My Instant Pot Cauliflower is a quick, easy and delicious Italian side dish! Perfectly steamed cauliflower drizzled with a tasty dressing of garlic, red pepper flakes, anchovy and olive oil.
I’m sure that the classic Italian flavors in this Instant Pot Cauliflower dish will keep you coming back for more!
If you own an Instant Pot pressure cooker, then you have to try this cauliflower recipe! This method of cooking cauliflower in the Instant Pot makes tender yet crisp cauliflower each and every time. I know you’ll love how reliable this Instant Pot Cauliflower recipe is!
The combination of garlic, red pepper flakes, anchovy and olive oil is an ideal dressing for this warm salad of steamed cauliflower. You’ll love that this tasty and savory side dish is wonderful served alongside my Italian Chicken Cutlets, Butterfly Chicken Recipe, and Eggplant Involtini.
Of course, you don’t need a pressure cooker to make this easy Instant Pot Cauliflower recipe and you can steam cauliflower any way you prefer. But pressure cooker cauliflower is so reliable, fast and mess free. If you have an Instant Pot, you won’t want to cook cauliflower any other way!
Why you’ll love this recipe:
- The Italian dressing on this tender cauliflower is so moorish and delicious.
- It is a simple, fast and completely no fuss recipe that you’ll want to make again and again
- Along with my Instant Pot Bean Soup and Instant Pot Chicken Pot Pie, it’s an ideal Instant Pot recipe.
- My cauliflower recipe with Italian flavors is good for you! It’s naturally low carb and gluten free.
For complete ingredient quantities and full instructions, please scroll to the printable recipe card bottom of the page.
- Cauliflower - choose a head of cauliflower that is a creamy white color and feels heavy for its size.
- Extra virgin olive oil - For this recipe you can use regular or light olive oil - whichever you prefer.
- Garlic - fresh garlic is always best. Look for plump, juicy cloves of garlic.
- Red pepper flakes - for a little bit of heat and zing to side dish recipe.
- Anchovies - a small amount of anchovies adds a lovely savory flavor to this cauliflower recipe. I use jarred anchovies that are preserved in olive oil.
- Fresh Garlic - If you don’t have fresh garlic, you could substitute garlic powder, garlic flakes or even jarred chopped garlic for this cauliflower recipe.
- Red Pepper Flakes - Instead of using red pepper flakes try adding heat by using chopped fresh chillies or chilli paste.
- Cauliflower - Not a fan of cauliflower? Try this recipe with a head of broccoli instead!
- Vegetarian - just leave out the anchovy from the dressing and added a decent grating of Parmesan cheese.
- Cheesy and zesty - add finely grated Parmesan cheese and some lemon zest to the dressing.
- Spicy - instead of the Italian dressing, try a teaspoonful of curry powder blended into a couple of tablespoons of maple syrup and tossed with a cup of roasted cashews, then gently poured over the cauliflower florets.
- Herby - mix chopped fresh chives, parsley, basil and mint into olive oil for the perfect alternate Instant Pot Cauliflower dressing.
You will need an electric pressure cooker for this recipe. I tested this Instant Pot Cauliflower dish using an Instant Pot Duo 7 in 1 Multi Cooker 6 quarts (5.7 litres).
The trivet that comes with the pressure cooker is also required to ensure the cauliflower cooks evenly. Alternatively, use a steamer basket that fits into the liner.
- Cut the cauliflower head into large florets (see ‘Tips For Success’ below).
- Pour water into the bottom of your Instant Pot, then place the trivet (steamer rack) in and arrange the cauliflower florets on top. Put the lid on and set the valve to “sealing”. Press the “pressure cook” button then adjust the cook time to zero minutes.
- In the meantime, make the dressing. Crush the garlic clove with the salt (or use a garlic crusher).
- Finely chop the anchovy fillet and blend it with the garlic and salt mixture.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the garlic, salt, and anchovy with the extra virgin olive oil, red pepper flakes, and a pinch of pepper. When the time on Instant Pot is up, press “cancel” and do a quick release by flicking the sealing switch to “venting” with a spoon (so you’re not burnt by the escaping steam). Once the pressure gauge button drops, carefully lift out the trivet.
- Add the cauliflower florets to the prepared dressing and mix together gently - you don’t want to mash the florets!
Tips & FAQs
The cauliflower will be done very quickly so stay close to the Instant Pot. You’ll need to release the pressure as soon as the Instant Pot beeps. For crunchier cauliflower, use low pressure for zero minutes.
Cut the cauliflower head into large enough florets so that they won’t fall through the gaps in the trivet. You don’t want the cauliflower touching the water or it will become waterlogged.
Cut the pieces into evenly sized florets so that they will cook evenly - big pieces won’t cook in time and small pieces will overcook.
Season the cauliflower well so that the flavor is distributed evenly and every bite is equally scrumptious.
In a regular stove top steamer, it can take up to 8 minutes to steam cauliflower. However, it takes far less time in the Instant Pot to cook. All it takes is the time for the Instant Pot to come to pressure.
An Instant Pot is not just for stews and soups! You can easily steam vegetables in the Instant Pot by using the trivet (or a steamer basket) and adding water into the bottom of the pot.
Steamed cauliflower will retain more nutrients than boiled cauliflower, however as far as taste goes, I find both cooking options work well. But if you have an Instant Pot, try my Instant Pot Cauliflower recipe, it’s so quick and easy!
The flavors in this Instant Pot Cauliflower work perfectly as part of a big Italian feast! For more tasty recipes for entertaining, take a look at my Stuffed Cherry Peppers, Honey Baked Chicken Wings, Puff Pastry Twists, Stuffed Zucchini With Ricotta, Sofficini and Garlic Butter Sauce.
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Instant Pot Cauliflower Recipe
- Instant Pot
- 2 pounds cauliflower (900 grams)
- ½ cup water
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 fillet anchovy (optional or add more if you prefer)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
- pinch pepper
- Cut cauliflower into large florets.
- Pour water into the bottom of your Instant Pot, then place trivet inside, and arrange the florets on top of the trivet.
- Place lid on and set valve to "steaming". Press "pressure cook" button, then adjust cook time to zero minutes.
- In the meantime, make the dressing by crushing the garlic clove with the salt. (Alternatively, you could use a garlic crusher.)
- Finely chop the anchovy fillet and blend it with the garlic and salt mixture.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the garlic, salt, and anchovy mixture with the olive oil, red pepper flakes, and the pinch of pepper.
- When the time on the Instant Pot is up, press "cancel" and do a quick release by flicking the sealing switch to "venting" with a spoon. Once the pressure gauge button drops, carefully lift out the trivet (it will be hot!).
- Add cauliflower to the mixing bowl and combine gently with the dressing.
- Serve on a platter, garnished with mixed herbs, if desired.
Nutritional Information Per Serving
Nutritional information is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. For accurate results, it is recommended that the nutritional information be calculated based on the ingredients and brands you use.
This updated and improved recipe was first published July 24, 2021.
I often feel like we could have grown up in the same household, Marcellina. I often enjoy this dish, and I adore that anchovy sauce. Usually steam the cauliflower in the conventional manner, however. Will give my electric pressure cooker a try next time.
Frank, I have often wondered that myself when I read your recipes. Do try the electric pressure cooker. It's just a new item in my kitchen but I'm loving the results.
OMG...made this today for dinner....hopefully there will be some left (can't stop picking at it)
Perfect as written...DELISH!!