Home » COOKING METHODS » Instant Pot Recipes » Lemon Asparagus Risotto (Instant Pot)

Lemon Asparagus Risotto (Instant Pot)

The instant pot is a dream when it comes to risotto. This lemon asparagus risotto – perfect for spring and summer – is no exception. Creamy, tender, lemony rice loaded with fresh asparagus. No constant stirring required.

When asparagus comes into season, I’m all over it. Cheap, fresh and flavorful.

bowl of Lemon Asparagus Risotto side view f

My only pet peeve with asparagus is that they can turn a dull pea green when cooked with other foods or when standing around. It’s not a taste thing. It’s a visual appeal thing. I’m a real sucker for bold, beautiful food.

That’s why I prefer to use a simple microwave asparagus recipe. Cook the asparagus for about 90 seconds and immediately run them under very cold water to shock them into staying a vibrant green.

I love making risotto in the instant pot. It’s easy and it comes out great with little effort. No standing over the stove for 20+ minutes, coaxing the rice to absorb liquid to create that classic risotto creaminess.

For extra nutrition, I add chopped fresh spinach to the asparagus risotto, but feel free to leave it out. Or use one of the other variations suggested below.

The bottom line is healthy and delicious spring risotto. I call it spring comfort food.

Try serving the asparagus risotto as a side dish with lemon butter herb baked trout, pecan crusted salmon, sous vide citrus glazed chicken, balsamic glazed chicken or marinated pork chops. Or as a main dish with or without added cooked shrimp, tofu or chicken.

FAQ – Good To Know

How to choose the best asparagus

Asparagus should be firm, bright green (not yellowy green) with dry, firm, closed tips. If the tips are mushy or the stalks are wilted or brownish, give them a pass.

Are thick or thin asparagus better?

Thinner asparagus are more tender. Thicker asparagus have more fiber. The taste is pretty much the same though.

Are asparagus healthy?

Asparagus are low calorie, low carb and a good source of potatssium, vitamin B6, A and C. And high in folic acid.

What is the best way to store asparagus?

Asparagus will keep will in the fridge for 3-5 days. To keep them longer, stand them up in a glass with an inch of water and keep them in the fridge with a light bag over them.

Is it better to cut or break the woody ends of asparagus?

According to Cook’s Illustrated, it’s better to cut off the woody ends and peel the ends (with a peeler) if necessary. The other option is the break off each stem at the point where it just snaps off. The problem with this method is the stalks will be uneven (if you care) and you will lose more of the asparagus. Up to you.

What is the best rice to use for an instant pot risotto recipe?

The best and most easily available rice for risotto is the medium-grained arborio rice. You need a good starchy rice to give the risotto its signature creaminess. Jasmine and Basmati are not really starchy enough. A good substitute for arborio is carnaroli rice.

Tailor To Your Taste

Vegetable variations:

  • Saute mushrooms or zucchini along with the onions if you like.
  • You can also leave out the spinach (and all that extra nutrition 🙂 )
  • Or add a cup of peas to the asparagus when blanching in the microwave. Rinse under cold water with the asparagus.

Dairy free and vegan versions:

  • Leave out the Parmesan cheese and replace the butter with margarine.
  • In this vegan lemon asparagus risotto, Food 52 use vegetable broth and nutritional yeast.

Add-ins:

  • For a non vegetarian version, stir in cooked chicken, ham or shrimp after pressure cooking the risotto.
  • Or how about some tofu.

Asparagus cook method:

  • If you are not fussy about how bright green the asparagus look, you can use other cooking methods for the asparagus such as grilling, sautéing in the instant pot (before onions) or roasting.

Seasoning:

  • I love lemon with asparagus. If you don’t, cut it back or add other fresh herbs like dill, thyme or chives.
  • Wine is optional and adds nice flavor. Skip it if you want and add extra broth instead.

Make Ahead Lemon Asparagus Risotto

Risotto is best served as soon as it’s ready. But honestly, I find it absolutely fine when reheated too. You do have to loosen it up with extra broth when reheating – whether it’s an hour later or from the fridge the next day. It will keep in the fridge in an airtight container for 3-4 days.

If you want to make the asparagus risotto a day or two ahead (and keep the asparagus nice and bright green), stir in the cooked asparagus just before serving.

Shortcuts

Not huge time savers, but if you’re not in the mood for chopping and grating, use:

  • pre-shredded Parmesan cheese
  • minced garlic from a jar (or frozen cube)
  • frozen chopped onions (found in the vegetable freezer section at grocery chains)

Other instant pot risotto recipes you might like

How to make lemon asparagus risotto in the instant pot

arborio rice, broth, salt, pepper, oil, onions, asparagus, Parmesan, thyme
Gather ingredients: asparagus, broth, spinach, onions, arborio rice, seasoning (salt, pepper, thyme), Parmesan, oil, lemon (optional white wine)
rice and onions in instant pot
Saute onions and garlic in the instant pot until translucent. Add rice and toast it for a few minutes.
seasonings, broth rice onions in instant pot
Add wine and let it mostly evaporate. Then add a cup of broth. Stir for 2 minutes. Add remaining broth, butter and thyme. Seal instant pot and pressure cook for 6 minutes. Do a quick release.
cut up asparagus cooked
While the risotto is cooking, microwave the asparagus for a minute or two. Rinse immediately under cold water to stop the cooking process and maintain bright green color.
spinach, lemon and cheese on cooked risotto in instant pot
Stir spinach, lemon and Parmesan (if using) into the cooked risotto.
cooked lemon asparagus risotto in instant pot
Add asparagus. Taste and adjust seasonings (salt, pepper, lemon juice, thyme).
bowl of Lemon Asparagus Risotto p
bowl of Lemon Asparagus Risotto side view f
Print Recipe Pin Save Recipe

Rate this recipe here

4.84 from 6 votes

Lemon Asparagus Risotto (Instant Pot)

The instant pot is a dream when it comes to risotto. This lemon asparagus risotto – perfect for spring and summer – is no exception. Creamy, tender, lemony rice loaded with fresh asparagus. No constant stirring required.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 5 (or 4 larger side dishes)
Author: Cheryl

Equipment

  • Instant Pot (I use a 6 quart)

Ingredients

  • 1 pound (450g) fresh asparagus washed and woody ends cut off

For Risotto

  • 2 teaspoon olive oil
  • 3/4 cup (39g) diced onions (about 1/2 medium onion)
  • 2 teaspoon minced garlic (2 cloves)
  • 1 cup (220g) Arborio rice (or Carnaroli rice)
  • 1/4 cup white wine optional (substitute with broth if not using)
  • 3 tablespoon butter
  • 3 cups (750ml) broth, chicken or vegetable plus 1/4 cup/59ml more if needed
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt if needed (depends on broth used)
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 1/2 cups (45g) fresh baby spinach or kale, roughly chopped
  • zest of 1 small lemon
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice (or more to taste)
  • 1/3 cup (30g) Parmesan cheese, grated (pass more when serving)

Instructions

  • MAKE RISOTTO – STEP 1 SAUTE: Press SAUTE on Instant Pot or Pressure Cooker. Once heated, add oil, onions and garlic. Stir for 2 minutes until onions are translucent. Add rice and stir for 2 minutes to toast (it will stay white). Add white wine, if using and stir until completely evaporated (30 seconds). Add 1 cup/237ml of broth and stir for 1 minute. If not using wine, add 1 1/4 cups/296ml broth.
  • MAKE RISOTTO – STEP 2 PRESSURE COOK: Turn Instant pot to OFF. Add rest of broth, butter and thyme. Secure lid. Turn VALVE to SEALING. Turn PRESSURE or MANUAL setting on. Set for 6 minutes. Count down will start when pressure has built up (about 8-10 minutes). Once time is finished (instant pot will automatically change setting to Keep Warm), do a Quick Release of pressure by turning valve to VENTING (keep fingers away from vent). When pressure is fully released and button drops, remove lid.
  • MICROWAVE ASPARAGUS: While risotto is cooking, place asparagus on a plate. Cover with another plate (upside down) and microwave on High for 1 1/2-2 minutes, depending on thickness of asparagus. Immediately run under very cold or ice water to quickly stop cooking process and keep vibrant green color. Cut into 1 inch/2.5cm pieces and set aside. Note 1.
  • FINISH RISOTTO: Stir risotto. It will be loose at first. Stir in spinach until wilted (30 seconds). Stir in lemon juice, zest, Parmesan (if using) and asparagus. Add more broth if needed to make it looser and creamier. To thicken it, add more Parmesan. Taste and adjust seasonings. Add salt if needed or more lemon juice. Transfer to serving bowl and serve immediately topped with additional Parmesan if desired.

Notes

Variations:
Vegetables: Saute mushrooms or zucchini along with the onions if you like. You can also leave out the spinach. Or add a cup of peas to the asparagus when blanching in the microwave then rinse under cold water with the asparagus.
Dairy free and vegan versions: Leave out the Parmesan cheese and replace the butter with margarine. For a vegan version, Food 52 uses vegetable broth and nutritional yeast.
Add-ins: For a non vegetarian version, stir in cooked chicken, ham or shrimp after pressure cooking the risotto. Or tofu in keeping with a vegetarian dish.
Asparagus cook method: If you are not fussy about how bright green the asparagus look, you can use other cooking methods such as grilling, sauteing in the instant pot (before onions) or roasting.
To make ahead:
  • Risotto is best served as soon as it’s ready. But honestly, it is fine reheated too. You do have to loosen it up with extra broth when reheating – an hour later or from the fridge the next day. It will keep in the fridge in an airtight container for 3-4 days. 
  • If you want to make the lemon asparagus risotto a day or two ahead and keep the asparagus nice and bright green, stir in the cooked asparagus just before serving. The taste is not affected, just the color. 
 
Nutrition values are estimates for the risotto as a side dish. 

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Lemon Asparagus Risotto (Instant Pot)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 294 Calories from Fat 99
% Daily Value*
Fat 11g17%
Saturated Fat 6g38%
Trans Fat 1g
Cholesterol 24mg8%
Sodium 971mg42%
Potassium 321mg9%
Carbohydrates 40g13%
Fiber 4g17%
Sugar 4g4%
Protein 8g16%
Vitamin A 2106IU42%
Vitamin C 10mg12%
Calcium 120mg12%
Iron 4mg22%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tried this recipe?We’d love you to rate it above under ‘rate this recipe’ or in the comment section below. Thanks!

Leave a Reply

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

Recipe Rating