This dish is satisfying, healthy, filling and one of my husband’s favorites! Italians make this dish by cooking lentils and then making a white risotto and mixing it all together before serving. Another way we make this dish is to cook the lentils first and then add the rice – this turns into more of a lentil and rice stew than a creamy risotto.

Nobody cooks, or even pressure cooks, these two ingredients together because risotto is ready in just 7 minutes under pressure while lentils need 10 minutes (plus 10 more minutes of natural release). We ate a lot of overcooked risotto or undercooked lentils until I figured out how to match their cooking times by soaking lentils.

Yes, I soaked lentils. Just like with any other legume, soaking cuts down the cooking time of lentils, too.



Pressure Cooker Accessories Pr. Cook Time Pr. Level Open
3 L or larger none 5-7 min. High(2) Normal

4.9 from 16 reviews
Lentil Risotto (Risotto alle Lenticchie) - pressure cooker recipe
Nutritional Information
(per serving)
  • Serves: 4-6
  • Serving size: one sixth
  • Calories: 190
  • TOTAL Fat: 2.5g
  • Saturated fat: .04g
  • TOTAL Carbs: 35.1g
  • Sugar Carbs: 1.7g
  • Sodium: 12mg
  • Fiber Carbs: 3.7g
  • Protein: 5.7g
  • Cholesterol: 0
Recipe type: pressure Cooker
Cuisine: Italian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Soaking lentils matches their cooking time to that of rice - giving you perfectly cooked lentils and al dente rice.
  • 1 cup dry lentils, soaked overnight
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 2 sprigs parsley, stems and leaves chopped (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 2 garlic cloves, lightly mashed
  • 3¼ cups (750ml) vegetable stock
  1. In the pre-heated pressure cooker, add the olive oil and saute' the onion until just beginning to soften.
  2. Then add the celery, parsley and saute' for another minute.
  3. Add the rice and garlic cloves mix well and saute' until it is all evenly wet and pearly (about a minute).
  4. Add the stock and strained lentils, mix well.
  5. Close and lock the lid of the pressure cooker.
  6. Electric pressure cookers: Cook for 5 minutes at high pressure.
    Stovetop pressure cookers: Turn the heat up to high and when the cooker indicates it has reached high pressure, lower to the heat to maintain it and begin counting 7 minutes pressure cooking time.
  7. When time is up, open the cooker by releasing the pressure.
  8. Mix well and serve immediately with swirl of extra virgin olive oil.
A classic addition to this dish is a medium potato - slice it in 1cm (1/2 inch) cubes and toss it into the cooker with the stock. It will make this dish more hearty.


 Rustic Italian Lentil Risotto Healthy and Nutritious Lentil Risotto

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  1. This looks awesome! Can’t wait to try :)

    Happy Blogging!
    Happy Valley Chow

  2. Your risotto recipes, and the video, are great. Thanks so much. We’re always looking for ways to make our diet more plant-based and less meaty. This looks really great.

    Do you think the type of lentil would make a difference? (We use the little green French lentils)

    Any chance of pairing your brown rice risotto recipe with a longer cooking bean? It is from your book and our family enjoys it.

    Thanks again,


    1. Scott, I don’t think the lentil you use will make much of a difference in timing.

      The longest-cooking soaked bean takes 13 minutes, while brown rice takes about 18. You’ve actually got the opposite problem of this recipe. You need to extend the cooking time of the chickpeas so they don’t turn into hummus. You can prolong bean cooking time by adding a little acid – a tablespoon of tomato paste, a chopped tomato or a swig of vinegar.

      The tricky part would be the liquid ratios.

      Have fun,


    2. Nice recipe! I used half green lentils (soaked) and half red lentils (unsoaked because they cook much faster). I suggest using all green lentils. I found that the red lentils disintegrated and made the risotto less creamy.

      Also, I definitely suggest adding salt before cooking!


  3. Another great tip, Laura! I adore pasta and lentils, so I bet I’d really enjoy rice and lentils, too. It’s just that–until now–it seems too fussy for me. This little trick makes the dish as simple as anyone could ever want!

    1. Ciao Franco, come back to let us know how you like it.



      1. P.S. Thanks for the link to the Cotechino technique from your Cotechino post on Memorie di Angelina!!

  4. Looks delicious!
    I often cook brown rice with a couple of handfuls of little green lentils thrown in (the French ones). The timing seems really good for them both together – I don’t pre-soak anything, but do wash both in lots of cold water beforehand. Also, my version is just rice+lentils, not a creamy risotto.
    This looks well worth a try though – thanks for all of your experimentation!

  5. Hi Laura
    I always soak lentils before cooking them because I noticed that ,in this way,they are more evenly cooked.
    I cook them at low pressure for three minutes.
    I cook them at low pressure because,in my opinion, high pressure is too strong for legumes.
    For me legumes need a more delicate pressure

  6. Laura, we just finished dinner – we tried this recipe, and it was FANTASTIC!

    I used French green lentils and some homemade chicken stock instead of vegetable broth, and the only thing it needed was a bit of salt (the stock was under-seasoned anyway) and some black pepper.

    I’m in upstate NY – our temperatures are hovering around 0 degrees F right now – and this was the PERFECT cold-weather supper for us! Thanks so much for all of the work you do – and especially for your great recipes!

    ~ Kris

  7. This was delicious. I added a little salt when cooking the onions, then stirred in a little more when it was all done. Otherwise, followed the recipe exactly. Good olive oil and good stock make a big difference. The little green lentils were great.


  8. I just made this – lovely. I hadn’t soaked the puy lentils but I did a quick soak and it worked fine – so not necessary to soak the night before?

    1. Absolutely, quick-soak and overnight soaks are interchangeable – great solution!



  9. OMG!!!!! LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE this!! All 4 of us, ages 11 – 52 went ga ga for this!! So fast and easy AND DELICIOUS for those busy nights!!! Thank you so much!!

  10. This looks like another soon to be favorite. I think I’ll be making it next. I’ll definitely let you know how it turns out.

  11. I cooked Adobo Chicken (1/2 cup apple cider vinegar, 1/4 cup soy sauce, 1 tsp of peppercorns, 4 cloves of garlic and 3 bay leaves) then used the liquid from that to cook the risotto and lentil as per Laura’s instructions (I needed to add 1 cup of water to make it up to 3 1/4 cups of liquid). Yum-ptious!

    1. Oh and I forgot to soak the lentils overnight but the 5 hours I gave them was fine!

  12. I made this tonight and it came out perfect! Can this be frozen? It’s just me and my husband and it made quite a lot and I don’t want it to go to waste.

    1. Ann, I’ve never personally frozen risotto. Perhaps another reason who has tried might have some suggestions for you on how to freeze/de-frost/heat.

      When Italians have left-over risotto they mix-in an egg, make them into little “meatballs”, roll them in breadcrumbs and either deep fry or bake. It’s even better if you tuck a little cube of mozzarella in the middle. My kids eat these “arancini” with a squeeze of ketchup.

      But next time, you can easily halve this recipe without problems. Just halve all of the ingredients and pressure cook for the same amount of time.



  13. Oh, thank you so much. I didn’t realize how much it would make. Next time I will halve the recipe. If I try a new recipe and it’s good, my husband will say, “This is a keeper.” That’s what he said about the lentil risotto. Thank you for all the tips and help.

    1. Almost all of the recipes on this website are for 4-6 people. If you’re not sure, just look at the first item in the Nutritional Info box.



  14. Ciao Laura,
    really, I’m going to make risotto your way, tomorrow!
    I’ m planning this way: as I don’t have much time to cook at lunch time,
    I think I’ll make the first part of your recipe till point 3 in the morning.
    As I come back home at noon, I’ll put the stock in my instant pot, and pressure cook it all for 7 minutes as you say. Do you think, if the stock is warm, it would take 10 minutes pre-heating +7 pressure cooking? Less then 20 minutes to have my lentils risotto?
    I hope so. Thank you in advance, if you can give me some useful tips….
    Anyway, thank you for your beautiful site! You’re so inspiring I’m growing a big passion for pressure cooking! … and last but not least, you translate real italian recipes in the pressure cooking language!!
    Bye, Antonella

    1. Ciao Antonella, I’ve half-done risotto this way, too. That is sauteed the onion (and/or veggies) and toasted the rice. Leave everything else pre-measured and ready next to your pressure cooker so you can just dump and go. You may as well let the lentils soak until the last minute, too. Set-up the strainer in the sink already so you’re not spending time fumbling around. When you add the stock and lentils, make sure to scrub the base of the cooker well – as it won’t be hot any more and the browned bits and toasted rice will be a little more reluctant to lift into the liquid.

      Buon Appetito!



  15. Ciao Laura!
    Il risotto was just perfect! In 15 minutes I had a wonderful dish! Thank you for all your tips, and sure I’m going to try another risotto recipe!
    This time simply with dried porcini mushrooms. I just put them in water to soak. Tomorrow, in the morning, I will have rice and porcini sauteed, with olive oil and parsley, half-done ,and at noon I will pressure cook it all!
    Instead of stock I will use the soaking water…
    Do you think it’s too simple? I hope the pressure cooking will release all the flavours and the fine aromas from porcini!
    Bye! Antonella

    1. Ciao Antonella, your porcini mushroom risotto will be perfect – read my notes on Italian Risotto variations at the bottom of the Pressure Cooker Risotto primer:

      I mention a mushroom risotto, and I recommend using red wine for a “fuller” flavor. It will make the risotto much darker, too!



    2. Antonella, how did the porcini mushroom risotto work out?



  16. I made this recipe recently and it turned out alright but perhaps a little disappointing. I was hoping it would be a little more flavorful. Any ideas on how to season it up for next time?

    It’s interesting, when I first bought my pressure cooker I had envisioned making a lot of “guy type foods”; like ribs, shredded meats for tacos, wings and so on for football season. I got my pressure cooker in the spring, so it’s a while until football season starts in earnest. In the meantime what I’ve discovered is, while learning to use the pressure cooker, I’ve enjoyed cooking (and eating) lentils, risotto, collard greens and other plant based recipes as much as anything. I have recently found myself scouring the web for unique vegetarian and vegan pressure cooker recipes to try. So I guess I will need to credit the pressure cooker for healthier eating habits, at least until football season starts.

    1. The recipe does not include salt – if your stock is not salted you might want to mix that in at the end. Also, instead of dressing with plain olive oil try a spicy olive oil at the end or (this is not Italian but very good) hot sauce!

      Ordinarily I would say to add tomato paste – but I have not tested it with this recipe and it might keep the lentils from cooking thoroughly. I had plans to make a risotto for dinner anyway – so I’m going to put a cup of lentils to soak now – I will try with the tomato paste and let you know if its a viable option.

      I nearly never ate beans until I started pressure cooking them. I never had time to cook them from dry and the canned ones were kind of grainy and pasty. Now I LOVE beans and I make them for my family at least three times a week! Also, I was not a fan of tough leafy greens -It was like chewing hay to me.

      It’s fun to explore a whole new world of possibilities with a pressure cooker – they definitely make beans, whole grains and tough veggies easy – and not only improve flavor but the texture of whole foods, too.

      Welcome to the fast side!



    2. We had this for dinner last night and I want to confirm that up to two tablespoons of tomato paste will work with this recipe – it is a classic addition but I wasn’t sure if it would throw off the lentil pressure cooking time which has been brought to match the rice in this recipe by soaking them.

      Other things that Italians like to add to this recipe is a small amount of finely chopped rosemary (like 1/2 a teaspoon) and/or sage to the onions as you saute’ them.

      Another trick you can employ to up the garlic flavor is to finely mince it and only mix it in at the very end after pressure cooking. The garlic will keep its tang but will be flash-cooked by the heat of the lentil risotto.

      Next time I make this recipe, I will add salt at the beginning (this usually hardens the skins of beans during cooking) and if that works, I’ll update the recipe to include salt.

      Although risotto is easy to pressure cook – this recipe uses the trick of soaking lentils to allow you to pressure cook them together. Since so many things (acid, salt) can slow down or change the cooking time of legumes I don’t want to recommend any of these tricky changes or additions without trying them and ensuring they work. : )



      1. Did you reach a conclusion on whether it’s okay to add salt at the beginning (esp if your stock does not have salt)? Thank you!

        1. Yes, it’s OK. : )

          Thanks for reminding me!


    3. Add a 1/4-1/2 tsp Aleppo pepper or crushed red pepper flakes; add 1/4 tsp dried marjoram. Do this along with the onion. Increase the garlic to 3 cloves, mince it and add it as called for in the recipe. After sautéing it and the rice, add 1/4 cup Pinot Grigio (or another dry white wine) and reduce it to 1 tablespoon or so. Then proceed with the recipe.

      1. The issue of adding salt prior to cooking being a bad thing is a myth. In fact, if you use salt in the soaking water it will help the flavor the inside of the legumes. Even if you don’t soak – I rarely do – add salt in the beginning.

        1. Actually, there is scientific evidence to support different interactions based on WHEN the salt is added. In soaking, it softens the beans, if added to cooking it toughens their skins which slows down the rate at which liquid can enter and re-hydrate the bean. Generally, though it is not a big issue.

          However, the goal for THIS particular recipe is to shorten the pressure cooking time of the lentils to match the cooking time of the rice so I cannot recommend doing this until after it’s tested.



          1. Salted water is better at the beginning if cooking, and in the water if soaking. Forty-five years of experience has taught me something. But here’s the science:

  17. In the article for cooking risotto in 7 minutes, you say to cook it for 6 minutes in electric pressure cookers. But, this recipe says to use 7 minutes for all types. Is that because of the lentils?

    1. Hi Ann, you are absolutely right 5 minutes will work with this risotto – even with the lentils! I’ve updated the recipe to reflect this. Thanks so much for pointing this out.



  18. I made this again last night but only made half the recipe. I was concerned about how I was going to measure half of the 3 1/4 cups, but to my surprise, my measuring cup has a mark halfway between the 1/2 and the 3/4 mark, so it was no problem.. It was the perfect amount for me and my husband. I thought I would try it at 6 minutes this time and then 5 minutes the next time. The rice was cooked without being overcooked and the lentils were tender so I will probably stick with the 6 minurtes. We had it with some Romano cheese sprinkled on top. Very tasty!

  19. Do I use a quick release or a natural release with this recipe

    1. Normal – release steam through the valve. Also known as: Quick Release.



  20. Thanks Laura, I’m so glad you cleared that up. I will be receiving mine tomorrow and want to make sure I am familiar with the terminology

  21. Do you only use red lentils in your recipes only? I only have a tro of lentils at home until their gone.

  22. Greta, you can use that mix with this recipe – just be aware that the split lentils will turn into a cream. That mix is more appropriate for a curry or soup. Try these three:

    Nilam’s Split Pea Curry

    Ayeesha’s Turkish Soup

    Split-Pea Soup



    1. Thank for information & other recipes I can use them for

  23. This is a regular for me, but today I had a spare Chorizo sausage so fried that up with the onions and cooked as per Laura’s instructions (using chicken stock though). It added another flavour dimension to the meal as the smoky flavour of the Chorizo sausage complements the lentils.

  24. I have been trying to come up with ways to use leftovers from this fabulous risotto and I finally came up with something. I reheated the leftovers with a tiny bit if water to stir it up and then served it with chicken soup poured over it to make a chicken and rice type soup. It was delicious!

    1. That’s a great way to use it up, Ann! Another way is the traditional Italian “arancini” – you can do this with ANY left-over risotto. Just add an egg to the left-overs, shape into patties or balls, pop a cube of mozzarella in the middle, roll in breadcrumbs and pan-fry until golden. I’ve also just baked them, too

      When I’ve had LOTS of risotto leftovers and little time I’ve made “arancini” casserole. I still mix-in the egg, just spread in an even layer in a buttered oven dish, push in mozzarella cubes at regular intervals, cover with breadcrumbs and bake until the egg is baked-through!



      1. I’ll have to try that the next time. I just love making this risotto. It really is a comfort food.

  25. Can this recipe be doubled (or even tripled, I’ve got a lot of big eaters) and still fit an a pressure cooker? What size pressure cooker would you recommend?

    1. Ignoring the minor ingredients, this recipe contains 2 cups of dry food (Rice and lentils). and 3.25 of liquid.
      That’s around 1.25 litres volume. round it up to 1.5 litres for those “Minor” ingredients. The recipe contains lentils, so your vessel should only be filled halfway. Assuming you have a standard 6 litre (quart) pressure cooker. that means you could go to 3 litres safely. And given the quantities involved in the recipe, you can safely DOUBLE the recipe, but not triple it. To triple it, you would need a 9 litre pressure cooker.

      1. I have a 10 qt so could to know that I can still triple this. I ended up 2 1/2 times since that’s all the lentils I had but 3x would be a better amount for us. Thanks for letting me know I can safety do that.

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