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Spicy Instant Pot Chard and Pinto Bean Risotto

Under pressure, short fat Arborio rice kernels transform into delectably creamy risotto–in just 4 minutes. By adding green chiles, spicy pepper cheese, and crunchy pumpkin seeds, the Italian rice dish takes a Southwestern turn—into spicy Instant Pot chard and pinto bean risotto.

Spicy Instant Pot Chard and Pinto Bean Risotto in a bowl ready to eat| Letty's Kitchen

Click here to PIN Spicy Instant Pot Chard and Pinto Bean Risotto!

Did you know that many modern Italian cooks prepare their risotto in a pressure cooker? It makes sense: My trusty old stovetop pressure cooker is Italian-made, and, world-wide, for one reason or another, many families have two working adults. If home-cooked healthy food is important, so are timesavers like pressure cookers.

Risotto is a culinary canvas—paint it however you like. Start with this spicy Instant Pot chard and pinto bean risotto recipe, then sub in different greens or beans, like I did in other risotto recipes here on the blog– bok choy risotto and kale risotto. You could change out the cheese and stir in another variety of cheese, goat cheese, for example. Parmesan is the traditional risotto cheese–always a good choice.

Finished risotto should be creamy, almost a thick soupy cream. To get there, set a 1/2 cup of the vegetable broth aside, cook the rice under pressure, and then, after a quick release of pressure, stir the remining broth, along with the beans and greens. While the beans heat through and the greens wilt, the starchy rice makes its own creamy sauce.

overhead Spicy Instant Pot Chard and Pinto Bean Risotto with side bowl of pumpkin seeds

Tips for how to make pressure cooker risotto:

  • Once you’ve sautéed the aromatics and the rice kernels, add the liquid all at once. Close the lid, and set the timer.
  • The Instant Pot takes about 10 minutes to come to pressure. To quick release the Instant Pot, use a towel when you turn the dial from Sealing to Venting and then cover the vent with the towel so it doesn’t make a wild spray towards whatever is above the Instant Pot, like you or the ceiling!
  • A stovetop pressure cooker takes about 5 minutes to come to pressure, and a minute under cold water for the pressure to quick release at the end.
  • Always taste your risotto before you call it done. If your risotto needs a flavor bump, stir in a teaspoon of cider vinegar or lemon juice, particularly if you keep your risotto vegan and don’t add cheese.

***** Here’s how to cook pinto beans from scratch–in 15 minutes in the pressure cooker!

Rainbow chard for Spicy Instant Pot Chard and Pinto Bean Risotto

No pressure cooker? It’s really not that hard to make risotto the traditional method, it just takes more time at the stove.

How to make spicy chard and pinto bean risotto without a pressure cooker:

  • You’ll need more veggie broth (affiliate link),about 5 to 5 ½ cups. Keep the broth in a separate pot, on a very low simmer. 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 broth, ½ cup at a time, stirring constantly, adding more when each addition is just about absorbed. Repeat until the rice is almost tender, 20-35 minutes.
  • Stir in the pintos, green chiles, and chard. Continue to cook, adding more broth, ¼ cup at a time, until the chard wilts and the rice is tender but still firm, and bound with a creamy sauce. Just before serving, stir in the cheese.

**** For a vegan chard and pinto bean risotto, leave out the cheese and add the red pepper flakes.

Quick and infinitely adaptable, just by changing out ingredients and seasonings, risotto is one of my favorite dishes to make in an Instant Pot or stovetop pressure cooker. This recipe first appeared on Pressure Cooking Today where I’m a contributor.

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Nutrition Facts
Spicy Instant Pot Chard and Pinto Bean Risotto
Amount Per Serving
Calories 276 Calories from Fat 45
% Daily Value*
Fat 5g8%
Sodium 156mg7%
Potassium 269mg8%
Carbohydrates 50g17%
Fiber 4g17%
Sugar 2g2%
Protein 6g12%
Vitamin A 505IU10%
Vitamin C 6.1mg7%
Calcium 38mg4%
Iron 3.2mg18%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


  • Love this one! Reply · 20 March, 2017

    • Is that because you are a Southwestern gal? Reply · 20 March, 2017

  • Adri

    Made this dish this evening and I loved it! I made some modifications including adding 1/2 tsp each of cumin and garlic powder. It was super delish! Reply · 28 June, 2017

    • Thanks Adri. Love that you added the extra spice! Reply · 29 June, 2017

  • Kathleen

    I’m new to insta pot. I had all the ingredients in my pantry so I thought I’d give it a try. YUM! I used jalapeno peppers instead of the mild chiles and everyone loved the ‘kick’. Reply · 20 August, 2018

  • Kathleen

    New to Insta Pot and this was SO good. Creamy with no cream in it! I used jalapeno peppers instead of the mild chiles. I had all the ingredients in my pantry. Everyone loved it. Cumin and garlic added is a great idea. My beans already had them in the can. Not clear on the directions: “Return to heat”. So i put it all in my pan and reheated that way. What was I supposed to do? Reply · 20 August, 2018

    • Thanks Kathleen. You did it right. When you release the pressure that turns off the heat. When you add the beans and greens to the pot, you could turn the Instant Pot back to Saute low and cook to wilt the chard. I fixed the recipe to clarify–thanks for letting me know! Reply · 20 August, 2018

  • Julia Frost

    Very good, and easy! I drained a 4 oz can of diced green chilies and used all of it. I used the pepper jack cheese, and really liked it. I will definitely make it again. Reply · 17 October, 2019

    • Thank you Julia. I’m glad you enjoy the Chard and Pinto Bean Risotto! Reply · 18 October, 2019

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