Creamy Pumpkin Risotto Recipe with Parmesan and Bacon

This Creamy Pumpkin Risotto is bursting with the richness of Parmesan and the savory crunch of bacon. It's an easy-to-make, dad-approved side dish or main course, perfect for cozy dinners with the family.
15 minutes
This post is sponsored by Rubbermaid. All opinions are my own.

When the golden hues of fall leaves shimmer outside, there’s nothing like the comforting embrace of a creamy pumpkin risotto to warm your insides.

If you’re a fan of a savory pumpkin recipe, this is a must try! 

What is risotto? 

It’s a creamy rice dish from northern Italy known for its rich texture and versatility. 

Homemade risotto may be a little intimidating, but if this is you’re first time cooking it, consider this your risotto 101!

Made primarily with Arborio rice, the key to its signature consistency lies in gradually adding hot stock while constantly stirring. 

This technique allows the rice to release its starch, creating the dish’s characteristic creaminess.

Although simple in its core ingredients, risotto offers a canvas for a wide array of flavors, ranging from vegetables and seafood to meats and cheeses. It

And, surprisingly, this is a recipe my kids loved!

I thought the add of pumpkin and crispy sage would have thrown them off. But, Brayden’s eyes lit up when he got to sprinkle bacon, cranberries, and pumpkin seeds on his portion!

This Creamy Pumpkin Risotto is a fall must! loaded with bacon, parmesan and topped with crispy sage, pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries

Equipment needed

With fall season here, making sure my pantry is full of fresh ingredients for a fall cooking is important. But with a crazy house like ours, I need to make sure I can easily find what I’m looking for. 

Rubbermaid Brilliance™ Pantry Food Storage Containers have transformed my pantry organization! With their crystal clear design, I no longer play hide and seek with ingredients. 

Plus, their airtight seals ensure my pantry items remain as fresh as day one. Gone are the days of stale rice or damp spices. 

Now, I find everything at a glance, fueling spontaneous cooking sessions, like this a pumpkin risotto, with a toppings like pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries and any other ingredients that sound amazing!

Ingredients for Pumpkin Risotto


  • Arborio Rice: A starchy, short-grain rice crucial for achieving risotto’s classic creamy texture; consider another Italian rice, like Carnaroli rice or Vialone Nano as substitutes.
  • White Wine: Enhances the dish’s depth of flavor; if opting out, use extra stock or a splash of lemon juice for acidity.
  • Chicken or Vegetable Stock: Warms the dish and aids in rice absorption; ensure it’s hot when adding, and consider homemade for a richer flavor.
  • Onions: A foundational aromatic that builds the risotto’s base; shallots can be a delicate alternative.
  • Pumpkin Puree:  Opt for fresh pumpkin puree for a more authentic taste or use store-bought pumpkin puree without compromising much on flavor.
    Bacon: Introducing a smoky and savory edge, bacon pairs brilliantly with the sweetness of pumpkin. We will be using the dripping for our fat, so if you remove this ingredient be sure to add some olive oil to your dish.
    Sage: Fresh sage leaves are ideal, but in a pinch, dried sage can be used, but use it sparingly due to its concentrated flavor.
  • Parmesan Cheese: Infuses the risotto with a salty, umami touch; Asiago or Pecorino Romano can be great alternatives.
  • Garlic: Introduces a punch of flavor; for a milder touch, roasted garlic or even garlic-infused oil can be used.
  • Salt & Pepper: Essential seasonings to elevate the dish; always taste as you go and adjust according to preference.
  • Pumpkin Seeds & Cranberries: Add a delightful crunch and sweet-tart contrast to the creamy risotto; for variations, consider toasted pecans or dried cherries for a similar play on texture and flavor.

Step-by-Step Cooking Instructions:

  1. Warm up 4-5 cups of chick broth in a pot 
  2. While the chicken broth is heating up, fry 4 strips of bacon, chopped into 1-inch strips, until crisp. Set aside, retaining the drippings in the pan.
  3. In the bacon drippings, fry 3 bunches of sage until they’re crisp. Remove and set aside.
  4. Sauté half a cup of onions in the same pan until translucent over medium heat. Add 3 minced garlic cloves, cooking until aromatic.
  5. Introduce 1 cup of Arborio rice to the mix. Using Rubbermaid’s handy 1/2 cup scoop ensures precision in every scoop. Stir continuously for a minute before pouring in white wine. Reduce heat to a low simmer.
  6. Gradually, in half-cup increments, add 4 to 5 cups of chicken broth. Regular stirring ensures the rice imbibes the broth evenly. Once almost absorbed, proceed to add another half-cup.
  7. Continue this process until the risotto is tender, which would typically consume about 4 cups of broth. If the rice remains firm, add more broth in half-cup measures until al dente.
  8. Fold in a teaspoon of chopped sage, 3/4 cup pumpkin puree, and a generous grating of parmesan (around a fourth to half a cup).
  9. Once well-combined, serve it hot, garnished with crispy bacon, fried sage, pumpkin seeds, and dried cranberries.

Variations to Spice Up Your Risotto

This Creamy Pumpkin Risotto is a fall must! loaded with bacon, parmesan and topped with crispy sage, pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries

​Once you’ve mastered the steps before folding in your sage and pumpkin puree, you have a great risotto base! From there you can let your creativity shine and add some amazing flavor variations:

  1. Seafood Risotto: Elevate your dish with a luxurious twist by adding shrimp, scallops, or mussels. They not only infuse the risotto with a briny depth but also provide a high-quality protein boost. Remember to add seafood towards the end of the cooking process to ensure they remain tender.
  2. Mushroom Risotto: Harness the earthy flavors of assorted mushrooms like shiitake, cremini, and portobello. Their umami-rich profiles blend seamlessly with the creaminess of the risotto, making it a favorite for both vegetarians and meat lovers alike.
  3. Spinach and Goat Cheese Risotto: Introduce a tangy creaminess with crumbled goat cheese and balance it out with the fresh, iron-rich taste of wilted spinach. This combination is not just a treat for the palate but also a nod to the Mediterranean culinary heritage.
  4. Saffron-infused Risotto: A nod to the classic Milanese style, this variation incorporates the luxurious spice saffron, giving the risotto a vibrant golden hue and a distinct floral aroma. Paired with Parmesan, it’s an opulent treat.
  5. Roasted Red Pepper and Chorizo Risotto: A spicy twist to the traditional risotto, the smokiness of roasted red peppers combined with the zesty chorizo creates a burst of flavors that tantalize the taste buds.
  6. Butternut Squash Risotto: Perfect for fall, chunks of roasted butternut squash add a natural sweetness and a velvety texture. Complement it with sage or rosemary for an aromatic finish.
  7. Lemon and Asparagus Risotto: A refreshing spin, this variation captures the zest of lemon and the crispness of lightly sautéed asparagus. Ideal for spring, it’s a bowl of zingy comfort.
  8. Truffle Risotto: Indulge in the lavishness of truffle oil or shaved truffles. This variation transforms the humble risotto into a gourmet experience, making it perfect for special occasions.
This Creamy Pumpkin Risotto is a fall must! loaded with bacon, parmesan and topped with crispy sage, pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries


Why does the chicken broth need to be hot?

Keeping the chicken broth hot is crucial for the proper cooking of risotto. Adding cold broth can shock the rice grains, leading to uneven cooking and a less creamy texture.

Can I use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth?

Absolutely! Vegetable broth is a great alternative for those looking for a vegetarian option. Just ensure it’s flavorful to keep the risotto rich and tasty.

Is Arborio rice the only rice I can use for risotto?

While Arborio is the most common rice variety for risotto due to its high starch content, there are other varieties like Carnaroli and Vialone Nano that can be used. These types also release enough starch to give risotto its signature creaminess.

I don’t have white wine, can I skip it?

While white wine adds a certain depth and acidity to the risotto, if you don’t have it or prefer not to use it, you can replace it with an equal amount of broth. However, the flavor profile might change slightly.

How do I store leftover risotto?

Store any leftover risotto in a Rubbermaid airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. These containers are excellent at preserving freshness. To reheat, you might need to add a splash of broth or water, as the rice tends to absorb more liquid over time.

Can I make risotto in the Instant Pot?

Yes, you can! Here’s a quick overview:
– Start by heating your broth in a separate saucepan.
– On the Instant Pot, use the Sauté function to cook the bacon (removing and crisping up the sage), then cook onions until they’re soft.
– Add garlic, followed by the rice, stirring until it’s toasted.
– Deglaze your pot with wine and let it absorb most of the liquid before turning off the Sauté function.
– Pour in the warm broth, secure the lid, and set your Instant Pot to Manual on High for 5 minutes.
– Once done, use the quick release function. Finish your risotto by stirring in pumpkin puree, sage, Parmesan and seasoning it with salt and pepper.

This Creamy Pumpkin Risotto is a fall must! loaded with bacon, parmesan and topped with crispy sage, pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries

Perfect Pairings for Pumpkin Risotto

You can definitely serve pumpkin risotto as a main dish. If you want to serve it as a side dish, (or need a side idea) here are some ideas:

  1. Roasted Chicken: A succulent roasted chicken with a herb crust complements the creamy texture and earthy flavors of the pumpkin risotto beautifully.
  2. Grilled Vegetables: Consider vegetables like zucchini, bell peppers, or eggplant. Their charred notes offer a delightful contrast to the risotto’s creaminess.
  3. Sautéed Greens: A side of garlicky sautéed spinach or kale can add a fresh and vibrant touch to balance out the rich risotto.
  4. Crispy Skin Salmon: The fattiness of salmon combined with its crispy skin can be a match made in heaven with the subtle sweetness of pumpkin.
  5. Red Wine-Braised Short Ribs: The deep flavors of red wine-braised meats can harmonize perfectly with the comforting vibes of pumpkin risotto.
  6. Fresh Salad: A light arugula or mixed greens salad with a tangy vinaigrette can cleanse the palate between bites of the rich risotto.
  7. Herb-Crusted Pork Tenderloin: The savory herbs enveloping the pork tenderloin create a symphony of flavors when paired with the risotto.

Dive into this pumpkin risotto and let it be the highlight of your family dinner. It’s simple, tasty, and a surefire hit for those cozy fall evenings. Enjoy!

Creamy Pumpkin Risotto Recipe with Parmesan and Bacon

Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American, Italian
Keyword: fall
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 383kcal
This Creamy Pumpkin Risotto is bursting with the richness of Parmesan and the savory crunch of bacon. It’s an easy-to-make, dad-approved side dish or main course, perfect for cozy dinners with the family.
Print Recipe


  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 4-5 cups chicken broth
  • 4 strips bacon chopped into 1-inch strips
  • 3 bunches sage
  • 1/2 cup onions finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1/4-1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/4-1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries for garnish


  • Warm up 4-5 cups of chicken broth in a pot.
  • Fry 4 strips of bacon in a pan until crisp. Set the bacon aside and keep the drippings in the pan.
  • Fry 3 bunches of sage in the bacon drippings until crisp. Remove and set them aside.
  • Sauté 1/2 cup of onions in the same pan over medium heat until they become translucent. Add 3 minced garlic cloves and cook until aromatic.
  • Add 1 cup of Arborio rice. Using Rubbermaid’s handy 1/2 cup scoop ensures precision. Stir the rice continuously for about a minute, then add the white wine. Reduce the heat to a low simmer.
  • Gradually add the chicken broth in half-cup increments, stirring regularly. Once the broth is almost absorbed, add another half-cup.
  • Keep adding the broth until the risotto is tender. You’ll typically use about 4 cups of broth, but if the rice is still firm, continue adding broth in half-cup increments until the rice is al dente.
  • Fold in a teaspoon of chopped sage, the pumpkin puree, and the Parmesan cheese.
  • Serve the risotto hot, garnishing it with the crispy bacon, fried sage, pumpkin seeds, and dried cranberries.


Calories: 383kcal | Carbohydrates: 51g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.03g | Cholesterol: 19mg | Sodium: 322mg | Potassium: 466mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 7207IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 158mg | Iron: 4mg
Derek Campanile
Derek Campanile
I'm an IT professional by day. Home cook for the family by night. Follow my blog for easy to make recipes, how-to's and ideas to gather the family at the dinner table!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating