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Butternut Squash Risotto Instant Pot Recipe (Thanksgiving)

Festive Butternut Squash Risotto (Instant Pot, With Cranberries & Pecans)

  • Author: Instant Pot Eats
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 17 minutes
  • Total Time: 37 minutes
  • Yield: 6-8 1x
  • Category: Main
  • Method: Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: Thanksgiving
  • Diet: Gluten Free


Whether you want a different side dish for Thanksgiving or Christmas, or you’re after a slightly festive main that’s vegetarian and gluten-free friendly, this Instant Pot butternut squash risotto with dried cranberries and pecans ticks a lot of the boxes. Plus, it’s super easy, delicious and looks great! Vegan options included.



To cook

2 tablespoons butter or olive oil

1 onion, finely diced

1 carrot, diced

1 celery rib, diced

½ teaspoon salt 

2 cups, diced butternut squash, Kabocha squash or another sweet winter squash

5 cloves garlic, finely diced or minced

½ teaspoon cinnamon powder

½ teaspoon black pepper 

1 teaspoon dried rosemary or thyme (whatever is available) 

1/4 cup dried cranberries, chopped  

2 cups Arborio rice

4 cups vegetable stock 

To finish:

1 tablespoon butter or dairy-free alternative 

½ cup grated Parmesan cheese or 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast for vegan-version 

2 tablespoons lemon juice 

To serve: 

⅓ cup dried cranberries, chopped

½ cup pecans, chopped

Rosemary needles, sage or thyme and extra shaved Parmesan


  • Turn the Instant Pot on and press the  Sauté function. Once hot, add the olive oil,  onions, carrot, celery, and salt and cook for 2-3 minutes to soften.
  • Add the rest of the cooking risotto ingredients and stir through. Press Keep Warm/Cancel to stop the Sauté function. 
  • Pop the lid on top, close and set to Pressure Cook/Manual for 5 minutes. After 3 beeps, the Instant Pot will start to build up the pressure. Once cooking finishes, let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes and then use the quick release (QR). Please note, don’t let the pressure release naturally for more than 5-7 minutes as the risotto keeps cooking during this time and might lose some of its texture.
  • While the risotto is cooking, prepare the finishing and serving ingredients. 
  • Open the Instant Pot and stir the butter, Parmesan cheese and lemon juice into the risotto. Taste for salt and pepper. 
  • Serve with extra cranberries and chopped pecans on top. Garnish with extra Parmesan and some herbs like rosemary, thyme or sage.


This risotto can be made with any sweet pumpkin or winter squash. Pecans can be omitted or swapped for other nuts or seeds.


  • Serving Size: 1 cup with toppings
  • Calories: 331
  • Sugar: 17.2 g
  • Sodium: 693.4 mg
  • Fat: 15.4 g
  • Saturated Fat: 3.7 g
  • Carbohydrates: 46 g
  • Fiber: 3.8 g
  • Protein: 5.9 g
  • Cholesterol: 9.9 mg

Keywords: Arborio rice, rice, main, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Festive, vegetarian