Barley Risotto with Fennel

January/February 2008

Your rating: None Average: 3.3 (102 votes)

This convenient alternative to traditional stovetop risotto uses healthy, fiber-rich whole grains—either barley or brown rice—seasoned with Parmesan cheese, lemon zest and oil-cured olives. The gentle, uniform heat of a slow cooker allows you to cook a creamy risotto without the usual frequent stirring.

"I have cooked this twice. I have learned that it takes at least 6 hours in a slow cooker (on high or low). The second time I eliminated the cup of water and also withheld one cup of broth. I added it in as needed. I skipped the fennel...
Barley Risotto with Fennel Recipe

15 Reviews for Barley Risotto with Fennel

Flavorful, creamy, and simple

I forgot the fennel seeds and didn't have a very large fennel bulb (replaced it with some onion instead), and we definitely missed the fennel flavor. Overall, this turned out wonderfully! 8 hours on low in my 6 quart slow cooker was just right, and it stayed just fine on warm for 5 hours after that. Next time, I will definitely use the fennel seeds. The only other change would be maybe to leave out the olives. The barley did get very creamy, and absorbed all of the liquid in the recipe by the end of the 8 hours. I imagine it would do fine on high for 4 instead as well.

Definitely a keeper!

Thanks to previous reviews, a few adjustments made this absolutely delicious. I reduced the fennel seeds to 1/2 tsp, and the flavour was well balanced and delicate. I used verjuice instead of wine, and goat cheese feta instead of parmesan, just because that's what I had available on the day. Slow cooked on High for 5 hrs - this was too long. Next time will go no more than 4 hrs to avoid the slight glugginess.

Delicious and Healthy

Very tasty and my husband loved it! I added two more carrots and topped with fresh tarragon. I will definitely make it again.

Comments (1)


gyancey wrote 2 years 50 weeks ago

Forgot to mention that I cooked five hours on low, but I think my Cuisinart slow cooker is a little hotter than most.

This is not risotto!

Risotto is a process as much as a dish, which is why this recipe fails for so many people. You might as well invent something like "Stir-fry in a slow cooker," because stir-fry is a discrete process, quite apart from whatever ingredients are involved. Check out true risotto online, and stick with the process....this is NOT what slow-cookers are for.

Comments (1)


Anonymous wrote 1 year 13 weeks ago

No, risotto is a dish not a

No, risotto is a dish not a process. Stir frying requires high heat, which cannot be achieved in a slow cooker, but the slow heat of a crock pot will yield a similar result to the continuous stirring process. I'd suggest that you learn more about cooking before you post erroneous statements.

I agrree should have read comments first

Like most i didnt read comments first i agree too long to cook, bland, and fennel over powers. If I tried it again I would cut back on fennel and water and increase cheese a little.

change from typical rice and potatoe

Fields marked with * are required

Rate This*

Review Title

Tip: Use adjectives to help get your point across.


Tip: Use commas to separate pros and cons.


Tip: Use commas to separate pros and cons.


Tip: Pretend you're on the debate team and make your point.

Attach a photo

Photo Caption

If you attach a photo, please enter a caption to go with it.

Would you recommend this recipe?

Connect With Us


EatingWell Magazine

more smart savings
Get a full year of EatingWell magazine.
World Wide Web Health Award Winner Web Award Winner World Wide Web Health Award Winner Interactive Media Award Winner