This decadent Crab Risotto is a delicious way to serve up a hearty and amazingly flavorful crab dinner! The creamy texture of the risotto is studded with tender chunks of crab meat for an absolutely rich and tasty appetizer, side, or main dish!
Tasty crab risotto is a seafood-lover’s ultimate indulgence!
Rich, robust, and unbelievably buttery, my crab risotto (risotto al granchio) is an Italian specialty that never disappoints! If you’re hesitant about taking on such a recipe, this quick and easy crab risotto is not intimidating, even for the amateur chef.
You won’t believe the restaurant-quality dish you’ve whipped up all by yourself! Crab meat is so tender and sweet, and when combined with ingredients including garlic, butter, and mascarpone cheese, the rice-based dish is incredibly decadent and delicious!
❤️ Why You'll Love This Recipe!
A great way to feature your crab! Not only does risotto and crab meat go hand-in-hand, it's also an amazingly flavorful way to stretch your expensive crab meat out to serve a lot of people!
It's Versatile! Add more seafood, toss in some veggies, or swap cheese to make an entirely different risotto!
So Incredibly Decadent! The rich flavors of risotto and crab combine to make this recipe a real treat!
There are quite a few ingredients that go into my crab risotto, but they combine to make a divine dish! I'm also including an optional quick crab stock you can prepare, which will make the crab flavor shine!
- Olive Oil – I use extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) for the best results, especially in a classic Italian dish like risotto.
- Shallots (or white onion) – Finely minced or diced for best flavor.
- Garlic – Just enough to add that unique garlic flavor without overpowering the delicate crab.
- Arborio Rice (or Carnaroli rice) - There are also other short grain Italian rices that are great for risotto, I've just found that arborio and carnaroli are the two most readily available in my area.
- White Wine – Use a dry white wine for the best compliment to the overall recipe.
- Seafood Stock – Or try my recipe for homemade crab stock. Better Than Bouillon also has fish and lobster bases available if you're a fan of this brand.
- Crab Meat – Get a good quality crab meat for a standout risotto.
- Butter – Adds richness and creaminess to the risotto texture, as well as a beautiful shine that makes the presentation look amazing!
- Mascarpone Cheese – Creamy and dreamy and definitely one of my favorite cheeses for risotto recipes (or use softened cream cheese).
- Lemon Zest – There is nothing so wonderful as a hint of lemon to brighten the flavor of your seafood. Adding the zest to your risotto really makes the crab flavor 'pop'!
- Salt & Pepper – Add these staple seasonings to taste. Both are used for highlighting the amazing flavors of this recipe.
- Parmigiano Cheese – Use freshly grated cheese to taste. I’m always quite generous!
💭 Tips & Recipe Notes
Warm stock, be sure to use heated stock and not a cold stock.
If you use cold stock or broth it will cool down the cooking risotto and mess up the rice absorption time. This will also directly affect your cooking time.
Do not overcook the rice, we are stopping the cooking on the risotto and lowering the heat while it is still in the "al dente" state.
The rice continues to cook while you add the mascarpone and butter. Plus, ideally risotto is served on a warm plate. Once all of this is done, fully cooked risotto (rather than al dente) rice can turn to mush.
Taste, taste, taste! A good cook will taste the dish and adjust on the fly.
Taste to adjust seasonings to your preferences once all of the recipe flavors have been combined.
Do not rush! Give your risotto plenty of time to soak in the liquids.
You want a nice bite to the rice, but it also has to achieve that right-on risotto texture that is so sublime.
Crab on its own in this risotto is really all you need, but you can easily make a few other seafood risotto recipes with this recipe as the base. Try the crab-only recipe first and see if you may want to play with the recipe the next time around.
Lobster Risotto - My lobster risotto is also out-of-this-world! It's a popular recipe on Bake It With Love and it's easy to see why.
Seafood Risotto - Try lobster chunks, diced shrimp, and even clams. White, firm fish varieties are also great in a risotto!
🔪 Step-by-Step Instructions
As intricate as this recipe may appear once it’s plated, the process to get there is far from difficult. Follow my instructions and you are sure to result in a risotto that is as scrumptious as it is visually appealing! This recipe yields 6 plentiful servings.
Quick Crab Stock Instructions (optional)
- Saute the vegetables. Place 1 tablespoon olive oil, chopped onion, carrot, celery, tomato, bay leaf, salt, and pepper to taste in a large stockpot, sautéing over medium-high heat until the onion becomes translucent.
- Add liquid and shells. Pour in 8 cups of water and 1 ½ pounds of crab shells and bring the mixture to a boil, boiling for 10 minutes.
- Simmer then strain. Lower the heat and simmer the stock for at least 20 minutes. Strain out the crab shells, veggies, and bay leaf. Keep the remaining broth on the stove at a medium heat so it stays warm for when the risotto is ready to be cooked.
Crab Risotto Instructions
- Saute shallots and garlic. Use a large heavy-bottom skillet and bring it to a medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon shallots (or onion), and 2 cloves of garlic (minced). Cook for 1-2 minutes or until the shallots are softened.
- Toast the rice. Add in 1 ½ cups Arborio rice (or Carnaroli rice, or other short-grain Italian rice), cook and stir for at least 1-2 minutes (and up to 4 minutes). Then pour in ¼ cup dry white wine to deglaze the pan.
- Reduce. After adding the dry white wine, cook for another minute allowing the wine to be mostly cooked off, stirring the rice frequently.
- Add the first portion of crab stock. Add ⅓ to ½ of the crab stock, cook (stirring occasionally) for about 3-5 minutes until the rice has absorbed most of the liquid.
- Add the remaining stock slowly. Ladle in the rest of the crab stock in increments (do not add too much at a time), allowing the rice to slowly absorb the liquid until it becomes slightly translucent and is an “al dente” firmness. A small core can should still be visible in the center of the rice. Expect this to take about 15 to 20 minutes.
- Reduce heat. Set the temperature to low once you reach the "al dente" stage.
- Combine crab meat and finish. Add 2 cups of crab meat, 2 tablespoons butter (use more if desired), 2 tablespoons mascarpone cheese, lemon zest from one whole lemon, and salt & pepper to taste. Stir the ingredients gently, folding the crab meat into the rice, until all are combined. You should have a thick, creamy risotto that's piping hot in your skillet.
- Taste, garnish, and serve. Once all of your ingredients are fully combined, taste and adjust the seasoning (if necessary). Portion onto heated plates and garnish with large lump crab or crab meat, freshly grated parmigiano cheese, and green onions, dill, or chopped parsley (if desired).
If you’re a risotto fan, this recipe will be right up there with your favorite gourmet Italian meals. This all-encompassing meal needs no side dish, but you can offer rustic bread in the side or start with a simple green salad. Enjoy!
🥡 Storing & Reheating
Store leftover crab risotto in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Eat as soon as possible for ultimate freshness.
Freezing is also an option, however, it is not recommended with any risotto recipe. You may find the texture of your (frozen then reheated) risotto to be grainy.
If you are going to freeze risotto, it is best to freeze portioned amounts of the risotto as soon as you can after cooking. Don't wait until the risotto has already been in the fridge for a day or two or three.
Store the risotto in an airtight freezer container or freezer storage bag. Your risotto is best served within 2 months of freezing, but can store for up to 3 months.
Thaw frozen risotto portions in the refrigerator when ready to serve.
You can reheat risotto, but you may need to add some extra liquid if it has congealed too much. The quickest reheating method is to use the microwave.
Portion a single amount into a microwave-safe dish and heat on high for 1-2 minutes. Stir in the liquid, as more as needed until the risotto is creamy. Continue heating in 30-second increments until the risotto is warmed to your satisfaction.
My preferred reheating method is on the stove top. Portion your desired amount into a non-stick frying pan or skillet, add liquid, and stir to combine.
Heat the risotto over medium heat until warmed through, and adjust the consistency by adding liquid as needed.
If you prefer to cook without wine, you can simply use a portion of the crab stock (or any broth you are using to make your risotto) to deglaze the pan.
You want your rice cooked well, to that “al dente” state, where it’s a bit firm and chewy. You can add more liquid if need be, whether it’s stock, or even some water. You may just need a little extra butter or mascarpone cheese to loosen it up. If you follow my recipe, this shouldn’t be an issue.
No, these types of rice do not have the necessary starch to make a good risotto.
Quick Crab Stock (optional)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion (peeled and roughly chopped)
- 1 medium carrot (sliced)
- 1 rib celery (sliced)
- 1 large tomato (chopped, or use an 8 ounce can crushed or diced tomatoes)
- 1 bay leaf
- each, salt & pepper (to taste)
- 8 cups water
- 1 ½ lbs crab shells
- 1 tablespoon olive oil (extra virgin)
- 1 tablespoon shallots (or white onion - minced)
- 2 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1 ½ cups Arborio rice (or Carnaroli rice)
- ¼ cup white wine (dry white wine)
- 8 cups seafood stock (quick crab stock instructions are above - may use between 6 to 8 cups)
- 2 cups crab meat
- 2 tablespoon butter (more, as needed)
- 2 tablespoon mascarpone cheese (or use softened cream cheese)
- zest of 1 whole lemon
- each, salt & pepper (to taste)
- parmigiano cheese (freshly grated, to taste)
Quick Crab Stock (optional)
- Heat a large stockpot to medium-high, then add olive oil, onion, carrot, celery, tomato, bay leaf as well as salt & pepper. Saute until the onion is translucent.1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 medium onion, 1 medium carrot, 1 rib celery, 1 large tomato, 1 bay leaf, each, salt & pepper
- Add in 8 cups of water and crab shells, bring to a boil. Allow to boil for 10 minutes.8 cups water, 1 ½ lbs crab shells
- Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, then strain out the crab shells, vegetables and spices. Reserve broth and keep on medium heat for use in the risotto.
- Bring a large frying pan to medium heat, add olive oil, shallots (or onion) and garlic. Cook until shallots are softened (1-2 minutes). Add the Arborio rice (or Carnaroli rice), cook (stirring occasionally) for 1-2 minutes before adding dry white wine.1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon shallots, 2 cloves garlic, 1 ½ cups Arborio rice
- Add wine and cook for a minute, keeping the rice moving (stirring frequently). Add one-third to half of the crab stock, cook (stirring occasionally) for 3-5 minutes until the rice has absorbed most of the liquid.¼ cup white wine, 8 cups seafood stock
- Add the remaining crab stock in ladled increments, allowing the rice to slowly absorb the liquid until the arborio rice becomes slightly translucent and is an al dente firmness and the core can still be seen in the center (about 20 minutes total time once broth is added).
- Add the crab meat, butter, mascarpone cheese, lemon zest and salt & pepper (to taste). Stir vigorously until all ingredients are well combined and a thick, creamy risotto is achieved.2 cups crab meat, 2 tablespoon butter, 2 tablespoon mascarpone cheese, zest of 1 whole lemon
- Adjust the seasoning (if necessary), serve and garnish with large lump crab, parmigiano and green onions, dill, or parsley (if desired).each, salt & pepper, parmigiano cheese
Angela is an at home chef that developed a passion for all things cooking and baking at a young age in her Grandma's kitchen. After many years in the food service industry, she now enjoys sharing all of her family favorite recipes and creating tasty dinner and amazing dessert recipes here at Bake It With Love!