Crock Pot Tomato and Spinach Risotto (Now With Instant Pot Instructions)

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One of my favorite side dishes is risotto. It’s a creamy rice dish that tastes amazing, but it’s the high maintenance cousin to rice. To make it, you have to stir while slowly adding in the broth, stir, broth, repeat. It’s definitely not meant for multi-tasking evenings but I’ve tried a couple like Saffron Risotto and Mushroom Spinach Risotto.

Work has been crazy busy this week, and I was sitting at my desk when The Kid texted that she wanted risotto. Yeah, no time for an evening of stirring. I started to wonder if something like that would be possible in the crock pot. The cooking time could be extended and it seemed like it could break down the rice and give that creamy texture.

I figured it was just rice and I’m willing to eat pretty much anything, so it was worth an experiment to see. Well let me tell you… it.freaking.worked! I was just as shocked at you. I even made it using brown rice instead of the standard arborio rice, and it worked. It got the thumbs up from The Kid who couldn’t wait. As soon as she got home, she grabbed a spoon and said “Oh, that stuff is good!”

Make sure you read my notes afterwards for my approach, and also for instructions on making it in your Instant Pot. I rounded out dinner by stirring in browned ground beef crumbles and a side of steamed broccoli. This would also be good with ground turkey or grilled chicken, maybe even a sprinkle of parmesan cheese on top.

It seems like crock pots and pressure cookers are those gadgets that I never really use, but when I do I wonder why I don’t get it out more. Enjoy!

Crock Pot Tomato and Spinach Risotto Slow Cooker Brown Rice Risotto

  • 3 1/2 cups vegetable OR chicken broth
  • 1 Tbsp (14g) butter (I used dairy free spread)
  • 1/2 cup (76g) yellow onion, diced
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 cup (172g) uncooked brown rice
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped (about 3/4 cup, 198g)
  • 1 cup (20g) fresh spinach, torn or chopped
  • 1/4 cup (60g) fat free, low fat or dairy free sour cream (optional)

Place all of the ingredients except the spinach in a crock pot or slow cooker, and stir to combine. Place the lid on and cook on high for approximately 2 1/2 – 3 hours. Turn off the heat and stir in the spinach to slightly wilt it.

Before serving, mix in the sour cream to add creaminess if desired. I tried it both ways and both were good so don’t feel obligated to add the sour cream if you don’t already have any.

Makes 4 servings at approximately 260 calories each – 4g protein, 43g carbs, and 8g fat or 3g protein, 38g carbs, and 5g fat without the sour cream.


  • I have the Ninja 3 in 1 Slow Cooker to give you an idea of the size of my crock pot. It’s 6 quarts and there was a lot of room left after adding the ingredients. I think most crock pots range from 4-8 quarts in size.
  • I used vegetable broth, diary free (Smart Balance) spread and dairy free (Tofutti) sour cream. You can use chicken broth and dairy based versions if you prefer.
  • I cooked the risotto on high and it took about 2 1/2 hours to finish. I checked it around the 90 minute mark and again at 2 hours because I wasn’t sure of the time. You want to stop cooking when the rice is still slightly liquid and not overly dry. Remember, this is risotto and not sticky rice you’re making. 🙂
  • I assume that you could cook this on low setting and take more time. I checked conversion charts and they suggested 5-6 hours on low is the equivalent. Again, I’ve not tried this so I can’t say it works. If you try, please let me know so I can update my post.

Now with Instant Pot Directions:

Turn on the saute feature on your Instant Pot or heat your stove top pressure cooker over medium heat. Add the butter, onions and cook for about 3 minutes until translucent. Add the minced garlic and cook another minute. Add the dry rice and stir to mix the rice into the onion mixture to coat the rice well. Pour in the broth and add the tomatoes.

Give it a quick stir to combine. Place the lid on the pressure cooker and heat to full pressure. Cook for 5 minutes at full pressure. At the 5 minute mark, turn off the Instant Pot or remove the stove top pressure cooker from the heat. Cover the release with a towel and use the quick release feature to completely release the pressure right away. Make sure to avoid the steam and don’t burn yourself. Once the pressure is fully released, carefully open the pot and stir in the spinach to wilt.

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