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!

Adding veggies
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 27 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. Hi,

    I’m wondering if you know how many servings this recipe makes and also how you think it would work to triple it?

    1. It makes 4-6 servings. You can triple it, but the cooker will take longer to reach pressure because it will be fuller – increasing the overall cooking time. Just keep track of how many minutes OVER 10 it takes to reach pressure, and reduce the cooking time by half of that. So, let’s say it takes 16 minutes to start pressure cooking, that’s 6 minutes over so cut the pressure cooking time down by 3 minutes.

      Sorry to make it so complex but arborio rice is finicky and you don’t want to serve over-cooked rice at an important event.



      1. Thank you that’s helpful. I’m cooking for a crowd and I don’t want to mess it up!

  2. Oh goodie, I would love a reliable no sputter risotto since I’ve only made it that one time w/natural release and via guesstimate as to time and it was such a small amount that I didn’t consider it necessarily convertible, only that it can be done that way. Very happy you’re intrigued with finding the magic timing formula and that your husband is happy to eat up the tests. ;-)

    I’m betting that you will LOVE the 3-qt. size. Especially for initial testing but it’s a great size to live out on countertop for quickie things like eggs, hot cereals, super ‘no-watch’ milk heating for yogurt, or just side dishes. Really manageable size with what I’m pretty sure is quicker heat-up and shorter natural release times.

  3. Hi there! Love your basic risotto recipe and want to use the template to make beet root risotto with red wine. I thought I could just dice the beets small and add to the measuring cup for the liquid as described, but now I’m second-guessing if beets function the way other veggies do. Is this the right method to use? Thanks!

    1. PS Ooops, just to clarify I mean a splash of red wine when the wine would usually go in and then stock for the bulk of the risotto liquid in the measuring cup–I don’t want to make risotto with a litre of wine :-O

    2. Hi Lucy, beets are root vegetables like potatoes but they lack their starch (the “magical” part ; ). So, yes, since beets are 88% water I would include them in the measuring cup when you measure the cooking liquid. Have fun, and be sure to post a photo!



  4. Do you rinse the arborio rice before adding it to the pressure cooker? Thank you for time.

    1. You should never rinse Arborio rice as it would remove the outer starch that makes the risotto creamy.



  5. Thank you for this recipe. I added mushrooms and frozen spinach. topped with butter and grated Parmesan. Adding the veggies to the 4 cup measure for the water worked like a charm.
    I made a mistake and put the sauteed onions in the water cup. The rice was not as creamy as I hoped but I’m sure that was due to my mistake.
    I had not tried rive before due to all the reports of burn notices. You made it easy-peasy. Thank you.

  6. Thank you for this awesome recipe!
    My Boyfriend is italian and he loved it, had to make it twice already!

  7. Delizioso. I’m amazed at how easy it is to make perfect risotto in the Instant Pot. I halved the recipe, and was worried the six quart instant pot would be too big. It came out beautifully. Your video made me look like I knew what I was doing.

  8. If I wanted to add saffron at what point would I do that?

    1. I have Risotto allo Zafferano in my cookbook, “Hip Pressure Cooking: Fast, Fresh & Flavorful” on page 144. I add the saffron during the saute’ stage of the onions – in the book I explain why.



      P.S. I noticed that Melissa Clark from the NY Times follows my advice on the saffron addition in her pressure cooker cookbook as well! ; )

  9. Thanks! I followed your recipe tonight and it came out perfectly. I added a cup of frozen peas and about a cup of diced carrots to a 4-cup measuring bowl, and rounded it out with broth. Melissa Clark should follow your advice – you are the queen of the pressure cooker and she is a relative newcomer ;).

  10. Do you suppose I could do this in the Instant Pot and heat up the pressure cooker by using the saute setting?

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