A deliciously moreish Creamy Tomato Risotto topped with crispy garlic breadcrumbs –  made with mainly store cupboard ingredients. It’s tender and creamy, with a slightly tomato-ey tang and just the right amount of sauciness to make it utterly moreish!Blue bowl filled with tomato risotto and topped with crispy garlic crumbs

Can you only make a risotto using stock?


This sauce base for this Creamy Tomato Risotto (my new favourite btw) is mostly made up of tinned tomatoes.
Every bite of that tender rice is infused with rich tomato-iness, all finished off at the end with cream, parmesan and black pepper.

And then of course we’re topping it off with crispy garlic crumbs – because you know how much I love my toppings (hello recipes with a million toppings such as my Spicy Parsnip and Sweet Potato Soup, upgraded Avocado and Eggs on Toast and Veggie Mexican Tortilla Pan).

What do we need?
Ingredients for tomato risotto with garlic crumbs on a wooden table

How to make Tomato Risotto with Crispy Garlic Crumbs

  • First make your tomato based stock. Place a tin of chopped tomatoes in a large jug with vegetable stock and tomato puree. Stir and heat through (in the microwave or in a pan) until hot.
  • Soften a chopped onion and garlic in a pan with a little oil, then the rice and wine.

8 image collage showing initial steps to make tomato risotto

  • Wait for the wine to almost fully absorb, then add the tomato stock a ladle at a time. Stir it regularly and ensure each ladle has almost fully absorbed before adding the next.
  • Finish the risotto with cream, parmesan (or a vegetarian hard cheese alternative), lemon juice and salt & pepper.

4 image collage showing the final steps for making tomato risotto

  • Whilst the risotto is cooking, melt some butter in a small frying pan with salt and garlic, then add in panko breadcrumbs and brown, stirring often. Turn off the heat and stir in parsley, lemon zest and parmesan (or a vegetarian hard cheese alternative).

6 image collage showing how to make crisp garlic crumbs

Top the risotto with the breadcrumbs to serve.

Do you cover risotto while cooking?

For this recipe you don’t need to cover the risotto whilst cooking.

Can I make it in the oven instead?

Yes, preheat the oven to 180C/350F.

Start the risotto in an oven-proof pan on the hob/stovetop. Add all of the stock in at once, then stir and place a tight fitting lid on top. Place in the oven and cook for 20 minutes.

Remove from the oven and stir in the cream, cheese, lemon juice, salt and pepper before serving.

The addition of the crunchy crumbs on top are so addictive, you may find yourself eating spoonfuls of the stuff before it even gets to the risotto.  I find they also add a bit of variety so each mouthful is a little different.

One of the things that used to stop me from ordering risotto in restaurants is that each forkful is the same – generally making them dishes of delicious monotonousness.

Pan of tomato risotto topped with crispy crumbs, parsley and lemon zest

I still feel the same way when I go to restaurants, but now – greedy person that I am – I order a side of juicy prawns or something if I think it’s going to be too lite on the toppings.

If you love toppings too, then the crispy crumbs are great, but you can also change it up with different toppings each time – such as mozzarella, fresh basil, jalepenos, fried chorizo, shredded chicken and roasted veggies.

Coming back to the breadcrumbs.  You can use either panko, or you can make your own.  Every so often I find I’ve gone over the top with the bread buying, and I have a pile of slightly stale bread.  Rather than throw it away (or make a giant bread and butter pudding cake) this is the perfect time to get your food processor or grater out.  Just grate it all up, crusts and all.  Bag the crumbs up into little freezer bags and stick them in the freezer.

This means they’re waiting for you whenever you want to make this meal, or maybe fish burgers and skinny fries or spaghetti and meatballs.  So long as they’re pretty dry when you make the breadcrumbs, you probably won’t need to defrost them either.

Bowl of tomato risotto on a wooden board

What do you serve risotto with?

You can serve this as a main dish by itself, or you could serve it as a side dish with salmon or chicken – such as this Tuscan Chicken (or my veggie Tuscan Mushrooms).

More Risotto Recipes:

Then if you have any leftovers make these Crispy Tomato Arancini balls

The Recipe Video:

4.88 from 16 votes

Creamy Tomato Risotto with Crispy Garlic Crumbs

A deliciously moreish Creamy Tomato Risotto topped with crispy garlic breadcrumbs -  made with mainly store cupboard ingredients.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 3 people
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Italian



  • 400 g (14 oz) tin chopped tomatoes
  • 240 ml (1 cup) vegetable stock
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree paste for US
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic peeled and minced
  • 150 g (3/4 cup) Arborio rice
  • 80 ml (1/3 cup) white wine optional, replace with stock if you'd prefer
  • 3 tbsp double (heavy) cream
  • 4 tbsp grated parmesan cheese or vegetarian Italian-style hard cheese if you want it vegetarian
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • good pinch salt and black pepper

Crispy Garlic Crumbs:

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • ¼ tsp Maldon salt or just a good pinch of normal salt
  • 2 cloves garlic peeled and minced
  • 4 tbsp (30 g) panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp chopped parsley
  • zest of half a lemon
  • 3 tbsp (20g) parmesan or vegetarian Italian-style hard cheese if you want it vegetarian
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  • First, make your tomato-based stock. Place the tin of chopped tomatoes into a large jug. Add in the vegetable stock and tomato puree and stir. Heat this stock in a small pan or in the microwave until almost boiling, then turn off the heat.
    400 g (14 oz) tin chopped tomatoes, 240 ml (1 cup) vegetable stock, 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • Heat oil in a large pan, add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes until the onion starts to go translucent, add in the garlic, stir and cook for a further minute.
    1 tbsp olive oil, 1 clove garlic, 1 small onion
  • Add in the rice and stir until the oil has coated the rice. Add in the wine and stir.
    150 g (3/4 cup) Arborio rice, 80 ml (1/3 cup) white wine
  • Wait for the wine to almost fully absorb (stirring regularly) and then add the tomato stock a ladle at a time, ensuring each ladle has almost fully absorbed before adding the next. Ensure you stir regularly.
  • After about 15-20 minutes you should have used up all of the stock. Have a taste of the rice. It should be softer, but still have a bit of a bite to it (it will soften up further when you add the cream). If the rice is still too hard, you can add in a ladle or so of water. Turn the heat down to very low.
  • Next, make your crispy garlic crumbs. Heat the butter in a small frying pan until it starts to foam slightly.
    1 tbsp butter
  • Add the salt and the garlic and stir for about 30 seconds.
    1/4 tsp Maldon salt, 2 cloves garlic
  • Add in the breadcrumbs and stir to ensure the butter covers all of the breadcrumbs. Allow to cook until the breadcrumbs start to brown a little, stirring often. Keep a close eye on them as they burn very easily. When ready, turn off the heat and add in the parsley, lemon zest, and parmesan.
    4 tbsp (30 g) panko breadcrumbs, 1 tsp chopped parsley, zest of half a lemon, 3 tbsp (20g) parmesan
  • Now go back to your risotto. Add in the cream, parmesan, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Give everything a good stir, whilst on the heat, and then serve topped with the crispy breadcrumbs.
    3 tbsp double (heavy) cream, 4 tbsp grated parmesan cheese, 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice, good pinch salt and black pepper



Can I make it ahead?

Risotto does taste best when serving right away, however you can make it ahead if you like.
Make the risotto, then cool, cover and refrigerate. Reheat in a pan over a low heat. Add in a good splash of stock to loosen it up when reheating.
The garlic crumbs can be made ahead too. Once cooked, then cool, cover and refrigerate. You can bring them to room temperature before sprinkling on top of the risotto, or you can reheat them for 30 seconds or so in a hot pan.

Can I freeze it?

I prefer risotto made and eaten right away, but you can freeze it if you have leftovers.
Quickly cool, then cover and freeze any leftovers (keeping the risotto and crispy crumbs separate). Defrost in the refrigerator overnight, then reheat the risotto in a pan over a low heat. Add in a good splash of stock to loosen it up when reheating.
The garlic crumbs can be defrosted in the refrigerator, then reheat them for 30 seconds or so in a hot pan to crisp them back up again before sprinkling on top of the risotto.

Can I make it gluten free?

Yes, use gluten free stock and make sure your tomato puree/paste is gluten free (it often is, but it's best to check).
Make breadcrumbs from gluten free bread by grating or whizzing them up in a food processor (or use gluten free panko).

Can I make it vegetarian?

Yes, simply replace the parmesan with vegetarian parmesan (or vegetarian Italian-style hard cheese).
Nutritional information is per serving.


Serving: 460g | Calories: 488kcal | Carbohydrates: 67g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 37mg | Sodium: 1010mg | Potassium: 548mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 883IU | Vitamin C: 18mg | Calcium: 224mg | Iron: 5mg

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

This post was first published in September 2014. Updated in March 2020 with new photos, tips and recipe video.

Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links – which means if you buy the product I get a small commission (at no extra cost to you). If you do buy, then thank you! That’s what helps us to keep Kitchen Sanctuary running. The nutritional information provided is approximate and can vary depending on several factors. For more information please see our Terms & Conditions.





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Hi, I'm Nicky and I love to cook! I want to share with you my favourite, delicious family friendly recipes. I want to inspire you to create fantastic food for your family every day.

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  1. Richard Green says:

    Hi Nicky, thank you. I’m new here. I’ve not heard of Arborio rice. I’ll have a look for it, but what other kinds of rice would do please?

  2. Mark Thomson says:

    5 stars
    I’ve made this risotto recipe several time and love it, though i do add some cooked chicken.
    I’m going to make it again today and use the left overs to make your Arancini balls recipe for the first time

    thanks again for your fantastic recipes

  3. Janine says:

    5 stars
    This recipe is delicious and so easy to make. We had all of the ingredients in which was a bonus. The crispy breadcrumbs on the top make a very tasty addition.

  4. Maja says:

    Delicious recipe, but doesn’t need cream. The cheese and the starchy rice should be enough, but if not, butter is more common in risotto.
    I dare say cream is not widely used in italian cooking.

  5. Annie says:

    5 stars
    I was craving risotto with tomatoes one night and had never made it before; in comes this recipe. I made it that once for myself and fell in love. This week, I made it for my family and it’s a hit! My mom even asked me to send her the recipe. You can also sub in variations with what you have on-hand in the pantry (I made it without lemon, parsley, and breadcrumbs and used plain tomato sauce when I first made it). This recipe is definitely one I will keep bookmarked.

    1. Louise Orritt says:

      3 stars
      The base of this risotto is really nice but I did however find it too acidic you could give a miss to the lemon juice if you don’t want it to taste too sour. It ultimately ruined the dish for me and the family but I think without this it would be great ☺️

  6. Isabelle says:

    This recipe was such a great find! While preparing this scrumptious risotto I discovered that double cream is not really even needed as I forgot to add it however it still tasted extraordinary, this recipe deserves lots of credit as it is the most delicious risotto I have ever tasted! Truly an amazing dish, and thank you for posting the recipe for everyone else to enjoy.

  7. L says:

    Sounds delicious! What meat protein could this dish be served alongside for my meat-loving family?

    1. Nicky Corbishley says:

      Hi, If I was serving with meat, I’d maybe go with some well-seasoned pan-fried chicken thigh fillets or I’d top with crispy pancetta, bacon, salami slices or cubed chorizo 🙂