This creamy, dreamy Butternut Squash Risotto is LIFE CHANGING! It’s the perfect fall meal, or a delicious side dish for a holiday dinner. 

Butternut squash risotto in bowl with wooden spoon

I love risotto! It’s creamy, comforting Italian food and can be made with a variety of ingredients and flavors.

This Instant Pot Mushroom Risotto is one of the best things you’ll ever make in your Instant Pot! And this Cilantro Lime Pesto Risotto is such a fun fusion of Mexican and Italian cuisines.

For this Butternut Squash Risotto, I took a page out of my Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese recipe and created this creamy, dreamy risotto recipe. It’s the perfect vegetarian and gluten free entree for the fall and winter months. It also makes an amazing side dish for holiday dinners!

Speaking of holiday dinners, it’s the last day of “Thanksgiving Week” on the blog. It’s been a week filled with juicy turkeys, slow cooker sides and now this show-stopping risotto recipe. Let’s check out the other dishes from this week:

Now that’s one Thanksgiving menu that is sure to impress all of your friends and family. Flavorful sides, paired with the most juicy, tender turkey breast, this is truly a Thanksgiving meal to remember!

Overhead image of butternut squash risotto in bowl with spoon

How to make Butternut Squash Risotto

  • Prepare the pureed butternut squash.

    • Add peeled and cubed butternut squash to a large pot on the stove with vegetable broth, milk and garlic cloves.
    • Turn the heat on the stove to high and bring to a boil.
    • Reduce heat to medium and cook until the squash is tender, this should take approximately 20 minutes.
    • Add nutmeg, salt and pepper to the pot.
    • Pour the entire pot, squash and liquid, into a blender or food processor and puree.
    • Set aside.
      • Quick tip! This step can be done 1-2 days ahead of time and the pureed squash can be stored in the refrigerator until you’re ready to make the risotto.
  • Prepare the risotto.

    • Bring 8 cups of vegetable broth to a boil in a large saucepan on the stove over high heat.
      • Quick Tip! Chicken broth or chicken stock can be used instead of vegetable broth. I simply use vegetable broth to make this recipe vegetarian.
    • Add butter to a large skillet on another burner on the stove over medium heat.
    • Once the butter has melted, add diced onions to the skillet and saute for 3-5 minutes.
    • Add minced garlic to the skillet and saute for 1-2 minutes.
    • Add arborio rice to the skillet and toast the rice for 2-3 minutes.
      • Quick tip! Unlike some other rice dishes, for this recipe, you do not want to rinse the arborio rice before making the dish. This rinses off some of the starch which helps make the risotto so creamy!
    • Begin adding the boiling vegetable broth to the skillet of rice 1 cup at a time.
    • Once the first cup of broth is absorbed into the rice, add the next cup and stir the risotto.
    • Continue this process until all of the broth has been absorbed and the risotto is nice and creamy.
    • Stir grated parmesan cheese into the risotto.
    • Add the pureed butternut squash to the risotto and stir to combine.
      • Note: It will look like there’s too much pureed squash at first, but don’t worry, it will absorb into the risotto and that’s what makes this recipe so creamy and dreamy!
    • Reduce the heat on the stove to low and simmer 5-10 minutes, or until the pureed squash has been absorbed into the risotto.

How long does it take to make Butternut Squash Risotto?

The pureed butternut squash can be made ahead of time or at the same time as the risotto. If you multitask and cook the butternut squash at the same time as the risotto, this recipe can be made, start to finish in 40 minutes.

Can you make this risotto in an Instant Pot?

Yes! Well, kind of. You can make the risotto in an Instant Pot, but will still need to make the pureed butternut squash on the stove.

To make the risotto in the Instant pot, turn on the saute function, then add the butter to the Instant Pot. Once the butter has melted, add the onion and garlic, saute for 4 minutes. Add the arborio rice and toast for 2-3 minutes.

Hit the keep warm/cancel button on the pressure cooker. Add JUST 3 CUPS of vegetable broth to the Instant Pot vs. the 8 cups used to make the risotto on the stovetop.
Place the lid on the pressure cooker and make sure the steam release is set to “sealing”. Press the “manual” button and set the pressure cooker to high pressure, then use the +/- buttons to set the pressure cooker to 6 minutes.

When the cooking time is up, wait 10 minutes, then release any remaining pressure before unlocking the lid.Remove the lid and stir in the parmesan cheese and pureed butternut squash.

Can I make this recipe ahead of time?

As I mentioned above, the pureed butternut squash can be made 1-2 days ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator. I do not recommend making the risotto ahead of time as it’s wonderful creaminess is at it’s peak right after it’s made.

I tried transferring the risotto to a slow cooker set to warm to serve the risotto later at a dinner party and unfortunately the consistency just didn’t hold up. So plan to save this risotto as the last thing you make, especially if serving it as a side dish at a holiday meal, such as Thanksgiving.

Fresh off the stove, it’s like biting into creamy butternut squash heaven!

Is risotto gluten free?

Yes, risotto is made with arborio rice which is naturally gluten free. All of the other ingredients in this recipe are also gluten free. Always be sure to check the vegetable broth just to make sure, but almost all broths are gluten free.

What wine should you pair with butternut squash risotto?

White wine pairs perfectly with this risotto, especially a fuller bodied white. I would recommend a Chardonnay or Pinot Gris, which pairs well with both butternut squash and risotto.

If choosing a red wine, I would recommend a California Pinot Noir and not just because I’m from California! This slightly earthy red wine pairs wonderfully with butternut squash and risotto.

Risotto with butternut squash puree in bowl with spoon

What to serve with Butternut Squash Risotto

I serve this Butternut Squash Risotto as often as possible because it’s one of my all time favorite recipes and everyone loves it! It can definitely be served as a meal or as a side dish.

I have some main dish recommendations below, if serving this risotto as a side dish. I also have some side dish recommendations, if serving this risotto as a main dish.

Butternut squash risotto in bowl with wooden spoon
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Butternut Squash Risotto

Rich & creamy butternut squash risotto is the perfect gluten free & vegetarian fall & winter entree, or a delicious side dish for a holiday dinner.

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups butternut squash, peeled & cubed
  • 8 ½ cups vegetable broth, divided
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 4 garlic cloves, divided
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 cup onion, diced
  • 1 ½ cups arborio rice
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • ½ tsp salt

Instructions

  • Add the butternut squash, ½ cup vegetable broth, milk and 2 cloves peeled garlic to a large pot over high heat and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to medium and cook until the squash is fork tender, app. 20 minutes.
  • In the meantime, bring the additional 8 cups of vegetable broth to a boil in a large pot.
  • In a separate large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter.
  • Once the butter is melted, add the diced onion, saute 3-5 minutes, then add the remaining 2 cloves of garlic, minced, saute 1-2 minutes then add the rice.
  • Toast the rice in the skillet for 2-3 minutes, then begin adding the boiling vegetable broth to the rice 1 cup at a time.
  • Once the first cup of broth is absorbed into the rice, add the next cup and stir the risotto.
  • Continue this process until all of the broth has been absorbed and the risotto is nice and creamy.
  • Stir the parmesan cheese into the risotto.
  • At this point the butternut squash should be finished cooking.
  • Add the nutmeg, salt and pepper to the squash with the milk, vegetable broth and garlic, pour all of the above into a blender or food processor and puree.
  • Add the pureed squash to the risotto and stir to combine.
  • Reduce the heat on the stove to low and simmer 5-10 minutes, or until the pureed squash has been absorbed into the risotto.
  • Serve immediately.

Video

Notes

  • Make ahead: The butternut squash puree can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for 1-2 days. I do not recommend making the risotto ahead of time, as it will not keep the same consistency.
  • Broth: I use vegetable broth to make this recipe vegetarian, but chicken broth or stock can be used in its place.
  • Rice: It is important to use arborio rice in this dish to get the desired texture. Do not rinse the rice ahead of time, this will rinse off some of the starch that helps make the risotto so creamy!
  • Instant Pot: refer to the post above for instructions on how to make the risotto in an instant pot.

Nutrition Facts

Serving 4gCalories 467kcal (23%)Carbohydrates 80g (27%)Protein 12g (24%)Fat 11g (17%)Saturated Fat 7g (35%)Cholesterol 28mg (9%)Sodium 2563mg (107%)Potassium 384mg (11%)Fiber 4g (16%)Sugar 10g (11%)Vitamin A 6991mg (140%)Vitamin C 15mg (18%)Calcium 240mg (24%)Iron 4mg (22%)
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