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Saffron Risotto, The Authentic Italian Recipe

Saffron Risotto is a tasty Traditional Risotto from Italy, easy to prepare and perfect for both dinner and lunch. A creamy Risotto, rich in flavour that is sure to win over even the most refined tastes.
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Saffron Risotto, The Authentic Italian Recipe
  • Difficulty Moderate
  • Prep 10 minutes
  • Cook 25 minutes
  • Servings 4 people

The “Risotto allo Zafferano”, or Saffron Risotto, stands as perhaps the most globally recognized and frequently prepared risotto variation. This creamy dish is renowned for its rich flavors, largely attributed to its key ingredient: saffron, one of the most prestigious and costly spices in the world.

Difference Between Milanese Risotto and Saffron Risotto:

The Saffron Risotto is also referred to as Milanese Risotto. However, a notable distinction exists between the two: traditional Milanese risotto incorporates veal marrow, whereas the Saffron Risotto does not. Instead, the latter’s preparation mirrors that of Parmesan Risotto but is augmented with the inclusion of saffron powder.

To achieve a perfect saffron risotto, the final step of creaming (“mantecatura”) is crucial. This technique involves stirring in butter and grated Parmesan cheese just before serving. If necessary, a splash of broth can also be added. If you do this right you won’t need to use fresh cream nor whipped cream at all in your risotto.

Saffron Risotto Origins

The legend behind Risotto alla Milanese traces back to the 16th century in Milan. As the story goes, a master glazier who was working on the windows of the Milan Cathedral added saffron, which was used as a pigment in the glass-making, to a rice dish at his daughter’s wedding as a joke. The resulting golden-hued risotto was a hit among the guests, and thus, the iconic dish was born. While this story might be more of a delightful folklore than a factual account, it certainly adds charm to the history of this beloved dish.


Copy Ingredients


  1. To prepare the Saffron Risotto, start by sautéing some onion with a drizzle of olive oil in a saucepan.

    Ricetta Risotto Allo Zafferano 1
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  2. When the onion has wilted add the rice, toast it over a high flame and deglaze with a little white wine. When the alcoholic part of the wine has evaporated start adding broth a little at a time. Remember to add new broth only when the broth inserted earlier has been absorbed by the rice.

    Ricetta Risotto Allo Zafferano 3
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  3. A few minutes from the end of cooking, dissolve the saffron sachet in a glass with a little bit of broth. Pour it into the saucepan with the risotto, stir well and finish cooking.

    Ricetta Risotto Allo Zafferano 5
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  4. When the rice is cooked to perfection remove the saucepan from the heat add a little butter a little grated Parmesan cheese and stir well. There goes the Saffron Risotto is ready to be served and enjoyed piping hot.

    Ricetta Risotto Allo Zafferano




As with all types of risotto, it is important that you choose to use excellent ingredients therefore we recommend using Carnaroli Rice.


Saffron Risotto should be eaten immediately, but in case you can store it in the refrigerator for 1-2 days and then use it to make tasty arancini.