This creamy Instant Pot butternut squash risotto is made with arborio rice, winter squash, and spinach. It's a simple, but delicious vegetarian entree, and only takes 30 minutes to make.
Risotto is amazing comfort food. It's warming, creamy and delicious, and perfect both for special occasions and weeknight dinners.
Making risotto is traditionally a time consuming process. The liquid must be added gradually, and the dish is cooked over low heat for a long period of time. In comparison, the Instant Pot is much easier, and much quicker, and the risotto still tastes amazing.
Why you'll love it
- Can be served as a side dish or entree
- Amazing vegetarian recipe
- A great way to cook with winter squash
- Comforting, delicious dinner
- Fantastic creamy risotto with mild flavors
- Gluten free and nut free recipe
- Vegetarian and vegan option available
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Butternut squash: This winter squash has a great texture when pressure cooked, and is the perfect choice for risotto! You can use fresh squash, or frozen cubes. Alternatively, use any other winter squash or pumpkin instead.
Spinach: Fresh spinach adds some extra color, flavor, fiber and texture to the dish. The leaves wilt down, so you can add more than you think! You can omit the spinach if you prefer, or substitute it with kale.
Arborio rice: Also simply known as risotto rice, this short grain white rice is perfect for risotto. You can use other short grain rice types too. Avoid using long grain rice for risotto.
Onion: I use regular yellow or brown onions, but you can also use a red onion, white onion or even shallots.
Garlic: Add grated garlic or garlic paste. You can even use garlic powder if you prefer.
Vegetable broth: Use your favorite vegetable stock, or water and a bouillon cube. You can also use chicken stock if you prefer.
Freshly Grated Parmesan cheese: Optional ingredient. The cheese adds a lovely texture to the dish, but can be omitted if you want to avoid dairy.
Seasoning: Ground nutmeg, salt, pepper and dried sage add fantastic flavors to the risotto.
You can find full instructions + ingredient measurements in the recipe card at the bottom of this page
One: Peel the butternut squash. Cut it in half down the neck, and scoop out the seeds. Dice the vegetable into ½-inch thick cubes.
Two: Heat up olive oil in an Instant Pot on SAUTE setting. Add finely diced onion, and grated or finely chopped garlic. Sauté for a few minutes, until soft and translucent.
Three: Add washed arborio rice, diced butternut squash and all seasoning to the pot. Sauté for another 1-2 minutes, then turn off the pressure cooker.
Four: Add vegetable stock to the dish. Use a wooden spoon to scrape the bottom and sides of the Instant Pot, and loosen up any pieces of onion that might be stuck.
Five: Cover the pot with a lid, and cook for 6 minutes on HIGH pressure. The pot will take about 10 minutes to gain pressure before the timer starts counting down. When the timer is up, allow the pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes before you turn the venting value and remove any remaining pressure.
Six: Remove the lid from the Instant Pot. Add washed spinach and grated Parmesan cheese. Stir to combine the ingredients. The spinach will quickly soften and wilt in the warm rice, and the butternut squash will break up easily. Add any extra seasoning to taste as required, then serve.
- Make sure to loosen up any stuck pieces of onion before you try to pressure cook the dish. This will prevent the risotto from burning.
- Stirring the risotto before you serve it will make the butternut squash break up, and incorporate it into the rice. This will also make the dish creamier.
- This recipe requires an Instant Pot that's at least 6 qt. If you use a larger container, you will be able to make a bigger batch for efficient batch cooking.
- Make sure to stick to the water-rice ratio as described in the recipe.
This easy Instant Pot butternut squash risotto with spinach is perfect as an entree or main course for lunch or dinner. It's a great option for fall or winter, when winter squash is in season.
You can pair it with a flavorful side dish like Air Fryer Garlic Bread or Flaxseed Crackers.
Alternatively, serve the risotto in smaller servings as a side dish. This is a great option if you pair it with Slow Cooker Garlic Parmesan Chicken, Air Fryer Steak, or any other meaty entree.
💡 TIP! Garnish your risotto with toasted nuts, Parmesan cheese, freshly grated nutmeg or ground black pepper.
Dairy free + vegan: Omit the Parmesan cheese, or use a dairy free, vegan alternative. This will also make the risotto vegetarian.
Extra creamy: The cheese and butternut squash gives the risotto a creamy texture. To make it even more creamy, you can add a little cream or creme fraiche along with the cheese and spinach.
Toppings: Top the risotto with roasted walnuts, freshly ground black pepper, more Parmesan cheese, or fresh sage.
More vegetables: Add extra vegetables, for example riced cauliflower, sliced mushrooms, shredded kale, sliced leeks or diced bell peppers. This is a great way to use up leftover veggies.
Stove top method: Butternut squash risotto can also be cooked in a pot on the stove. Follow the instructions above, and cook the dish on low heat while stirring almost continuously. I also recommend that you gradually add the vegetable stock, a little at a time, as this will give the dish a creamier texture.
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You will need a 6 quart Instant Pot or pressure cooker to make this recipe. Additionally, you will need a wooden spoon or spatula, a cheese grater, and a sharp knife and cutting board.
Alternatively, you can cook the risotto on the stove. This will require a large pot. I like to use a cast iron pot, or a non-stick pot, to prevent the butternut risotto from burning.
Instant Pot butternut squash risotto is a fantastic freezer meal, and excellent for meal prep. It's easy to make in a big batch, requires little effort to cook, and stores really well.
Store any leftover pressure cooked butternut squash risotto in a sealed container in a refrigerator for up to 4 days. You can reheat the dish in a microwave or on the stove, and serve it warm.
The dish can also be frozen for up to 6 months. This risotto is well suited for freezing, as it contains no cream. Defrost it in a refrigerator overnight before you reheat it.
Frequently asked questions
Risotto is not difficult to make, but usually requires a lot of patience. Traditional stove top risotto needs to be cooked for a long period of time, while you stir it continuously. This is not necessary when using the Instant Pot method.
Technically, yes. Traditional risotto is made using short grain rice. Long grain rice like Basmati or Jasmine can also be used. The texture of basmati risotto is different, and usually less creamy compared to regular risotto.
Risotto can be crunchy because of two reasons: either the rice is undercooked, or you have used the wrong type of rice, for example brown or white long grain rice. If you follow this method accurately, and use Arborio rice, your risotto will be creamy and soft.
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You might also like these recipes
- Smoked Haddock Risotto
- Chicken and Chorizo Risotto
- Chicken and Leek Risotto
- Halloumi Salad with Butternut Squash
- Air Fryer Butternut Squash
- Butternut Squash Curry
- Butternut Squash Waffles
If you make this recipe, make sure to post a photo to Instagram with #hintofhealthy!
Instant Pot Butternut Squash Risotto
- 2 cups butternut squash (1 small squash)
- 1 cup arborio rice (short grain risotto rice)
- 2 cups vegetable stock (or water + bouillon cube or powder)
- 1 cup spinach
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese
- 1 onion
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon dried sage
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- Peel the butternut squash. Cut it in half down the neck, and scoop out the seeds. Dice the vegetable into ½-inch thick cubes.2 cups butternut squash
- Heat up olive oil in an Instant Pot on SAUTE setting. Add finely diced onion, and grated or finely chopped garlic. Sauté for a few minutes, until soft and translucent.1 onion, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 3 garlic cloves
- Add washed arborio rice, diced butternut squash and all seasoning to the pot. Sauté for another 1-2 minutes, then turn off the pressure cooker.1 cup arborio rice, ¼ teaspoon nutmeg, ½ teaspoon dried sage, ¼ teaspoon pepper, ¼ teaspoon salt
- Add vegetable stock to the dish. Use a wooden spoon to scrape the bottom and sides of the Instant Pot, and loosen up any pieces of onion that might be stuck.2 cups vegetable stock
- Cover the pot with a lid, and cook for 6 minutes on HIGH pressure. The pot will take about 10 minutes to gain pressure before the timer starts counting down.
- When the timer is up, allow the pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes before you turn the venting value and remove any remaining pressure.
- Remove the lid from the Instant Pot. Add washed spinach and grated Parmesan cheese. Stir to combine the ingredients. The spinach will quickly soften and wilt in the warm rice, and the butternut squash will break up easily. Add any extra seasoning to taste as required, then serve.1 cup spinach, ½ cup Parmesan cheese
- Store leftovers in a refrigerator for up to 4 days, or freeze for up to 6 months. Reheat in a microwave or on the stove for a few minutes, and serve warm.
- This recipe has only been tested in a 6 qt Instant Pot.
- Omit the Parmesan cheese to make this recipe vegetarian, vegan and dairy free.
Food safety tips
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
I’ve made this several times and it’s delicious. I’ve made it exactly as recipe calls for but tonight I added frozen peas because I was a bit low on spinach
The one thing I want to give you big props for is the way your recipe is written. In the instructions you included the ingredients and amount THANK YOU So many recipes I have to go back and forth it tends to get tiresome. Thank you. Great job great recipe!
Thank you for the lovely comment Wanda, I'm glad you enjoy the recipe 🙂