The 12-hour Risotto of Skradin

Skradinski rizot twelve hour risotto

Risotto is one of my favorite dishes. After moving to Croatia, I quickly realized that this country is a risotto mecca. Admittedly, it was my own ignorance that misled me into thinking risotto was strictly an Italian specialty. I humbly stand corrected.

Croatians make absolutely incredible risotto. The black ink cuttlefish risotto is practically a work of art. But, today we are going to enjoy the magnificent twelve-hour risotto of Skradin aka Skradinski rižot.

Skradin (view map) is a small town nestled in an inlet between the Krka river and the national park of the same name in Šibenik-Knin county, an hour or so northwest of Split. This petite town is surrounded by pine trees, vineyards, and a marina packed with towering sailboats reaching for the sky. [Read: Visiting Krka National Park]

12 hour risotto of Skradin, Croatia

It is in this hidden away town where they make some stupendous risotto… And it takes about 12 hours to make. It is traditionally made in a huge pot over an open fire. As men in Croatia typically handle cooking when a fire is involved, Skradin risotto is the responsibility of the menfolk.

This risotto is not made in small batches for a weeknight dinner. Cooking the risotto is an event. It is a well-orchestrated symphony of ingredients, patience, finesse, and camaraderie. Men circle the pot, leading the concerto to build the layers of flavor over the course of hours while they imbibe in local brew and laughter. [Read: 5 ways to connect with Croatian beer culture (from Zagreb to the coast)]

There is no strict recipe. Just like every specialty of Croatia, every family and cook has its own twist. Family recipes date back generations. Only the basics remain the same.

Onions are slowly cooked in olive oil. Then veal shoulder and a luxurious rooster stock are added and cooked for hours until the meat melts apart. Sometimes a little ham is added to further richen the stock. The rice is only added towards the end once the stock and meat have married in flavor. It is finished with a substantial addition of Paški Sir, a cheese from the nearby island of Pag.

Konoba Cantinetta Skradin, Croatia

For our first taste of Skradin risotto, we visited Konoba Cantinetta. The risotto had to be ordered 3 days in advance. In response to how much they should make for us, we said “just make us a huge pot”. No defined measurements are needed.

Once we sat down at the table, the risotto and wine just kept coming until we’d finished the entire pot. I think our stomachs grew 3 sizes that day, as letting any of it go to waste would have been traitorous behavior. [Read: Croatian wine cheat sheet]

Is the risotto all it’s cracked up to be?

Yes, definitely. Get you some.

12 hour Skradin risotto

Have you ever tried the Risotto of Skradin? Did you like it?

View other food posts

Please note: All information provided by Expat in Croatia is only for the purposes of guidance. It does not constitute legal advice in any form. For legal advice, you must consult with a licensed Croatian lawyer. We can recommend one if you contact us.

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10 thoughts on “The 12-hour Risotto of Skradin

  1. Mrs. Chasing the Donkey
    November 15, 2013 @ 2:52 pm

    Dang that looks good! I'd really like a plate or 2 of that myself.


  2. Our Adventure in Croatia
    November 16, 2013 @ 12:37 pm

    wow! I'm Italian and I thought we made the BEST risotto, but THAT looks pretty good indeed!


    • Expat in Croatia
      November 16, 2013 @ 6:05 pm

      It was FABULOUS. As an Italian, how do you like the risotto in Croatia?


  3. Heather Mawhinney
    September 10, 2017 @ 2:32 pm

    This sounds like an incredible dining experience! I’m definitely adding it to my bucket list! Do you know any restaurants in Split that serve good Skradin Risotto??


    • Expat in Croatia
      September 10, 2017 @ 3:14 pm

      Hi Heather,

      Skradin risotto is only served in Skradin. 🙂




      • Shelly Dickson
        January 12, 2020 @ 1:07 am

        Saw it on Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations. He could not get enough of it. I have to get to Croatia.


  4. Tanya Haller
    December 24, 2020 @ 6:55 am

    i’ve been dreaming of the day i was able to make a more “traditional “ skradin risotto. ever since i saw the anthony bordain episode i’ve watched dozens of times. i have used pork shoulder and it’s really good but i ordered a capon, bought beef necks and veal rump and to finish it i ordered the paski sir to finish. my christmas treat to myself…. well i guess my family too :). funny thing how it stuck in my mind. did my ancestry recently and found out i have croatian heritage. interesting.


    • Expat in Croatia
      January 3, 2021 @ 1:06 pm

      Hi Tanya,

      Oh wow, my mouth is watering while reading about your risotto adventure! I’d love to see a pic if you have one. If one does exist, you can send it to me on Instagram.

      I have yet to test a recipe at home. It’s on my bucket list.

      If you have heritage, then maybe you can apply for Croatian citizenship. You can find out if you qualify here.




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