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Instant Pot Lemon Risotto

It’s such a cliché to start a story out by saying, “I always thought that X was a waste of time until I discovered X.”

But there’s value in admitting when you’re wrong and embracing a new point of view. And so it is with Instant Pot risotto.

To be fair, I first encountered the technique of making risotto in an Instant Pot before Instant Pots were even a thing—this was way back in late 2012/early 2013, when kitchenware companies were peddling “electric pressure cookers.”

instant pot lemon risotto
Photo: Casey Barber

(Which, yes, is what an Instant Pot is, an electric pressure cooker, but now it’s like saying “Kleenex” for a tissue. The brand is part of the vernacular.)

Anyway. The first attempts at making no-stir risotto with these machines were not what I would call risotto, more like a soupy pilaf.

The rice was way too soft and cooked through, the broth was still brothy and didn’t have the lush, rich mouthfeel that you get from the slow release of the Arborio rice starch.

instant pot lemon risotto
Photo: Casey Barber

So I sort of abandoned the idea of making risotto any other way but on the stovetop. (Which is still a lovely, meditative thing to do and you should most certainly try my easy risotto recipe for beginners at some point.)

But now, after all these years, I’ve nailed the ratio and the method to make what I feel is an ideal Instant Pot risotto. And when it’s springtime, all I want to eat are foods that burst with lemon and herb flavor.

Hence Instant Pot lemon risotto with fresh-snipped chives all over it for garnish. It’s light and fresh, despite the fact that risotto always has a bit of an indulgent feel to it.

instant pot lemon risotto
Photo: Casey Barber

This Instant Pot lemon risotto is toothsome and creamy, and can be adapted and accoutrement-ed any way you like.

Add fresh chopped asparagus or peeled fava beans in the spring. When garlic scapes come into season, swap a few stalks in instead of regular garlic bulbs.

Garnish it with fresh mint or dill from the garden, or sprinkle on crumbled feta cheese for a more Mediterranean feel.

Or the zingy citrus profile of the Instant Pot lemon risotto is gorgeous on its own, if you want to keep it simple like I’ve done here.

instant pot lemon risotto
Photo: Casey Barber

Just take heed of my recommendations for making risotto below. The tendency to overcook Arborio rice in the Instant Pot is still there, so don’t hesitate to adjust the timing based on your machine.

Tips for Making Instant Pot Risotto

When sautéing your shallots and garlic, you don’t want them to brown or—yikes!—burn. So you’ll need to adjust your Sauté setting to either Less or Normal, depending on how hot your Instant Pot runs.

The white wine in the recipe is completely optional. I always love the flavor of wine in risotto, but simply omit it if you’re not doing alcohol.

instant pot lemon risotto

Again, every Instant Pot runs slightly differently—just like a conventional oven. So if you have a particularly hot-running model, you may end up with just the right amount of creamy sauce/broth (sauth? brauce?) in the end.

But if your risotto is still a tad too soupy, just use the Sauté function to simmer the risotto for a minute or two, stirring constantly, until it thickens to your liking.

instant pot lemon risotto

Instant Pot Lemon Risotto

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

Instant Pot lemon risotto is fresh and zingy for spring, and simple to make with this no-stir technique. Creamy risotto in minutes!

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 large shallots, minced
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups (300 grams) Arborio rice
  • 1/4 cup white wine (optional)
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 small lemon, zested and juiced (about 2 tablespoons juice)
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
  • 21 grams (3/4 ounce; about 1/2 cup) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • minced fresh chives for garnish
  • freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Add the olive oil to the inner bowl of an Instant Pot.
  2. Set the Instant Pot to the Sauté setting on Normal or Less. (To change the setting between Less, Normal, and More, press the Adjust button to toggle.)
  3. When you can smell the olive oil, even if the Instant Pot display does not yet read HOT, add the shallots, garlic, and salt.
  4. Cook, stirring frequently, for 4-5 minutes until tender. If your Instant Pot is set to Normal Sauté and the aromatics are browning or burning instead of just softening, turn the Instant Pot off and reset on the Less setting.
  5. Add the rice and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute to toast the grains.
  6. Add the wine and stir until mostly evaporated.
  7. Add the broth and lemon juice.
  8. Stir to scrape up and dissolve any browned bits on the bottom of the pot, then turn the Instant Pot off.
  9. Place the lid on the Instant Pot until it clicks and make sure the is venting knob is set to Sealing.
  10. Set for 8 minutes on high pressure and cook.
  11. When the cook time is done, turn the Instant Pot off and turn the venting knob to Venting to quick-release the pressure.
  12. Stir in the butter until melted.
  13. If the risotto texture is still too loose for your liking, set your Instant Pot to the Sauté setting on Less or Normal.
  14. Bring the risotto to a simmer and cook for 1-3 minutes more to thicken as needed.
  15. Turn the Instant Pot off. Stir in the lemon zest and Parmesan, then taste and season with more salt if desired.
  16. Sprinkle with chives and freshly ground black pepper to serve.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 323Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 30mgSodium: 1244mgCarbohydrates: 29gFiber: 2gSugar: 4gProtein: 11g

The nutritional information above is computer-generated and only an estimate.

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