As much of a current Type-A/former teacher’s pet as I am, I love to bend the rules. Don’t be 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)
  • 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

Slow Cooker Risotto – The Easy Method

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

  • 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.

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

Serving Suggestions

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

4.56 from 18 votes
Slow cooker risotto is the easiest way to make risotto. Just as creamy as traditional risotto, with NO stirring required!

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

Servings: 8 servings


  • 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


  • 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.


  • 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.


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 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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  1. Hi Erin – What if I DO have risotto in my pantry? Could I use it in place of the brown rice? REALLY want to try this recipe. It sounds yum!

    1. Hi!! I have a couple of notes about different sorts of rice in the recipe notes. I hope that those are helpful that you love the recipe!

    1. I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed the recipe, Dorothy! The sausage sounds like a delicious addition. Thank you so much for leaving this wonderful review!

  2.  Absolutely fabulous recipe. I am going to cut back the goat cheese next time to four or 5 ounces because it was a bit rich. I would also suggest pan frying some sage    To add for a crispy  garnish and additional texture. Really yummy. 5 stars

    1. Thank you, Toni! I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe. The pan-fried sage garnish idea sounds SO good. Thanks for taking the time to leave this wonderful review!

  3. I tried to make this in my instant pot using the slow cooker setting, but I couldn’t get it to work. So I used the manuel pressure cooker setting. It turned out at lot creamier than your photo.   I did add some Italian turkey sausage to make it a main dish. All things considered it turned out pretty good. I would definately make it again!  Delicious :)!!!  However next time I will just use my slow cooker. 5 stars

    1. Kathryn, I’m so happy to hear that you enjoyed this! I’ve never tried a pressure cooker, but now I’m totally intrigued. Great tip with the Italian turkey sausage too. Thanks so much for sharing and taking time to leave this wonderful review!

    2. I want to use my instant pot for this. How long did you cook in the electric pressure cooker? I was going to try the recommended time for the rice I use.
      Thanks for your help.

  4. Yuck. Not sure what I did wrong but it was inedible, bland and mushy. It is not a slow cooker recipe, probably better if you roast the squash and mix with properly cooked risotto. 1 star

    1. Hi Tina, 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 taste is 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.

    1. Hi Rose, unfortunately, this can’t really be adapted to the stovetop, because not only are the liquid levels and cooking times different, but also you would need to do some sautéing of the squash first. You can look for other squash risotto recipes online too!

  5. I gave this recipe a try with long grain rice (I didn’t read the notes all the way through!). Surprisingly it actually turned out quite good, although I had to cook it approx an hour longer, and the rice still could have used a bit more time.  I’ll definitely try it again with the recommended short grain rice.

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Jessica, thanks so much for reporting back! I’m glad it still turned out with long grain rice—I’d love to know what you think if you try it with the short grain too!

  6. Hi there, 
    I am not a fan of goat cheese but really want to try this recipe . Suggestions for another kind of cheese would be gratefully appreciated. 
    Thank you 

  7. Made this today and it turned out amazing!! It was so creamy and delicious you almost forget that it is actually healthy. Who knew risotto can be delicious and not totally maddening. 5 stars

    1. YAY Charlotte, I’m glad you enjoyed the risotto! Thanks for taking the time to leave this wonderful review!

    1. Hi Kendra! I’m afraid not. The rice will become too mushy. If you try it with the rice suggested in the recipe, I’d love to hear how it comes out!

  8. I made this with regular risotto rice and it didn’t work for me at all. The flavor was great, but the rice out cooked the squash and ended up really mushy. I’ll try again with the short grain brown rice. I had wanted this as the rice dish for the Hoppin John recipe but ended up having to cook up some brown rice really quick. (I only had long grain brown rice)

    1. Terri, the issue is the rice. Regular risotto rice cooks much more quickly and needs a different liquid ratio than brown. I’m sorry it didn’t work out, but I think brown rice will do the trick next time!

  9. If I added sausage to the recipe when would I add it in? In the beginning or cook separately and add at end?  Sorry, I’m not that great of a cook!

  10. Made this yesterday for Mother’s Day – really delicious and SO easy. For awhile I thought it wouldn’t work because it just looked like uncooked rice and broth for a long time! But at the end of the cooking time, it was fluffy, creamy deliciousness. I used frozen butternut squash (added it frozen) which was fine – it basically blended into the risotto and didn’t stay in chunks, but was quite pleasant like that. I added a bit of parmesan just because I like it :). The goat cheese got all melty and smooth – YUM. I love sage, but I’m not sure that I would do the fresh sage again, it didn’t quite do it for me, but literally, that was the only part that I might change. SOOOO good!4 stars

    1. Deb, HOORAY! I’m so glad you loved the risotto, and I so appreciate your taking the time to leave this wonderful comment!

  11. Have you ever doubled the batch? I was planning on bringing it to a dinner tonight and just exactly doubling everything.

    1. Hi Bethany, I have not tried doubling it myself, but that should work if your slow cooker is large enough. It may need more time if the slow cooker is pretty full, but everyone’s slow cooker seems to cook a little different, so it’s hard to give more specific advice. I know this reply may be coming too late for your dinner, so if you did give it a try, I’d love to hear how it went.

  12. what is the easiest way to get the skin off of the squash? They are usually hard to cut threw. Do you cook it first in the oven?

    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!

  13. 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!

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. 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!

  18. 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

      1. Bless you, Donna, for posting this comment! I have made this recipe several times before, but haven’t made it in a few years. I got the ingredients to make it but completely forgot that it was a slow cooker recipe until 6:20 p.m., when I came into the kitchen to make it for dinner that night… Cue me, frantically looking through the comments to see if anyone happened to try it in an instant pot. 😂
        Fabulous recipe by the way. It has turned out delicious every time I’ve made it! Now I’m going to get started making it in my instant pot for the first time. I’m sure it will turn out great as it always does. ❤️5 stars

  19. 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?

  20. 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

  21. 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

  22. 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!

      1. Goat cheese and Feta cheese are the same thing. I typically do not like Feta cheese but when I was travelling in Greece, I loved it because it didn’t taste so “goaty”. Didn’t you also say this could be done with parmesan cheese?

        1. I’m sorry Doris, but we will just have to agree to disagree on this one. The brands that I buy, goat cheese is made with goat’s milk and feta cheese is made with sheep’s milk. Two different types of milk is exactly what makes them different. Unfortunately I am not buying my cheese in Greece but here in the States so I am not able to attest to what is found internationally. You can definitely interchange them if you’d like or you could use parmesan cheese. Hope this helps!

  23. Would love to make this meal for dinner tonight. I have a large family, so will need to double the recipe. Is this recipe easily doubled? Any tips or tricks for multiplying this one?

    1. Hi Ashley, I have not tried doubling it myself, but that should work if your slow cooker is large enough. It may need more time if the slow cooker is pretty full, but everyone’s slow cooker seems to cook a little different, so it’s hard to give more specific advice. I know this reply may be coming too late for your dinner, so if you did give it a try, I’d love to hear how it went.

  24. This was great! I used white short grain rice which ended up cooking on high in just about 2 hours. I didn’t have white wine or sage, so I used extra broth and swapped the sage for fresh thyme. Wonderful! I can’t wait to cook this for my mom, she loves butternut squash!5 stars