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Instant Pot Pumpkin Risotto with Caramelized Onions

October 16, 2020 (Last Updated: October 30, 2020)

This Instant Pot pumpkin risotto with balsamic caramelized onions is a creamy, delicately autumn-spiced masterpiece! Forget standing over the pot, carefully adding broth spoon by spoon. This pumpkin risotto takes just 5 minutes to make in the Instant Pot, and the whole recipe takes a grand total of 20 minutes, start to finish!

Although, if you don’t have an Instant Pot, you can still easily make it on stovetop too! It will just take a little more time and effort.

2 bowls of risotto, garnished with sage leaves, on a lace table cloth with 3 pumpkins in the background.

Just to note, I have no affiliation with Instant Pot and received no compensation from them for this recipe.

The results are in! The tastiest autumn side dish is pumpkin risotto!… OK. The results are from the competition I had all by myself in my kitchen. Close runner-ups were tasty French green beans with shallots and sesame sauce, delicious baked mashed potatoes with roasted garlic herbed goat cheese and the simple, but impressive crispy roasted cauliflower with cheddar and parmesan.

They’re all pretty darn tasty, and will make fantastic additions to my Thanksgiving table, but I have no doubt this risotto will be the star of the show! “Irresistible” is an understatement. It’s what Thanksgiving dreams are made of!

And if you’ve never used an Instant Pot for risotto before, boy oh boy, you won’t believe how much easier it is than on the stovetop. Before I got one, I would make risotto by carefully ladling the broth, bit by bit, putting so much effort into trying to make it perfect.

Little did I know, there was a contraption that could make the creamiest, most perfect risotto imaginable, and in just 5 minutes. Total game changer!

A spoon of pumpkin risotto held above bowls of risotto and a small pumpkin.

Here’s the Process!

  • First, heat your broth, dice your onion and grate your cheese.
  • Next, toast rice in the Instant Pot, add pumpkin, broth and cook.
  • Then, sauté and caramelize onions.
  • Finally, add onions and spices to the risotto, mix and serve.

A Few Tips:

1. Do not skip the first step: heating the broth.

You may not think it’s necessary, but I’ve skipped this step before and there really is a difference. If you don’t heat the broth before adding it to the Instant Pot, the rice will have a gritty, uncooked center and won’t be anywhere near as fluffy. It’ll just be like a pumpkin mush, so pretty please, heat that broth first.

2. Make sure NOT to use “pumpkin pie filling.”

When you’re picking up your ingredients, make sure you choose “pumpkin purée, not “pumpkin pie filling.” That’s full of sugar and spices just for pumpkin pie. You want unsweetened, un-spiced pumpkin purée.

An Instant Pot filled with pumpkin risotto, with a pile of caramelized onion and a wooden spoon.

A Few Common Questions:

1. What wine goes well with pumpkin risotto?

A deep, dark, dry red wine like Rioja, Cabernet, Cabernet Sauvignon or Bordeaux are perfect if you’re looking to turn up the decadence. But if you want to let the pumpkin risotto be the richest flavor at the party, choose a Chardonnay, Pino Blanc or Sauvignon Blanc – nice, dry wines to complement the slight sweetness of the pumpkin.

2. Can pumpkin risotto be frozen?

Risotto is best when served right away, or heated up after being refrigerated at non-frozen temperatures. Starchy rices like Arborio become hard and the texture turns to mush when reheated from being frozen.

3. How do I reheat pumpkin risotto?

To reheat, you can either use a pot on the stove, or bake it in the oven.

• If you’re reheating on the stove, place it in a non-stick pot over MEDIUM heat for 7-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

• If you want to bake to reheat, spoon into a greased pyrex dish and bake at 400 F. (200 C.) for 20 minutes. And for extra excitement, I highly suggest brushing it with a beaten egg beforehand, and sprinkling it with a little more parmesan cheese. This will create an outrageously tasty, crispy top!

4. Can I use another kind of rice?

Common rice like jasmine, basmati, wild or standard white or brown rice won’t do. You need a very starchy rice to make a creamy risotto. There are a number of different kinds of risotto rice, but Arborio is the most widely available, and easy to find.

The 3 most common forms of risotto rice are Arborio, Carnaroli and Vialone Nano. There are a few other kinds like Baldo, Cal Risotto and Maratelli, but again, they may be harder to find than Arborio.

5. Can this be made in a crockpot?

It can, but it’s going to take a much longer than the Instant Pot or even stovetop. To use a crockpot, add all ingredients except cheese and onions. Cover with the lid and cook on HIGH for 2½ hours (you read that right).

When finished, add cheese and caramelized onions, stir and serve. 

6. What if I don’t have an Instant Pot or Crock Pot?

  1. Simply follow the directions on your risotto’s package for stovetop risotto, warming broth first, then adding broth until perfectly cooked.
  2. Add all other ingredients once the risotto is done, stir, and allow to sit for 5 minutes with a lid over LOW heat.

7. What do I need to make this recipe?

  • Instant Pot
  • Cutting board and sharp knife
  • Cheese grater
  • Mixing spoon
  • Spatula
  • Medium sauce pan
  • Sauté pan

How to Make Instant Pot Pumpkin Risotto with Caramelized Onions – Step by Step

A collage of 4 numbered images showing how to heat broth, dice onion, grate cheese and set pot to sauté.

1. Bring 16 oz. (473 mL) of chicken broth to a simmer over MEDIUM heat for 6 minutes.

2. While broth heats, dice 6 oz. (177 mL) red onion. Set aside.

3. Grate 8 oz. (236 mL) fresh parmesan cheese. Set aside.

4. Set Instant Pot to SAUTÉ. Add 2 tbsp. unsalted butter to the pot and melt.

A collage of 4 numbered images showing how to toast risotto, deglaze, add ingredients, and set pot to Pressure Cook.

5. Once butter is melted, add 8 oz. (236 mL) arborio rice and stir it into the butter. Spread it evenly on the bottom of the pot to allow the rice to toast for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

6. Once rice is toasted, turn off heat and quickly add 2 oz. (60 mL) dry white wine (or dry vermouth) to deglaze the pot, stirring rice quickly.

7. Add 6 oz. (177 mL) pumpkin purée and warm broth to the pot. Mix thoroughly.

8. Place Instant Pot lid on top and lock it in place. Make sure the release valve is DIS-ENGAGED so the pressure will not release. Set Instant Pot to PRESSURE COOK for 5 minutes, and hit START.

2 numbered images showing how to sauté and caramelize onions, and mix onions into pumpkin risotto.

9. While the pressure builds and your risotto cooks, add 1 tbsp. olive oil to a sauté pan and sauté diced red onion over MEDIUM-HIGH heat for 7-10 minutes. When onions are nicely brown, turn off heat and quickly add 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar to the pan, stirring quickly. Allow onions to sit and caramelize for at least 30 seconds.

I find the timing of when I hit START on the Instant Pot to when it’s finished releasing pressure is the perfect amount of time to sauté and caramelize the onions.

10. When risotto is ready, release the pressure valve and allow the pressure to fully release before opening. When ready, remove lid. Add caramelized onions, grated parmesan, 1 tsp. honey, ½ tsp. salt, ¼ tsp. nutmeg, pinch of cinnamon and a nice sprinkle of fresh ground pepper. Stir completely and serve.

A bowl of risotto, garnished with sage leaves, on a lace table cloth beside another bowl and small pumpkin.

I hope you love this Instant Pot pumpkin risotto as much as I do! Wishing you a happy, cozy, tasty fall!

Help yourself to a little more Autumn recipe inspiration!

And for more inspiration, follow me on INSTAGRAM @shekeepsalovelyhome, on PINTEREST and FACEBOOK! And if you ever make any of my tasty drinks or treats, take a picture and tag me. I want to see!

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A bowl of pumpkin risotto, garnished with 2 sage leaves, on a lace table cloth beside another bowl and small pumpkin.
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4.67 from 3 votes

Instant Pot Pumpkin Risotto with Caramelized Onions

This pumpkin risotto with balsamic caramelized onions is a creamy, delicately autumn-spiced masterpiece! The easiest, and tastiest autumn side dish for Thanksgiving or any decadent autumn dinner party!
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: International
Keyword: pumpkin risotto
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 346kcal

Equipment

  • Instant Pot
  • Cutting board and sharp knife
  • Cheese grater
  • Mixing spoon
  • Spatula
  • Medium sauce pan
  • Sauté pan

Ingredients

  • 8 oz. arborio rice
  • 16 oz. chicken broth - or vegetable broth
  • 6 oz. red onion - diced (about 1 small onion)
  • 6 oz. pumpkin purée
  • 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 2 oz. dry white wine - like Chardonnay (or dry vermouth)
  • 8 oz. parmesan cheese - grated
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. nutmeg
  • cinnamon - a pinch
  • fresh ground pepper - a nice sprinkle

Instructions

  • Bring 16 oz. (473 mL) of chicken broth to a simmer over MEDIUM heat for 6 minutes. While broth heats, dice 6 oz. (177 mL) red onion. Set aside. Grate 8 oz. (236 mL) fresh parmesan cheese. Set aside.
  • Set Instant Pot to SAUTÉ. Add 2 tbsp. unsalted butter to the pot and melt. Once butter is melted, add 8 oz. (236 mL) arborio rice and stir it into the butter. Spread it evenly on the bottom of the pot to allow the rice to toast for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once rice is toasted, turn off heat and quickly add 2 oz. (60 mL) dry white wine (or dry vermouth) to deglaze the pot, stirring rice quickly. 
  • Add 6 oz. (177 mL) pumpkin purée and warm broth to the pot. Mix thoroughly. Place Instant Pot lid on top and lock it in place. Make sure the release valve is DIS-ENGAGED so the pressure will not release. Set Instant Pot to PRESSURE COOK for 5 minutes, and hit START.
  • While the pressure builds and your risotto cooks, add 1 tbsp. olive oil to a sauté pan and sauté diced red onion over MEDIUM-HIGH heat for 7-10 minutes. When onions are nicely brown, turn off heat and quickly add 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar to the pan, stirring quickly. Allow onions to sit and caramelize for at least 30 seconds
  • When risotto is ready, release the pressure valve and allow the pressure to fully release before opening. When ready, remove lid. Add caramelized onions, grated parmesan, 1 tsp. honey, ½ tsp. salt, ¼ tsp. nutmeg, pinch of cinnamon and a nice sprinkle of fresh ground pepper. Stir completely and serve.

Notes

1. Make sure not to use “pumpkin pie filling.”
When you’re picking up your ingredients, make sure you choose “pumpkin purée, not “pumpkin pie filling.” That’s full of sugar and spices just for pumpkin pie. You want unsweetened, un-spiced pumpkin purée.
2. To reheat, you can either warm it in a pot on the stove, or bake it in the oven.
• If you’re reheating on the stove, place it in a non-stick pot over MEDIUM heat for 7-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
• If you want to bake to reheat, spoon into a greased pyrex dish and bake at 400 F. (200 C.) for 20 minutes. And for extra excitement, I highly suggest brushing it with a beaten egg beforehand, and sprinkling it with a little more parmesan cheese. This will create an outrageously tasty, crispy top!
3. If you don't have an Instant Pot:
  1. Simply follow the directions on your risotto's package for stovetop risotto, warming broth first, then adding broth until perfectly cooked.
  2. Add all other ingredients once the risotto is done, stir, and allow to sit for 5 minutes with a lid over LOW heat.
Nutrition calculations are an estimation.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 346kcal | Carbohydrates: 55g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 16mg | Sodium: 661mg | Potassium: 294mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 6803IU | Vitamin C: 13mg | Calcium: 28mg | Iron: 3mg

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