This Instant Pot Vegetarian Risotto is an Indian-inspired pressure cooker risotto recipe that’s a hearty and delicious one-pot meal. This recipe is suitable for vegans too. The bright warming flavors of coconut curry combined with the creaminess of risotto makes this a family-pleasing recipe that’s healthy and easy enough for a weeknight!
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What is risotto? Risotto is a classic rice dish from northern Italy. It’s made with medium-grain starchy Italian rice that gives the dish a creamy, velvety texture. My recipe uses arborio rice which is the most easily available.
Traditionally, when risotto is made on the stovetop, you add liquid in small increments, stirring constantly. It’s a bit time-consuming and very hands-on. Instant Pot risotto is so much easier to make. No stirring, just set it and forget it!
Italian risotto is traditionally served as a first course but this Instant Pot Vegetarian Risotto makes a great main course especially when you add some protein. Indian spices, coconut milk, and chickpeas make this vegetarian recipe delicious and comforting but also filling!
This is one of the best Instant Pot risotto recipes that I make. I love how the arborio rice and coconut milk make the recipe so rich and creamy. If you don’t own an Instant Pot, making risotto so easily is a great reason to go out and get one right now!
Here are some Instant Pot vegetarian recipes you might like to try out!
– Instant Pot Middle Eastern Green Beans
– Instant Pot Aloo Gobi (Cauliflower and Potatoes)
– Instant Pot Brown Rice with Vegetables
– Instant Pot Vegetarian Moroccan Stew
– Instant Pot Ethiopian Lentil Stew
– Instant Pot Parboiled Rice
Tips and Substitutions
One of the most common questions I get about curry recipes is “Where’s the curry?” Some people mistakenly believe that “curry” requires curry powder. In reality, different curries are made with different combinations of Indian spices such as coriander, cumin, turmeric, chili powder, garam masala, black pepper, etc.
Kashmiri chili powder is a special kind of Indian chili powder that has a bright red color without being too spicy. It can be found at Indian grocery stores or on amazon. If you can’t find Kashmiri chili powder, go ahead and substitute a smaller quantity of cayenne pepper.
The great thing about Indian dishes is that you can make them as mild as you like by adjusting the quantity of chili powder or substituting paprika for the chili powder.
If you wish to use curry powder, substitute 2 or 3 teaspoons of curry powder in place of the coriander, cumin, garam masala, turmeric, and chili powder. If your curry powder has been sitting on a cabinet shelf for a while, do yourself a favor and get a fresh container. When I use curry powder in this recipe, I still add a bit of chili powder or cayenne pepper because I like it spicy!
You can try and substitute another type of Italian medium-grain rice such as Carnaroli or Vialone Nano, but I can’t vouch for the quantities and cooking times. You will need to experiment.
Normally, I use the same dry measuring cup to measure rice and liquids when pressure cooking rice. However, for this Instant Pot risotto recipe I use a liquid measuring cup to measure the water and coconut milk.
Substituting water with vegetable broth or chicken broth will add more flavor. You’ll need to adjust the quantity of salt as needed.
I frequently use ghee to add flavor to Indian recipes. You can substitute ghee for the vegetable oil and add some great flavor to this Indian risotto recipe.
[Find out how to make homemade ghee in your Instant Pot]
Feel free to add 1 cup of diced tomatoes. Pour them on top of the broth before you add the rice without stirring in. This will help you avoid the Burn message.
I make this recipe with cooked chickpeas or black-eyed peas. You can substitute your choice of cooked legume. If you use canned chickpeas or black eyed peas, drain and rinse them before adding them.
[Find out how to make homemade chickpeas in your Instant Pot]
I’ve made this risotto recipe many times and haven’t had any sealing issues. I even stir the arborio rice in with the liquid and have had no problem doing that. However, if you want to take extra precautions to avoid the Burn error message, don’t stir the rice.
Instead, stir the water, coconut milk, and chickpeas into the onion mixture and then add the rice on top of the liquid without stirring it in. Just gently push down on the rice with a spatula so the rice is submerged in the liquid.
If you’re new to the Instant Pot and aren’t familiar with how to use it, you might find it helpful to first read one of the following guides and then come back here to learn how to make this recipe.
- Instant Pot DUO Beginner’s Manual
- Instant Pot ULTRA Beginner’s Manual
- Instant Pot DUO EVO PLUS Beginner’s Manual
- Instant Pot DUO NOVA Beginner’s Manual
- Instant Pot DUO GOURMET Beginner’s Manual
- Instant Pot DUO CRISP Beginner’s Manual
- Instant Pot PRO Beginner’s Manual
- Instant Pot PRO CRISP Beginner’s Manual
Coconut Curry Instant Pot Vegetarian Risotto – Ingredients
- Coconut milk
- Arborio rice
- Chili powder
- Garam masala
- Cilantro (not pictured)
More details in the recipe card at the bottom of this post
How to Make Curried Vegetarian Risotto in the Instant Pot (Step by Step Instructions)
- Turn on Saute Mode
- Saute onion, garlic, and ginger
- Saute spices and add liquids
- Add chickpeas and rice
- Pressure cook
- Natural release
- Stir risotto and garnish with cilantro
How to Turn on Saute Mode
- Instant Pot DUO: Select the Saute function.
- Instant Pot ULTRA: Select the Saute function and press Start.
Saute onion, garlic and ginger
- Once the inner pot has preheated, add oil or ghee to the inner pot and let it heat up.
- Add onions, garlic, and ginger.
- Saute onion mixture until the onions are golden brown. Add a few tablespoons of water to deglaze the inner pot if needed.
- Press Cancel. The spices added in the next step will cook in the residual heat.
Saute spices and add liquids
- Stir in coriander, cumin, garam masala, turmeric, chili powder, and salt.
- Saute for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Don’t let the spices burn!
- Deglaze with a tablespoon or two of water if necessary.
- Stir in water and coconut milk.
Add chickpeas and rice
- Stir in chickpeas
- Add the arborio rice and don’t stir. Just push down with a spatula so the rice is submerged. *
* We’re doing this out of an abundance of caution in order to avoid a burn message.
Instant Pot Duo Pressure Cook 7 minutes
- Close the lid and make sure steam release handle is in ‘Sealing’ position
- Press ‘Manual’ (or ‘Pressure Cook’) and ‘+’ or ‘-‘ until the display reads ‘7′ (7 minutes).
Instant Pot Ultra Pressure Cook 7 minutes
- Close the lid.
- Select Pressure Cook mode and adjust the time to 7 minutes (00:07).
- Press ‘Start’.
Pressure Cooking Process (Duo and Ultra)
- Instant Pot display will change to ‘On’.
- Once the Instant Pot is pressurized, the float valve will go up.
- The display will count down to 0; it will then switch to ‘Keep Warm’ mode and display ‘L0:00’ or ’00 00′ and begin to count up the number of minutes since pressure cooking completed.
How to Naturally Release Pressure (NPR) on the DUO and ULTRA
- Allow the pressure to release naturally (NPR). The float valve will be in the down position. This may take 15 to 30 minutes. [Find out more about the pressure release methods and how and when to use them. ]
- Press Cancel and open the Instant Pot.
Stir risotto and garnish with cilantro
- Carefully stir the risotto using a large spoon.
- Garnish with cilantro if desired.
- Let the risotto rest (lid open) for 5 to 7 minutes before serving.
Coconut Curry Instant Pot Vegetarian Risotto
- 2 Tbsp vegetable oil or ghee
- 1 1/2 cups onions chopped
- 2 tsp garlic minced
- 2 tsp ginger minced
- 2 tsp coriander powder
- 1 1/2 tsp cumin powder
- 1/2 tsp garam masala
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- 1/2 tsp Kashmiri chili powder
- 1 1/4 tsp salt or to taste!
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1 1/4 cup chickpeas homemade or canned
- 1 cup arborio rice
- 2 Tbsp cilantro chopped
- Press Saute and add oil or ghee to inner pot of the Instant Pot.
- Once the oil is hot, add onions, garlic and ginger. Stir until onion is golden brown. Press Cancel. The spices in the next step will cook in the residual heat.
- Add coriander, cumin, garam masala, turmeric, chili powder, salt and stir to coat, about 30 seconds. Make sure there's nothing stuck to the bottom of the inner pot – deglaze as needed.
- Stir in water, coconut milk and chickpeas.
- Add the arborio rice, and don't stir. Just ensure that the rice is submerged by pushing down with a spatula.
- Close the lid and pressure cook on High Pressure for 7 minutes.
- Do a natural pressure release. [Read More: The Different Pressure Release Methods]
- Open the Instant Pot and carefully stir the curried risotto. Garnish with cilantro.
- Let the rice rest open for 5 to 7 minutes.
- Prep time does not include steps that are already accounted for in the ingredient list, e.g. chopped onion, minced garlic, etc.
- Use a liquid measuring cup to measure water and coconut milk.
- You may substitute 1 tablespoon of curry powder for the coriander, cumin, garam masala, chili powder, and turmeric.
- The arborio rice is layered on top without stirring in to help you avoid the Burn Message. However, I do stir the rice and other ingredients together with no sealing issues.
- See the blog post for more detailed recipe tips. You don’t want to miss any!
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I am not a certified nutritionist. I provide my best estimate of nutritional information merely as a courtesy to my readers. If you depend on nutritional information for dietary or health reasons, I suggest using your favorite online nutrition calculator to confirm the nutritional value of this recipe based on the actual ingredients that you use.
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I have not tried any of your recipes yet but I love your website! I just got an instant pot duo evo plus and the manual that comes with it is pretty bad, I think. I love how you spell everything out and have pictures! Those are going to be great for my husband! I look forward to trying your recipes!
Paint the Kitchen Red
I’m so glad to hear that Sara. I hope you enjoy my recipes and do let me know which one you try first!
Made this last night, I was looking for something quick, had all ingredients on hands! Perfect for a cold raining Belgium evening ! Thank you and I couldn’t believe it but everyone loved it !!!
Paint the Kitchen Red
Hi Chrystel, thank you for taking the time to comment and I’m thrilled you loved the recipe!
Excellent! So easy and so tasty, came out perfect. My whole family enjoyed this so much. Another dish we will have often. Thank you!
Paint the Kitchen Red
Thank you so much, Barbara, for taking the time to try the recipe and review it!
I tried this tonight. I was very pleased. Some curries are too spicy. Loved the flavor in this. Used canned chickpeas low sodium and lite unsweetened coconut milk. Perfect!
Forgot to add 5 star!
Paint the Kitchen Red
Thank you – that’s so kind of you!