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Who knew peas and rice could be so fancy?! Learn how to make a super delicious creamy pea risotto at home with this easy recipe! Includes step-by-step instructions for both stovetop and the Instant Pot (pressure cooker).

Pea risotto in a white bowl with lemon slices, peas and mint scattered around it.

4 Reasons To Love This Recipe

  • The perfect spring risotto recipe! This creamy lemon and pea risotto features spring flavors but thanks to frozen peas you can also make it year round!
  • Can be served as a main course or a side dish! Serve it on its own as a delicious vegetarian main dish or serve it as a versatile side that pairs well with everything from seafood to chicken and pork.
  • Choose from two cooking methods! Pick the one you prefer depending on if you want a hands on or a “no-stir” experience.
  • Simple yet also elegant! Easy enough to make for a weeknight meal but also a beautiful dish to serve when entertaining.
Creamy pea risotto in a white bowl.

Ingredient Notes

You will need the following ingredients to make this spring pea risotto recipe:

Labelled photo of ingredients needed to make pea risotto.
  • Carnaroli or Arborio Rice: Risotto needs to be made with risotto rice. It has a higher starch content which creates the creamy texture in finished risotto. The most easy-to-find variety in grocery stores is Arborio. Carnaroli is a little more difficult to find but I highly recommend grabbing it if you see it. It is considered the “king” of risotto rice and has a higher starch content and firmer texture than Arborio, resulting in a creamier risotto that is much more difficult to overcook.
  • Peas: I typically use frozen peas since they are available year-round, frozen at the peak of ripeness and don’t require any prep time (simply let them thaw). You can also use fresh peas but will need to blanch or steam them first before adding to the risotto.
  • Olive Oil and Butter: The combination adds great flavor and is needed to sauté the aromatics.
  • Shallot and Garlic: Adds a delicious base of flavor.
  • Saffron: A pinch of saffron threads adds a nice golden color and subtle flavor.
  • White Wine: Choose a dry white wine (nothing sweet). Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay work well. It doesn’t need to be pricey but choose something decent enough to drink (I usually enjoy a glass of the remaining wine with my risotto later). You could also substitute water or additional broth for the wine.
  • Broth or Stock: Use a good quality vegetable broth to keep the dish vegetarian or you could also use chicken stock.
  • White Cheddar: Freshly grated – pairs so well with the peas.
  • Mascarpone, Boursin or Cream Cheese: Adding one of these makes the risotto extra creamy and rich, taking it to the next level!
  • Lemon: Zest and juice of half a lemon. Or to taste!
  • Salt and Pepper: I like to use sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. I sometimes also like to season with Herbamare or my homemade bouillon powder.
  • Mint or Dill: Finely chopped fresh mint or dill adds a pop of fresh flavor and balance.

Detailed ingredient list and directions located in the recipe card below.

How To Make Pea Risotto

Let’s make some creamy pea risotto! We’ll walk through both the easy Instant Pot method and the traditional stovetop method.

Instant Pot (Pressure Cooker) Method

No constant stirring required with this easy Instant Pot Pea Risotto! The Instant Pot does all the work and results in a creamy delicious risotto, leaving you time to make other things like tossing together a salad. I use the 6-Quart Instant Pot Duo (you can also use a different electric pressure cooker brand too).

Numbered photo collage showing how to make pea risotto in the Instant Pot.
  1. Sauté shallot and garlic: Set the Instant Pot to “Sauté” mode and melt the butter and extra virgin olive oil. Add the shallot and garlic and sauté until softened.
  2. Add rice and wine: Stir in the rice and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the wine and cook until it has absorbed, while stirring to scrape up any browned bits at the bottom of the pot.
  3. Add broth and saffron: Press the cancel button and pour in the broth. Crumble the saffron threads between your fingers into the broth. Stir to combine.
  4. Pressure cook: Secure the lid with the pressure valve in the “Sealing” position. Set to pressure cook for 5 minutes (high pressure), followed by a quick release.
  5. Stir through remaining ingredients: Remove the lid and stir the risotto to combine. (There will be some liquid sitting on top – this is normal!) Stir through the peas, cheddar, mascarpone (or cream cheese), lemon zest and juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir through chopped mint or dill.
  6. Garnish and serve: Plate it up and scatter over some garnish to make it pretty – enjoy! Some garnish ideas include: lemon zest, fresh herbs like mint, dill or chives, shaved or crumbled white cheddar, pea shoots, microgreens, etc.

Note: After removing the Instant Pot lid, you’ll notice that there is still some liquid sitting at the top. This is totally fine! Simply give it a stir to incorporate. Once the remaining ingredients have been added in and sits for a minute, it will thicken up into a beautiful, creamy risotto!

New to the Instant Pot? Check out these Instant Pot Tips For Beginners.

Stovetop Method

Yes, the stovetop method is definitely more hands on but it can also be a very soothing process. So turn on your favorite tunes, perhaps pour a glass of wine and enjoy the process!

Numbered photo collage  showing how to make creamy pea risotto on the stovetop.
  1. Warm broth: Pour the broth into a saucepan and crumble the saffron threads between your fingers into the broth. Warm up over low heat.
  2. Sauté shallot and garlic: Melt the butter and olive oil in a large sauté pan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the shallot and garlic and sauté for 2-3 minutes until softened.
  3. Add rice and wine: Stir in the rice and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the wine and cook while stirring until it has been absorbed.
  4. Add broth gradually: Add a ladle (about 1/2 cup) of the warm broth and cook, stirring until the liquid is almost completely absorbed. Continue to add a ladleful or two at a time, allowing each addition to be mostly absorbed before adding the next (don’t let it get too dry or it can stick and burn). Adjust the heat as necessary during the process to keep a steady simmer. You don’t have to stir continuously but stir often to help release the starches in the rice which makes the risotto creamy. Repeat until the rice is al dente or your desired doneness and creamy in texture (you might not use all of the broth). This process can take around 20-25 minutes depending on your desired doneness.
  5. Stir through remaining ingredients: Turn off the heat and stir in the peas, white cheddar, and mascarpone (or cream cheese) until combined and peas are heated through. Add the lemon juice and zest and season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir through chopped mint or dill.
  6. Garnish and enjoy: Top with some garnish if you like (e.g. pea shoots, lemon zest, fresh herbs, shaved or crumbled white cheddar), dig in and enjoy!

Note: You may not need all the broth. Store extras in the fridge to use when reheating any leftovers to loosen it back up.

Lemon and pea risotto in a white bowl with spoon.

Variations

  • Add in asparagus: Turn it into a full on spring risotto by also adding in some chopped up cooked asparagus.
  • Swap the white cheddar: You could also use freshly grated parmesan or another hard cheese.
  • Mix ins: Feel free to mix through additional flavorful ingredients like chopped preserved lemons, pesto, etc.
  • Swap the white wine: Using wine to deglaze the pan adds a layer of flavor to risotto but you can easily swap it for water or additional broth if you prefer not to cook with wine.
  • Garnish it: I mention a number of optional garnish ideas in the recipe (pea shoots, lemon zest, fresh herbs, shaved or crumbled white cheddar) but there are a ton more options so feel free to play! If you don’t need to keep it vegetarian, crispy prosciutto or bacon is also nice scattered on top.
White bowl of pea risotto on a white surface with lemon slices, peas, mint and parmesan shavings scattered around.

What To Serve With Pea Risotto

Serve this risotto on its own as a vegetarian main dish along with a simple green salad or one of these salad recipes on the side. Or top it with shrimp, scallops, salmon (or other fish), chicken breast or pork tenderloin. It can also be served as a side dish with any protein you like.

Storage & Reheating

  • Storing Leftovers: Risotto is best served immediately but leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 to 4 days. I don’t recommend freezing risotto since it changes the texture and just isn’t the same.
  • To Reheat: Reheat risotto in a saucepan over medium-low heat with a little extra stock to loosen it back up, stirring until it’s warm and creamy again.
Pea risotto being stirred with a wooden spoon.

FAQ

Can I use any type of rice for risotto?

No – the type of rice is important! You need to use risotto rice like Arborio or Carnaroli which has a higher starch content or the risotto will not have the right texture and creaminess.

Can the wine be substituted?

Absolutely! Risotto recipes typically use some white wine to deglaze and add another layer of flavor. However, it can be substituted with some additional stock or even just some water.

Should you rinse risotto rice?

No! Don’t rinse it since you want those starches on the risotto rice so that your finished risotto is nice and creamy.

Why is my risotto still hard?

Similar to pasta, you want to cook the rice until it’s al dente. If the rice is still too hard, it simply needs more time to cook. Add a little more broth and continue cooking a few more minutes.

Does risotto need to stirred constantly?

You don’t have to stir constantly but make sure to stir frequently to help release the starches in the rice which makes the risotto creamy. For a hands off approach, the Instant Pot method eliminates the majority of stirring that is encountered on the stovetop.

Pea risotto in a white bowl garnished with lemon slices.

More Recipes With Risotto Rice

Looking for something else to make with that risotto rice (e.g. Arborio, Carnaroli)? Try these recipes!

Did you make this pea risotto recipe? I would love to hear about it! Leave me a comment below.

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Creamy Pea Risotto

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 12 reviews
  • Author: Vanessa Gilic
  • Prep Time: 15 min
  • Cook Time: 20 min
  • Total Time: 35 min
  • Yield: 4 servings (as a main)
  • Category: Main Dish, Side Dish
  • Method: Instant Pot, Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian Inspired
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

Learn how to make a super delicious creamy pea risotto at home with this easy recipe! Includes step-by-step instructions for both stovetop and the Instant Pot (pressure cooker).


Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 ½ cups Carnaroli rice or Arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 3 cups vegetable broth for Instant Pot Method or 6 cups vegetable broth for Stovetop Method
  • pinch of saffron threads
  • 2 cups frozen peas, thawed (or fresh, see notes)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated white cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup mascarpone, cream cheese or Boursin
  • 1/2 lemon, zest and juice (or to taste)
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint or dill
  • Optional garnish: lemon zest, fresh herbs (mint, dill or chives), shaved or crumbled white cheddar, pea shoots or microgreens

Instructions

Instant Pot Method

  1. Sauté shallot and garlic: Set the Instant Pot to “Sauté” mode and melt the butter and extra virgin olive oil.  Add the shallot and garlic and sauté until softened.
  2. Add rice: Stir in the rice and cook for 1-2 minutes.
  3. Add wine: Add the wine and cook until it has absorbed, while stirring to scrape up any browned bits at the bottom of the pot.
  4. Add broth and saffron: Press the cancel button and pour in the broth. Crumble the saffron threads between your fingers into the broth.  Stir to combine.
  5. Pressure cook: Secure the lid with the pressure valve in the “Sealing” position.  Set to pressure cook for 5 minutes (high pressure), followed by a quick release.
  6. Stir through remaining ingredients: Remove the lid and stir the risotto to combine.   Stir through the peas, cheddar, mascarpone (or Boursin or cream cheese), lemon zest and juice.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Stir through chopped mint or dill. (Note: There will be liquid sitting on top when you open the Instant Pot – this is normal! Simply give it a stir to incorporate. It will thicken up into a beautiful, creamy risotto once the remaining ingredients are added and it has a chance to sit for a minute.)
  7. Garnish and serve: Scatter over some of the optional garnish ideas and enjoy!

Stovetop Method

  1. Warm broth: Pour the broth into a saucepan and crumble the saffron threads between your fingers into the broth.  Warm up over low heat.
  2. Sauté shallot and garlic: Melt the butter and olive oil in a large sauté pan or Dutch oven over medium heat.  Add the shallot and garlic and sauté for 2-3 minutes until softened.
  3. Add rice: Stir in the rice and cook for 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add wine: Add the wine and cook while stirring until it has been absorbed.
  5. Add broth gradually: Add a ladle (about 1/2 cup) of the warm broth and cook, stirring until the liquid is almost completely absorbed. Continue to add a ladleful or two at a time, allowing each addition to be mostly absorbed before adding the next (don’t let it get too dry or it can stick and burn). Adjust the heat as necessary during the process to keep a steady simmer. You don’t have to stir continuously but stir often to help release the starches in the rice which makes the risotto creamy. Repeat until the rice is al dente or your desired doneness and creamy in texture (you might not use all of the broth). This process can take around 20-25 minutes depending on your desired doneness.
  6. Stir through remaining ingredients: Turn off the heat and stir in the peas, white cheddar, and mascarpone (or Boursin or cream cheese) until combined and peas are heated through. Add the lemon juice and zest and season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir through chopped mint or dill.
  7. Garnish and serve: Add some garnish if you like and serve!

Notes

  • Peas: I like to use frozen peas since they are available year-round, frozen at the peak of ripeness and don’t require any prep time (simply let them thaw). You can also use fresh peas but will need to blanch or steam them first before adding to the risotto.
  • Use risotto rice: It has a higher starch content which creates the creamy texture in finished risotto.  Two common varieties are Arborio and Carnaroli.  Arborio is easily found in most grocery stores. Carnaroli is a little more difficult to find but I highly recommend grabbing it if you see it. It is considered the “king” of risotto rice and has a higher starch content and firmer texture than Arborio, resulting in a creamier risotto that is much more difficult to overcook.  DO NOT rinse the rice – you want the starches for a nice and creamy risotto.
  • Seasoning: The amount of salt and pepper needed will vary depending on personal taste and if your vegetable broth is seasoned or not. Sometimes I also like to season with Herbamare or my homemade bouillon powder.
  • Instant Pot: For the Instant Pot method, I use the 6-Quart Instant Pot Duo.  If you are new to the Instant Pot or confused by the terminology, check out these 10 Instant Pot Tips For Beginners.

About Vanessa Gilic

I want to help you make delicious food using real ingredients! Explore a variety of easy to follow, real-food recipes ranging from healthy eats to comfort food. Welcome to Maple + Mango – I'm so happy you're here!

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18 Comments

  1. Fouzia Husainy says:

    Sounds like a hearty, comforting and flavourful dish. And so easy to make in the instant pot. Thanks for sharing.






  2. Asha says:

    The pea risotto made a very quick and delicious side dish. I will be making this again.