Steamed cauliflower is as easy as 1-2-3 with a little help from your pressure cooker. Instant Pot Cauliflower is perfect every time. Learn our two go-to methods for either crisp tender florets (the perfect healthy side dish) or soft, mashable florets (for making soups, purees, and more).
Don’t let roasted cauliflower hog the limelight. Yes, yes it’s the first option for cauliflower enthusiasts (and food good reason!), but hear me out for a minute. Properly prepared, steamed instant pot cauliflower is crisp, buttery, and totally pop-able.
Toss crisp tender florets with butter and seasonings for a very quick and extremely health side dish that’s ready in a fracture of the time it takes to roast.
Cook the florets one minute longer for super soft florets that transform into an array of new dishes.
We all know cauliflower is flexible – so let’s embrace this veggie unicorn and explore all it has to offer!
Watch: Instant Pot Cauliflower Recipe Video
How to Steam Cauliflower in the Instant Pot
If you’re having childhood flashbacks of soggy, limp cauliflower that’s somehow both sulfurous and flavorless, then let this steaming method wash those memories away. Steamed instant pot cauliflower is great on its own, lightly seasoned with hints of butter, lemon, and/or parmesan. Should the mood strike, it’s also ready to transform into an array of delicious mashes, purees, and soups.
For an interactive recipe, click here for the web story!
New to cauliflower? Learn how to cut cauliflower into perfect florets using our easy, mess-free method! Photos and video tutorials are included in the link.
- Place a steamer basket into the inner pot of an Instant Pot along with ½ cup water.
- Arrange the cauliflower on the steamer basket, then sprinkle with salt.
- Cook on HIGH pressure for 3 minutes for crisp tender florets, or 4 minutes for soft, mashable florets.
- Release the pressure manually, then remove the steamer basket.
- Season crisp tender florets as desired, or see below for ways to use mashable florets.
- Unsure how to cut cauliflower into florets? Click here for our easy, mess-free method!
- Cut evenly sized florets so they cook at the same rate.
- Season with just a bit of salt before pressure cooking – this will infuse the cauliflower with flavor from the very first step.
- Cauliflower soaks up lots of different seasonings, so don’t hesitate to be bold – see seasoning suggestions below.
- BASIC: toss with extra virgin olive oil or melted butter and season with salt and pepper.
- MEDITERRANEAN: toss with extra virgin olive oil, the zest and juice of one lemon, 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning – or 1 tablespoon fresh chopped herbs (basil, thyme, parsley) – and finely grated parmesan cheese to taste.
- ITALIAN: tossed with toasted bread crumbs, browned butter, and chopped fresh basil or parsley.
Recipes to Use Soft, Mashable Florets
- Make cauliflower hummus. Soft, steamed cauliflower is so creamy. This bean-free hummus is identical in texture and taste to the “real” thing!
- Make loaded cauliflower soup. Soft steamed cauliflower florets are the perfect low-carb swap for potatoes. Top with bacon, cheddar, and chives for a healthier twist on one of our favorite comfort foods.
- Make cauliflower fauxtatoes. If you’re trying keto or just want to squeeze in more vegetables, cauliflower mashed “potatoes” are perfect!
Did you make this Instant Pot Cauliflower? I’d love to know how it turned out! Leave a comment and a rating below.
Instant Pot CauliflowerPrint Recipe Rate this Recipe Pin Recipe
- 1 medium head cauliflower, divided into florets (about 6 cups)
- 1 tsp kosher salt, divided
- ½ c water or broth
- 2 tbsp melted butter, or extra virgin olive oil
- ground pepper, to taste
- Pour ½ cup water into the inner pot. Position a trivet or all metal steamer basket in the pot. Place the florets into the steamer basket, then sprinkle with ½ tsp kosher salt.
- Secure the lid and ensure the pressure valve is set to Sealing. Program to HIGH pressure 3 minutes for crisp tender florets, or HIGH pressure 4 minutes for soft, mashable florets. It will take approximately 10 minutes for the pot to come to pressure.
- Once the timer goes off, press the Cancel button to turn off the Instant Pot. Then perform a manual pressure release by turning the venting knob from Sealing to Venting. Once the float valve has dropped, open the lid away from your body to allow the steam to escape. Carefully remove the steamer basket with oven mitts, or remove the florets with a slotted spoon.
- Serve crisp tender florets immediately. Transfer to a bowl and toss with the olive oil or melted butter, the remainder of the salt, plenty of black pepper, and other toppings as desired (see notes).
- MEDITERRANEAN: Toss with 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, the zest and juice of one lemon, 1 tsp italian seasoning or 1 tbsp fresh chopped herbs (basil, thyme, parsley), and finely grated parmesan cheese to taste.
- ITALIAN: Toss with ¼ c toasted bread crumbs, 2 tbsp browned butter, and 2 tbsp chopped fresh basil or parsley.