Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Risotto

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When I was a kid, I had a reputation for rejecting squash in all forms. Summer squash, zucchini, acorn, or butternut. You name it, I was not game. Over the years, my parents developed some creative tactics to get me to eat squash. Most of them, however, involved  smothering the vegetable in either cheese or sugar. Sure, it was somewhat effective. But it’s probably not the healthiest way to enjoy squash. My parents never went the the risotto route, unfortunately. However, I can guarantee that even as a child, I would have chowed down on this Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Risotto. Basically, it’s the adult (and healthy) version of smothering your squash in cheese.

In fact, in a lot of ways, risotto is kind of like adult mac and cheese that you can serve at a fancy dinner party. This recipe uses non-fat parmesan cheese to keep things classy. And by classy I mean rich, flavorful, and also light. Yep, parmesan is something of a free pass for the health-conscious cheese lover. And stirred into this slow cooker butternut squash risotto, it provides all the rich cheesiness you (or your resident picky eater) crave with way less fat.

As usual, the slow cooker is a life saver in this recipe. Basically, this meal is a two step process. Put everything in the slow cooker, then stir in the parmesan for a cheesy finish. You can cook this dish on high for two to three hours, or on low for four to six if you want to have a little more free time to kill.

However, the slow cooker isn’t just there to make your life easier. The slow cooking process really helps this dish to fully absorb its rich flavors and seasoning. This recipe includes dried rubbed sage, garlic, and onion. The slow cooker allows these flavors to really soak into a dish, yielding a rich, full taste.

Whether you’re a squash lover or hater (or just live with one), this Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Risotto should provide some common ground. The butternut squash brings some rich, hearty flavor for its fans, while the cheesy risotto will help distract less enthusiastic squash eaters.

Make this dish for a dinner party, home-cooked weekend meal, or use it to trick your kid into eating squash. (Or use it to trick yourself  into eating squash. Whatever you have to do!) Either way, it’s a creamy, cheesy crowd pleaser for even the pickiest of crowds.

If you like this Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Risotto, definitely check out some of these other creative risotto recipes, including:

And if you’re really a butternut squash fan, be sure to check out some of these recipes as well:

Oh, and for beginners, here’s a quick tutorial on How to Cut and Peel a Butternut Squash. It’s easy, I promise.

Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Risotto

Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Risotto

Yields: 8 servings | Serving Size: 1/2 cup | Calories: 177 | Total Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0g | Cholesterol: 2mg | Sodium: 69mg | Carbohydrates: 30g | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Protein: 4g | SmartPoints (Freestyle): 5


  • 1 1/4 cups risotto
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups butternut squash, cut into small cubes
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced small
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried rubbed sage
  • 1/4 cup non-fat parmesan cheese, grated


  1. Place all ingredients, except the butternut squash and parmesan, in the slow cooker. Cook on high for 2 to 3 hours or on low for 4 to 5 hours. Add butternut squash the last hour and continue cooking just until the liquid is absorbed and rice is tender. Stir in the cheese and serve.

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14 Comments on "Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Risotto"

  1. Dianna  March 17, 2018

    Terrible. The “risotto” was a gummy, gluey, flavorless mess, while the butternut squash pieces were still hard and undercooked. One taste and it went into the garbage.

    • Nichole Furlong  March 18, 2018

      Hi Dianna, I’m sorry to hear your risotto did not turn out! It’s likely the rice was cooked for too long and the squashes were cut too large and didn’t cook all the way though. It’s also very important to make sure you’re using arborio rice! If you’d rather try some of our rice recipes we have several options!

  2. TAMI WILSON  May 28, 2018

    could you sub sweet potato in this??

  3. Emily  October 13, 2018

    Could this be made in the slow cooker the night before and rewarmed the next day or will the texture and consistency be effected by doing that? Would it help to leave out some of the broth and the cheese and add them after reheating?

    • Nichole Furlong  October 13, 2018

      Hi Emily. I would recommend slightly under-cooking the risotto to help maintain the texture and consistency after reheating. I would also leave out some of the broth and cheese as you suggested and then adding it after reheating.

  4. Charlotte  November 15, 2018

    I made this for dinner tonight and it was absolutely delicious! I never knew that risotto could be so easy to make!

    • Nichole Furlong  November 15, 2018

      So glad you love the recipe, Charlotte!

  5. Francesca  October 7, 2019

    I loved it! I took a gamble regarding the comments some people left and tried it on my husband and best friend. Which they are my two biggest food critics and they loved it! I subbed the Mozzarella for shredded goat cheese to make lactose free! Sooo delicious!

    • Erin Milller  October 8, 2019

      That’s great, Francesca! We’re so glad that everyone loved it! Thanks for the feedback 😀

  6. Bryna Sherr  July 24, 2020

    Can this be made in an instapot?

    • Gale Compton  July 25, 2020

      Definitely! Try setting to Manual and cook on High for 5 minutes. Test for doneness and cook a few more minutes if needed.

  7. melissa  September 13, 2020

    hi can I use frozen butternut squash ??


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