Rich, creamy, flavour packed Instant Pot Pumpkin Risotto is pure comfort food that tastes amazing. It’s a knockout vegetarian dinner for Fall or Winter.
As with our Lemon Risotto with Grilled Vegetables, I find that the Instant Pot does a very good job with risotto with the added benefit of not having to stand there and stir for half an hour.
There are really two tricks to a good risotto:
- The flavor: You can play around with the seasonings as I did. I use thyme mostly, but lately I’ve been using poultry seasoning and highly recommend it. Poultry seasoning is a combination of sage, thyme, rosemary, marjoram nutmeg and pepper – all of which complement pumpkin perfectly.
- Getting the right consistency: Mostly this comes from the proportion of rice and liquids, but you can cheat quite easily by adding more Parmesan (to make it thicker) or more broth (to make it looser) at the end.
Regarding the pumpkin, I wouldn’t start with a whole pumpkin as you only need one pound. Some stores sell chunks in a package. When I see that, I grab it. Otherwise, I stick to butternut squash.
Ultimately, this risotto is creamy, but not mushy, and the pumpkin, herb and cheese flavors shine through. It’s a satisfying vegetarian, gluten free meal on its own or as a side for fish, turkey or chicken. And, I love how it looks so Fall-ish. Let’s face it – pumpkin screams Fall.
Tailor To Your Taste
- You can substitute butternut squash for the pumpkin. It has a slight lower water content so you can reduce the liquid by 1/4 cup (or don’t worry about it and adjust with more cheese if needed).
- Optional seasonings are sage or poultry seasoning. You can omit the curry if you want. Just taste and add something else you like.
- Omit the spinach if you want. I just love the color and extra nutrition it adds. Or stir in chopped parsley or chives instead.
- Substitute the wine with 1/4 cup extra broth or water.
- Try adding a tablespoon of maple syrup for some sweetness.
- Omit the Parmesan for a vegan version (and reduce the broth to 4-4 1/4 cups).
- Some of the pumpkin disintegrates and mixes into the risotto when cooked, but a few chunks remain. If you like more chunks, dice the pumpkin into slightly larger pieces and don’t saute part of the pumpkin (as noted in the recipe) with the onions.
Make Ahead Pumpkin Risotto
- Risotto is best served fresh, but if it needs to hang around for awhile, you can leave it on warm for a bit in the Instant Pot and stir in extra broth before serving to loosen it up if you need. (It always thickens on standing.)
- If you have leftovers, store them in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Don’t freeze.
Pumpkin Risotto (Instant Pot)
- 1.5 tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup chopped onions
- 3 tsp minced garlic (3 cloves)
- 1 1/2 tsp dried thyme or 4 tsp fresh (or use poultry seasoning)
- 1/2 tsp salt (plus more at end if needed)
- 1 tsp curry powder
- 1/4 tsp ground pepper
- 2 cup Arborio rice
- 1/2 cup white or cooking wine
- 4 1/2 cup vegetable or chicken broth (or use 1 litre box + 1/2 cup water)
- 1 lb peeled, seeded uncooked pumpkin, diced in half inch cubes
- 2 tbsp butter
- 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese (or more to taste)
- 2 cup fresh baby spinach, roughly chopped (optional)
- MAKE RISOTTO - STEP 1 SAUTE: Press SAUTE on Instant Pot or Pressure Cooker. Once heated, add oil and onions. You can also 1/3 of diced pumpkin at this point if you like. Saute for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic, salt, pepper, thyme and curry powder. Stir for 1 more minute. Add rice and stir for 2 minutes to toast (it will stay white). Add white wine and stir until completely evaporated - 1 minute.
- MAKE RISOTTO - STEP 2 PRESSURE COOK: Turn Instant pot to OFF. Add broth and remaining squash, Secure lid. Turn VALVE to sealing. Turn PRESSURE or MANUAL setting on to High level. Set for 6 minutes using + and - buttons. Count down will start when pressure has built up (in about 10-12 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 butter and Parmesan and spinach if using. Stir until spinach is wilted (30 seconds). If too thick, add more broth or water if needed. Taste and adjust seasonings (e.g. add another 1/2 teaspoon salt if needed, more thyme, curry, etc). Transfer to serving bowl and serve immediately topped with additional Parmesan if desired.
- To make ahead: Keep on WARM setting in Instant Pot for 30-45 minutes. Stir and add both to loosen if needed. Or if using later, turn off instant pot and warm in microwave before serving, stirring in extra broth as needed. Can keep in fridge for up to 3 days.
Another Instant Pot Risotto you might like: