Chili Risotto

Chili Risotto

This risotto is infused with the flavors of chili, in the form of dried chilis in the broth, and lots of chili ingredients mixed into the rice! Having creamy risotto mixed into chili makes it really filling! It also creates a super unique texture that is so comforting. This is a fun mashup of both risotto and chili and tastes like a perfect combination of both dishes. Some sour cream and cheese on top is just what you need to balance the heat and complexity of this risotto

The inspiration for this chili risotto

Every time a recipe has you reconstitute dried chiles and then throw away the water, I cry a little. The water you use to revive the chiles always turns a deep red and retains a lot of the flavor. I thought to myself, what should I do with this beautiful water? Risotto was the obvious thing that came to mind, so I developed this recipe from there. Instead of just using water, I used a stock. I put all the usual chili spices into it and it became the flavorful backbone of this risotto

Make the chile broth

This is 3 new mexico chiles, 3 ancho, and 1 chipotle. Chop them up and take out some of the seeds. The more seeds you leave in, the hotter it will be.

dried chies

Cook the chiles in a dry pot. Open a window for this because it will be spicy! Then add chicken stock and some cumin, coriander, smoked paprika, chili powder, cinnamon, and clove.

make the broth

Simmer this for about 2 hours, then blend it smooth.

Start the chili risotto

I cooked some pork belly first, then added beef. The pork belly is cut small enough that the hour or so of cooking will be enough to soften it and render the fat. Next add veggies, then the rice and garlic. I added a little more oil with the rice so I could coat it in oil and saute it in the pan a bit, but your pan might be oily enough already.

starting the chili risotto with meat and veggies

Deglaze with some bourbon, then start adding the broth, ladle by ladle until the rice is tender. I also added a can of diced tomatoes with green chilis halfway through. hen finish with butter and sugar.

Finishing the chili risotto with tomatoes and butter

This photo is about halfway through cooking the chili risotto. The rice is still opaque and I had just added the tomatoes. The broth is on the right.

Beautiful chili risotto

Serving the chili risotto

Pour the risotto into bowls with all your favorite chili toppings! I topped mine with sour cream, cheese, and scallions.

chili risotto

Look at how beautifully rich and flavorful this looks! So tasty!

chili risotto

Twists on this recipe

Make this chili risotto your own! If you like beans, you should add beans. I like beans and I almost added them, but I decided not to at the last minute. You could do other cuts of meat, or other spices and flavorings that you like in chili. You could also change up the toppings based on what you love to top chili with!

If you have never made risotto before, here is a great guide.

For more fun twists on risotto, check out my kimchi risotto, or this gin and tonic risotto!

Chili Risotto

Risotto made with a rich broth flavored from dried chiles and filled with beef and pork to emulate a bowl of chili
Prep Time1 hour
Cook Time3 hours
Total Time4 hours
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 549kcal



Make the broth

  • 3 new mexico dried chiles
  • 3 ancho dried chiles
  • 1 chipotle dried chile
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 pinch clove
  • 1 pinch cinnamon

Make the risotto

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 pound chopped pork belly
  • 3/4 pound ground beef 85/15
  • 1 onion diced
  • 3 jalapenos diced
  • 1.5 cups arborio rice
  • 5 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/5 ounces bourbon
  • 10 ounces diced tomatoes with green chiles Rotel or other brand
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 stick butter


  • cheddar cheese
  • sour cream
  • chopped scallions


Prepare the broth

  • Remove the stems from the dried chiles. Remove most of the seeds. If you want it super spicy you can leave them in. Chop up the dried chiles into smaller pieces.
  • Open a window and turn on a fan because this next step can be abrasive. Bring a pot to medium heat and add in the chiles. Stir and cook to crisp up and get fragrant. about 5 minutes.
  • Add in the chicken stock and all the spices. Stir to combine and simmer on low for 2 hours. Blend with a hand blender until smooth. You could strain this in a mesh strainer to remove any remaining bits but I didn't feel the need to.

Make the risotto

  • Bring a large pan to medium high heat and add the olive oil and pork belly. Cook on it's own for about 10 minutes to slightly brown and render.
  • Add in the beef and season the meats with salt and pepper. Cook to brown around the edges and cook through.
  • Add in the peppers and onions. Cook about 10 minutes to soften and reduce.
  • Add in the rice and garlic. This should be oily enough at this point but if it isn't you can add a little oil.
  • Add in the bourbon and scrape the pan to incorporate any browned bits that are stuck.
  • Turn heat to low. Start adding the chile stock, ladle by ladle, storring often, and adding more everytime it seems to have mostly evaporated.
  • Add in the tomatoes about half way through this process. Then continuing to add more stock.
  • If the stock finishes before the rice is cooked, start using water.
  • Once the rice is tender, stir in the butter and sugar. Make sure this mixture is thick and wet, not dry. If it is too dry and clumpy, add more water. Taste and adjust seasonings with more salt, pepper, sugar, or spices to your personal taste.
  • Serve the risotto with the sour cream, cheese, and scallions.


Calories: 549kcal | Carbohydrates: 42g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 34g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 15g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 71mg | Sodium: 353mg | Potassium: 547mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 902IU | Vitamin C: 12mg | Calcium: 52mg | Iron: 4mg


  1. Dan – how did this turn out? It looks awesome, very cool idea.
    Ate at Varasano’s last night. He still has some work to do, but a good start.

  2. I want to make this right now. It’s CHILI…and RISOTTO.
    Why can’t you just live around the corner still so i can try these meals dammit.

  3. Jimmy / Everyone,
    I guess I didn’t describe the final flavor that much huh? Well it was exactly what you would expect. Chili plus Risotto haha. It had that deep flavor you can only get from dried chiles and the thick starchiness of risotto. The rice almost took the place of the beans in a way. It was great!

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