Saffron Risotto in the Pressure Cooker


In Italy, this is known as 'risotto alla Milanese,' 'risotto giallo,' or 'risotto allo zafferano.' Whatever you call it, it is the king of risottos, the simplest yet best known of all. The traditional preparation requires 20 minutes of stirring and cooking, but I managed to learn how to prepare it in the pressure cooker or an Instant Pot®. I swear, you won't notice the difference! I have provided further tips for all your pressure cooker risottos in the notes at the end of the recipe.

Prep Time:
5 mins
Cook Time:
10 mins
Additional Time:
10 mins
Total Time:
25 mins
4 servings


  • 1 pinch saffron

  • cup hot water

  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided

  • 1 small shallot, finely chopped

  • 1 ½ cups Arborio rice

  • ¾ cup dry white wine

  • 3 ¼ cups boiling vegetable stock

  • cup grated Parmesan cheese

  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese, or to taste


  1. Soak saffron threads in hot water in a bowl.

  2. Melt 2 1/2 tablespoons butter in a pressure cooker over low heat. Cook and stir shallot until soft, about 3 minutes. Add rice; cook and stir for a few minutes until rice has absorbed butter and is toasted, about 3 minutes. Pour in wine and allow alcohol to cook off, about 1 minute. Add boiling stock all at once and stir. Close cooker securely and place pressure regulator over vent according to manufacturer's instructions. Increase heat to high. Heat until steam escapes in a steady flow and makes a whistling sound. Reduce heat to low and cook for 4 minutes.

  3. Remove cooker from heat and release pressure carefully using the quick-release method according to manufacturer's instructions, about 5 minutes. Carefully open once pressure is completely released and stir well. Stir in saffron, remaining 1 1/2 tablespoon butter, Parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper.

  4. Let risotto rest for 3 minutes in order to expand, soak up the stock, and absorb flavor. Serve in warmed bowls with extra grated Parmesan cheese.

Cook's Notes:

You can cook any kind of risotto in a pressure cooker. Simply cook the other ingredients (such as mushrooms, pancetta, or seafood) separately and add to the rice at the end. If using ingredients that require a longer cooking time (like fresh artichokes) you can start by cooking them in the pressure cooker, then adding the rice and finishing all together. If you have an Instant Pot(R) you can prepare the ingredients in the Instant Pot(R) on Saute mode.

There are 3 rules when cooking risotto in pressure cooker. First, the amount of stock has to be slightly more than two times the rice, about 20% more than double. For a creamier risotto, use more stock. Second, the cooking time is 4 minutes sharp after the first whistling. Not one minute longer, not one minute less. When you open the cooker, the rice will feel still uncooked but it will get soft in the 3 minutes of resting. Third, do not skip the resting time. It is essential for the rice to relax, release starch, and get that creamy texture typical of risotto.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

523 Calories
15g Fat
75g Carbs
11g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 4
Calories 523
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 15g 20%
Saturated Fat 9g 47%
Cholesterol 41mg 14%
Sodium 677mg 29%
Total Carbohydrate 75g 27%
Dietary Fiber 2g 6%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 11g
Vitamin C 1mg 3%
Calcium 156mg 12%
Iron 1mg 7%
Potassium 73mg 2%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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