Chocolate Orange Risotto Recipe

A few years ago, recipe developer Jennine Bryant, who runs The Marshside Pantry, received a wonderful cookbook as a gift. The entire cookbook was devoted to cooking with chocolate — but not just in the ways you might expect. This cookbook featured "recipes using chocolate in what we'd normally consider to be savory dishes," the self-described "chocoholic" told Mashed. For example, one of the recipes was for a chocolate-flavored pasta. That in turn got Bryant thinking about how chocolate might be used to enhance rice. Or better yet ... how about rice pudding?

"I don't know if it's a thing elsewhere, but we have rice pudding in England," Bryant explained, "so I thought it would be fun to make a fancy chocolate version." Since rice pudding is typically made with the same type of rice with which risotto is made, as you're about to discover, that is where this recipe for chocolate orange risotto comes in.

Gather your ingredients for this chocolate orange risotto recipe

Ready to whip up some of Bryant's truly exquisite chocolate orange risotto slash rice pudding? As with most risottos and many rice puddings, you will need to start with arborio rice, which has a uniquely short and rounded appearance but more importantly is rich in the starchy compound amylopectin, which is released as the arborio rice cooks, resulting in a chewy and creamy texture. You'll need three-quarters of a cup. 

You'll be cooking the arborio rice in a chocolate milk-like liquid made with three and half tablespoons of cocoa powder, one cup of granulated sugar, one teaspoon of cinnamon powder, and three and a half cups of whole milk. It will also be flavored with six cinnamon sticks, three strips of orange peel, three-quarters of a cup of grated dark chocolate, three tablespoons of orange zest, and heavy cream for serving. And don't fret if you've never worked with orange peel, orange zest, or grated chocolate — we'll walk you through it!

Start by prepping the orange peel, orange zest, and grated chocolate

"The easiest way to get orange peel from an orange is to use a peeler," Bryant told Mashed. "That way, you can safely and easily get long strips of the peel by pulling the peeler around the surface of the orange." Bryant's method for zesting oranges is to rub a whole orange against a small-sized cheese grater (the same size as you might use for Parmesan). Similarly, Bryant uses a cheese grater to grate her chocolate, although she may use "one of the faces with the larger blades" for this recipe because the chocolate is going to end up melted anyway. 

Create a chocolate-orange-cinnamon milk mixture in which to cook your arborio rice

In a small bowl, stir together all of the cocoa and the cinnamon spice with four tablespoons of sugar and nine tablespoons of milk. You should end up with a thin chocolate paste, like the one shown above. Place a large saucepan on the stove on top of a cold burner, and pour in the "paste" you just made, add the arborio rice to that, and combine the paste and the rice thoroughly.

Now it's time to cook the arborio rice

Turn the burner under your saucepan to medium heat. Add the rest of the milk, the rest of the sugar, and your three strips of orange peel. Allow the arborio rice to cook in this "chocolate orange milk" for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure that the rice does not collect at and stick to the bottom of the saucepan. 

Now add all that lovely grated chocolate you made earlier

At the end of that 30 minutes, the arborio rice should be soft and starchy (as opposed to soft and fluffy). At this point, turn off the burner under the saucepan. Now, using a slotted spoon or a tongs, remove the orange peel from the mixture. Then add the grated chocolate and stir everything together until the chocolate has melted fully. 

Serve your chocolate orange risotto

At this point, all that is left to do is to plate your chocolate orange risotto. To do that, spoon the chocolate and arborio rice mixture into six serving dishes. Top each with a cinnamon stick and a spoonful of heavy cream, and then sprinkle some more orange zest on top. Enjoy while it's still warm.

This is going to be a hit with family and friends, and it's a perfect recipe to make when you're having guests over for a special meal.

Chocolate Orange Risotto Recipe
5 from 23 ratings
Who said that chocolate and rice couldn't go together? Let's take a closer look at how to make this chocolate orange risotto recipe.
Prep Time
Cook Time
chocolate orange risotto
Total time: 35 minutes
  • 3 ½ tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 cup sugar, divided
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 ½ cups whole milk, divided
  • ¾ cup risotto rice
  • 3 long orange peel strips
  • ¾ cup grated dark chocolate
  • 6 cinnamon sticks
  • Heavy cream for serving
  • 3 tablespoons orange zest
  1. Mix the cocoa, 4 tablespoons of sugar, and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon with 9 tablespoons of milk until you have a chocolate paste.
  2. Put the risotto rice in a saucepan, add the cocoa milk mixture, and combine before turning on the heat.
  3. Keeping the heating element at a steady medium heat, add the rest of the milk, the 3 strips of orange peel, and the rest of the sugar.
  4. Cook the risotto rice in the chocolate milk for 30 minutes until the rice is soft. Stir occasionally to make sure the rice doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan.
  5. Once the rice is soft, turn off the heat and remove the orange peel. Add the grated chocolate and mix everything together until the chocolate has melted.
  6. Spoon the chocolate orange risotto into bowls and serve warm with a cinnamon stick, a spoonful of heavy cream, and the sprinkling of orange zest.
Calories per Serving 475
Total Fat 16.8 g
Saturated Fat 9.7 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 21.8 mg
Total Carbohydrates 75.3 g
Dietary Fiber 5.7 g
Total Sugars 46.2 g
Sodium 69.3 mg
Protein 8.8 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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