How to Make Instant Pot Whole Cauliflower

Instant Pot whole cauliflower is THE BEST way to use your instant pot pressure cooker to make cauliflower. No mess. No mush. Just perfect florets.

Here is how! 

Instant Pot Whole Cauliflower


I have heard nothing but horror stories of mushy cauliflower trying to cook cauliflower florets. So, I wondered how it would go by putting the cauliflower into the Instant Pot whole.

A major win for this method is the NO mess.

You know how when you cut cauliflower there are little bits of it EVERYWHERE. Yeah, those days are gone.

With this method, you cut it up AFTER it is cooked.

Instant Pot Whole Cauliflower-7

I leave it fully intact and find the green leafy part just pops right off, usually in one piece. I then just use my hands to break the head of cauliflower up into the size of pieces I want. This method is a quick and easy way to make a healthy side dish, a low-carb, vegan snack, or to add some veggies to a weeknight meal.

Instant Pot Whole Cauliflower-5

In my method, I say to use the steam button.

While most of the buttons on the instant pot are just preset times, the steam button is special.

Instant Pot Whole Cauliflower-3

When you use this function, you must use a trivet or steamer basket – the bottom of the pot gets hotter than when you use the regular manual/pressure cook function. This function also has the instant pot getting hotter, faster. 

I use this steamer basket. 

nstant Pot Whole Cauliflower-2

Could you use the pressure cook button for this? Oh probably, if you try it, leave a comment and let me know how it goes.

Another little thing I do is put the green leaf part DOWN. This way the florets on the bottom don’t over cook before the ones on the top cook.

Are you ready for this easy, no mess cauliflower method?

Instant Pot Whole Cauliflower

How to Make Instant Pot Whole Cauliflower

Print Recipe
Instant Pot whole cauliflower is THE BEST way to use your instant pot to make steamed cauliflower. No mess. No mush. No prep time. Just perfect florets.
Cook Time 1 minute
Total Time 1 minute
Servings 1 cauliflower head


  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 whole head cauliflower


  • Add 2 cups of water to the Instant Pot liner.
  • Place the whole cauliflower into the steamer basket (or onto a trivet) leafy side down. 
  • Secure the lid, and set to seal position.
  • Using the steam button, set the cooking time to cook on high pressure for 1 minute.
  • When the high-pressure cooking cycle is complete, quick-release the pressure.
  • Remove the basket from the pot to prevent the cauliflower from continuing to cook.
  • Allow the cooked cauliflower to cool for 5 minutes. Then cut and serve!

If you make this recipe, I want to see it!

Tag me @mealplanaddict over on Instagram, or come post a photo in the Meal Plan Addict Community! 

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  1. 1 star
    Hard as a rock after 1 min steaming…….then steamed another 4 min……still hard……put into the microwave and had a perfect speciman. Pressure cooking, not steaming, is the only way in the instant pot. Will find another recipe!

    1. This recipe calls for you to pressure cook (on the steam setting). Correct, just steaming (without pressure cooking) will result in a hard rock. This is a pressure cook recipe.

      1. I suspect the source of confusion is that on the Ultra the “steam” setting (which isn’t a button) specifically means no pressure. On older versions there was a actual steam button and it didn’t dictate whether or not there was pressure.

      2. How do I know if my steam setting on my pressure cooker is like you said steam under pressure cook or just steam? I have the IP lux

    2. I discovered that although I set the timer for 1 minute, the preheat took a couple of minutes and then I noticed that the timer just kept saying ON; I apparently didn’t do something right. When I did the 2nd head I did it right; after it preheated it started steaming – either I forgot to push the vent button down or I messed up the timer setting cuz after 1 minute of steaming it was done perfectly!

  2. TOTAL VICTORY!!!!! I am making crockpot veggie lasagna with cauliflower Alfredo and it has NEVER been easier to deal with a cauliflower head. I WILL NEVER GO BACK, thank you so much for a genius method!

  3. 5 stars
    Oh WOW!!
    Wonderful, easy recipe. It came out perfect..

    Now do you have a way to do a whole head of cabbage????

    Thanks YOU!!!!

  4. 5 stars
    Can’t find a way to post the photo’s. Oh my goodness! I am so thrilled to have yet another time saver in the kitchen. Worked perfectly.

  5. Richard here, I am not a cook but I have a large pressure cooker, no steam setting, so I picked Beans and Lentils.
    Followed you instruction to the letter, however i must have done something wrong, comments appreciated.

    I determined a head of steam by constantly fingering thr steam weight, once there was steam I cooked for One Minute and then opened full the steam weight took about 30 seconds to lose all steam, opened cover , it was hard as a rock.
    I put it back and used same method for steam testing and steamed for 5 minutes and stopped cooking but left pressure in cooker for an additional 5 minutes. I tested it and it was aldonte ! Medium rare! but I guess ok to eat, however I like mine soft so I put it back again One Minute more then let pressure stay for 5 additional minutes.

    It was Medium, I assume acceptable to most people, but not me, so I just put the cover on, hard to do, needed force as pot still hot, steam came back immediately so I am letting it sit, no power for 5 more minutes.,

    In summary I would cook for 7 minutes and leave steam head for 7 minutes, and adjust as needed for you preference and cooker charistics.

  6. 4 stars
    I gave 4 stars for ease of cooking. I did the steam for 1 min. It wasn’t done enough for eating with cheese sauce. If you were going to use it to dip I think it was good. I would like it better than plain old raw. I put it in for 1 more minute and it is too cooked. I would do 1 min 30 and I think it would be perfect.

  7. 5 stars
    Wonderful! I use the Instant Pot IP duo that has a steam button, I set it for one minute, and took the cauliflower out as directed to set for 5 minutes. It came apart like a dream! Thank you so much for this tip!

  8. 5 stars
    Perfect! I love cauliflower and wasn’t looking forward to cutting it up BEFORE I cooked it and you saved me that annoying step! It did indeed take a while to come up to pressure, but I had a GIANT head of cauliflower so I figured it would take a little longer. I’m going to try not to eat the whole head now.

  9. 4 stars
    Although I did end up pressure cooking the califlower, it was still a good way to cook it, especially for Mac and cheese, colcannon or colcannon soup, etc. There were so many ideas going through my head! Definitely a keeper. Thanks!!!

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