Creamy risotto without the constant hands-on stirring? Yes! Instant pot risotto with grilled vegetables takes minimal effort for exceptional results. Ready in 30 minutes.
The Instant Pot is not the be-all and end-all for everything in my opinion, but it does make a great risotto in less time than the traditional method – specifically, much less hands-on time.
This easy instant pot risotto recipe starts with that signature creamy texture. flavored with lemon, onions, garlic, thyme and, if you like, Parmesan. You can certainly stop here. It’s delicious as is with the lemon shining through.
But if you want to step it up a notch, add the fresh baby spinach and grilled vegetables. Beautiful color and lots of added nutrition.
I used two recipes for inspiration – Lexi’s Clean Kitchen and Hip Pressure Cooking. After 3 tries, I landed on the tweaks and additions I’m happy with.
Bottom line: Treat yourself to a delicious, creamy, healthy risotto packed with vegetables. It’s a comforting weeknight vegetarian side dish or main dish. And certainly company-worthy too. I love that I can make it ahead, unlike most risotto.
Ingredients – tailored to your taste
Rice: For the best results, you will need short-grained rice like the Italian Arborio rice or Carnaroli rice. These have a higher starch content allowing the rice to absorb more liquid to create a creamier risotto.
Vegetables: For this recipe, we used green onions, peppers and mushrooms. I also like to add spinach (or kale) for extra color and nutrition.
- Other veggie options: Use whatever you like. You can use one vegetable or a combination of 2-4 different ones. Good grilling vegetables are onions, peppers, mushrooms, zucchini, asparagus, snap peas. If you don’t have a grill, you can sauté or roast veggies like butternut squash, green beans, or other seasonal veggies.
Liquids: Use vegetable stock or broth or chicken broth and white wine. The wine adds excellent flavor, but you can skip it and add a bit more broth if you like.
Parmesan cheese: is commonly used in risottos, but for a dairy-free version, you can skip it or use nutritional yeast.
Other flavors/seasonings: Garlic, lemon and thyme are the key ones. Feel free to add fresh herbs for extra flavor before serving as a garnish such as thyme, oregano, chives, or parsley.
Step by step instructions
Tips for Instant Pot Risotto
- If you include the optional Parmesan, add a bit more broth at the end to make sure it keeps a creamy consistency. I like my risotto a bit looser. It’s all a matter of preference. This recipe has a higher ratio of liquid to rice than a traditional risotto to balance the Parmesan and vegetables.
- Make sure the wine is completely evaporated before you turn on the Pressure Cooker.
- Sauté the onions to the translucent stage before pressure cooking – don’t skip this step.
- A grill basket makes the grilling easy. If you don’t have one, grill larger pieces, then cut them into smaller pieces before adding them to the risotto.
- If you don’t have a grill, roast the vegetables in the oven at 425F for 15-20 minutes or sauté them in a skillet.
- Skip the grilled vegetables. Add chopped herbs instead if you like.
- Buy grated Parmesan cheese (if using).
What to serve with creamy risotto
Enjoy this delicious risotto on its own, with a simple green salad or as a side dish for Lemon Butter Herb Baked Trout, Easy Maple-Lime Salmon, Maple Balsamic Rainbow Trout, Marinated Flank Steak or Mediterranean-Style Marinated Chicken.
Risotto is a classic Italian dish made with Arborio or other short-grain rice. Due to a higher starch content, it is creamier and richer than white rice.
Traditional risotto cooking requires constant stirring and the addition of liquid in small batches throughout the cooking process. Instant pot or pressure cooker risotto requires almost no stirring – a more hands-off – cooking process – and has a quicker cooking time.
- Purists may say you have to make a risotto right before serving. With this method, I find it’s perfectly delicious when warmed up in the microwave with some extra broth or water to loosen it up. Alternatively, keep it on the warm setting in your instant pot for up to an hour. Stir in extra broth before serving if needed.
- Lemon risotto in an instant pot can be a great potluck dish. Prepare the dish (I suggest using the full 4 1/4 cups broth as the risotto thickens on standing), then microwave for a minute or two or as needed, stirring part way through.
- You can freeze leftover risotto in an airtight container for up to 2-3 months. Keep in mind the texture will not be the exact same as when served freshly made. Thaw it in the refrigerator before reheating.
Other risotto recipes
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Instant Pot Risotto with Grilled Vegetables (30 Minutes)
For Grilled Veggies
- 10 cups vegetables, chopped, Note 1
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup diced onions (about 1 medium onion)
- 3 teaspoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
- 1 1/2 cup Arborio short grain rice or Carnaroli rice
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 4 tablespoon butter (half stick)
- 4 cup vegetable broth plus 1/4 cup/59 ml more if needed (or use chicken broth)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt if needed (depends on broth used)
- 1 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 cup fresh baby spinach or kale, roughly chopped
- zest of 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated (Optional)
- HEAT GRILL to medium-high heat, about 450F/232C.
- PREPARE AND GRILL VEGETABLES: Cut vegetables into small pieces and toss with oil, salt and pepper to taste. Place in grill basket. Grill for 8-12 minutes, stirring once or twice until tender and slightly charred. If using green onion, add them toward the end as they char quickly. Set aside. (I turn off BBQ and leave lid on to keep warm). Note 2.
- MAKE RISOTTO – STEP 1 SAUTE: While vegetables are grilling, press SAUTE on Instant Pot or Pressure Cooker. Once heated, add oil, onions and garlic. Stir for 2 minutes. Add rice and stir for 2 minutes to toast (it will stay white). Add white wine and stir until completely evaporated (30 seconds). Add about a cup of broth and stir for 1 minute.
- 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, remove lid.
- 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 grilled vegetables. Add more broth if needed. Taste and adjust seasonings. Add salt if needed. Transfer to serving bowl and serve immediately topped with additional Parmesan and/or fresh herbs if desired.
- Vegetable options: good options are green onions, red onions, peppers (any color), asparagus, zucchini, mushrooms.
- If you don’t have a grill or grill basket: If you don’t have a grill, roast vegetables on a pan lined with foil and sprayed with oil for 15 minutes at 425F/218C. Or sauté veggies in a bit of oil in a skillet. If you don’t have a grill basket, you can grill larger pieces then cut them up after.
- To make ahead:
- Keep warm in instant pot for up to an hour or microwave the risotto for a minute or two, stirring halfway through. For both options, you may need to add extra broth to loosen the risotto. Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
- For a potluck dish, I suggest using the full 4 1/4 cups (1.06 ml) broth as the risotto thickens on standing. Then microwave it for a minute or two or as needed, stirring part way through.
- You can freeze leftover risotto in an airtight container for up to 2-3 months (texture may not be quite the same as fresh). Thaw it in the refrigerator before reheating.