If we’re talking about Italian foods, risotto should be a favorite for everyone, it certainly is mine, so it’s going to be amazing to dedicate an entire article looking for the best pans for risotto.
I also have one admission to make: my boyfriend makes the best risotto so that’s one way he pampers me that I love. There’s nothing better for me than being pampered with my favorite foods, that’s my love language.
Of course, there are no special pans that are only designed for making risotto. That means that we must determine what we need to make this decadent dish. It’s going to be a lot of fun.
Basically, our search for the best risotto pans will lead us to mainly talking about chef/sauté pans because they have enough depth so the liquid doesn’t evaporate too quickly, like it would be if we were making risotto in a frying pan.
Moreover, a chef/sauté pan doesn’t have very high walls. On the other hand, if we were to make risotto in a tall stockpot, then the liquid might not evaporate as it should, which can result in a soupy, wet risotto, which is absolutely not what we want.
Risotto is famous for its heavenly creaminess. That unique creaminess combined with al dente rice grains are the results we’re looking for. And that’s why it is important to look for the best pans for risotto.
A deep skillet can also be used to make risotto, it’s quite ideal.
They’re all pretty similar.
Table of Contents
Best Pans for Risotto Reviews
Besides looking for the best pans for risotto, there is another component that I want to talk about.
You should also make sure that you’re using high quality rice:
- arborio rice – the most popular type for household cooks, it’s affordable and easy to find around the world so this is the type most of us cook with, it is a short-grain rice capable of absorbing large amounts of liquid
- carnaroli rice – it is highly regarded for making risottos, considered the king of risotto rice, prized for its delicate flavor and firm yet creamy texture, it’s truly divine
- vialone nano – can be used for making soupy style risottos, especially those made with added seafood, the grains are plumper and the larger grains have a high starch content, it is difficult to overcook and the risotto made will be very silky and creamy but it can be difficult to find around the world
- Baldo – a less well known risotto rice that is also ideal for rice salads and even arancine
- Roma – it’s very difficult to come across it outside Italy, it’s similar to Baldo, it has pearly, full-bodied grains that can be cooked in a short time, absorbing all the flavors
It shouldn’t take more than 20 minutes to cook risotto for that al dente texture. It’s a very quick dish to make, which might fool people to think that it’s also very easy to make. If you follow the right steps, it will be easy.
Of course, if you want to make it softer and soupier, you’ll cook it for longer and you can add an extra half a cup up to a cup of liquid.
1. Lodge Enameled Cast Iron Covered Casserole: One of the Best Pans for Risotto
I truly love everything about the Lodge Enameled Cast Iron Covered Casserole. It’s my top recommendation when it comes to shopping for the best pans for risotto.
If I were to have one minor complaint that would be the price. It’s certainly not the cheapest cookware from Lodge. Their cast iron cookware is certainly a lot cheaper.
However, their enameled cast iron cookware will be slightly more expensive.
Of course, enameled cast iron doesn’t have to be seasoned. So, we get the wonderful cooking properties of cast iron but without the need to season our pots and pans, which might be a relief for some people because cleaning and cooking can be easier.
Enameled cast iron is a material that is frequently used for making Dutch ovens. Creuset certainly loves making their cookware from enameled cast iron. When we compare the prices that Creuset offers, you’ll immediately exclaim that Lodge is cheap.
We get two sizes to choose from: 3 quart and 3.6 quart.
Personally, I prefer the bigger 3.6 quart but if you cook smaller portions then you’ll much prefer the more affordable 3 quart. They’re both amazing and they look identical, only their size differs by a bit.
Overall, the design with the two handles and the enameled cast iron lid with a beautiful stainless steel knob looks truly amazing.
The Lodge Enameled Cast Iron Covered Casserole is beautiful, if we can say that about cookware. It can also be used as a serving dish because it just looks great.
Plus, we also get to choose from a range of colors, which is wonderful: Caribbean blue, cornflower gradated, desert sage, gray gradated, island spice, lagoon gradated, oyster white, and solid red.
It’s very popular for cooking risotto. There are many reviews from buyers who mention just how wonderful it is for cooking this dish without absolutely any problems. And for paella, in case you want to try that one, too.
It also works for induction cooktops. And we can also use it in the oven.
All in all, if you have the budget for it, the Lodge Enameled Cast Iron Covered Casserole can be perfect for any kitchen and whatever we want to cook.
Where to Buy?
2. Cuisinart Stainless Steel, 5.5 Quart Sauté Pan
I definitely love the big 5.5 quart size. People who don’t like the 3.6 quart size that Lodge offers, who think that it’s too small, might love the option to check out a 5.5 quart model like this one from Cuisinart.
Check out my reviews for the best 14 inch frying pan if you want a 7 quart sauté pan.
The Cuisinart Stainless Steel, 5.5 Quart Sauté Pan is highly popular. That immense popularity also comes with a significant number of negative reviews so make sure to check a few of those out.
However, when it comes to buyers who use it for making risotto, the reviews are overall pretty positive and home cooks are totally satisfied.
There is one user review from a buyer who mentions that the construction is too thin and too lightweight for this Italian dish.
On the other hand, there are many more buyers who mention that they made the best risotto ever in this sauté pan.
For me, it’s absolutely one of the best pans for risotto. The affordable price doesn’t hurt either. It’s only a bit more expensive than pans from T-fal but this one from Cuisinart is made from stainless steel and it includes a stainless steel lid, as well.
Everything about it looks great, including the handles.
The aluminum encapsulated base heats quickly and spreads heat evenly. The straight sides and the flat cooking surface maximize capacity.
It’s also induction ready.
Where to Buy?
3. Lodge Cast Iron Deep Skillet: Best Cast Iron Pan for Risotto
If you already own something like the Lodge Cast Iron Deep Skillet, then you really don’t need to look for the best pans for risotto anymore because you can certainly use a cast iron deep skillet to cook risotto.
Cast iron is known for heat retention and even heat distribution. The heavy bottom of a deep skillet made of cast iron is perfect for cooking all the grains evenly.
I recommend the Lodge Cast Iron Deep Skillet as my top favorite for the best tempura fryer.
It’s highly versatile cookware that works well for meat, vegetables, and even risotto and pasta dishes.
However, cooking in a cast iron that is not enameled implies a pretty important thing you should remember.
Cast iron is famous for heat retention, which means that our food will continue to cook for a couple of minutes after the heat is turned off. So, I recommend finishing your risotto off heat and then immediately transferring your food to a serving dish.
The Lodge Cast Iron Deep Skillet is also one of my top recommendations for the best pan for pancakes.
While I wouldn’t recommend the Lodge Cast Iron Deep Skillet as one of the best pans for risotto for most people because it can be challenging in terms of cleaning and seasoning and getting the temperature right and when to turn the heat off, I still wanted to include it among my reviews for people who truly value cast iron and know how to handle it.
There are many people who have only made risotto in their cast iron deep skillets, pans or Dutch ovens and they’re totally satisfied with the whole experience. Plus, many would say that everything tastes better in cast iron.
I wanted to make it clear that cast iron can definitely handle a wide variety of foods, including this very popular Italian dish. If cast iron is your favorite material, you can make it work.
I also love the Lodge Cast Iron Deep Skillet because it’s affordable, it can last a lifetime, and we get to choose between two sizes.
We can either choose the 10.25 inch (3 inches deep) or 12 inch deep skillet.
We also get the option of buying it with a lid that is also made of cast iron.
The skillet is pre seasoned with vegetable oil formula and it’s ready for immediate use.
It can be used in the oven, on the stove, on the grill or over the campfire. And it’s great for induction cooktops.
Where to Buy?
4. Ozeri All-In-One Stone Saucepan and Cooking Pot
The price well under $50 for the 5 L (5.3 quart) size is pretty amazing.
We can also choose the 3 L (3.2 quart) saucepan from Ozeri.
I don’t particularly recommend the smaller size for risotto. The 5 L (5.3 quart) one is definitely the one I prefer because it has a different shape, it’s shaped like a sauté pan, while the 3 L (3.2 quart) looks like a classic saucepan with a small base and pretty high walls.
One of the stunning things about the Ozeri All-In-One Stone Saucepan and Cooking Pot is the fact that it’s made with a stone-derived coating from Germany. Thus, the name stone saucepan.
This stone-derived coating is free of APEO, GenX, PFBS, PFOS, PFOA, and the lesser known chemicals NMP and NEP.
Thus, this is a non-stick coating. People who are looking for pans with a non-stick coating that isn’t Teflon might be glad to hear about the Ozeri All-In-One Stone Saucepan and Cooking Pot and its special coating.
It also features a layered aluminum core that conducts and sustains heat.
The coating is scratch-resistant. However, as with any non-stick coating, whether it’s ceramic, Teflon, granite or this stone-derived coating, I recommend using only wooden and silicone utensils. Don’t use metal on non-stick coatings and wash it by hand with the gentle side of the sponge. That will make them last longer.
We also get a comfortable heat-resistant silicone-coated handle and a side helper handle.
Plus, we get a tempered glass lid with a steam-release vent.
All in all, the Ozeri All-In-One Stone Saucepan and Cooking Pot offers beautiful quality for an amazingly affordable price.
Where to Buy?
5. Calphalon Classic Nonstick All Purpose Pan with Cover
It’s a 12 inch pan so it’s comfortably big for most people and most families. We can definitely cook enough risotto for a big family.
It’s not a cheap pan but not very expensive either. It’s in the same price range as the Lodge Enameled Cast Iron Covered Casserole. As I’ve already mentioned, the casserole from Lodge is my favorite but this Calphalon one isn’t too bad either.
A buyer mentions that the first dish they made in this Calphalon pan was risotto. It heated up quickly and evenly on medium heat. And it made the perfect risotto. That’s great to know.
The design is great. I especially like the high sides and that’s one of the main reasons for liking it.
It’s just like a sauté pan or deep skillet. They’re certainly all very similar.
The Calphalon Classic Nonstick All Purpose Pan with Cover has a dual-layer nonstick for easy food release and quick cleanup. Of course, I recommend washing it by hand and don’t use metal utensils to scratch the surface.
It has a hard-anodized aluminum construction.
The cast stainless steel loop handles are nice, as well. And the tempered glass lid is amazing, too.
Plus, it’s oven safe up to 450 degrees F.
It is compatible with most stovetops, including gas, electric, glass, and halogen. However, notice that there’s no induction compatibility as Calphalon doesn’t mention that it’s induction ready anywhere in their description of this pan.
Where to Buy?
Should you rinse the rice when making risotto?
We know that when we cook rice in a rice cooker we always have to rinse the rice several times until we get clear water. I also wrote an article looking for the best rice washer to make this job quicker and easier.
When we’re cooking rice, usually we want fluffy, individual grains and no creamy texture. In order to achieve that, we rinse the grains to rinse the starches off so that we can get a fluffy texture.
However, all that doesn’t apply when we’re making risotto. We want those starches, we want the creamy texture, that’s where it’s at. The creaminess is gone if we don’t have those starchy grains.
I never wash those grains. And I don’t recommend rinsing our rice for risotto, at all.
Thus, we need dry rice grains to stir them for 1 minute with the veggies and the oil. And then we add our liquids gradually until we’re done and the grains are al dente, which should take 20 minutes.
While looking for the best pans for risotto is essential, the magic and the beauty of it all starts when we get down to cooking some of our favorite recipes so, best of luck with that.
Whenever I talk about making delicious foods like risotto, paella, chili, burgers, bread, desserts, etc. I enjoy recommending some amazing cookbooks.
If you’re interested in rice dishes from all over the world and risotto in particular, I recommend the The Essential Rice Cookbook by Wendy Stephen, Murdoch Books.
The first piece of important information we come across is that risotto rices are short-grain rices high in starch. That ensures that we get that classic creaminess. And that’s why we don’t wash risotto rice.
And there are several types we can use for this iconic dish and all its variations.
Arborio is a large, plump grain.
Vialone nano is a stubby small grain that gives a looser consistency and has a bite in the middle.
Carnaroli is the best of all risotto rice.
The cookbook contains a long range of recipes that are made with risotto rices: minestrone soup with rice, stuffed squid, timballo of leeks, zucchini and basil, arancini, suppli, risotto cakes with preserved lemon mayonnaise, fennel risotto balls with cheese filling, lemon and herb risotto with fried mushrooms, seafood risotto, risotto nero, red wine risotto, risotto primavera, asparagus risotto, risotto Milanese, spinach risotto cake, etc.
How to make the perfect risotto
In The Essential Rice Cookbook by Wendy Stephen, Murdoch Books there is also a small chapter on how to make the perfect risotto. Looking for the best pans for risotto is the perfect opportunity to cover this chapter shortly.
One of the main elements of the flavor is the liquid we use to cook the rice. We can use water but it doesn’t carry any flavor. So oftentimes we use a stock (veggies or meat). The type of stock is determined but the main ingredient in our risotto.
For example, a seafood risotto will require a lighter fish stock or water.
A hearty meaty risotto can be made with red wine, beef, lamb or veal stock.
Most will be made with light chicken stock because it works with pretty much all ingredients.
Most risottos are served with freshly grated Parmesan.
In terms of texture, most of us will love it al dente, just like we love our pasta and noodles.
What tools do we need?
The pan we use must fulfill one important condition: the rice doesn’t stick to the bottom. Otherwise, there is a large variety of pans and pots to choose from.
A heavy-based saucepan, a cast iron enameled casserole, a stainless steel sauté pan, a cast-iron deep skillet as some of the best pans for risotto and a wooden spoon.
Making the perfect risotto requires a bit of patience and sticking close to our pan.
We must careful stir and gradually add our hot stock or water or wine, our hot liquid base.
The liquid needs to be hot so the temperature of the rice doesn’t drop too much.
The basic recipe will involve melting some butter or heating some oil. Then, over medium heat, sautéing some onion or garlic. Most of the time, we shouldn’t let the onion brown, just sauté it until it becomes translucent.
Add the rice on top of the sautéed onion/garlic.
Cook for a couple of minutes. Or until it turns translucent.
Add any alcohol if your recipe calls for it and stir until it is absorbed.
Then start adding your hot stock. 1/2 cup at a time. Stir until it is absorbed.
We will need about 48 oz (1.5 L) for 2 cups of rice. That will serve 4-6 people.
The rice should be cooked al dente in 20-30 minutes.
You can finish off your risotto with cheese, usually Parmesan. Or perhaps a bit of butter and some fresh herbs.
Allow your dish to rest and then you can serve it.
All in all, as we saw from my reviews for the best pans for risotto, the pan we use is not all that important, there’s a variety of them that can be used to make this iconic dish, it’s important to be comfortable with it so don’t cook in a cast-iron skillet if stainless steel is your favorite or choose enameled cast-iron if you don’t like the idea of seasoning cast-iron.