Instant Pot Cauliflower is a quick, easy, delicious and nutritious side dish that you can whip up in under 15 minutes! No fuss, no extra equipment, next to no time, yet all the tasty ‘punch’ that you want in a side, snack, or accompaniment.
You will use the trivet (stainless steel rack insert) that came with your Instant Pot so that the cauliflower will cook as it sits above the water line.
WHY YOU’LL LOVE THIS RECIPE
Why do I love thee? Let me count the ways…!
There are many reasons to love this quick and easy Instant Pot Cauliflower recipe, but the first one has to be that if you own an Instant Pot, you already own everything you need. No need to buy any additional equipment – just use the trivet that came with your Instant Pot.
The second reason is that this method of cooking cauliflower makes tender, crisp cauliflower each and every time. I love the reliability of this recipe. We all lead busy lives, so when it comes time to get a tasty and nutritious meal on the table, it’s important to me that my recipes work out perfectly first time, every time.
And lastly, cauliflower is packed full of health giving nutrients, making it an excellent option for use in place of potatoes, prepackaged pasta, or rice. Cauliflower is naturally very low in carbohydrates, calories, fat, sodium, and sugar, while remaining rich in Vitamin C, Vitamin K, choline, and fiber. It’s also a fabulous source of antioxidants!
So while some of us might not have great memories of eating cauliflower as kids, modern conveniences like the Instant Pot mean we can cook cauliflower in new and inventive ways. Hooray for being able to take full advantage of the versatility and health benefits of cauliflower while incorporating our favorite flavors.
For complete ingredient quantities and full instructions, please scroll to the printable recipe card bottom of the page.
Using just a handful of ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry, my instant pot cauliflower is quick, easy, healthy, and super-tasty.
- Cauliflower – choose a head of cauliflower that is a creamy white color and feels heavy for its size.
- Extra virgin olive oil – or use regular or light, whichever you prefer.
- Garlic – fresh is (almost) always best, but at a pinch you could use minced garlic or garlic flakes.
- Red pepper flakes – optional (see ‘Variations’ below) but very tasty and add a lovely hint of ‘zing’.
- Anchovies – optional (see ‘Variations’ below).
- You can leave out the red pepper flakes and anchovies, if you prefer or for a vegan or vegetarian family member or guest.
- Add finely grated Parmesan cheese and some lemon zest. The lemon zest will act as the ‘zing’ ingredient in much the same way as the red pepper flakes.
- 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 – sensational as a side dish or added to a cup of steamed peas to create a vegetable salad!
- Alternatively, try other flavors snipped directly from your herb garden or sprinkled from the panty including chopped fresh chives, Italian herb mix, Mexican seasoning, paprika, or almost any other spice that takes your fancy.
Instant Pot Cauliflower is such a versatile – and healthy – side dish that you can mix and match flavors according to your tastes and needs. Do you have a vegan guest? No problem! Simply omit the anchovy fillet from the dressing and the recipe becomes vegetarian and vegan friendly. No red pepper flakes in the panty? No problem! Use of my tasty variations like curry powder, Italian herb mix, or lemon zest and Parmesan. Really, the sky’s the limit when it comes to dressing options.
If you have tried one of my variations – or if you have one of your own – I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.
- Electric pressure cooker. I tested this recipe using an Instant Pot Duo 7 in 1 Multi Cooker 6 quarts (5.7 litres).
- Trivet (steam basket) that came with the pressure cooker.
Easy to follow instructions – in pictures!
- 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!
Serve on a platter and garnish with chopped herbs, if desired.
TIPS FOR SUCCESS AND FAQs
- The cauliflower will be done very quickly so stay close to the Instant Pot. You’ll need to release the pressure immediately when the Instant Pot beeps.
- Cut the cauliflower head into large enough florets that they won’t be able to fall through the gaps in the trivet.
- Cut the pieces into evenly sized florets so that they will cook evenly – you don’t want any giant undercooked pieces, nor any tiny and overcooked pieces!
- Season the cauliflower well so that the flavor is distributed evenly and every bite is equally scrumptious.
- For crunchier cauliflower, use low pressure for zero minutes.
Technically, yes, however my recommendation is that you don’t. If you do freeze it, be aware that it’s likely to be softer when it has defrosted than it was originally.
Yes, you can! Please just be aware that the cooking times will likely change.
Wondering what you can serve this tasty treat with? What about an Italian antipasto buffet? The flavors and colors combine perfectly to create a beautiful feast you can serve to family and friends. Have a look at:
- Stuffed Cherry Peppers – also known as ‘peperoncini ripieni’, these little cherry peppers are filled with a silky combination of anchovies, capers, and tuna.
- Honey Baked Chicken Wings – exactly as delicious as the name implies!
- Puff Pastry Twists – baked to perfection, these crunchy, cheesy treats are very more-ish!
- Stuffed Zucchini With Ricotta – easy to make ahead of time and great for vegetarians.
- Sofficini – delicious fried pastries oozing with ham and cheese.
MORE RECIPES LIKE THIS
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Instant Pot Cauliflower
- Instant Pot
- 2 pounds cauliflower (900 grams)
- ½ cup water
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 fillet anchovy (optional)
- 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.