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Instant Pot Pressure Cooker Kale Risotto

Lets talk easy-peasy–risotto cooked in a pressure cooker. No standing at the stove stirring here. Green ribbons of vitamin-rich kale mixed into perfectly plumped creamy rice—this kale risotto.

Creamy Pressure Cooker Kale Risotto

I used to avoid making risotto, the classic Northern Italian rice dish. As soon as I read the exacting directions, I would turn the cookbook page and move on. But with a pressure cooker, risotto is a snap to make.

The bonus is that risotto loves to have vegetables stirred into it, particularly green leafy ones, like kale!

Ingredients for kale risotto

For pressure-cooked kale risotto you first sauté onion and garlic in olive oil, then stir in Italian short-grain Arborio rice. After the veggie broth goes in the pot, close the lid and bring to pressure for only 4 minutes!

You need to release the pressure immediately so the rice doesn’t get overcooked. As soon as you can open the lid, stir the kale and some sharp aged cheese into the almost-cooked rice, adding more broth to keep the risotto moist and creamy dreamy, but not soupy. It’s done when the rice gives to the bite of your front tooth, tender but still firm, al dente. Ta-da—green and white etherealness!

finished Kale risotto in pressure cooker

Kale Risotto recipe details:

  • Italian short-grain rice is essential for authentic risotto. It’s able to absorb plenty of liquid, yet stay al dente, like pasta. Risotto’s sauce-like consistency comes from the starch in the rice, which dissolves into the liquid as it cooks, and creates risotto’s renowned creaminess.
  • Vegan? Skip the cheese, stir in 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast, and 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice.
  • Many risotto cooks, myself included, stir in white wine as the first liquid, before adding the broth. If you don’t have or want the wine, just use all veggie broth.

Bowl of pressure cooked Kale Risotto

  • Did you know that busy modern Italian cooks use pressure cookers all the time?
  • Pressure cookers as cooking equipment hold an important place in our kitchen. Here on the blog you can learn how to pressure cook dried beans from scratch, with texture and flavor no canned bean can ever imagine. This post tells how to pressure cook black beans. And another explains how to cook garbanzo beans from scratch in a pressure cooker.
  • You’ll find all flavors and colors of soup recipes here on this blog, almost all cooked in a pressure cooker! Like this easy spicy zucchini and rice soup.
  • And oh my nourishing risottos!!! This recipe for Spinach and Goat Cheese Risotto tells more about stove-top pressure cookers, especially the safer new generation ones. And there’s my Risotto with Bok Choy.
  • If you’re in the market for a pressure cooker—there are many choices. I have an Instant Pot as well as 2 stove-top pressure cookers, my beloved Swiss-made Kuhn-Rikon and an Italian model I bought when I was about 25 years old.
  • If I didn’t have a pressure cooker, when my soul craves creamy risotto, I might even consider standing over the stove, slowly adding liquid, patiently stirring the rice and liquid into soothing creaminess. The method is easy, it just takes time. But why, when you have a pressure cooker! (You’ll find directions for traditional risotto below.)

Here’s how to make kale risotto without a pressure cooker or Instant Pot:

  • You’ll need more veggie broth—about 5 to 5 ½ cups; keep it simmering hot in a separate pot. Sauté the aromatics in a saucepan with the oil, then add the rice, stirring until coated with oil and slightly translucent, just as you would when pressure cooking. Add the liquid ½ cup at a time, stirring constantly, adding more when each addition is just about absorbed. Add and stir and add more liquid, until the rice is almost tender, 20-35 minutes.
  • Stir the kale and herbs, and cheese, if using. Continue to cook, adding more broth, ¼ cup at a time, until the kale wilts and the rice is tender but still firm, and bound with a creamy sauce.

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5 from 2 votes
Kale Risotto made in the Instant Pot pressure cooker
Creamy Pressure Cooker Kale Risotto
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
10 mins

This green and white kale risotto--creamy delicious and nutritious--comes together so fast you will find yourself making it once a week. Have fun swapping out the kale for other greens too. Makes about 6 servings.

Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Vegan Friendly, Vegetarian
Servings: 6 servings.
  • 2 tablespoons olive or avocado oil
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 2 cloves garlic , minced
  • 1 ½ cups Arborio rice
  • ½ cup white wine or vegetable vegetable broth
  • 3 ½ cups vegetable broth
  • 1 bunch kale , stems removed and chopped in 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons chopped basil or cilantro , optional
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese , optional
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice or rice wine vinegar
  1. Heat the oil in a pressure cooker. Over medium heat, cook and stir the onions and garlic, for about 5 minutes, until the onions are translucent. Add the rice, and continue to stir to coat the grains. If using the wine, add and stir for about a minute. Add the vegetable broth.

  2. Lock the lid in place. Over high heat, bring to high pressure. Lower the heat just enough to maintain high pressure and cook for four minutes. Quick release the pressure immediately, following the directions for your pressure cooker. When the pressure indicator has dropped, carefully remove the lid.

  3. Return to the heat and stir in the kale and chopped herbs, if using. Cook and stir constantly until the kale has wilted and cooked, about 5 minutes. If the risotto seems dry (not creamy) add more vegetable broth, continuing to stir. Stir in the cheese, if using, and the red pepper flakes. Taste, add salt as needed. Brighten the flavors with a splash of lemon juice or rice wine vinegar.

Recipe Notes
  • Lacinato kale, aka Tuscan kale, dinosaur kale, black kale or cavalo nero, with its flat, dark, almost blue-green leaves, is my first kale choice. (I once read a nutrition article--where I don’t remember—that said Lacinato kale is richer in cancer-preventing antioxidants than its curlier cultivar varietals.)
  • To make risotto without a pressure cooker, have 5 to 5 ½ cups of hot broth ready in a separate pot. Proceed as you would for the pressure cooker, except add the broth ½ cup at a time, stirring constantly at a low simmer, until the rice is almost tender, 20-25 minutes. Add the kale and other seasoning as you would for pressure cooked risotto.


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