Perfect as a side to any weeknight dinner, this Instant Pot Butternut Squash Risotto is flavorful, easy, and is done cooking in under 20 minutes. Naturally vegetarian and gluten free.
Creamy, savory, and veggie-loaded, this Instant Pot Butternut Squash Risotto is heavenly. Totally the perfect way to add that beautiful fall squash to the dinner table in an easy way that will totally delight your family (I know my family licked their plates clean!).
It cooks up significantly faster than traditional risotto recipes (like 20 minutes WITH your Instant Pot coming up to pressure), is low fuss, and makes for a lovely side or even leftovers with a little extra love!
This recipe is….
Vegetarian and gluten free. It can also be made dairy-free.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I make this butternut squash risotto dairy-free? Yes, omit the butter and parmesan cheese. Since cheese is salty, you will want to taste your finished risotto and add more salt as needed.
Can I sub fresh sage for dry? What other herbs other than sage can I use in this Instant Pot side dish? Yes, many herbs, both fresh and dry, will work well in this recipe. Use the same amount of chopped fresh rosemary or thyme or use a combination of these herbs. For dry, use about a teaspoon of the herbs you’d like. Herb blends like poultry seasoning or Italian seasoning will work well with the flavors, too.
What other vegetables can I add? I’ve made this with a few handfuls of baby spinach stirred in at the end. It was so good! You could add in some chopped kale while you saute the rice or try a different kind of squash, like a kabocha.
What if I don’t have Arborio rice? Arborio rice is ideal for risotto, but in a pinch, you could substitute any short-grain white rice. I have not tried this recipe with brown rice, so I’m not sure the timing would work out the same way.
Can I make this ahead? Risotto is best eaten right away, as it gets much thicker when it cools. However, if you don’t mind a thick risotto, you can reheat leftovers in the microwave or add a splash of water or broth to a pot to stir into the risotto as it reheats.
Time saving tips
This Instant Pot Butternut Squash Risotto is already wayyyyyyy faster to make compared to traditional risotto recipes. However, we can all use some the time saving hacks when it comes to dinner prep. To make this vegetarian side dish even easier and faster to make, here are a few tips and tricks!
- Use pre-cut butternut squash. Peeling and cutting the butternut squash is the trickiest part about this Instant Pot risotto recipe. To save time when your stomach is grumbling, peel and cut your squash ahead of time and store it in the fridge until you are ready to make this recipe. Or buy pre-cut squash (I find it in the refrigerated section of the produce department) and cut the chunks quickly down to 1/2 inch pieces for this recipe.
- Use thawed butternut squash. Frozen butternut squash is peeled and cut for you! BOOM! most of the work is done! Thaw it before adding it to this risotto recipe so that you don’t change the temperature of the ingredients. Also, once thawed, you can easily cut down large chunks of squash to the suggested size for even cooking.
- Chop the onion in your food processor. This is one of my favorite time saving hacks for so many recipes. Peel and quarter your onion. Place it in your food processor with the “S” blade and pulse a few times until it is minced. Easy peasy!
Be sure the butternut squash chunks are uniform in size. If you have some larger chunks and some smaller chunks, the squash pieces won’t cook at the same rate.
Let the risotto sit for a few minutes after cooking to thicken up a bit. It will continue absorbing the broth and get nice and thick once you stir in the cheese.
Adjust the flavors to fit your personal tastes. Butternut squash is a very sweet veggie and there is a ton (okay, a pound) of it in this recipe. If you want more of a savory flavor, taste and add more salt and/or cheese to the risotto to fit your preference. If you enjoy the sweeter side of squash, reduce the amount of salt to 1/2 teaspoon and cheese to 1/3 cup.
Other veggie-loaded side dishes you will love…
- Asparagus and Pea Risotto
- Easy Veggie-Loaded Mac & Cheese
- Mexican-Style Corn Quinoa Stuffed Peppers
- Easy Veggie Fried Rice
- Pesto Veggie Pasta Salad
Loving this Instant Pot vegetable side recipe and now you’re hungry for more?
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Recipe testing and development done in collaboration with Heather Staller
Instant Pot Butternut Squash Risotto
- Instant Pot
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter or sub more olive oil
- 1 cup finely chopped onions or shallots
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage plus extra for garnish
- 1 ½ cups Arborio rice
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt plus more to taste
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
- 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- 1 pound peeled butternut squash cut into ½-inch dice (about 4 cups)
- 2/3 cup grated parmesan cheese plus more for garnish
- Ground black pepper, to taste
- Set Instant Pot (or other multi-cooker) to SAUTE function. Add the olive oil and butter. Once hot, add the onions or shallots and stir occasionally until golden brown around the edges, about 4 to 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic, sage, and salt. Cook for an additional minute. If the pot begins to brown too quickly, add a splash of water.
- Add rice to the pot and stir for 2 minutes to lightly toast the rice. Stir in the vinegar and then the broth. Add the butternut squash. Cancel the SAUTE function.
- Place lid on the Instant Pot then set to MANUAL high pressure for 5 minutes. It will take your Instant Pot about 6 minutes to get up to pressure.
- Once time is up, quick release the pressure and remove the lid. Stir in the grated parmesan cheese and season with a few grinds of black pepper. Taste and add more salt or parmesan cheese if needed.
- Let risotto sit in the Instant Pot for 5-10 minutes to thicken up and absorb more of the liquid. Serve risotto with a sprinkle of extra chopped sage and parmesan on top, if desired.
The nutritional information is provided as an estimate only and may vary based on the product type, servings and other factors. If you are following a diet, please consult with a professional nutritionist or your doctor. Stay healthy!
Creamy, fall comfort in a bowl! This is the best risotto I’ve made at home. Smash hit with husband and toddler. Will definitely be incorporating this into our meal rotation! Thanks so much!
I am SO glad to hear that, Sarah! Hearing that kind of review always makes my day!
I didn’t have any white rice on hand so I decided to try making it with farro and it came out wonderfully! I had some quick farro from Trader Joe’s and kept the IP cool time the same. Loved this so much! Used up the last of our butternut squash this season but will definitely be making again in the fall!
I’m so glad to here your subs worked out, Linda! I need to try this with farro next.
Can I make this in a crock pot?
I haven’t tried but maybe. If I was to give it a go, I would suggest sautéing the onions, garlic and such in a pan before adding it to the slow cooker. It adds a lot of flavor you don’t want to miss out on. Then I would watch it very closely. My guess is that it would be done in 3ish hours on low. You don’t want to overcook it, since rice can go mushy super fast. If you try it, let us know how it goes!
This was delicious!! So simple and so easy. I didn’t have arborio so I used sushi rice which has worked well in the past for a substitution. 2/3rds of my kiddos liked it and that’s a definite win (my littlest is still “developing his tastebuds). LOL Thank you for the great recipe 🙂
2 out of 3 ain’t bad! So glad it was a success, Dana! And that you were able to adapt it so you didn’t need to run to the store. Thanks for taking the time to leave a review. I always appreciate it.