February – Brown Rice ‘Risotto’ with Mushrooms in the Instant Pot

February – Brown Rice ‘Risotto’ with Mushrooms in the Instant Pot

Can you make a risotto with brown rice? Can you make it in the electric pressure cooker? And, if you do use brown rice and cook it in a pressure cooker, can you call it risotto? Those are all valid questions. I can answer numbers one and two. Yes, you can make a delicious risotto-like dish with brown rice. And yes, you can do it in the electric pressure cooker. As to the question of ‘is it really a risotto’, the answer is more complicated. If to you a risotto is arborio rice, hand-stirred over a hot stove dish with slow additions of broth, the answer is no. But, if you are after a healthy and creamy brown rice dish made hands-off in an electric pressure cooker, the answer is yes. It is risotto-like. I think I can legitimately call it that.

Amazingly I have heard (but not tried) making a risotto with short-grain brown rice in the traditional hand-stirred method. You need to stir at least double the amount of time for the starch to develop. It sounds very tiring; but possible. Let me know if any of you try it.

As I wrote in my previous post, Brown Rice Risotto with Edamame Beans and Spinach, (also made in the pressure cooker) there are several recipes for baked rice out there, even baked brown rice. Ina Garten has an easy baked Parmesan “risotto” method which only requires a few minutes of stirring at the end. Her recipe is similar to America’s Test Kitchen’s baked brown rice. The blog Cookie + Kate combined the two in her recipe for baked brown rice risotto with mushrooms. Hey Nutrition Lady has a recipe for a brown rice risotto made in the InstantPot on her site. This dish is a combination of the recipes above. I wanted to combine the inherent nuttiness of brown rice with mushrooms and some healthy green spinach.

Because there is no evaporation in a pressure cooker, the quantity of stock has to be reduced. For each 1/2 cup of brown rice, 1 cup of stock should be used. And, the quality of the stock is crucial since the flavor is concentrated in the rice. Unsalted homemade chicken or vegetable is the best. I add 1/2 cup of white wine, cooked down until it is mostly evaporated once the onion and garlic are finished sautéing. The wine adds a depth of flavor to the dish when it’s concentrated but would taste harsh if it wasn’t cooked down almost completely. Trust your nose on this one.

For the mushroom ‘risotto’ I used both fresh and dried mushrooms. I presoaked the dried ones in hot water and used the mushroom stock as part of my liquid. It deepened and intensified the overall finished mushroom flavor.

You could easily convert this to a vegan version by using olive oil and a good quality or homemade vegetable stock.

I have bolded short-grain brown rice because I think it’s important. I am not sure this would work with basmati or another long-grain rice. Short grain is higher in starch.

Brown Rice ‘Risotto’


6 small side dishes, 2-3 main

  • 1/2 cup of dried mushrooms, I used porcini (about 1/2 oz)
  • Boiling water to cover
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil plus 1 tablespoon of butter to saute the onions and garlic
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 chile de Arbol, crumbled
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced or grated
  • 1/2 cup of dry white wine
  • 1- 1/2 cups of short-grain brown rice
  • 3 cups of liquid – mushroom soaking water (strained) plus chicken or vegetable broth

Fresh mushrooms:

  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil or butter to saute the mushrooms
  • 2 cups of fresh mushrooms, trimmed and sliced (about 6 oz)

To Finish:

  • 2 ounces of baby spinach, roughly chopped (or peas, or blanched asparagus tips, or…)
  • 1/2 cup of freshly grated parmesan
  • optional pat of butter stirred in at the end


  1. Place the dried mushrooms in a small bowl and add hot (I used just boiled) water to cover. Leave for at least 20 minutes. Once soft, cut off any hard bits and chop into pieces about 1/2 inch in size.
  2. Using the saute setting, heat the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter.
  3. Add the onion and chile de Arbol. Saute for 5-10 minutes until the onions are turning golden brown then add the garlic and continue cooking for another minute.
  4. Add the rice and stir to combine, toasting the rice for about 1 minute.
  5. Add the wine and stir constantly until is mostly evaporated.
  6. Add the softened and chopped dried mushrooms.
  7. Hit cancel or stop to end the saute setting.
  8. Add the stock and mushroom soaking liquid, stir well, scraping the bottom of the pot to ensure there are no bits stuck to the bottom.
  9. Put on the lid and lock it in place, make sure the vent is set to sealing. Set it at high pressure for 24 minutes.
  10. When the cooking cycle is complete, allow the pressure to release naturally for 15 min, then quickly release.
  11. Remove the lid, add the second tablespoon of butter (if using) and stir for 1 – 2 minutes to create a creamy texture.
  12. Stir in the spinach, sautéed mushrooms, and parmesan.

If you are making this for company it will take about an hour total to cook, but most of it is hands off. You can saute the onion (or shallots) and garlic ahead of time. Same with the fresh mushrooms. Measure out all your ingredients. When you are ready, turn the machine back to saute and proceed with the recipe from step 4. The cooker will take about 15 minutes to reach full pressure once you turn that function on, then 24 minutes at high pressure, 15 minutes to release. It’s simply a matter of stirring and adding the spinach, fresh mushrooms and parmesan (plus an optional pat of butter) at the very end. Make sure you serve it in preheated bowls.

It isn’t a particularly beautiful dish, being mostly brown. The spinach helps. If you have some fried shallots you can sprinkle them on at the end for some textural interest, or some chopped parsley.

Brown Rice 'Risotto'

Brown Rice ‘Risotto’

It’s been ages since I joined the virtual blogging part over at Fiesta Friday hosted by Angie. It’s Fiesta Friday #470 and I think they will enjoy this time saving and healthy dish. Come on over to find posts on decorating, cooking and crafts. And consider adding your own post.