Slow-Cooker Chicken and Mushroom Farro Risotto

by Amy on 16 September 2014

Slow-Cooker Chicken and Mushroom Farro RisottoFall is arriving in Nashville! The mornings and evenings are becoming delightfully crisp and cool, which is getting me excited for hearty cold-weather food, like stews, soups, and risottos. I recently came across this recipe for Slow-Cooker Chicken and Mushroom Farro Risotto and was intrigued. I love risotto and I really love slow-cooker meals, but I had never tried combining the two. The recipe was doubly intriguing, as it uses farro for the risotto, instead of the traditionally-used arborio rice. For those of you unfamiliar with farro (like I was until recently), it’s a hearty, nutty, wonderfully-textured ancient grain. So, this recipe got me to make risotto in the slow-cooker for the first time AND cook with farro for the first time. Gotta love trying new things in the kitchen!

Everything about this is SO delicious: the juicy, fall-apart tender chicken, the wonderfully flavorful mushrooms/onions/garlic, and the cooked-to-perfection farro, all in a truly divine, amazingly creamy parmesan sauce. I first made this on a night when my husband was not home for dinner, as he’s not a huge mushroom fan, so I didn’t think he’d dig it. After I made it + raved about how much Fearless Baby and I loved it, he asked if I’d be willing to make it again for him to try, too. I did a week later, and even though he admittedly didn’t devour every single mushroom, he said it was one of the best slow-cooker meals (and one of the best mushroom meals) he’s ever had. If this can win over a mushroom-hater, it must be truly amazing, right?! You’ve gotta give it a try + report back!

Slow-Cooker Chicken and Mushroom Farro RisottoSlow-Cooker Chicken and Mushroom Farro Risotto

Slow-Cooker Chicken and Mushroom Farro Risotto

serves 4-6, adapted from Real Simple


3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound cremini or button mushrooms, sliced
2 1/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup whole farro
1 3-inch piece Parmesan rind* AND 1/3 cup grated Parmesan, plus more grated for serving
1 bay leaf
pinch ground nutmeg
kosher salt and black pepper to taste
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1.5 pounds), (OR substitute boneless skinless chicken thighs if preferred)

*Amy’s tip: Whenever you finish up a wedge of parmesan cheese, save the rind! They are great for flavoring soups, stews, and risottos. Simply pop ’em in a ziplock bag + keep them in the freezer until needed.


In a skillet over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of butter. Add the onion, garlic, and mushrooms, and saute for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until onions are translucent. Transfer to a 4- to 6-quart slow-cooker.

To the vegetables in the slow-cooker, add the broth, farro, Parmesan rind, bay leaf, nutmeg, 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, stirring everything together. Top with the chicken.

Cover and cook on LOW for 4-5 hours until the chicken is fork-tender and cooked through. Discard the parmesan rind and bay leaf. Remove the chicken from the slow-cooker and, using two forks, shred into large pieces. Return to the slow-cooker. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and grated parmesan to the slow cooker, and stir everything to combine. Cover and cook for 5 minutes more, until butter and parmesan are melted.

Serve the risotto hot with additional grated Parmesan, if desired.

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{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Rachel Cooks September 16, 2014 at 6:28 am

LOVE this! I just bought a bag of farro. Gotta try this!

2 Beth September 16, 2014 at 6:38 am

I haven’t tried cooking with faro, but I think you’ve made me a convert. This recipe sounds amazing! And so perfect for this cooler fall weather we’re having.

3 amy September 16, 2014 at 8:44 am

Beth, it is SO good! It reminds me a bit of barley, which I love, except it’s a bit heartier. You and Rachel will both have to report back how it is if you try it!

4 alexandra September 16, 2014 at 8:46 am

Another DELICIOUS Fearless Homemaker recipe! I LOVED this one. Thanks for treating, friend. : )

5 danielle September 16, 2014 at 8:48 am

I have never cooked with farro – this looks great.

6 Natalie September 16, 2014 at 9:07 am

I have this recipe pinned from Real Simple with plans to try as it gets colder…so glad to hear it gets rave reviews!

7 Lesley Eats September 16, 2014 at 9:49 am

Love your tip about the rind! Now, I just need to figure out how to make this vegetarian…

8 amy September 16, 2014 at 10:30 am

Lesley, what was it you used to make vegetarian barbeque? Jackfruit, right? That might be a good substitution for the chicken! Plus veg broth, of course. =) Or, you could just double up on the mushrooms. A mushroom lover like me thinks that sounds great. =)

9 Leah | So, How's It Taste? September 16, 2014 at 11:41 am

Crazy drooling over this right now. This may be the first thing I make when the slow cooker comes out this season! I love risotto, love farro, and mushroom risotto is my favorite. This has my name written all over it!

10 Adri September 16, 2014 at 12:55 pm

Hi Amy,

This dish sounds divine. I adore farro. I grew up eating it. It is wonderful in salads, as a hot side dish, as a cooked sweet pudding – there is just no end to how you can enjoy it. When you cook it in the manner of a risotto, we call it a “farrotto.” As you have discovered, it has particular affinity for mushrooms. I am so glad you have discovered this truly wonderful food. Enjoy!

11 amy September 16, 2014 at 1:41 pm

Farrotto! Thank you for teaching me a new word today. I’m looking forward to exploring cooking it in many ways – it sounds so wonderfully versatile.

12 Choc Chip Uru September 17, 2014 at 2:28 am

Ooft this risotto looks so delicious šŸ˜€
The colour is gorgeous!

Choc Chip Uru

13 easyfoodsmith September 18, 2014 at 2:17 am

This sounds wonderful and I am sure its nutty earthy flavors must be so comforting.

14 Anna (Hidden Ponies) September 18, 2014 at 3:43 pm

I love any risotto I don’t have to stir, the slow cooker is a great idea! (Also, your directions have me melting a button…which I’m liberally changing to butter when I make this šŸ˜‰ )

15 amy September 18, 2014 at 3:49 pm

LOL, thank you for pointing that typo out! Changed it, so you now melt butter instead of a button. =P

16 Amy (Savory Moments) September 18, 2014 at 4:22 pm

Amy, this meal looks so delicious and perfect for the fall weather! I love mushrooms in the fall.

17 STephanie September 19, 2014 at 10:56 am

I love everything about this!! It will be made in my house…but I do have a non-mushroom fan. ( I buy fried porcinis in 5lb bags as I LOVE them…the boy on the other hand? Not so much) Do you have any thoughts about subbing half mushrooms for eggplant or maybe cauliflower? I think they MAY be a good texture and absorb the flavor, but eh, not sure. I am hoping to get him to jump the fence with this one, but I have to start slow….;)!

18 amy September 19, 2014 at 11:03 am

Hi Stephanie! Cauliflower (cut into florets) will definitely work – I love the way cauliflower turns out in the slow-cooker. =) It will change the flavor somewhat, as the mushrooms add a lot of earthy flavor, so it may be a milder dish overall. But I love your idea of doing half mushrooms, half another veggie. Eggplant would also be a good substitution! If you use eggplant, I’d peel it, cut it into 1 inch cubes, and saute it alongside the mushrooms, then follow the rest of the recipe as printed. Do report back how it goes either way! =D

19 Kelly September 19, 2014 at 10:12 pm

This looks amazing Amy! I just pulled out my slow cooker last week and have been wondering if you could make risotto with it so this is just perfect :) I love that you used farro – such a comforting and tasty dish – so perfect for the cooler months ahead – pinning!

20 Jessica September 20, 2014 at 6:46 am

This recipe was a hit for dinner last night! It was so easy to prepare and really tasty, too. Thanks so much!

21 amy September 20, 2014 at 7:04 am

I am SO thrilled to hear that, Jessica – Glad y’all enjoyed it!

22 Meghan September 26, 2014 at 10:50 am

First of all, you make the best slow cooker dishes!! This looks so Fall fabulous & I love mushrooms! Time to break out the slow cooker :)

23 amy September 26, 2014 at 1:30 pm

You are so sweet, Meghan – thank you!

24 Ashley November 21, 2014 at 5:21 pm

This looks amazing I’m dying to make it but I have a quick question, would it affect the recipe too much to not use the rind? I just don’t buy parm by the wedge only shredded. Thanks!

25 amy November 21, 2014 at 6:15 pm

Hi Ashley, Good question! No, it wouldn’t effect the recipe too much. =) It won’t have quite as rich parmesan flavor, but it should still be really, really great! I would add a bit more cheese to compensate for that – I’d try about 2/3 cup parmesan instead. =) Enjoy, and do report back how you like it!

26 Jessika December 8, 2014 at 6:27 pm

Hi there!

I am in Australia and would love to try this dish – not sure we have Farro here? I have never seen or heard of it! Do you suggest anything else to substitute ?

Thanks! Can’t wait to give this a try!!

27 amy December 8, 2014 at 6:40 pm

Hi Jessika! I’m not sure exactly what grains you can get most easily in your area, but barley would be a good substitute. Or, sometimes farro is called emmer or spelt in other parts of the world – perhaps it is called one of those in stores in your area?

28 Ally January 7, 2015 at 9:57 pm

I made this tonight and it was delicious! I couldn’t find farro at my grocery store so I used plain risotto and it still came out great. I’ll have to try it again when I can find the farro. Thanks for the awesome recipe!

29 amy January 8, 2015 at 7:55 am

So thrilled to hear it, Ally! By the way, you live in Nashville, right? (if I remember correctly from chatting with you in the past?) I always get my farro at Turnip Truck (I go to the one in East Nashville). Bob’s Red Mill is the brand. Super tasty, and one bag lasts a long time! =)

30 Peggy February 2, 2015 at 1:48 am

I couldn’t find Farro but I read another recipe that said you could substitute Arborio rice. I used that and it got so mushy it was inedible. I had to pick the chicken and mushrooms out to salvage the dish.

31 amy February 2, 2015 at 7:40 am

Hi Peggy, Where did you see that I said you could use arborio rice? I haven’t tested this recipe with rice, only with farro + barley, and I typically don’t recommend substitutions that I haven’t personally tried. If you can show me where I wrote that, please do, because I’d like to edit it. Sorry to hear that your substitution didn’t work out well for you.

32 Peggy Abraham February 2, 2015 at 2:48 pm

Sorry Amy. I didn’t mean to imply that you said it was possible to substitute arborio rice for the Farro. I googled that question and read it on another site. Just wanted your readers to know that it did not work out.

33 amy February 2, 2015 at 3:04 pm

Oooooh, I gotcha. Not a problem at all! I thought you meant I had posted that on Facebook or Twitter or something, so I wanted to go back + delete it if that was the case. Again, I’m super bummed that it didn’t work out with the substitution, but I do hope you try it again in the future with faro, if you can get your hands on some! Or, I hope you find another great recipe on my blog to make up for this one. =) Cheers, Amy

34 Kathy October 2, 2016 at 10:33 pm

I found your recipe on Pinterest. After a few days thinking of when to make it, today was the day. Cloudy, cool fall-like. Perfect for a hearty dish.

My conclusion? This is FABULOUS! I made a few tiny tweaks, adding a few herbs.

Delicious! I enjoyed it with a wonderful Langhe Nebbiolo.

35 Carrie @ Season It Already! January 24, 2017 at 1:00 pm

Absolutely love this recipe. I froze some leftovers and loved it all over again today! Do you think I could make this with boneless pork chops? My husband is allergic to chicken, but I think he’d love this! I’m just worried that the shredded pork might get too dry?

36 Terry March 7, 2021 at 3:35 pm

Wow, wow !!!! This is amazing!, Every time I cook it I give some to friends and the recipe is always requested Iā€™m trying tonight with bone in thighs. Only thing I do differently is season the chicken with salt pepper garlic and rosemary.

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