As much of a current Type-A/former teacher’s pet as I am, I love to bend the rules, in my own Type-A way at least. Don’t by deceived by the demure look of this Slow Cooker Risotto with Butternut Squash. It’s more rebellious than you think!

dinner plates of healthy slow cooker risotto made with brown rice and butternut squash

Rules I break on the regular: the speed limit (I set my cruise to 4 mph over. Wild, I know!), samples at the grocery store (the sign usually says “Take One” buuuuuuut), and happy hour (“I can still squeeze my order in at 6:01 p.m., right?).

And the biggest one of all: don’t try a new recipe for the first time the night you are hosting a dinner party.

Unless that recipe is this slow cooker risotto with butternut squash and goat cheese. In which case, rules were made to be broken.

crock pot full of brown rice risotto with butternut squash

How to Break the Rules with Slow Cooker Risotto

Risotto and I have a long history of rule-breaking. The first time I ever made it was for a dinner party (broken rule #1). Firm believer in whole grains that I am, I decided to make it with brown rice instead of white (broken rule #2), unaware that the swap would cause the risotto to take an extra 40 minutes to cook. By the time the finished brown rice risotto was on the table, we’d gone through two bottles of wine and an entire cheese plate.

Crock Pot Risotto with Butternut Squash, Goat Cheese and Sage

Today’s recipe for slow cooker risotto follows along with my rebellious risotto ways. I’ve used brown rice again and ignored the traditional Parmesan in favor of goat cheese (though I won’t stop you if you use both). Best and baddest of all, I removed the risotto from the stovetop completely. This easy butternut squash risotto is made right in your crock pot, no stirring required!

If you were to taste traditional stovetop risotto and this slow cooker risotto side by side, you might detect a slight difference in texture (the slow cooker risotto isn’t *quite* as creamy), but honestly, the difference is marginal. The ultimate ease of this no-stir slow cooker method outweighs any negatives.

Still worried about the creamy? Add extra goat cheese. It’s ultra luscious and velvety and makes the texture of the risotto absolutely dreamy.

If you read my latest C’est La Vie post, you know that this slow cooker risotto with butternut squash and goat cheese is the most recent new recipe that I’ve been excited to share. It’s simple, deeply comforting, and unquestionably delicious.

Healthy Slow Cooker Risotto with Butternut Squash, Goat Cheese, and Fresh Sage

Flexibility of Slow Cooker Risotto

This slow cooker risotto recipe is flexible and adaptable too!

  • Serve it as a main dish, or serve it along with a big healthy vegetable salad.
  • Serve it as a fuss-free side dish (with Baked Parmesan Chicken perhaps?).
  • Bulk it up by mixing in sautéed spinach, Italian chicken or turkey sausage.

Recommended Tools to Make This Recipe

  • Programmable Slow Cooker. The insert can be used on the stovetop, meaning that for recipes where you begin by browning veggies and/or meat, you can use it on the stove first, then pop it right into the slow cooker and save yourself a dish. GENIUS.
plate of Slow Cooker Risotto with Butternut Squash and goat cheese

Slow Cooker Risotto with Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese

4.5 from 16 votes
Slow Cooker Risotto with Butternut Squash, Goat Cheese, and Brown Rice. Just as creamy and comforting as the original, but no stirring required!

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 4 hrs
Total: 4 hrs 15 mins

Servings: 8 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium shallots finely diced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine or substitute additional chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 medium butternut squash about 1 1/2 pounds, peeled, halved, seeded, and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
  • Coarse sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 3 1/2-4 cups vegetable broth or reduced-sodium chicken broth*
  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked short grain brown rice see recipe notes for other rice types
  • 6 ounces loosely crumbled goat cheese about 1 1/2 cups
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage leaves about 4 large leaves, plus additional for topping

Instructions
 

  • Lightly coat the bottom of a 5- or 6-quart slow cooker with cooking spray. In a large saucepan, warm the oil over medium-low heat. Add the shallots, salt, and pepper. Sauté until the shallot is soft and translucent but not brown, about 10 minutes. Add the wine and cook for 2 minutes.
  • Transfer the shallot mixture to the slow cooker. Add the squash, 3 1/2 cups broth, and rice. Cook on high for 2 1/2 to 3 hours (or on low for 4 to 6 hours), until the rice is tender and creamy. Check the broth level towards the end of the cooking time to ensure the risotto doesn't dry out. If it seems too dry, stir in a bit more broth as needed.
  • Stir, then taste and add additional salt and pepper as desired (I added a scant 1/2 teaspoon additional salt). Stir in the goat cheese and fresh sage. Serve immediately, topped with additional fresh sage as desired.

Notes

  • To ensure the risotto does not become too salty, purchase broth with a lower amount of sodium (mine had 570mg per serving). You can also purchase unsalted broth, but you will likely need to add additional kosher salt to the recipe to taste.
  • The cooking time for this recipe was calculated using short grain brown rice. Short grain white rice (arborio rice), which is more traditional for risotto, can be substituted, but the cooking time may vary. Check your slow cooker at least 1 hour early to ensure the rice does not overcook. I do not recommend long grain rice, as it is not starchy enough to create risotto's classic creamy texture.
  • Know thy slow cooker! Every crock pot is a little different, so you may need to adjust your cooking time, depending upon how quickly yours tends to finish recipes. If you use a larger or smaller slow cooker than what is specified in the recipe, that may affect the cooking time too. I also recommend using a programmable slow cooker, like this one, so that if you don’t check it right away, the food doesn’t burn.
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat with a bit of chicken broth to keep the risotto from drying out. I have not frozen risotto before but think that it would freeze well for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

Nutrition

Serving: 1(of 8), about 1 heaping cupCalories: 195kcalCarbohydrates: 26gProtein: 7gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 10mgSodium: 412mgFiber: 3gSugar: 3g

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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69 Comments

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    1. Hi Emily! I am afraid that it won’t. It’s designed for grains vs. cauliflower which will break down and become watery and mushy. I know that’s probably not what you were hoping to hear, but I want this recipe to turn out for you!

  1. Hi! I would love to make this for thanksgiving.  Any tips for starting the recipe at home and finishing it at my mother in laws? Or should I cook it completely and try to transfer? Thanks! 

    1. Hi TeeTee, I think you could transfer it in the slow cooker, otherwise you could make it ahead, chill, and reheat it following the tips in the recipe notes below the recipe!

  2. I wanted to thank you for this recipe. I’ve made it a number of times, and it is always a huge hit in our house. My 18 month old consistently loves it, which is quite an achievement for young toddlers (she’s not picky, but she has moods).  Only change I will make is that I have been able to use frozen butternut squash just fine and I will often add some mushrooms.

  3. Bravo. Stumbled upon this recipe by searching for some new vegetarian options and boy am I glad I did! Fantastic meal and very easy to put together. I’ll admit, I was a little worried at the two hour mark when it was still a bit watery but by hour three it had thickened up completely. Thank you so much for the recipe. Now I will be taking a look at all of your other ones. 5 stars

  4. I made this last night for my husband and me and we absolutely loved it! Followed the instructions exactly, cooked 3 hours, and we will definitely make again. I even bought some turkey sausage to cook with it thinking it would need a protein and never made it – didn’t need it after all! Delish thanks!5 stars

  5. This recipe was excellent and easy! I used the white arborio rice because I couldn’t find the short grain brown rice. I made it with 2Xs the amount of squash by mistake. What I thought was medium size ended up being 2.77 lbs instead of 1.5 lbs. Thanks Erin for another foolproof recipe! I will definitely make this again!5 stars

    1. Hi Lisa! I have not tried the recipe with this swap, but you could experiment with it. If you decide to play around, I’d love to hear how it goes!

  6. The rice cooked very unevenly. I used the sauté feature on my instant pot for the first step, and slow cooker feature of the instant pot for the balance. After the suggested time, the rice was crunchy, so I cooked it for another hour, some was cooked, some crunchy, so we had to order take-out for dinner. I added some more broth and gave it another hour to reheat today. Some rice was mush, and some was still crunchy. Not sure I enjoyed the flavors enough to risk another try, but if I did try again, I would put the rice in first instead of the squash as directed. Maybe if it was all more submerged early in the cooking process instead of being mixed with the squash it would work better?3 stars

    1. Hi Elise, I’m sorry to hear the recipe didn’t come out for you. As you can see from the reviews, other readers have liked it very much, but everyone’s tastes are different. It’s hard to know what exactly may have gone wrong since everyone’s slow cooker is different. I know it’s disappointing to try a new recipe and not have it turn out as expected, so I truly wish you would have loved this.

    2. Elise, I made it in the IP, too, but instead of slow cooking, I used the pressure cooker with the time recommended for risotto (either 4 or 6 minutes, can’t recall which). The rice was perfect, it was really really good and it was done in no time!5 stars

  7. I used  regular goat cheese instead of the goat cheese crumbles and don’t think that worked out very well..?

    1. Hi, I’m sorry to hear that this dish didn’t turn out as you’d hoped! Did you have issues with the texture or the flavor?

  8. I do not have a slow-cooker, and had red onions instead – also I suck at following recipes. BUT it is still absolutely delicious! I added chestnuts and BOY, they fit amazingly. Adds a wonderful creaminess to it, even without the cheese. Thanks for the inspiration!5 stars

  9. A little rich for me but my husband – who HATES vegetables! – loved it! I made it in my Instant Pot so it took no time and was delicious!4 stars

  10. I have not made it yet but I know I would love it! I don’t care for goat cheese any other suggestions for a substitute?5 stars

    1. Hi Andrea! You could try feta cheese, blue cheese or even leave it out but it will not have the same flavor as the one I made! Hope this helps!

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