Saffron risotto is a gorgeous, quick and delicious side dish to make in an Instant Pot! This pressure cooker saffron risotto with almonds and currants is savory, yet slightly sweet. Yellow-orange and aromatic from saffron, with tender bites of nut and fruit, this pressure cooker risotto recipe is comfort food with glamour.
Hi there. I’m Letty from Letty’s Kitchen, the blog about seasonal vegetarian cooking and desserts with a healthier twist. I’m delighted to share this pressure cooker recipe with you.
At our house, risotto with vegetables, like this Bok choy risotto, is a favorite go-to quick dinner—all because of the pressure cooker, the kitchen toy that makes risotto an easy deal.
Making Saffron Risotto in an Instant Pot
I’d never made risotto, that is until I learned how to prepare it in the pressure cooker. No matter how enticing, I’d always avoided risotto recipes because adding the liquid ½ cup at a time, stirring all the while, seemed daunting and time consuming. But pressure cooker saffron risotto in 15 minutes flat? I’m in.
Classic risotto is made with Italian Arborio rice, that, when cooked, has a firm center and a starchy, creamy quality. Saffron-tinged risotto is common in Italian cuisine, but this interpretation has more of an Indian flair, so it’s a great complement for Indian curry dishes. Serve along with rhubarb chutney and cucumber yogurt salad.
Saffron Risotto Recipe Notes:
- For good reason, saffron is the world’s most expensive spice–handpicking and drying the saffron is extremely labor intensive. Approximately 14,000 tiny flower stigmas yield an ounce of the pungent gold, and each flower has only 3 stigmas.
- Switch it up: Make saffron risotto without the milk and honey, and swap in bacon and Parmesan cheese for the almonds and currants. Made with chicken stock, it becomes risotto alla Milanese. Since I follow a vegetarian diet, I just skip the meat and use veggie broth.
- For even more opulence, try pistachios in place of almonds.
- Keep a bottle of powdered vegetable broth on hand and mix it with hot water for quick and easy broth.
- 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 sea salt
- 1 stick cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon honey or sugar
- 1/3 cup coarsely chopped almonds
- 1/3 cup dried zante currants
Dissolve the saffron in the hot milk. Set aside.
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.
Lock the lid in place and cook on high pressure 5 minutes. Quick release the pressure.
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.
Remove the cinnamon stick. Serve immediately.
If you love saffron, you’ll also love Pressure Cooker Saffron Almond Rice Pilaf.