Make creamy and delicious Brown Rice Risotto with practically no stirring involved! This Instant Pot risotto recipe is done in just 24 minutes at high pressure and is a delicious and healthy vegetarian risotto recipe the whole family will love.
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Love risotto but don't have the patience to be standing at the stove stirring until it's done? I hear ya.
Trying to get more whole grains into your family's diet? Friend, you're in the right place.
I love playing around with whole grains - I am a Nutrition Lady after all - and the good news is that you can make risotto using short-grain brown rice that's every bit as delicious as the classic recipe. It just takes a bit more liquid and a lot more time to achieve the same results.
On a leisurely weekend, with a glass of wine in my hand and my kids out of my hair, I'll happily do the meditative work of stirring a risotto into creamy perfection. But on a weekday? Get outta here!
So I'm calling in the big guns today, with this tested-till-perfect Instant Pot Brown Rice Risotto.
Let your pressure cooker do the heavy lifting, cooking the rice in a fragrant mixture of white wine, vegetable broth, herbs, and aromatics. All you need to do is stir in some butter and cheese at the end to enjoy a truly delicious and mostly hands off meal.
The ingredients list for this Brown Rice Risotto is short and sweet! You'll find specific quantities in the printable recipe card at the end of this post, but for now here's a quick overview of what you need.
- Short-grain brown rice --> This is the closest match to a classic risotto rice.
- White wine --> Bringing great depth of flavour.
- Vegetable broth --> Store bought is fine.
- Onion --> A nice yellow guy.
- Garlic --> Because we're worth it!
- Olive oil --> For cooking and whatnot.
- Butter --> Bringing some richness.
- Parmesan cheese --> Or another vegetarian strong cheese.
- Dried thyme --> Because we're fancy.
- Frozen peas --> Optional, but recommended.
Tip! If you don't drink or don't tend to have white wine on hand, grab a bottle of white vermouth and use it for cooking. You can use it interchangeably with white wine in most recipes, and a bottle will last for ages at room temperature.
You're going to need an Instant Pot or another brand of electric pressure cooker to make Instant Pot Risotto! I personally have this 6-Quart Instant Pot, but this recipe was also tested in larger models with the great results.
What's the best type of rice for risotto?
Classic risotto recipes us a polished short-grain white rice. Varietals such as Arborio or Carnaroli rice are most common, which are short grain rice types with a high starch content, yielding that creamy risotto texture you know and love.
When replacing these types of rices with wholegrain brown rice with the bran and the germ still intact, you'll lose a bit of that creaminess - we're solving that problem by using the pressure cooker to help break the rice down, and by adding in butter and cheese at the end of cooking and giving everything a good stir.
Choosing short-grain brown rice means your brown rice risotto will turn out closest to the classic recipe, however, one of my recipe testers let me know she had trouble finding it in her local grocery stores. Because of this, I also tested the recipe with easier to find long-grain brown rice, and while not quite as creamy, the results were still very good.
Releasing the pressure
We initially tested this recipe using a 5-minute natural release and then quick-releasing the remaining pressure, but found that there was a considerable amount of liquid remaining. One of my recipe testers let me know she got distracted and accidently used a 20-minute natural release, and that the risotto was done perfectly at that stage.
Another recipe tester let me know that while the risotto was very liquidy after a 5-minute natural release, when she came back for seconds the liquid had absorbed and it was perfect. So we re-tested the recipe a couple of times using a 15-minute natural release, with both short and long-grain brown rice, and that seems to be the golden number.
Remember, if it's too liquidy you can always put the lid back on and wait for the liquid to absorb. If the risotto has absorbed all of the liquid and you feel that it needs more, you can always add a bit of extra vegetable broth, splash by splash, until you reach your desired consistency.
I love adding frozen peas to my risotto because they thaw quickly and I almost always have a bag on hand. But you can absolutely mix things up and choose whatever vegetables you please! Here are a few ideas:
- Fresh asparagus, chopped into 1-inch pieces
- Cubes of roasted butternut squash
- Sweet corn (frozen corn works great!)
- Air Fryer Carrots
- Sautéd mushrooms (if you're into mushrooms - I am not!)
IS PARMESAN CHEESE VEGETARIAN?
Technically, authentic Parmesan cheese is not vegetarian because it uses rennet. There are other Parmesan-esque cheeses out there that don't use rennet (they use a microbial enzyme instead) so if you're not comfortable with rennet, you've got options.
How to store leftover risotto
Leftover risotto will last for 3-5 days in an airtight container in your fridge. Note that it will thicken considerably as it cools, so you may want to add a splash of vegetable broth when you reheat it.
Did you know that you can freeze risotto? I freeze leftover risotto in individual portions that are easy to grab for a packed lunch or a quick weeknight meal. I freeze small portions in silicone muffin cups for my kids, and larger portions in empty yogurt containers or in silicone freezer bags.
My preferred method for reheating leftover risotto is the microwave, but you can also reheat it in the oven in an ovenproof dish with a lid, or on the stovetop. If you use the latter two methods, be sure to use some extra liquid and watch the risotto carefully to ensure it does not burn.
Other recipes you might enjoy:
Instant Pot Brown Rice Risotto
- 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 1 ½ cups short-grain brown rice
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- ½ cup frozen peas optional
- Using the sauté setting, heat the olive oil over "normal" heat for a minute.1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- Add the onion, and sauté for 2-3 minutes until it becomes translucent.1 medium yellow onion
- Add the garlic, thyme, and a good pinch of salt, and sauté for 3-5 minutes, stirring often, until the onions are golden brown.2 cloves garlic, ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- Add the rice, and stir to combine with the onions, toasting the rice for about one minute.1 ½ cups short-grain brown rice
- Add the wine, and stir constantly until it is mostly evaporated.½ cup dry white wine
- Hit cancel on your Instant Pot to end the sauté setting. Add the vegetable broth, and stir well, scraping the bottom of the pot to ensure there aren't any bits stuck to the bottom.3 cups vegetable broth
- Put the lid on the pot and ensure the vent is set to "sealing". Set to manual / high pressure for 24 minutes.
- When the cooking cycle is complete, allow the pressure to release naturally for 15 minutes, and then quick-release the remaining pressure.
- Remove the lid, and add the butter and the Parmesan cheese. Stir for 1-2 minutes to create a creamy texture.2 Tablespoons butter, ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Stir in the frozen peas if you like.½ cup frozen peas
- Serve topped with more Parm.
- Nutrition values are an estimate only
- If the risotto seems too liquidy when cooking is complete, replace the lid and wait 5-10 minutes for the liquid to absorb.
- If the risotto is too thick, add extra vegetable broth bit by bit until you have reached your desired consistency.