Easy Instant Pot Cauliflower

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This easy Instant Pot Cauliflower is the best way to quickly steam your cauliflower to make a perfect side dish in just minutes.

» You might also like this Easy Instant Pot Macaroni Salad and 10 Instant Pot Side Dishes to Serve With Anything.

Instant Pot cauliflower

There’s really no simpler way to make steamed cauliflower than in the Instant Pot. It’s so fast. All you have to do is put the cauliflower florets in a steamer basket, pour in the water, and set the timer to 2 minutes. Just as quick and easy is this steamed broccoli.

That’s right! Just 2 minutes will yield perfectly tender cauliflower. If you like your cauliflower to be a bit crunchy still, it will only take 1 minute. With about 5 minutes to come up to pressure and a quick release, you’ll have your side dish ready in under 8 minutes total.

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • Cauliflower – A large head of cauliflower yields about 4 cups of cauliflower, which amounts to about 6+ servings. I usually go for a medium to small size – about 1-2 pounds. This might sound counterintuitive, but the more cauliflower you add to the Instant Pot, the shorter the cook time needs to be. If you add 4+ cups of cauliflower, you might only need to cook it for 0 minutes.
  • Water – A 6-quart Instant Pot requires at least 1/2 cup of water, while the 8-quart pot requires at least 3/4 cup.
  • Salt or seasonings – I usually prefer to just serve cauliflower with salt or seasoned salt. You can serve it with any seasonings you like, or even pour over a melted cheese sauce.

Equipment Needed

Instant Pot – I use a 6-quart Instant Pot Duo. You can cook cauliflower in any size pot, however. If you use an 8-quart pot, you will need to add 1/4 cup more water. The cook time stays the same. For a 3-quart Instant Pot, use the same amount of water, less cauliflower, same amount of time.

Steamer basket – The steamer basket is the best way to steam vegetables in the Instant Pot. It keeps the veggies up out of the water, which will help retain their texture and shape. If you don’t have a steamer basket, you can place the cauliflower directly in the water, but it might become more soggy.

Why Use An Instant Pot?

The Instant Pot is one of the most useful kitchen appliances you can buy, because it drastically cuts down on the cooking time for developing flavors in soups and stews, getting tough cuts of meat tender, and even baking a cheesecake. And there are many accessories that will help you get more out of your Instant Pot.

If you don’t have one yet, check out our guide on which one to buy. Also see our guide to How to Use an Instant Pot for more information.

How to Make Steamed Cauliflower in the Instant Pot

Place the cauliflower florets in a steamer basket. Set it inside the Instant Pot and pour in the water. You only need 1/2 a cup of cold water, since the cook time is so brief. Use 3/4 cup water in the 8-quart Instant Pot.

Cauliflower in the Instant Pot

Close the lid of the Instant Pot. Set the valve to the sealing position. Press the Pressure Cook or manual button and set the cook time to 2 minutes on high pressure.

Perfect Your Timings

For me, when adding 2-3 cups of florets to the Instant Pot, 2 minutes at high pressure yields perfect cauliflower, but everyone’s opinion of how done it should be varies. That’s why it will require some trial and error on your part to find the perfect timing for you.

*Note: Always use cold water. Adding hot water will force the pot to begin cooking immediately, with no pressurizing time.

  • 2-3 cups for 2 minutes = tender to soft
  • 2-3 cups for 1 minutes = crisp to tender
  • 1 cup for 0 minutes = tender
  • 1 cup for 1 minute = tender to soft

It will take about 5 minutes for the pot to come up to pressure. When the time is up, do a quick pressure release and carefully remove the steamer basket from the pot.

Instant Pot cauliflower

What to Use Cauliflower For

You can obviously just eat the steamed cauliflower as is. It’s a great side dish on its own.

But if you want, you can use it to make cauliflower soup or a nice smooth cauliflower puree that can substitute as mashed potatoes, particularly great for anyone on a low-carb diet or avoiding starch.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if I don’t have a steamer basket?

If you don’t have a steamer basket, you can use the trivet that came with your Instant Pot. Keep the cauliflower florets in larger pieces so they don’t slip into the cracks of the trivet. If you don’t have either, you can put the cauliflower directly into the water, but it might come out soggy.

Can I cook frozen cauliflower florets in the Instant Pot?

Yes, you can use frozen cauliflower straight from the bag. Since they are typically already steamed before being frozen, you would just need to cook them for 1 minute on high pressure, followed by a quick pressure release. If your frozen cauliflower is not previously cooked, go with 2 minutes.

Can I cook a whole cauliflower in the Instant Pot?

I’ve tried this a few times, trying to get it right, but I never liked the outcome. It doesn’t get evenly cooked and it’s hard to cut if off the head once it’s done. While you *can* do it, I really wouldn’t recommend it.

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Instant Pot cauliflower

Easy Instant Pot Cauliflower

This easy Instant Pot Cauliflower is the best way to quickly steam your cauliflower to make a perfect side dish in just minutes.

Note: Made in a 6-qt Instant Pot

5 from 30 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 2 mins
Pressurize Time 5 mins
Total Time 12 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 4 Servings
Calories 36 kcal

Equipment

Ingredients
  

  • 1 medium head cauliflower approx 2 pounds
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Seasoning to taste

Instructions
 

  • Place the cauliflower florets in a steamer basket. Set it inside the Instant Pot and pour in the water. Close the lid of the Instant Pot. Set the valve to sealing position.
  • Press the Pressure Cook or manual button and set the cook time to 2 minutes on high pressure. It will take about 5 minutes for the pot to come up to pressure. When the time is up, do a quick pressure release and carefully remove the steamer basket from the pot.

Notes

Use cold water
Cook for 1 minute for slightly crunchy cauliflower

Nutrition

Calories: 36kcalCarbohydrates: 7gProtein: 3gFat: 0.4gSaturated Fat: 0.2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.04gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.1gSodium: 45mgPotassium: 430mgFiber: 3gSugar: 3gVitamin C: 69mgCalcium: 33mgIron: 1mg
Keyword Cauliflower
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Instant Pot cauliflower

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