Butternut Squash Risotto - pressure cooker recipe!


Butternut Squash Risotto - pressure cooker recipe!

This pressure cooker risotto coaxes flavor from butternut squash without the laborious step of pre-roasting it in the oven, without a rich stock to muddy the flavors and, most importantly, without wasting your time.

butternut squash
A little caramelization goes a long way flavor-wise for butternut squash.

Browning a handful of the squash right in the pressure cooker will give enough flavor to the risotto without overwhelming it.  Since butternut squash only contains 86% water – closer to the  “magical” potato (80%) than zucchini (95%) or pumpkin (92%)  – there is no need for the measuring-cup-liquid-displacement trick for adding veggies to risotto.  Another way to magnify this squash’s true flavor is to skip the stock – we use water instead.

I’ve only recently begun to regularly make risotto using the electric pressure cooker and I noticed that it comes out a little over-done – that’s because it takes longer for the cooker to lose pressure (all the while still cooking the risotto).  So,  don’t be confused when you see that I recommend a shorter electric pressure cooking time in this recipe than stovetop.

This is pretty much how my family eats this risotto, but if you would like to make it more decadent for company or a special occasion,  mix-in two tablespoons of butter or heavy cream right before serving.

Pressure Cooker Accessories Pr. Cook Time Pr. Level Open
6 L or larger none 5-6 min. High(2) Normal

4.6 from 9 reviews
Butternut Squash & Sage Risotto - pressure cooker recipe
Nutritional Information
(per serving)
  • Serves: serves 4-6
  • Serving size: ⅙th (about 1 cup)
  • Calories: 311.9
  • TOTAL Fat: 5.0g
  • TOTAL Carbs: 61.2g
  • Sugar Carbs: 0.4g
  • Sodium: 784.9mg
  • Fiber Carbs: 3.9g
  • Protein: 5.7g
  • Cholesterol: 0.0mg
Recipe type: pressure cooker
Cuisine: Italian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
If you wish to substitute the butternut squash with pumpkin, add the un-sauteed cubes of pumpkin in the measuring cup/pitcher before measuring the water (details here).
  • 1 2-3 pound (1-1.5k) butternut squash (or 4 cups, 750g, of diced squash)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 sprigs sage, leaves removed
  • 4 garlic cloves, whole
  • 2 cups (360g) arborio rice
  • ¼ cup (75ml) white wine
  • 4 cups (1L) water
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly ground
  1. Slice the squash in half and peel with a potato peeler. Using a spoon scoop out the seeds and discard (or save to roast later). Slice the squash in ¾" pieces.
  2. Measure out 4 cups (1L pitcher) of cubes and put any extra in the freezer to use for your next recipe - no winging it, we need to keep careful track of the liquid that goes into the pressure cooker.
  3. Add the olive oil the pre-heated pressure cooker and sprinkle in the sage leaves and garlic cloves. Remove a few of the sage leaves when start to look polka-dotted (they are crispy) to use as garnish and set them aside on a paper towel.
  4. Remove the garlic cloves when they are golden and set aside.
  5. Add just enough squash cubes to cover the base of the cooker, and coat them with the sage, and olive oil.
  6. Leave the cubes undisturbed for about 4 minutes while one side of the cubes browns and caramelizes.
  7. Push the squash aside and add the rice and toast it for a couple of minutes.
  8. Splash with wine and let it evaporate completely then add the rest of the squash cubes, toasted garlic cloves, water and salt - mix them well.
  9. Close and lock the lid of the pressure cooker.
  10. For electric pressure cookers: Cook for 5 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 6 minutes pressure cooking time.
  11. When time is up, open the cooker by releasing the pressure through the valve.
  12. Mix well and serve each dish with a fresh dusting of nutmeg and reserved fried sage leaves.

Brevile Fast Slow Pro

Butternut Squash

Butternut Squash Risotto pressure cooker recipe

Pressure Cooker Risotto - Butternut Squash, Sage & Nutmeg

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  1. I had a couple of issues with this recipe. The step where you caramelize some of the squash didn’t work well. I found it hard to keep the garlic from browning too much and by trying to push them up on top of the squash, I disturbed the squash thereby keeping it from browning enough. The result was that the risotto was a bit bland (no broth and no char = too little flavor).

    I’d recommend either:
    1) Carmelizing the squash first and then adding garlic and sage during the last minute or so.
    2) Broiling the squash for a few minutes in the oven before adding it (though that complicates the super easy, one pot nature of this recipe)
    3) Adding some but not all chicken stock for the liquid

    1. Hi Ivy, I didn’t want to over-complicate the recipe but I will add a step to remove the garlic before adding the squash. Thanks for the feedback!



      1. P.S. I just wanted to let you know that I changed the instructions to use whole garlic cloves – so it’s easier to pick them out and keep them from burning.

  2. I made this last night and it was a big hit! I had the same problem with the garlic becoming too brown. I decided that the next time I make this, I will remove the garlic and sage before browning the squash.
    While we were eating this, my husband and I were thinking of all the possibilities for the leftovers–he is going to wrap some in a tortilla!

  3. I,ve made IT today. Wiht fried chicken.

  4. Instead of bothering to brown it at all, how about adding 3/8 to 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda? This probably will only work in a stovetop PC (14.7 psi). This should cause a Maillard reaction (aka the browning reaction). Ref: http://modernistcuisine.com/2013/03/the-maillard-reaction. I am going to try it and report back.

    1. I’m aware of the baking soda caramelization technique and not a fan of it that’s because it “Turns out cooking food with baking soda (a.k.a. sodium bicarbonate) can indeed damage a number of nutrients, such as vitamin C, vitamin D, riboflavin, thiamin, and one essential amino acid.”

      In fact, the authors of Modernist Cuisine were asked about this and their thought was, that if someone eats a balanced diet missing out on a few vitamins on a special occasion won’t matter. Well, to me food is nutrition – and not entertainment – so it matters.

      What happens in your kitchen is up to you. Just be aware that these kinds of cooking “tricks” should only be reserved for special occasions and not for everyday cooking.

      I’m always up for a shortcut to pump up the flavor – just not one that sacrifices nutrition.



  5. Why do you say the electric loses pressure slower when you seem to be calling for a quick release?

    1. The quick release takes longer on electrics because even though the pressure cooker is off the heating element is still warm and heating up the food.



  6. Just so I understand. Even though it is cooking at lower pressure and even though you do a quick release, you cook it a minute less because the heating element takes longer to cool? If you quick release and took the liner out, it seems like you’d need to cook longer. I thought the longer time made sense for natural release, or a 10 minute natural release. But the recipe doesn’t say to pause for 10 minutes. Should it?

    1. Yes, if you calculate the time from the time the valve is opened to the time pressure is completely released (so that you can remove the lid) in an electric vs. stovetop pressure cooker for a quick Normal Release it takes on average 1-2 minutes longer. Whether the food was cooked at “high” or “low” pressure doesn’t matter as the heating element in electric pressure cookers just cycles on and off to meet the temperature target.

      You are right that immediately removing the inner pot as soon as the electric cooker is opened can also ensure that the rice does not continue cooking more than it needs to – but, of course, you have to release the pressure first. ; )

      I do not recommend the 10-minute Natural for both risotto and parboiled rice. For risotto, the extra steaming time will not make the risotto any more creamy and the motion inside the pressure cooker during this kind of release helps the starch come out of the grains. Parboiled rice is ready when it’s ready it also does not need to steam to finish cooking.

      Here is more information on pressure cooker opening methods:



  7. Made the risotto tonight. My wife LOVED it. It was the first meal I made in the the Instant Pot. I did not realize how long it took to vent out the steam and now I understand the comment!

    I think it came out a little moist and required some time to cool/absorb the liquid. But the time we finished eating and burning our mouthes it looked like the risotto I’d get at the restaurant. The sage made the house smell wonderful.

    I am very glad to have made this and to have so much leftover for tomorrow. I assume it will reheat fine in the microwave?

    1. I don’t have a microwave, so I can’t say if it will go well. Someone who has one please jump-in and let davidscubadiver know. I heat-up left-overs covered in aluminum foil and using the toaster oven!

      Congratulations on your new pressure cooker, and I’m glad to hear that this recipe was an all-around success, Love the photo!!



      1. I learned a tip to reheat any type of food in the microwave is to add a bit of water. I would suggest with one teaspoon to a table spoon and adjust according to texture of food you are reheating.

    2. I use the microwave to reheat and it is just fine. I cover with a wet paper towel and maybe just a splash/sprinkle of liquid.

  8. I just made this tonight, and it was a hit–thank you!!

  9. I made this today using ‘rice’ setting on my Pressure King Pro, No variations to the published recipe except to add 2 mins in stand by mode before releasing the pressure. All I can say is Risotto Perfecto!

  10. I made this and instead of browning in the pot i pulled out my handy butaine kitchen torch for crembrule and torched the cubes on a cookie sheet while the sage and garlic cooked off added a nice smokey roasted flavor and solved the issues i read of. Love my little torch it only cost about $10 and i use it to roast sqash marshmellows, fresh hatch chilis, and even to make quick fire roasted corn on the fly.

  11. Can you make this recipe with leftover/already cooked butternut squash instead? I have a bunch leftover and wondering whether i can i corporate it into risotto? (Unseasoned cooked squash). Many thanks!

  12. This was very good. Thank you for the recipe. I made it in my stove top WMF Perfect Plus which always seems to cook rice too fast. I only cooked it for 4 minutes on high pressure and it came out perfect al dente. Served it with a bit of grated cheese and everyone wanted seconds. I think next time I might add a bit of saffron to increase the colour.

    1. At first glance, I wouldn’t think the flavor of saffron would be compatible with this risotto – but if you try it come back to let us know how it turned out!



  13. What happens to the whole garlic cloves at the end? Do you remove them or do they disintegrate in the risotto?Thanks

    1. They stay somewhat whole – they’re a present for who finds them. : )



  14. Great basic recipe! I used it as a guide for the butternut squash risotto I usually make over the stove. Added sautéed onion before pressure cooking and then stirred in some grated Parmesan and Gorgonzola once it was done cooking. I agree with the commenter above. It’s worth it to let the dish rest for a bit before serving. It thickens right up.

  15. Made this tonight and it was delicious! Thank you! I did stir in some parmesan at the end and that added some extra depth. My squash completely melted in, so no lumps, which was lovely. We haven’t discovered the garlic yet either, so maybe it melted in too. One question–can you simply halve the recipe or would you need to adjust the liquids?

    1. Yes, you can halve this recipe. Cut everything in half, including the liquids. : )



  16. I made this last night as the first recipe I made in my new Instant Pot. It turned out great! I was nervous about doing the quick release at the end of cooking, but it worked out well, and did not spaltter food out the valve as I was worried.

  17. I’m trying the recipe out today! :) I will definitely share my impressions later!

    1. How’d it go, Gustavo?

  18. I made this in my instapot last night. It was very good. I pulled out the garlic and sage before browning the squash as I saw some others recommend. I did crumble some of the sage back into the pot after adding the squash. I used coconut oil because I was out of olive oil so I was concerned about flavor but it tasted fine. I added a small amount of Parmesan cheese to the finished product too. My squash stayed chunky but very soft so it looked very pretty in the dish. I’m really enjoying trying your recipes with my new instapot. thanks

    1. Thanks for coming back to tell us how it turned out!



  19. Could this be made with brown rice? Would I need to cook it longer to get the rice to soften and release starch?

    1. Yes, you can use brown rice – but it will not be “creamy” but still very good! Just use the basic brown rice pressure cooking time 20 minutes for electric and 18 for stovetop and open using Natural Release.



  20. I made this and thought the flavor was quite good, but noticed some key differences from the comments. The risotto was nicely cooked but there wasn’t really a broth, it was more like an oatmeal consistency. Also, the squash was very mushy, like baby food. Is this expected? If this is the right cooking time for the rice, how can you prevent the squash from overcooking?

    1. Stephen, you did it right. The squash is supposed to melt into the dish to mix with the rice and the overall consistency is supposed to be creamy (oatmeal-like). : )



  21. What about cubed frozen squash?

    1. Yes, it should be OK as it will start melting as you brown it at the start of the recipe. : )



  22. Can I double all ingredients in this recipe and would it cook for same amount of time?

  23. I tried Ribe risotto rice… nope. :) First the 5 minutes – then did another 10 minutes on High. Both did nothing to the rice. And now I am just cooking everything on Saute, stirring – and it will be delicious. Next time – try a different risotto!

    1. Ribe is a risotto that we use for minestroni because it never “overcooks” and so it would not work in a risotto because it would never soften, either! I actually never tested the pressure cooking time of that rice because we hate it. We only buy it by accident! : D



      1. Ha! :) I just ordered risotto rice from my new organic delivery supermarket, and only when it did not work did I check the back… where it specified ‘ribe’ in small letters. I gotta see which risotto is available elsewhere in Germany.

        The end result was fantastic, but honestly, it took a lot of Saute and some more pressure and Saute and more pressure… next time, I will do better. :)

        1. Sounds like they’re trying to get rid of it, too! ; )



  24. what could I replace sage with?

    1. 1 teaspoon of ginger powder

  25. If I wanted to use pureed butternut squash versus cubed, what would be the liquid ratio? My family will not eat it with chunks of butternut in it and I loathe making risotto on the stove.

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