter or Oil: These can replace traditional butter. Olive oil or avocado oil are great options or use a good quality dairy-free margarine.
  • Nutritional Yeast: This is a popular cheese substitute. It has a nutty, cheesy flavor and is a great source of vitamins and protein.
  • Dairy-Free Cheese: Many types on the market are made from ingredients like cashews, almonds, and soy. Choose one that melts well for the best texture.
  • Plant-Based Cream: This can add extra creaminess. Look for unsweetened versions made from coconut, almonds, or oats.

Dairy-Free Risotto Rice Brands

  • RiceSelect Arborio Rice: This premium quality, non-GMO Arborio rice is perfect for making a creamy, dairy-free risotto.
  • Lundberg Family Farms Organic Arborio Rice: A family-owned brand committed to sustainable farming, Arborio Rice is organic and eco-friendly.
  • Riso Scotti Arborio Rice: An Italian brand known for its high-quality rice products, including Arborio rice, suitable for dairy-free risotto.
  • Dell’Alpe Arborio Rice: Another Italian brand, Arborio Rice is known for absorbing flavors well, perfect for risotto.
  • Campanini Arborio Rice: A premium Italian brand, Campanini’s Arborio rice is traditionally processed and perfect for a creamy risotto.
  • 365 by Whole Foods Market, Arborio Rice: This option is cost-effective, providing good quality Arborio rice that’s great for dairy-free risotto.

Dairy-Free Risotto Rice Brands


Is Risotto Healthy?

Risotto can be part of a balanced diet, as it’s primarily made of rice, a good carbohydrate source. However, traditional risotto recipes often contain butter and cheese, which can be high in saturated fat. Vegetable-loaded, whole grain and dairy-free versions can be healthier choices.

Is Risotto Lactose-Free?

Traditional risotto is not typically lactose-free, as it often contains dairy products such as butter and cheese. However, you can make lactose-free by substituting these ingredients with alternatives.

Is Risotto Gluten-Free?

Yes, risotto is generally gluten-free as it’s made from rice, which does not contain gluten. However, always check the labels of any store-bought broth or added ingredients to ensure they are also gluten-free.

Is Risotto Vegetarian?

Risotto can be vegetarian, depending on the ingredients used. Traditional risotto made with vegetable broth is vegetarian. However, if it’s made with chicken or beef broth or contains seafood or other meats, it’s not vegetarian.

Is Risotto Vegan?

Traditional risotto is not typically vegan due to the inclusion of butter and cheese. However, it can be made vegan using plant-based substitutes for these ingredients, such as olive oil instead of butter and nutritional yeast or vegan cheese instead of regular cheese.

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