Instant Pot Pesto Risotto

Kermit got it wrong. It’s SO easy being green!

I love Risotto. It’s the “pasta” of the rice world.

And I LOVE Basil Pesto sauce. It’s an amazing combination of Basil leaves, olive oil, Parmesan, pine nuts and garlic. What’s not to love?!

Basil Pesto Risotto (the “pasta” of the rice world) has such a delightful flavor while also packing one helluva satisfying punch!

One mouthful and it shall be proven that not only is this one of the richest and tastiest risottos you’ll ever have, but thanks to the Instant Pot it’s also one of the EASIEST and QUICKEST to make! Get ready to be wowed by this Bob Warden winner.

Here’s How I Made It!:

It begins with an onion…

…chopped up.

Then we go to our Instant Pot and add a little vegetable oil…

…and a little butter.  Let’s heat them up…

…and then add our onion.

Cook it for a few minutes until it becomes a bit translucent and lightly browned.

Now take some Arborio rice (yes, it must be Arborio rice to make a proper risotto)…

…and add it to the onions.

Mix it all together for a moment…

…and then add in some chicken broth…

…freshly squeezed lemon juice…

…and some sugar.

Mix well, secure the lid and cook at high pressure.

When done, remove the lid and stir.

Now comes our key ingredient:  PESTO! (I’m obsessed with the Costco/Kirkland Signature one)

Pour some into the pot…

…mixing well…

…so that it makes you green with envy.

Serve it in a bowl…

…dollop some mascarpone if you so desire.

And enjoy one of the easiest and tastiest things you’ll ever make in your Instant Pot!

Instant Pot Pesto Risotto
Yield: 6

Instant Pot Pesto Risotto

Instant Pot Pesto Risotto

Risotto is magical in the Instant Pot and requires no babysitting whatsoever. When you add a cheesy, basil-y pesto to it, it becomes a treat.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 17 minutes
Total Time 22 minutes


  • 1 tbsp of vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp (1/8th of a stick) of salted butter
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cups of Arborio rice (you must use this kind of rice to make a proper risotto)
  • 5 cups of Chicken Broth (5 tsps of Chicken Better Than Bouillon + 5 cups of water)
  • 1 tsp of white sugar
  • 2 tbsp of lemon juice (or the juice of one fresh squeezed lemon)
  • 1 cup of a good Pesto sauce (Costco has THE best)
  • Mascarpone cheese, for topping


  1. Add the butter and oil to the Instant Pot, then hit “Sauté” and “Adjust” to the “More” setting until it reads “Hot”
  2. Add the onion and cook and stir for 5 minutes until translucency occurs
  3. Add the rice and stir in with the onions for 1 minute
  4. Add the chicken broth, lemon juice and sugar. Stir well
  5. Secure Lid and hit “Keep Warm/Cancel” then “Manual” or “Pressure Cook” High Pressure for 6 minutes.
  6. When done, quick release and remove lid
  7. Stir nicely as sauce will thicken
  8. Add Pesto sauce and stir in thoroughly (start with 1 cup and feel free to add more to taste). Let rest for about 5 mins as the pot is in the Keep Warm setting as it will thicken
  9. Serve in bowls with a large dollop of Mascarpone and then mix it in as you eat it. This really sends it over the edge
  10. Enjoy!

Jeffrey's Tips

If you wish to make your own Pesto sauce, you’ll need the following:1 1/2 cups of fresh Basil leaves1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil1/4 cup of pine nuts3 gloves of crushed garlic

Then, toss together in a food processor and pulse until smoothly chunky

Reader Interactions


  1. Bob

    I’m a huge fan of yours and make many of the recipes, from your 3 current books, for friends and family. They are all excited to try as many of the creative and easy recipes you have created. I’ve made the eggplant risotto and the mushroom risotto; both were delicious and came out great. The pesto risotto however, which requires 5 cups of chicken broth came out too liquidy. I followed directions exactly and want to know if solution is to cut back to 4 cups of chicken broth? I resolved the issue of the liquid risotto by pressing the sauté button and letting the liquid boil off until I had the consistency I wanted. My guests scarfed it down. No leftovers. So what’s your solution? Cut back on liquid or set a longer pressure cook time? A faithful follower..

    • Jeffrey

      Thanks for the kind words! If you followed the recipe precisely, letting it rest for a few minutes at the end is all it takes for it to thicken.

  2. Bob Kay

    You deserve all the praise and fame your outstanding recipes have brought you! I’ve watched your popularity grow ever since the first of your 3 books came out. I’ve gifted the books to any of my friends who own a crockpot. Best wishes to you and Richard…
    Lake Tahoe, NV

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