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From air fryer cauliflower to cauliflower casserole to whole roasted cauliflower, simple cauliflower recipes are kind of my thing. I usually prefer the flavor of roasting it (steamed cauliflower isn’t my favorite), but a few weeks ago, my oven and air fryer were both taken up by other foods, so I pulled out my Instant Pot and experimented. This Instant Pot cauliflower recipe was the result. Turns out, with the perfect combination of spices, cooking cauliflower in the Instant Pot is amazing — and so fast! If you’re looking for a delicious, quick and easy way to cook up some cauli, you won’t be disappointed.
Why You’ll Love This Instant Pot Cauliflower Recipe
- Perfect crisp tender results every time
- Simple ingredients you probably have on hand
- Easy prep and cleanup
- One of the fastest ways to cook cauliflower
- Naturally gluten-free, healthy, low carb, and keto friendly
- Easy healthy side dish on its own, or use it in soups, casseroles, and other recipes
Ingredients & Substitutions
This section explains how to choose the best ingredients for cooking cauliflower in the Instant Pot, what each one does in the recipe, and substitution options. For measurements, see the recipe card below.
- Cauliflower – Find a whole head of cauliflower and cut into medium sized florets that are 1.5 to 2 inches in diameter and 2 inches long.
TIP: Be careful not to cut the florets too small!
Medium to large cauliflower florets work best in the Instant Pot. Small ones will get too mushy (and are better for making mashed cauliflower).
- Olive Oil – Adds flavor, and also helps the spices permeate the cauliflower. You can substitute avocado oil or any other oil you like.
- Lemon Juice – Brightens the flavor and works well with this veggie’s naturally nutty taste.
- Seasonings – Including paprika, garlic powder, sea salt, and black pepper for a touch of smoke and spice.
- Fresh Parsley – An optional garnish that brings out a bit more flavor in the cauliflower.
How To Cook Cauliflower In The Instant Pot
This section shows how to make Instant Pot cauliflower, with step-by-step photos and details about the technique, to help you visualize it. For full instructions, including amounts and temperatures, see the recipe card below.
- Season. Place cauliflower florets into a bowl and drizzle with olive oil, lemon juice, paprika, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Toss to coat.
- Transfer. Pour the water into the Instant Pot. Place a steamer basket inside and arrange the cauliflower over it. (You can use the trivet that comes with the Instant Pot instead, but some pieces may fall through.)
- Cook cauliflower in the Instant Pot. Close the pressure cooker lid and switch the knob to the Sealing position. Press the Pressure Cook button and set for zero minutes. Cook at high pressure until it beeps.
- Release. Immediately use quick release to release pressure by turning the valve to the Venting position. This will prevent the Instant Pot cauliflower from overcooking. Garnish with fresh parsley if desired.
How Long To Cook Cauliflower In The Instant Pot?
The best cooking time for cauliflower in the Instant Pot is 0 minutes for juicy and slightly crisp cauliflower. If you want a mushier cauliflower, simply cut the pieces smaller.
- Store: Place the leftovers in an airtight container and store them in the fridge for up to four days.
- Meal prep: Make Instant Pot cauliflower ahead of time and use it for cauliflower mac and cheese, cauliflower potato salad, loaded cauliflower casserole, or any one of my cauliflower recipes.
- Reheat: Place cauliflower in a microwave-safe dish and heat for 1-2 minutes, or until warm. Stir cauliflower occasionally to prevent hot spots. You can also reheat in the oven if you like, at 350 degrees F. I don’t recommend reheating cauliflower in the Instant Pot, as it will get too mushy.
- Freeze: Transfer to a freezer-safe container and store for up to 6 months. Thaw overnight before reheating.
What To Serve With Instant Pot Cauliflower
Cauliflower is one of the best vegetables to pair with easy mains:
- Steak – For an elegant meal, you can’t go wrong with filet mignon, sirloin steak, ribeye steak, or even New York strip.
- Chicken – Try pan seared chicken breasts, baked buffalo chicken, chicken piccata, or simply crispy baked chicken legs.
- Pork – Pair cauliflower with pan seared pork chops, stuffed pork chops, or garlic pork tenderloin.
- Seafood – While you’re cooking cauliflower in the Instant Pot, make a quick cod or halibut recipe for weeknights. You can also pair it with crab stuffed salmon, pan seared scallops, or lobster tails for special occasions.
More Cauliflower Recipes
If you’re ready to go beyond plain cauliflower, I have dozens of easy cauliflower recipes with rich and savory flavor:
Instant Pot Cauliflower Recipe
Instant Pot Cauliflower (Fast & Easy!)
Instant Pot cauliflower is fast & easy! Made with olive oil, lemon juice, and spices, this foolproof recipe is perfectly tender every time.
Recipe VideoTap on the image below to watch the video.
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Tap underlined ingredients to see where to get them. Please turn Safari reader mode OFF to view ingredients.
Tap on the times in the instructions below to start a kitchen timer while you cook.
Place cauliflower florets into a bowl and drizzle with olive oil, lemon juice, paprika, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Toss to coat.
Close the Instant Pot lid and switch the knob to the Sealing position. Press the Pressure Cook button and set it to 0 (zero) minutes. The Instant Pot will take about 10-12 minutes to come to pressure, and at that point the cauliflower will be done.
Use quick release to release pressure by turning the valve to Venting. Wait until steam stops coming out before opening the lid.
Serve Instant Pot cauliflower warm, with chopped parsley on top if desired.
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Serving size: 1 cup
Nutrition info does not include the optional parsley.
Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy. Have questions about calculations or why you got a different result? Please see our nutrition policy.
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