Learn how to make perfect cauliflower in the Instant Pot every time with the easiest method. A quick, tasty, low-carb side dish to round out your dinner.
Cauliflower makes a wonderfully nutritious and easy side dish. Cooking cauliflower in the Instant Pot is quick, easy, failproof, and takes 10 minutes.
If you’re preparing a cauliflower soup, mash, or any other recipe that calls for steamed cauliflower, this is the quickest way to prepare it.
For a delicious side dish, top the cooked cauliflower with fresh herbs to elevate the flavor. Alternatively, skip the seasoning altogether and freeze the cauliflower for later to add to smoothies and other dishes.
How long does it take to cook cauliflower?
Once you wash and prepare the cauliflower, it takes about 10 minutes. This includes the amount of time it takes to build up pressure (about 8-10 minutes) and the 0 minutes of cooking time. Therefore, once the Instant Pot builds up pressure, simply quick release the pressure.
What you'll need
- 1 medium head of cauliflower, washed and cut into equal-sized florets
- 1 cup of water
- An Instant Pot (I use both the Instant Pot Duo Mini 3-Quart and Instant Pot DUO 6-Quart with great results)
- A steamer basket
- Optional Ingredients: salt, pepper, fresh herbs, and extra-virgin olive oil
How to cook cauliflower in the Instant Pot
1. Prepare the cauliflower: Cut the cauliflower into large florets, keeping them about the same size so they cook evenly. Try to leave the floret head intact so it does not crumble.
2. Add ingredients to Instant Pot: Pour 1 cup of water into the stainless steel insert of the Instant Pot before placing the steamer basket inside. Then, carefully arrange the cauliflower florets on the steamer basket.
3. Pressure cook: Cook on High Pressure for 0 minutes.
4. Quick-release Steam: Once the pressure cooker reaches pressure, carefully quick release the pressure. Pro-Tip: It's extremely important to release pressure immediately (as soon as your Instant Pot beeps after coming to pressure), otherwise you'll end up with mushy cauliflower.
5. Remove cauliflower: Once the cauliflower has cooled down and the steamer basket is safe to handle, remove it from the Instant Pot.
6. Season (optional): In a separate bowl, drizzle cooked cauliflower florets with extra-virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, and fresh herbs.
Storing and reheating
Store the leftover cauliflower florets in a sealed container in the fridge for about 3-4 days. Gently reheat them on the skillet or the microwave.
Prepared cauliflower can be used in many ways and make a tasty addition to smoothies, soups, salads, appetizers, and side dishes. Here are some ways to enjoy them:
- Make a quick batch of Creamy Cauliflower Soup
- Substitute mashed potatoes with mashed cauliflower (simply used cooked cauliflower in place of potatoes)
- Freeze florets and use in green smoothies
- Season and use as a delicious side dish
- Use to cook Cauliflower Tikka Masala
- Use as a topping in a vegan power bowl
Frequently asked questions
Can I use the trivet instead of a steamer basket? While you could use the trivet that comes with the Instant Pot, if your florets are not large enough, they will fall through the gaps in the trivet and get water-logged.
For that reason, I recommend investing in a steamer basket or cooking the entire cauliflower as a whole instead of cutting into florets (the amount of cooking time would be the same).
Can you freeze cooked cauliflower? Yes, you can freeze it. Pro-tip: After you’ve cooked the cauliflower, cool the florets completely and freeze them in a single layer on a tray. This will prevent the florets from clumping up together in the freezer.
Once frozen, add them to a freezer-safe bag and store in the freezer for up to a year.
What size Instant Pot did you use? I’ve tested this recipe on both my Instant Pot Duo Mini 3-Quart and Instant Pot DUO 6-Quart with great results. However, you may need to tweak how long you cook the Instant Pot cauliflower based on preference, the size, model, and brand of your pressure cooker.
More easy Instant Pot recipes
- Instant Pot Mac and Cheese
- How to Cook Perfect Quinoa in the Instant Pot
- Instant Pot Butternut Squash Soup
- Instant Pot Chickpeas
- Instant Pot Chana Masala
Did you make this Instant Pot cauliflower recipe? Leave a comment below and rate the recipe to let us know how it turned out. Save this easy cauliflower recipe for later by pinning to your favorite Instant Pot Pinterest board and be sure to tag me on Real + Vibrant’s Instagram to show me your cauliflower.
- 1 medium head cauliflower, about 2-3 cups of cauliflower florets
- 1 cup water
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon fresh herbs, parsley, cilantro, chives, dill
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Rinse and cut the cauliflower into floret, keeping them about the same size so they cook evenly. Try to leave the floret head intact so it does not crumble.
- Add water to the Instant Pot and place steamer basket. Arrange the cauliflower florets on the steamer basket.
- Close the Instant Pot lid, set the valve on “sealing”, and cook on high pressure for 0 minutes. Once completed carefully quick release the steam, remove the lid, and carefully remove the steamer basket.*
- In a separate bowl, toss the cauliflower with extra-virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, and fresh herbs, if using. Serve and enjoy.