Easy, creamy, and delicious, this chicken and leek risotto recipe makes a wonderful dinner! It’s short on ingredients but big on flavor, thanks to leeks, garlic, thyme, and parmesan. Make this wholesome, one pot meal for the whole family.
February in Minnesota calls for some warm, cozy meals! When the wind chill is below zero, you need something that sticks. Brr.
Risotto is one of my go-to meals during the winter, especially my old classics: Vegan Mushroom Risotto and Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Brown Rice Risotto. This chicken and leek risotto is new, but it has definitely earned a spot on the weekly menu rotation at our house! The leeks infuse the creamy rice with onion flavor, making it the perfect base for chicken.
This dish will warm you from the inside out, all while being short on ingredients. You just need handful of items, many of which you probably have in your pantry, to put this together! I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Chicken: I use boneless, skinless chicken breast for this recipe. You can also use boneless, skinless chicken thighs. To save time, cook the chicken in advance. You can also use leftover shredded or rotisserie chicken if you have that on hand.
- Leeks: Use enough to yield 3 cups chopped, which is about 3 large leeks or 5 to 6 medium ones.
- Garlic: A good risotto always has some garlic!
- Thyme: I used dried thyme but fresh works too. Remember that ½ teaspoon of dried thyme equals 1 and ½ teaspoons fresh thyme.
- Arborio rice: This is a key ingredient for chicken and leek risotto because you need this type of rice to make the dish creamy. You can substitute short grain brown rice, but this is the only other rice that will work.
- Vegetable broth: You can substitute chicken if desired.
- Sherry cooking wine: I had this in my pantry, so I used it to deglaze the pot and add a bit of acid to the recipe. Lemon juice or a dry white wine is a perfect substitute here.
- Parmesan cheese: I like to use freshly grated cheese from a block of aged parmesan. You can of course use pre-shredded parmesan too.
Scroll down to the bottom of the post for the full recipe card. Here’s a preview of the steps for making chicken and leek risotto!
Slice the leeks. See my tutorial on How to Cut Leeks for more information.
Cut the chicken into cubes.
In a large, heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven, warm a little olive oil. Cook the chicken for about 5 minutes on each side until cooked through. Remove from the pot and set aside on a plate.
Add the leeks to the pot and cook for a few minutes until tender.
Stir in the garlic, thyme, and rice. Cook for about 2 minutes or until the rice starts to get translucent on the edges. Pour in the sherry cooking wine or lemon juice to deglaze the pan.
Pour in one ladle of hot broth. Stir constantly until the broth is absorbed. Repeat until all of the broth has been added and the rice is cooked through.
Stir in the parmesan cheese.
Stir in the cooked chicken. Serve, and enjoy!
Here are a few things to keep in mind when making this recipe:
- You need to get the broth hot before you start adding it to the risotto. However, you only want to bring it to a simmer in a saucepan, not a boil. Once it gets to a simmer, you can lower the heat so that the broth doesn’t evaporate.
- Risotto requires constant stirring. Do not leave it unattended for more than 60 to 90 seconds.
- After you stir in all of the broth, taste the risotto to make sure the rice is tender. You may need to add a little more broth if it’s not tender to your liking.
Reheating and Storage
Chicken and leek risotto is best enjoyed right away. Risotto can get mushy the longer it sits. However, you can store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days if you don’t mind the change in texture. Reheat in the microwave for 1 to 2 minutes until warmed through.
Risotto pairs well with a side salad or vegetable. Try it with my Boiled Broccoli, Caramelized Mushrooms (you can even add them to the dish!), Parmesan Brussels Sprouts Salad, or Kale and Broccoli Salad.
More Risotto Recipes
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Chicken and Leek Risotto
- Heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven
- Long spoon
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast - cubed; can substitute chicken thighs
- 3 cups chopped leeks - about 3 large leeks
- 3 cloves garlic
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- 3 tablespoons sherry cooking wine or lemon juice - can also substitute white wine
- 1 cup arborio rice
- 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- Salt - to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper - to taste
- First, get the broth hot. Pour it into a saucepan and bring it to a simmer over medium-high heat. Once it starts simmering, reduce the heat to keep it hot but not boiling so that it doesn't evaporate.
- In a large, heavy-bottomed pot such as a Dutch oven, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the cubed chicken and cook for about 5 minutes on each side or until cooked through. Season with salt and pepper as it's cooking. When it's finished, transfer to a plate and set aside.
- The pot should have some chicken juices in it, but if it doesn't, add a little more olive oil followed by the leeks. Cook for a few minutes or until the leeks get tender.
- Stir in the garlic, thyme, and rice. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until the rice starts getting translucent around the edges.
- Pour in the sherry cooking wine or lemon juice. Use your spoon to deglaze the pot.
- Next, add a ladle (about ½ cup) of hot broth to the pot. Stir constantly until the broth is absorbed by the rice. Repeat until all of the broth has been added. This usually takes about 20 to 25 minutes. After the broth has been added, taste the risotto to see if the rice is as tender as you want it. You may need to stir in some additional broth.
- Remove the risotto from heat. Stir in the parmesan cheese followed by the cooked chicken. Serve and enjoy!
- Leave a rating or review by tapping the stars on this recipe card (above) or in the comments section (at the end of the post)!
- To save time, make the chicken in advance, or you can sub leftover shredded or rotisserie chicken.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave for 1 to 2 minutes until warmed through.
Enjoy this cozy risotto! – Lizzie