Shrimp Risotto

5 from 13 votes
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Shrimp risotto is a thing, and a good thing at that.

Risotto, if you are unfamiliar, is an Italian rice dish made with a particular sort of rice that sloughs off starch and absorbs quite a lot of whatever it is cooked in. The result is creamy without cream, and the rice has sucked up so much flavor from the stock it’s cooked in that you get a flavor bomb in a simple package.

A bowl of shrimp risotto
Photo by Holly A. Heyser

So yes, to make a really good shrimp risotto, you need shrimp stock; I have a recipe for shrimp stock here. Fear not, it doesn’t take more than about an hour to make, unlike many other stocks, and you can make it with the shells from the shrimp you plant to add to your risotto.

And you can make shrimp risotto without making your own stock, too. My advice is to use a really good seafood stock or fish stock if you have it handy, or, barring that, plain ole’ chicken stock.

Unlike my recipe for crab risotto, which uses tomato, and my recipe for fish risotto, which keeps things very simple, my shrimp risotto hinges on saffron. Saffron can be found in most decent supermarkets, and you can buy saffron online.

You only need a pinch, like about a quarter teaspoon, to give the rice a gorgeous canary hue and that floral, almost hay-like saffron aroma that meshes with the shrimp aroma to make something remarkable.

Closeup of a bowl of shrimp risotto
Photo by Holly A. Heyser

I add peas and parsley to my shrimp risotto, largely because, well, I am inordinately fond of putting vivid yellow and emerald green things together on a plate. I do it every spring because it makes me happy. My pan-roasted fish with spring vegetables is one such example, as is my trout with orange-saffron sauce and spring greens.

As for the shrimp, I use wild Gulf shrimp I brought back from Texas here. Traditionally you’d use little shrimps, like boreal shrimp from Alaska and New England, but any shrimp will do. If they are large, cut them into little pieces.

Risotto keeps well in the fridge, and if you have leftovers, you might consider making arancini the next day.

If you’re looking for more risotto recipes, I have more than a dozen for fish and seafood, mushrooms and vegetables – you can check them out here.

Closeup of a bowl of shrimp risotto
5 from 13 votes

Shrimp Risotto

I use homemade shrimp stock here, but other stocks and even chicken stock will do in a pinch. Similarly, while I prefer shrimp I've caught myself, any decent shrimp will do; I recommend Gulf or boreal shrimp.
Course: Appetizer, Main Course, Rice
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 6 people
Author: Hank Shaw
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 cups risotto rice (Arborio, vialone nano, carnaroli, bomba)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • A large pinch of saffron, crumbled
  • 6 cups shrimp stock (see above)
  • 1/2 pound peeled shrimp, in small pieces
  • 1 cup peas
  • 1/4 cup minced parsley
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Black pepper to taste


  • Warm the shrimp stock in a small pot.
  • Heat the first 2 tablespoons of butter in a medium pot over medium-high heat. Add the shallot and rice and saute, stirring often, until both are translucent, about 4 to 6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another minute.
  • Pour in the white wine and stir it in. Risotto hinges on nearly constant stirring, so you will need to be at the stove for a bit. Turn on some of your favorite music. When the wine has been absorbed, add 2 ladles worth of the shrimp stock. Stir it in and add the saffron.
  • Stirring frequently, if not constantly, let the rice absorb the stock. The stirring sloughs off the starches from the rice and makes a creamier risotto. When that stock is nearly gone, but before the rice begins to stick to the pot, add another ladle and continue. Keep doing this until the rice is al dente -- tender, but not mushy. It'll take a solid 20 to 25 minutes.
  • Stir in the shrimp, peas and parsley, along with another ladle of stock. Let this cook until the shrimp are cooked through, about 3 to 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and add, little by little, more stock or water to make the risotto loose, like a porridge. Stir in the butter, then some black pepper. Serve at once.


NOTE: You must use one of the four varieties of rice I mention in the ingredients or the risotto will not work. Arborio is by far the most common, but if you can find it, Vialone Nano is my favorite for seafood. 


Calories: 424kcal | Carbohydrates: 59g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 115mg | Sodium: 1141mg | Potassium: 392mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 638IU | Vitamin C: 15mg | Calcium: 143mg | Iron: 5mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe? Tag me today!Mention @huntgathercook or tag #hankshaw!

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About Hank Shaw

Hey there. Welcome to Hunter Angler Gardener Cook, the internet’s largest source of recipes and know-how for wild foods. I am a chef, author, and yes, hunter, angler, gardener, forager and cook. Follow me on Instagram and on Facebook.

5 from 13 votes (4 ratings without comment)

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  1. Made this today for the third or fourth time. We live in coastal south Alabama so the shrimp are quite excellent. I keep shrimp stock in the freezer so prep time isn’t too long. Used edamame instead of peas today for a change and it was a nice addition.

    Every recipe we have tried from this site and your cookbooks have been a winner!

  2. I don’t eat a lot of shrimp, but when I do I save the shells in the freezer with the intention of making this dish for New Years day. I make the stock in the morning with the shells saved throughout the year, and then the risotto for dinner. It’s become our standard for Jan 1 and it’s delicious.

  3. Pure perfection. I’ve wanted to make this for the longest time and finally had the time today to make the stock, then the risotto. Yummy, Hank!

  4. Absolutely delicious. I added a few roasted cherry tomatoes to add a little pop of sweet acid as a garnish.

  5. This is a perfect risotto. There’s nothing else to say. It needs no other description. Perfect.

  6. This recipe is spot the f%#k on!!! Had 8 cups of shellfish stock sitting in the freezer and someone posted this recipe on the Hunt Gather Cook facebook page and made me decide to make this recipe. Nothing, not a thing would I change. Cudos Mr. Shaw.

  7. When I saw this recipe, and knew we had a bunch of arborio rice in our pantry, I just had to try it. Since I didn’t have time to make my own I used store-bought seafood stock with basic frozen shrimp. It turned out great and will definitely be tried again, especially since I love the process of making risotto myself.

  8. I made shrimp and grits last Saturday, so why not shrimp risotto. I have the Arborio rice, the shrimp, I know how to make shrimp stock, got the peas, got the white wine, why not. Also have way too much saffron. Simply assemble and stir while consuming a cocktail and watch NCIS, New Orleans. Thinking back on eating the genuine Oysters Rockefeller and there is NO spinach in the recipe. It’s green, but they aren’t going to tell you what the green is. The risotto turned out so good, my wife ran a sample up to the chef at our local (a block up the street). She says I need to come in and teach her.

  9. Printing this one out now! We are fortunate, even though we are in Kentucky, to get fresh shrimp. We have a fish market that drives all night to the gulf and brings back fresh shrimp. Not sure if they are just yet but soon and I’m going to give this one a try. Thanks