Lemon Risotto Recipe with Mascarpone Cheese

Lemon risotto in grey bowl topped with charred lemon and basil sprigs.

This is a totally luxurious Lemon Risotto recipe. Swirled with with creamy mascarpone cheese, it’s rich, creamy, and tangy – Its bright flavor makes a perfect vegetarian entrée or a delicious side dish.

Want even more ways to get your risotto? Be sure to try my Shrimp Risotto, Caprese Tomato Risotto and Beet Risotto with Goat Cheese.

Here’s a stunner of a risotto recipe for you – Lemon Mascarpone Risotto.


Tangy lemon mingles with the creaminess of the mascarpone cheese and a sprinkling of saffron – The colors are beautiful, the flavors are exciting and this dish comes together quickly and easily.

I recently attempted to make a gourmet (and expensive!) grilled cheese using white cheddar, mascarpone, ricotta and goat cheese – EPIC FAIL! The cheese was melting all over the place and was more on the plate than in the sandwich. Also, I heated up some roasted red pepper and tomato soup that I picked up at Trader Joe’s – I ended up getting a bit busy, not paying attention to the stove, and burning that as well! NOT my best night.

Anyway… I had leftover cheese for days so I decided to put the mascarpone to good use in this risotto. (I also made this Creamy Chicken Marsala with Mustard & Mascarpone, which you cannot miss either!)

Risotto in large dutch oven.

Mascarpone is an Italian soft cheese with a mild flavor – Because of this, it can be used in both sweet and savory dishes. It is used in the traditional Italian dessert of tiramisu.

The mascarpone lends a great creaminess to this risotto and is combined with parmesan to give an extra bite. The broth used for the risotto is infused with lemon peels and a sprinkling of saffron. The saffron lends an extra flavor to the dish and contributes to the beautiful color. However, if you don’t have any on hand, feel free to leave it out. The dish will still be amazing!!!

Add-In options:

  • Peas: Add ⅔ cup of fresh or frozen peas at the end.
  • Chicken: Cube and saute some chicken chicken breasts. Then stir them into your cooked risotto.
  • Asparagus: Steam about 20 asparagus spears. Cut into 1-inch pieces then stir into the cooked risotto.
  • Mushrooms: Add 8 ounces of thinly sliced mushrooms with the shallots, then saute for a few minutes.
  • Prawns: Saute some shrimp, then add them to your cooked risotto.
  • Scallops: Sear scallops in olive oil and butter, then top your risotto with them.
Close up of creamy lemon risotto with fork.

What alcohol can you use in risotto?

  • You can use a dry white wine or white (dry) vermouth for this risotto recipe. I love to keep dry vermouth on hand and often use it in recipes where white wine is called for. It will keep in your cupboard and it’s generally more affordable than white wine.

What to serve with Lemon Risotto:

And let’s not forget the wine… Never an option in our house.

To pair with this totally indulgent Lemon Risotto, I chose a totally decadent wine – Bubbles. And not just one bottle, but two bottles – a Brut and Blanc De Noirs. I mean, why not? Sometimes it’s fun to open up a couple different bottles of wine with dinner to sample and taste, and to see what works best with your palate.

This Lemon Risotto would be the perfect dish to serve during this holiday season – Pair it with your sous vide Prime Rib at the Christmas table, or pop those bubbles and serve this risotto on New Years Eve. Cheers!

Two bowls of lemon risotto next to parmesan rind.

Wine pairings for lemon risotto:

  • Chardonnay – It’s butteriness and hints of citrus will pair very nicely.
  • Pinot Gris – It’s acidity will cut through the richness of the dish and lend a brightening essence to the dish.
  • Bubbles (Champagne, Cava, Prosecco). The effervescence mingles nicely with the rich, creamy flavors.

If you loved this Lemon Risotto I would appreciate it so much if you would give this recipe a star review! Also, be sure to snap a picture of your finished dish and share it with me on Instagram using the hashtag #platingsandpairings and tagging me @platingsandpairings.

For more great Platings & Pairings recipes, be sure to follow me on Pinterest, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.

More risotto recipes:

Lemon risotto in grey bowl topped with charred lemon and basil sprigs.

Lemon Risotto with Mascarpone

Indulge in this luxurious Lemon Risotto with Mascarpone. Rich, creamy, and tangy – Its bright flavor makes a perfect vegetarian entrée or a delicious side dish.
3.86 from 21 votes
Print Pin
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 4 servings


  • 6 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 2 lemons – 1 zested and juiced – 1 peeled (yellow part only)
  • 2 tbsp . olive oil
  • 2 shallots (chopped)
  • 1 clove garlic (chopped)
  • 1 1/2 cups arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup dry vermouth
  • pinch saffron
  • 4 tablespoons mascarpone cheese
  • 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • leaves A few of fresh basil (torn)


  • In a medium saucepan, heat the broth, saffron and lemon peel over medium-low heat. Cover and keep warm.
  • In a large pot or skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook until softened. Add the rice and cook for about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Add the wine and cook until evaporated. Add about 2 cups of warm stock and cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has evaporated. Add 2 more cups of stock, and continue cooking until evaporated again. Add 1 cup stock and the lemon zest, and cook until evaporated. Taste the rice to see if it’s done. If needed, add additional broth and cook for a bit longer. It should have a bite to it, but be creamy in texture.
  • Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice, mascarpone and parmesan. Season with salt and pepper to taste. If you have any citrus salts on hand – definitely use those!
  • Garnish with basil and additional grated parmesan.
Did you make this recipe?Mention @platingsandpairings or tag #platingsandpairings!


Calories: 529kcal | Carbohydrates: 63g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 32mg | Sodium: 411mg | Potassium: 121mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 405IU | Vitamin C: 1.2mg | Calcium: 322mg | Iron: 3.5mg

This recipe was originally published in April 2015. It was updated in March 2021 to update the photographs and content. The recipe remains the same. 


  1. April @ Girl Gone Gourmet

    Gotta love those kitchen fails! Although I’m sure the grilled cheese tasted amazing even though you had to scoop up the filling with a spoon 🙂 The risotto sounds delicious!


    1. Erin

      Thanks April – Your beef noodle bowls are calling my name right now!!!


  2. Allison

    Love this in the spring! Mascarpone is deceiving because it comes in containers with tiramisu all over it ha, but I love using it in savory preparations. 🙂


  3. heather @french press

    you had me at mascarpone – and I love it with lemon! what a delicious meatless main dish


  4. Kristen @ A Mind Full Mom

    That is genius that you added mascarpone. I can’t wait to try this one 🙂


    1. Erin

      Thanks Kristen! It makes for SUPER creamy risotto and adds a bit of tang!


  5. Carol Borchardt

    Erin, this looks divine! I just made risotto with asparagus and mascarpone but I love the addition of the lemon and saffron. Going to try that next.


    1. Erin

      Thanks Carol! Asparagus would be great added in with the lemon too!!!


  6. jayne

    This risotto sounds wondeful – it is top of my list for ,my next dinner cooking for my vegetarian friend! She will love it


    1. Erin

      I hope she loves it Jayne!


  7. Marlynn | UrbanBlissLife

    This risotto looks so creamy and yummy!


  8. Erin

    Woah, that looks amazingly decadent. Adding this to my recipe list!


  9. Melissa

    I’ve never made risotto but this looks amazing. I like the idea of pairing it with prime rib. That would make a nice, hardy holiday meal.


  10. Pech

    5 stars
    I love risotto in the winter for some comfort, and love how this sound rich with cheesyness but has a little tang and citrus to brighten it up! I will definitely try this recipe out


  11. Kelsey

    The basil, parmesan, and lemon sound like an amazing combo.


  12. Maxene

    Erin, I am happy to know we all have kitchen blunders! Sorry it was an expensive mistake but look where it all landed you, with this tasty Lemon Mascarpone Risotto! I will be using this recipe for some cold weather comfort!


  13. Meg

    Oh wow, this sounds great! I love a creamy risotto – mascarpone would be perfect to add to it.


  14. Create/Enjoy

    Sounds good! Would never have thought to combine saffron and mascarpone!


  15. Gina

    5 stars
    I haven’t had risotto in so long! I cannot wait to try this!


  16. Tess Frazier

    5 stars
    Absolutely perfect side dish with roasted lamb! My guests were quite pleased with this dish. And, I was able to serve my lamb with a white wine (I know, gasp!), a beautiful Semillion, that complemented the richness of the lamb and the risotto. This one is a keeper for sure. Loving your recipes. Thanks!


    1. Erin

      Oooh – Your dinner and wine pairing sound amazing Tess! What a great combination!


  17. Joseph

    I am going to try this dish for a romantic dinner. Do you have any prime rib recipe to go with this risotto?


  18. Emi

    4 stars
    Tasty, but way too lemony! Might be a good idea to have more specific measurements for variable sized ingredients like lemons. I had to make some extra risotto rice to add in and tone it down.

    Other than that, lovely!


  19. Mary Stultz

    The recipe calls for 2 lemons, zest and juice from one but says one peeled just the yellow but does not say what to do with that lemon. Can you help me out here?


    1. Erin

      Hi Mary! The lemon peels go in in step 1, with the broth. Hope that helps! Let me know if you have more questions 🙂


  20. 28 "Pot of Gold" St. Patrick's Day Recipes - The Kitchen Prep Blog

    […] Lemon Mascarpone Risotto from Platings & Pairings […]


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