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Saffron Risotto with Almonds and Currants {pressure cooker, vegan}

Dreamy risotto, fragrant with bright yellow saffron spice, saffron risotto with almonds and currants is a delicious slightly exotic side dish. This recipe first appeared on Pressure Cooking Today where I’m a contributor.

Saffron Risotto with Almonds and Currants | Letty's Kitchen

I love classic risotto with its starchy creaminess and tender-firm bite. Yet, I’d always avoided risotto recipes. No matter how enticing, it seemed like too much standing at the stove was involved.

Guess what? Italian Arborio rice cooked in the pressure cooker has the same creamy risotto quality it has when cooked traditionally! No difference. What once seemed so daunting and time-consuming has become my easy and quick way to cook this special rice.
ingredients for Saffron Risotto with Almonds and Currants | Letty's Kitchen

In Italian cuisine, saffron-tinged risotto is fairly common. But this saffron risotto with almonds and currants has an Indian flair, with a hint of sweetness that goes great with Indian curry dishes. Serve with a cooling tangy cucumber yogurt salad, and your favorite chutney for a glamorous yet simple meal.

Saffron is the world’s most expensive spice. Handpicking and drying saffron is extremely labor intensive, and it takes approximately 14,000 tiny flower stigmas to yield an ounce of the pungent gold.

Not to worry–it takes very little saffron to turn classic creamy risotto into this comforting, aromatic, and colorful risotto with almonds and currants. Just say yum and pull out the pressure cooker.

saffron risotto overhead horiz-3627

Saffron Risotto with Almonds and Currants recipe notes:

  • Pressure-cooked risotto with vegetables is one of our favorite weeknight dinners. For example, this recipe for bok choy risotto.
  • Switch it up: Make saffron risotto alla Milanese. This classic Italian dish includes bacon and Parmesan cheese and is usually made with chicken stock, but since I’m vegetarian, I just skip the meat and use veggie broth instead.
  • For quick and easy broth, mix powdered vegetable broth with hot water.
  • You can also make risotto the old-school way, stirring and adding broth ½ cup at a time. But I’m saying, once you’ve used a pressure cooker for risotto, you’ll never go back.
  • I own 2 stovetop pressure cookers and an electric Instant Pot. I’m so happy the Instant Pot has introduced so many cooks to the wonders of pressure cooking!

Make it a fabulous week–get in the kitchen and cook something easy and delicious!

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5 from 1 vote
Saffron Risotto with Almonds and Currants
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
35 mins

This gorgeous side dish is so easy to make in a pressure cooker or Instant Pot. If you don't have either, follow the notes for regular stovetop cooking. Makes about 7 cups of risotto.

Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Gluten-free, Vegetarian
Keyword: risotto, saffron, instant pot, pressure cooker
Servings: 8 servings.
  • ½ teaspoon saffron threads , crushed
  • 2 tablespoons hot milk (dairy-free or dairy)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ cup finely chopped yellow onion
  • 1 ½ cups Arborio rice
  • 3 1/2 cups vegetable broth or water (see note)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon honey or sugar
  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped almonds
  • 1/3 cup dried zante currants
  1. Dissolve the saffron in the hot milk. Set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in pressure cooker pot over medium flame. Stir in the onions and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the rice, stirring to coat with oil. Add the vegetable broth, dissolved saffron and milk, salt, honey, cinnamon stick, almonds and currants.
  3. Lock the lid in place and cook on high pressure 5 minutes. Quick release the pressure.
  4. The rice should be tender but a wee chewy, with a creamy texture, moist but not runny. After releasing the pressure, the risotto will likely be a bit soupy—cook and stir a few minutes, but not too long, so the risotto keeps it creamy texture and sheen.
  5. Remove the cinnamon stick. Serve immediately.
Recipe Notes
  • For quick and easy broth, mix powdered vegetable broth with hot water. If using water, not broth, add ½ teaspoon more salt.
  • No pressure cooker. Follow directions up until sealing the lid on the pressure cooker. Instead, stirring constantly adding the broth ½ cup at a time, always keeping the rise wet. When the rice is creamy and al dente, finish per the recipe. 


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