Steaming veggies is a great way to get important nutrients on the dinner (or lunch or breakfast) table without spending hours in the kitchen. My absolute favorite method?? Steamed vegetables in the Instant Pot!
You might be thinking, “Okay, Katie, I can see using the Instant Pot for cooking a whole chicken, but steaming veggies on the stovetop is so simple – why do I need to use the Instant Pot for this?”
Easy – consistent results without tying up a stovetop burner or heating the kitchen in those hot summer months when fresh vegetables are most abundant!
Getting Started Steaming in the Instant Pot
One of the best things about this Instant Pot technique is you need next to no special accessories to get the best results.
The required equipment is as follows –
- An Instant Pot – other electric pressure cooker brands will work too
- A steamer insert – one likely came with your Instant Pot, but if not, this steamer insert looks like a great option – I like the silicone handle to make it easy to lift the basket out of the pot and the silicone feet to keep it steady on the counter. A steamer basket with multiple layers can be helpful if you want to steam different veggies at the same time and don’t want to mix them.
- Whatever food you wish to steam – obviously veggies, but hard-boiled eggs are great in the Instant Pot as well.
That’s it! It really is that simple.
Where to Buy an Instant Pot
This is the 6-quart Instant Pot I started out with. After a few years, we added an 8-quart partly because I knew I would use two at the same time often enough, partly because it was the Prime Day sale, and also because I wanted more space for certain recipes. Both are a pretty basic model and you don’t need more bells and whistles than that! My full Instant Pot review including pros and cons.
If you’re deciding on size, most people say it’s better to get a deal on the 6-quart and just have 2 rather than go big, BUT if your family has 5 or more people or you really like to batch cook or do more than a pound of beans, the 8-quart may be the best choice. My full Instant Pot buying guide for features, size, and model.
How to Steam Vegetables in the Instant Pot
I like al dente steamed vegetables, where they’re just really bright but not too mushy. So I usually only steam them in the Instant Pot for one minute. Then I immediately try to release the steam and get the vegetables out so that the hot water doesn’t continue to cook them.Print
Super simple steamed vegetables in the Instant Pot + a fifth burner equivalent!
- Prepare veggies to steam by cutting into equal-sized chunks – shoot large to prevent overcooking.
- Pour one cup of water under the steamer insert and arrange veggies on the basket.
- Lock in the lid and make sure the valve is closed.
- Cook on “Manual” for one minute. Manual will default to high pressure; if you’re steaming less than a whole head of cauliflower or broccoli, something small like green beans, or you simply prefer “al dente” steamed veggies, I would try low pressure for one minute.
- It will take about 10 minutes to get up to (high) pressure.
- After the one minute cook time, open the valve with a long-handled wooden spoon or something similar to quick release the pressure (this will take about 3-5 minutes).
- Remove the steamed veggies (immediately) and serve warm with any desired seasonings!
Keep in mind that some veggies will take longer to cook than others. A good rule of thumb is that the harder the vegetable is when it’s raw, the longer it will take to steam. You can mitigate this a little by chopping the harder veggies into smaller pieces.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, if you find that even one minute at low pressure is turning your broccoli florets to mush, you can set the timer down to zero. Then it will just come up to pressure and then shut off.
Keywords: Instant Pot Steamed Veggies, Steaming in the Instant Pot, Steam Vegetables in the Instant Pot
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Helpful tip: If you don’t want to remove your steamed veggies to yet another dish because you don’t have a dishes fairy at your house, you can carefully take the steamer basket out, hold the vegetables to the side and use oven mitts to pour out the steaming water.
Give your Instant Pot insert a quick rinse with cold water to cool it down, and then your vegetables can go back into the pot. Give it a few minutes before putting the lid back on, though, or they will continue to cook and might get too mushy for your liking.
Also, check out this post on homemade cauliflower rice in the Instant Pot for another time-saving hack when steaming cauliflower.
Make your Instant Pot work for you!
I won’t tell if your Instant Pot is still in its box, pinky swear. 😉
I left mine abandoned in the basement for almost a YEAR because I have a new-thing-instructions phobia, but now I have TWO Instant Pots and they’re both in constant use!
Turns out it’s so easy, a kid can do it — I’ll send you a quick video of my children unboxing and setting it up when you grab your FREE download mini eBook:
Get the Instant Pot Guidebook for FREE!
What’s in the Guidebook?
You’ll love the simplicity of your Instant Pot, and the free downloadable guidebook will help you:
- Adapt your own favorite recipes from the slow cooker
- Cook FROZEN ground beef
- Hard boil eggs perfectly
- Cook squash, steam veggies, and make applesauce in your IP
- Make dry beans in an hour and perfect rice without boiling over
- Steam veggies al dente and make Paleo cauli rice in minutes
- Cook a whole chicken and make FAST bone broth
Whether yours is still in the box or you’ve used it a little but want to know more about those techniques, or if you’re still pining for an IP on your wish list, I can’t wait to give you these simple baby steps to success!
Creative Ways to Serve Steamed Vegetables
Now that you’ve mastered the technique, maybe you’re looking for a way to entice your family to add a few more steamed veggies to their plates. Check out these great ideas.
- Baked potato bar – steamed broccoli is a great topping, but get creative!
- Make a salad bar for dinner and include steamed veggies as a possible topping.
- Whip up a veggie-filled pasta salad.
- Use steamed vegetables as a fresh addition to previously frozen or meal prepped soups like this Keto Chicken Curry.
- Explore some Asian cooking techniques – stir fry night or make your own hibachi, anyone?
From Steaming Veggies to Instant Pot Super User!
So many people leave their Instant Pot in the box for a month or six months or even a year before they get it out. It’s just one of those appliances that intimidate people. Really, setting up an Instant Pot isn’t that hard, and my kids even show you how to do it.
My funny story is that I got an Instant Pot as a free product review sample. I should have been so excited to dig into it, because it was really new, getting some good buzz, but definitely nowhere near as big as it is now. Many people hadn’t even heard of it.
I was busy.
I’m easily overwhelmed by new appliances.
I don’t like reading directions.
And I didn’t want to mess it up. I knew that with pressure cooking, there were some safety issues, so I was nervous.
Then along came summer and a huge birthday party for all four of my kids and 30 or 40 family members. The night before the party, I was trying to plan how I would keep everything warm and have everything cooked for this cool baked potato bar we were serving.
I was running out of burners, slow cookers, and options.
I remembered that I had that Instant Pot in the basement. I ran down and grabbed it, quickly skimmed the directions for how to steam broccoli, and packed it up to take to my in-laws’ house the next day.
I’m sure I did not set up the Instant Pot right and definitely didn’t run a cycle without food in it. I’m so embarrassed to admit this. I completely overcooked the broccoli because I didn’t read the instructions well at all. But nothing exploded.
And that at least started me off on my path to learn more about this awesome appliance and how to use it. Now I own two Instant Pots and use at least one of them on a near-daily basis.
If I had to do it again, I would bring both my Instant Pots to the party and use one to steam vegetables and the other to keep something warm.