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Yellow colored risotto in a shallow white bowl with little saffron threads as a garnish on a white napkin with a gold colored fork next to the bowl.

Risotto Allo Zafferano (Saffron Risotto)

  • Author: Bianca
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: side, main, starter
  • Method: stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian
  • Diet: Vegan


This saffron-flavored risotto is based on an authentic Italian recipe for risotto allo zafferano. This vegan and gluten-free recipe is both delicious and easy to make in 20 minutes.


  • 1 cup (200 gr) Carnaroli or Arborio rice
  • 1/4 cup (50 ml) white wine
  • 1/2 small white onion (or ¼ large onion), finely chopped
  • 3 cups (600 ml) vegetable broth, warm
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads or ¼ tsp saffron powder
  • 1/2 cup (100 ml) warm water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup (25 gr) nutritional yeast or vegan Parmesan cheese, cold
  • 1 tablespoon vegan butter, cold
  • optional: salt and white pepper to taste


  1. In a small bowl, dissolve the saffron threads in warm water and set aside.
  2. In a large pot, heat up the vegetable broth and keep it warm on low heat.
  3. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onions and sauté for 2-3 minutes, or until the onions are translucent.
  4. Add the rice to the pan with the onions, and stir to coat the rice with the oil. Continue to stir for 1-2 minutes or until the rice is slightly toasted.
  5. Add the white wine to the pan, and stir continuously until the liquid has been absorbed by the rice.
  6. Add a bit of the warm vegetable broth to the rice, and stir continuously until the liquid has been absorbed.
  7. Repeat this process a bit at a time until all of the broth has been used. This takes about 18-20 minutes.
  8. Add the saffron water to the pan, and stir until it has been absorbed by the rice and the rice has become yellow.
  9. Remove the pan from the heat, and stir in the cold vegan butter and the nutritional yeast or vegan Parmesan cheese until melted and combined.
  10. Season the risotto with salt and white pepper to taste, if desired.
  11. Serve the risotto hot, garnished with additional grated Parmesan cheese or saffron threads.


Toast the rice before adding the liquid, as it will help to seal in the starches and give the dish a creamy texture.
Risotto is cooked until it is creamy and has a slightly firm texture. It should not be cooked until it is mushy.
Keep the broth warm while making the risotto. This helps the rice to cook evenly and results in a creamier texture. 
Slow cooking
Making risotto is easy, but it requires patience and slow cooking to allow the rice to absorb the liquid and release its starch.
Butter and cheese
Use cold butter and cheese to help to thicken the risotto and create a creamy texture. 
Serve immediately
Risotto is best served immediately while it’s still hot and creamy. If you need to wait before serving, keep it covered and warm on the stove, and add a little extra broth if it gets too thick.
Nutritional yeast
When using nutritional yeast as a substitution for Parmesan cheese, make vegan Parmesan cheese by pulsing 1/2 cup of raw cashews, 3 tablespoons of nutritional yeast, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt in a food processor until it reaches a coarse crumbly texture. This vegan Parmesan cheese is a great substitute for traditional Parmesan cheese and adds a delicious nutty and cheesy flavor to the risotto.
Transfer the risotto to an airtight container and store the container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. It’s not recommended to freeze risotto allo zafferano.

(the recipe and cooking technique is inspired by this authentic Italian recipe)


  • Serving Size: 4
  • Calories: 385
  • Sugar: 3.3g
  • Sodium: 864.6mg
  • Fat: 14.8g
  • Carbohydrates: 52.2g
  • Protein: 7g
  • Cholesterol: 0

Keywords: gluten-Free, golden risotto, Italian, lunch, risotto allo zafferano, saffron risotto, side