Instant Pot Summer Risotto


Creamy risotto is one of my favorite carb-rich foods. However, cooking risotto on the stovetop is NOT a favorite pastime. The dish is what I’d describe as pretty high-maintenance  - ongoing stirring, adding broth, and tending to until just the right texture and consistency.  So I decided awhile back that until I’m in a calmer, slower-paced phase of life, risotto is a dish I order at a restaurant, not make at home!

But a few months ago, I saw a recipe for making risotto in an Instant Pot. I was a little skeptical but what could it hurt to try? Maybe it turned out a little gummy or a little too liquid-y?  Starchy carbs with butter and cheese are still pretty edible, right?

What I found is that the Instant Pot isn’t just another way to cook risotto; it’s a TOTAL game-changer. No more babysitting a hot pot. Cooking risotto in the Instant Pot is essentially hands-free, and it’s more forgiving than the stovetop when it comes to cook time, as well as the liquid-to-rice ratio.

I have already made this Instant Pot Summer Risotto several times this year. Roasting the vegetables in the oven prevents them from overcooking, and it also allows you to get the consistency and texture of the risotto just right before they’re added. Also, you can substitute vegetables based on what’s in season and what you have on hand. And I’ve included a dairy-free variation if desired.

Let me know if you make this instant pot summer risotto and what you think of it by sharing your final product on social media! Be sure to tag me : Instagram @realfoodreallife_rd / Facebook @Real Food. Real Life. - Carolyn Williams, PHD, RD. Find more RECIPES here!

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Instant Pot Summer Risotto

Makes 8 cups


  • 2 ½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

  • 1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided

  • 1 zucchini squash, sliced and then cut into halves 

  • 1 yellow squash, sliced and then cut into halves 

  • 1 cup fresh snap peas

  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced

  • 4 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1 ½ cups arborio rice

  • 1 (32-oz) carton lower-sodium chicken broth

  • 2 tablespoons butter*

  • 1 lemon (1 tablespoon juice and 1 teaspoon zest)

  • 1 cup torn baby spinach

  • ¼ cup fresh sliced basil 

  • OPTIONAL: freshly ground black pepper, freshly grated Parmesan cheese*


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Toss asparagus with ½ tablespoon oil; sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon salt. Toss zucchini, squash and sugar snaps with 1 tablespoon oil and ¼ teaspoon salt. Place asparagus on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake 5 minutes. 

  2. Turn asparagus, and add zucchini, squash, and sugar snaps to pan, spreading out across pan. Bake 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Remove from oven, and set aside.  

  3. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in Instant Pot on SAUTÉ setting. Add onions and garlic; cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add rice to Instant Pot, stirring constantly for about 1-2 minutes to toast. 

  4. Add broth and butter, stirring to combine. Seal Instant Pot; cook for 7 minutes or MANUAL setting on high pressure. 

  5. When the timer goes off, turn the valve to venting to quickly release the pressure. Once pressure is released, carefully open lid and stir. (NOTE: A little excess liquid in the pot is needed to help risotto to thicken. However, if you feel there is too much extra liquid though, turn Instant Pot on to SAUTÉ setting, stirring frequently, to thicken slightly.)

  6. Stir in lemon juice, lemon zest, roasted vegetables, and remaining ½ teaspoon salt. Add spinach and basil, gently stirring 1 to 2 minutes or until spinach is just wilted. Sprinkle with freshly ground pepper and freshly grated Parmesan cheese if desired. 

DAIRY-FREE VARIATION: Use extra-virgin olive oil in place of butter and omit cheese.