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Basic Recipe with 7 Classic Italian Variations

I present you with an Italian-approved risotto pressure cooker recipe. The rice comes out creamy and delicious just like the original – faster, and without all that stirring and baby-sitting.  This technique will not  result in boiled rice and will only take 20 minutes from start to finish.

NY Times authority on all that is delicious and edible, Mark Bittman, in his Laid Back Risotto technique insists that it is not exactly required to stir in the liquid a little at a time. In fact, the key to risotto creaminess is in all the work before the liquid is even added – the toasting of the rice grains. The most important thing to remember when adapting a risotto recipe to the pressure cooker is that once the top is on nothing evaporates… so:  be delicate with the wine or it will overpower your whole risotto; and, stick to the ratios on the broth – except when adding watery vegetables- or you will boil the rice!

Update: Adding veggies
Since writing this post, almost two years ago, I have refined and improved my risotto veggie-adding technique.  Since vegetables can be almost 95% water they can really throw off the liquid/grain ratios in the pressure cooker.  Too much liquid in a risotto means the grains will keep absorbing and then burst open making them looking over-cooked, though they are really over-absorbed.

When I don’t need to saute’ the veggies for extra flavor, I just put them right in my measuring vessel.  For this recipe, I use a 1L pitcher, but you can use a 4-cup measuring cup.  I add the vegetables and then measure all the way to the top with broth – usually adding a little extra dash to make up for that 10-5% of vegetable matter.

The only exception to this veggie technique is the potato. Though it’s 80% water it’s 20% magic. It can be added to the risotto without needing to adjust the liquid ratio.  Add just one small chopped potato with the rice.  And get ready the creamiest rice – ever!!

To see this technique in action, watch the “Adding Veggies To Rice” Segment of the Pressure Cooking School.

Here is the basic recipe, scroll down to the bottom to see common risotto variations!

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

4.8 from 20 reviews
Easy Pressure Cooker Risotto (Basic Recipe)
Recipe type: pressure cooker
Cuisine: Italian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
The magic ratio here is 1 rice:2 broth or ½ cup rice:1cup broth - which is handy to know, because this is the amount you will need per serving in case you need increase or decrease the recipe.
  • 2 cups of Arborio Rice (can be substituted with "Short Grain White Pearl" rice)
  • 4 cups (or 1L) of chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 swig of white wine
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 tablespoon parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. In the pre-heated pressure cooker on medium heat add the oil, and onion. Sauté the onion until it becomes translucent (about 5 minutes).
  2. Add the rice and lightly toast it to release the starch. When you add the Arborio rice to the onions, the rice will turn from solid white to translucent as it absorbs the oil and onion juice, then in about a minute back to white. Wait until just a couple of grains look golden and your rice is toasted!
  3. Add a swig of white wine and un-stick any grains from the bottom of the cooker with it and stir the rice until the wine has fully evaporated.
  4. Add the broth (or broth and veggie mixture), mix and close the top immediately.
  5. Close and lock the lid of the pressure cooker.
  6. For electric pressure cookers: Cook for 5-6 minutes at high pressure.
    For stove top 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. For electric pressure cookers cook for a minute less (since the release takes longer) and remove the inner pot from the cooker immediately to keep the rice from over-cooking .
  8. The risotto should appear just slightly too wet. Stir, and the rice will continue to absorb the extra liquid in about 30 seconds. If the rice is still very wet, put the open pressure cooker back on a medium flame, without the lid, and finish cooking it this way - stirring often- until it reaches the right consistency.
  9. For a classic finish, melt a tablespoon of butter and grated cheese and stir in right before serving.



Fancy-up your Risotto:

  • Risotto alla Milanese – add saffron threads or powder when you are softening the onions and de-frosted petite frozen peas right after you have opened the pressure cooker.
  • Mushroom Risotto – use red wine, instead, and throw in dehydrated mushrooms while you saute the onions or fresh ones in the measuring vessel for the broth since they are 90% water, anyway!
  • Lemon and Pepper Risotto (pictured top of page) – instead of wine, use the juice of one lemon. Add a tablespoon of lemon zest in the vegetable stock right before adding to the risotto. Serve with plenty of freshly milled pepper on top.
  • Zucchini Risotto  – dice two large zucchini and saute’ a small handful of zucchini with the onion and toss the rest in the measuring vessel for stock 
  • Potato and Pancetta Risotto – reduce the olive oil and throw in the pancetta with the onion. When some of the fat has melted off the pancetta add one medium diced potato, and lightly brown them, then continue with the recipe.
  • Tomato Risotto – when browning the onion use butter instead of olive oil. Throw in a pinch of oregano, too! When measuring for the broth, first add one 14.5 oz. or 400g can of chopped tomatoes (or 2 chopped fresh tomatoes) into your measuring vessel, then calculate the rest of the liquid.
  • Frutti di Mare – Start cooking at least 1 lb or 500g (more if you like!) of shellfish first in a separate pan with garlic and salt. Save some of the liquid they release for your broth. When they are about 75% cooked, start with the basic risotto recipe. Add one anchovy to the olive oil when softening the onion. When the rice has softened, add about 25% of your shellfish into the pressure cooker and continue with the recipe. When the risotto is ready, unite the remaining shellfish to the risotto before serving. Sprinkle with plenty of chopped, flat-leaf parsley.

What is your favorite risotto recipe? Have you tried it in the pressure cooker?

Pressure Cooker RisottoBasic Pressure Cooker Risotto - with 7 Italian variations!

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  1. I tried this with lobster and english peas. Turned out delicious. Thank you!

  2. This was SO good!! I tried just the basic (mostly because I forgot to add Saffron to make it Milanese style). It was creamy, cheesy deliciousness! Thank you for a great recipe!

  3. Just made risotto tonight for my Italian husband. Carnaroli at 5 mins was a bit too al dente and could have used another minute, according to him. I’m just so happy about the ability to make risotto so easily.

    1. Anna, just keep stirring after you open the lid or let it rest for 2 minutes before serving!



  4. do you think i could use this risotto to make rice balls?

    1. Italians use left-over risotto all the time to make “arancini” which are rice “meatballs”. Just mix an egg with the cold left-over risotto (I guess two eggs if you were going to use the whole recipe). Then, shape into a ball (tuck-in a square of ham or cheese in the middle you like). Roll the ball in breadcrumbs and deep-fry or bake.

      When I have A LOT of leftover risotto and no time to make balls, I still mix it with eggs and then spread it in an oiled casserole, tuck in the cheese or ham cubes evenly spaced, sprinkle the top with breadcrumbs and bake until the top is crispy. Slice and serve your Arancino Casserole! : )



  5. I just got my first Instant Pot and am excited and nervous to use it. We don’t cook with wine in our house. If I make the basic risotto without wine, do I need to add extra broth for that step? Or since it all evaporates anyway, can I just skip it all together?


    1. Yes, you can skip it. : )



      1. Yes, as Laura said, you can skip the wine but you’ll miss a nice flavor touch. It doesn’t use much and won’t make your risotto “alcoholic” and it’s not like drinking wine. So unless you’re opposed to alcohol totally, why not give it a try. By the way, don’t substitute cooking wine for actual wine. Cooking wine tastes awful and has salt in it.

        1. I agree, but if they are teetotallers, then buying a whole bottle just to put a swig of wine in this is an awful waste. Both of money and wine. And I wouldn’t use cask wine either.

          1. Good point about whole bottles. I keep a 4-pack of the single-serving wines, usually a cabernet or merlot, and a pinot grigio, in the pantry for cooking. It doesn’t feel terribly wasteful to toss a few tablespoons of wine down the drain if the chef doesn’t wish to consume. :)

  6. Hi is the stock cold or hot when adding to the rice . I am using an electric pressure cooker.

    Thank you.

    1. It can be hot or cold from the fridge – you don’t need to heat it up separately like in traditional risotto!



  7. This is my go-to IP risotto recipe. Love it. Thank you.

  8. What is the brand of your pressure cooker? I’ve never seen one that is that low and wide and I like it very much. I love risotto and I agree that this is the perfect vessel for cooking it.

    1. That is a Kuhn Rikon. They make two in that “braiser” format: a 5 litre and a 2.5 litre. I have both and love them. It looks to me that Laura is using the 5 litre version. I mostly use my 2.5, but I am usually cooking for just two.

      The 5 litre is in their “Hotel” range, I think it is called “Family” in the US. It is somewhat heavier duty than their other models. It is 28cm wide

      The 2.5 is in their Duromatic range and can be found in both long and short handled variants. Though sometimes one or the other is unavailable in some markets. I have the short handled version but the long handled one is usually more common. It is 24cm wide.

      1. Thanks for the response. I would love to own a Kuhn Rikon braiser style pressure cooker, but they are a bit pricey for me. Maybe one day. Even so, I’m very happy to have this recipe in my files for future use.

  9. I love Sweet Corn Risotto with Bleu Cheese. Would I add the corn much like the zucchini recipe above and add the bleu cheese before the butter?

  10. FABULOUS!! I used Arborio Rice, Better-Than-Bouillon Vegetable Base, a Fagor 7-in-1 to saute and then pressure cook for 6 minutes. At the end, stirred in a TBSP each of butter and Shredded Parm. It was delicious. Hubby raved. Keeper!!

    1. Forgot to rate…

  11. I have used this recipe twice now with mushrooms and love your Veggie to liquid ratio. I have shared your site with a few IP friends. I am going to try the Arancini balls next using the Air fryer.
    Thank you for your commonsense approach.

  12. I prefer to use AROBIO BROWN RICE. What adjustments should I make to this recipe? Thank you!

    1. In case someone isn’t familiar with it, Hoke Holcomb meant to type Arborio Brown Rice instead of Arobio Brown Rice.

      Sorry, I can’t help you on adjustments for cooking arborio brown rice. I spent quite a bit of time on the Internet searching for info on pressure cooking arborio brown rice and could find nothing. To be honest, I’ve never seen brown arborio rice in the market. Laura may be able to help but if not, try joining the Instant Pot Community Facebook group. That group has 651,000+ members. Surely someone there has created pressure cooked risotto with brown arborio rice.

      Lacking any better idea, my suggestion would be to compare white rice pressure cooking time with brown rice cooking time and make a similar adjustment with brown arborio rice. It’s always safer to use less time rather than more time to avoid overcooking or burning the rice. If undercooked, you can always bring it back to pressure for additional time.

      1. Thank you! I did indeed mean ARBORIO Brown Rice which I purchase from Amazon. A little pricey but I prefer it over other rice for health reasons. Thank you for your suggestion. I will try the IP Community group on FB. I have struggled over the past few weeks attempting to make comparative adjustments to Laura’s time chart with no success. Hopefully Laura will see my request and will offer her advice. I appreciate your help…thank you.l

    2. Even though I’m in Italy, I’ve never seen Brown Arborio – just Originario, Ribe, Basmati, Black Venere, Green and recently Red Jasmine – and I have tested different varieties while in the U.S., too. But, don’t worry, that’s not a problem as I’ve found that EVERY brown rice needs the exact same pressure cooking time: 20 minutes electric / 18 minutes stovetop. I occasionally make a brown rice risotto and I’ve been playing with one to post on the website this fall.

      To make brown rice risotto, I do everything as shown here, and adjust the liquid ratio and pressure cooking time to the ones I recommend for brown rice and use the 10-Minute Natural Release. Also, I bump it up to 2 1/2 or 3 cups of brown rice for four people instead of 2 of white (it depends how hungry we are).

      Brown rice risotto won’t be as creamy as white, it looks a little more like a pilaf but still veeeery good!!

      Have fun, and come back to post a pic!



      P.S. I just searched for Brown Arborio (Arborio Integrale) on Italian Amazon and all it showed was the varieties I listed above. I have a strong unfounded suspicion that “Originario” is being sold as Brown Arborio in the U.S. The grains of Originario are slightly shorter, and rounder than refined Arborio rice (if you have the two to compare).

  13. In my family, Risotto alla Milanese was made a little differently. We crumble freshly-made Italian sausage into a pan, cook it thoroughly, and browning it to extract the most flavor, letting some of it actually crisp up a bit. The sausage is then transferred to a very heavy saucepan, after draining most of the fat. Rice is then added, allowing it to brown in the sausage fat. Broth is then added all at once, then the saffron is added. The pot is brought to a boil, then the heat is turned down to a low simmer, and covered. It is stirred every 5 minutes or so and once the broth is all absorbed the cheese is added.

    Different regions cook differently, I know, but my Nonnie taught me to cook, and she was from the Italian Alps, a town called Torri del Benaco, on Lake Garda.

  14. This is the BEST IP risotto recipe. So easy and versatile. I’m hooked and could make it and eat it everyday. YUMMY.

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