Instant Pot Risotto is a game changer! Say goodbye to slaving over the stove or unpredictable oven-baked recipes. Cooking risotto in your pressure cooker is incredibly quick and easy, and most importantly, the result is creamy, bite-tender, restaurant quality risotto made in the comfort of your own kitchen. No-fuss instant pot risotto will become your go-to side dish for everything from busy weeknights to an impressive holiday spread.
Risotto is one of my true food loves. When prepared properly, its creamy, buttery texture and rich complex flavor is utterly transformative.
But the tedious process for making it? Not so much.
Risotto at its core is a simple and relatively straightforward recipe, and certainly one every home cook should master – but that mastery takes time, and I’ve ended up with my fair share of sad, overcooked, soggy rice. Once you start the process, there’s no turning back – you need to expend some serious stovetop TLC to get risotto just right, and let’s just say that tiny humans do not condone slavish cooking sessions.
Risotto was once a dish I reserved for special occasions, but the Instant Pot has made this classic Italian comfort food more accessible than ever. I was nearly shocked dead when it produced a truly perfect pot of risotto in 25 minutes. Instant Pot risotto – it’s what’s for dinner, even on weeknights.
Why Make Risotto in the Instant Pot?
- It’s quicker and easier than the traditional methods, ready in just 20 minutes.
- It requires less work. There’s no need to heat the broth or obsessively stir the rice and watch for doneness. The IP handles it all!
- This method is much less unpredictable than stovetop or oven-baked risotto; you can walk away and come back to perfectly cooked risotto.
- The consistency is absolutely perfect – creamy and bite-tender restaurant quality risotto.
- It’s made start-to-finish in your pressure cooker, which makes this recipe a one-pot wonder – a recipe quality that every busy home cook can appreciate.
Instant Pot Risotto Ingredients
Like classic stovetop risotto, you need just a handful of real, whole food ingredients to make Instant Pot Risotto:
- Sweet onion, finely diced to about half an inch; diced shallots work too.
- Fresh garlic, minced finely.
- Arborio rice, available in most grocery stores. Arborio is a short-grain rice, and very starch. That starch is what creates the creamy texture in the finished risotto. Unlike most classic rice dishes, don’t rinse the rice first since you need to preserve its starchy coating.
- Dry white wine. I typically use Sauvignon Blanc; Pinot Grigio or an un-oaked Chardonnay are also great selections. Always cook with wine you’d happily drink.
- Chicken stock or broth are suitable for this recipe, and you can use vegetable stock for a vegetarian version.
- Fresh thyme
- Good butter like Kerrygold.
- Fresh grated parmesan cheese, preferably grated using a microplane for best consistency.
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- 6-quart Instant Pot: The 6-quart size is sufficient, and even handles a doubled recipe – perfect for large-batch cooking.
- Microplane: for finely grating the parmesan cheese.
- Rubber spatula: for gently folding in the butter and parmesan cheese.
How to Make Risotto in the Instant Pot
Unfussy, restaurant quality risotto can be yours in under 30 minutes with this easy Instant Pot method. Cooking risotto in the pressure cooker takes away all of the guesswork, and the result is simply perfection – bite tender, ultra creamy risotto that’s perfect for any occasion.
- Press the “sautee” function on the Instant Pot and let the inner pot heat up. Add the olive oil and heat until it shimmers.
- Add the onions; sautee, stirring occasionally, until they soften and start to brown around the edges, 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more.
- Add rice to the onions and garlic and toss to coat in the fat; sautee the rice until it’s fragrant, but not browned – about 2 minutes.
- Pour in the white wine, stirring to release any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Continuing sautéing, stirring occasionally, until the wine is absorbed, about 3 minutes.
- Press the “cancel” button to turn off the sautee feature.
- Add the chicken stock to the Instant Pot, stir with the rice, then top with the thyme sprig.
- Secure the lid, ensure the pressure valve is set to “sealing”, then cook on high pressure for 5 minutes.
- Release the pressure manually (quick release) by using the end of a wooden spoon (for safety) to flip the pressure valve to venting. Allow all pressure to release until the float valve has dropped.
- Carefully remove the lid, positioning it so that the steam escapes away from your body. The rice will be fully cooking with just a tablespoon or two of residual stock left in the pot. This is correct, as you don’t want the rice to be completely dry; the residual liquid will absorb with the butter and cheese to achieve that creamy, butter texture.
- Fish out the thyme stems, then add the butter and one-third of the grated parmesan cheese. Stir until the butter and cheese melt into the rice.
- Add the remaining cheese in stages, stirring after each addition until creamy.
- Taste the risotto for seasoning – add pepper to taste and salt if needed (parmesan cheese is very salty, so you may not need any). Garnish with additional fresh thyme and serve immediately.
Tips for Making Perfect Pressure Cooker Risotto
- Arborio rice is a must, and it’s available in most grocery stores.
- Don’t rinse the rice. Unlike other rice preparation in the instant pot (or elsewhere) you need the starchy residue from the rice to achieve the right consistency.
- Allow the wine to fully absorb before moving onto the next step – the purpose of the wine is add flavor and aroma, and some of that will be lost if you don’t allow it to fully absorb into the rice.
- Finely grate the parmesan cheese – a microplane will yield superior results, but the smallest holes on a box grater will also work well.
What to Serve with Instant Pot Risotto
While I have consumed an entire bowl of risotto as a meal (and certainly will again in the future), generally I like to get some protein and veggies onto my plate as well. Risotto is an excellent side dish or grain base for a vegetarian main course:
- With Rosemary Steak or Creamy Rosemary Garlic Chicken and a tossed green salad
- Add Maple Roasted Root Vegetables on top for a cozy vegetarian main dish
- Alongside Sausage and Veggie Stuffed Acorn Squash
- With Baked Turkey Meatballs and a side of roasted brussel sprouts
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- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large sweet onion, diced to ½"
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 c arborio rice, do not rinse first
- ½ c dry white wine
- 2 c chicken broth
- 1 sprig fresh thyme
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 oz parmesan cheese, finely grated, preferably with a microplane
- fresh cracked pepper, to taste
- sea or kosher salt, to taste
- Press the Saute function and allow the inner pot to heat up. Add the olive oil, heat it until it shimmers, then add the onion. Saute the onions, stirring occasionally, until soft, 4-5 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute more.
- Add the arborio rice and toss to coat in the fat with the onions. Saute the rice 2 minutes, or until very fragrant and chalky white in appearance.
- Add the white wine to deglaze the pot; scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pot and continue to saute until the wine has been absorbed, about 3 minutes.
- Press the Cancel button. Add the broth and stir to combine, then top with fresh thyme.
- Secure the lid and ensure the pressure valve is set to Sealing. Press the Pressure Cook Button, adjust to High Pressure, and set the timer for 5 minutes. Once the time goes off, do a quick release for the pressure. Allow the pressure to release until the float valve has dropped.
- Remove the lid from the pressure cooker, then fish out the thyme stems (leave the leaves). Add butter and one-third of the parmesan cheese, then stir with a rubber spatula until smooth. Add the remaining cheese, folding until the cheese melts into the risotto. Taste for seasoning and add pepper to taste and salt if needed (parmesan is salty, so you may need none). Garnish with fresh thyme if desired and serve immediately.
- Arborio rice is a must for risotto.
- Don't rinse the rice. Unlike other rice preparation in the instant pot (or elsewhere) you need the starchy residue from the rice to achieve the right consistency.
- Allow the wine to fully absorb for best flavor.
- Finely grate the parmesan cheese - a microplane will yield superior results, but the smallest holes on a box grater also work well.