When I think of pressure cooker broccoli, I can’t help but think of the mushy broccoli from my youth. But steamed Instant Pot broccoli couldn’t be further from it!
It delivers tender yet crispy broccoli, perfect every time.
This Instant Pot broccoli recipe makes it easy to steam broccoli for a quick and easy side dish without any fear of overcooking.
Dress the healthy vegetable side dish to fit any menu. Season it with salt and freshly ground black pepper for an everyday meal, or drizzle it with olive oil and grated parmesan cheese for an easy Italian side.
How to steam broccoli in the Instant Pot
This method delivers perfect Instant Pot broccoli every single time. And the only ingredient you need is fresh broccoli. The rest is optional.
You can buy a silicone steamer basket designed for the Instant Pot. But the trivet (stainless steel steam rack with handles) that comes with the basic Instant Pot works great. You only need to raise the broccoli from the bottom of the Instant Pot so it can steam evenly.
Step 1: Prepare your fresh broccoli
Start with a whole broccoli head or pre-cut florets.
Two small heads of broccoli or one large one should give you roughly 450 grams (1 pound) of prepared broccoli florets. But the recipe is very forgiving. You don’t have to be exact, as long as you do not overfill the Instant Pot.
Wash the fresh broccoli and slice the florets from the crown. I like to cut large florets in half lengthwise instead of creating tiny florets.
All the broccoli pieces should be roughly the same volume.
Step 2: Add the broccoli
I use the Instant Pot pressure cooker, but you can use another electric pressure cooker if that is what you have.
Pour one cup of water into the Instant Pot insert and add a pressure cooker steamer basket or the Instant Pot steamer steam rack with handles.
Place your broccoli into the steamer basket or onto the trivet steam rack.
Step 3: Pressure cook on high for zero minutes
Check that your seal ring fits correctly and lock the lid. Turn the steam release valve in the sealing position.
Press the pressure cook button (or manual button in older models). And use the pressure level button to select high pressure.
Use the minus button to bring the timer down to zero minutes. This method yields perfect tender yet crisp broccoli florets. If you want softer broccoli, increase the cooking time to one minute.
The Instant Pot will take roughly 10 minutes to reach pressure.
While the broccoli cooks, ready your seasoning mix. Use the classic dressing in the recipe card, or keep reading for more seasoning ideas.
Step 4: Quick release
As the Instant Pot reaches pressure, the float valve pops up, and the machine gives its characteristic beep to signal the end of the zero-minute cooking time.
Press cancel and use a wooden spoon to move the steam release valve to the venting position. It is called quick release, as opposed to natural release, which would wait for the pressure to release on its own.
Natural release will overcook the broccoli!
The floating valve falls back down after pressure release. Wait for this to happen before you remove the lid.
Step 5: Remove immediately and season
Use oven gloves to remove your steamer basket. If your trivet has handles, you can carefully raise it from the Instant Pot or use tongs or a serving spoon to remove the florets.
Mix the cooked broccoli with your dressing while warm, or season with salt.
Transfer any leftover steamed broccoli to an airtight container and refrigerate for three to four days.
Instant Pot steamed broccoli without steamer basket
I hear you. I also don’t want an extra kitchen gadget for every new recipe I try. Luckily, you don’t need to buy the Instant Pot silicone steamer basket or any other pressure cooker steamer basket to cook broccoli.
You can use the stainless steel steam rack with handles (or a similar trivet).
Tips for using the trivet to cook broccoli in an Instant Pot:
- Consider the size of your florets. Instead of cutting large florets into tiny broccoli trees, I slice them in half lengthwise. Then they have a large flat side that won’t fall through the gaps in the trivet.
- Add a parchment paper lining. If you have small pre-cut florets, you can cut a round of parchment paper. Place the parchment paper over the trivet before adding the broccoli florets.
- Remove the trivet. The Instant Pot trivet has handles. You can use the handles to lift the trivet with the broccoli out of the insert, but you may have some runners. Alternatively, use tongs or a serving spoon to remove the broccoli florets individually.
This trivet steamer rack came with my Instant Pot. But I know some newer Instant Pot models do not include it.
If you don’t have a trivet already and don’t want to buy one, add the broccoli to the Instant Pot insert with a cup of water. You will still get fully cooked Instant Pot broccoli with a similar texture to steamed broccoli.
Useful products for Instant Pot broccoli
- Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1: I use and love this version, but there are many to choose from nowadays.
- Instant Pot silicone steamer basket: I have not used it. But, this is the official Instant Pot silicone steamer basket if you’re interested.
- Steamer rack trivet with handles: This is not the official Instant Pot version included with the Instant Pot, but it is the closest version I found.
This section contains Amazon affiliate links.
How to use steamed broccoli
To use it in a cold broccoli salad, stop the cooking process as soon as the broccoli is tender.
- Drop the broccoli into a large bowl with ice and water to cool down immediately after cooking.
- Drain the cooled broccoli very well. No one likes a watery salad!
- Mix the cold broccoli with a salad dressing.
Or serve Instant Pot broccoli as a warm side dish seasoned with a simple dressing, like this Japanese sesame dressing.
Sesame broccoli: Try your Instant Pot steamed broccoli in this Korean sesame broccoli salad. Or serve it warm with deliciously nutty Japanese sesame sauce (goma dare).
Steamed broccoli seasoning ideas
- Classic: Mix a teaspoon of garlic salt (or garlic powder and regular salt) with two tablespoons of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice.
- Italian: Season the broccoli with salt and freshly ground black pepper, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and a splash of balsamic vinegar. And top with grated parmesan cheese.
- Asian: Mix a tablespoon of toasted sesame oil with a teaspoon of soy sauce and mix with the warm broccoli. Season to taste with salt. And sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.
Or try the preserved lemon and caper dressings from this charred broccolini with preserved lemon and caper dressing recipe for a Middle Eastern twist.
Can you cook frozen broccoli in the Instant Pot?
Yes, you can cook frozen broccoli in the Instant Pot. You don’t need to increase the cooking time or defrost the broccoli first. The broccoli will defrost and cook through with the zero-minute pressure cook method.
But, the resulting texture is softer and almost mushy. And I prefer my healthy broccoli sides to be crispy and green. So, I don’t recommend cooking frozen broccoli in the Instant Pot unless you plan to use it for broccoli soup.
There are better ways to cook frozen broccoli.
Instant Pot Steamed Broccoli
- Instant Pot (or similar electric pressure cooker)
- 450 grams (1 pound) broccoli florets*
- 1 cup cold water
Classic Dressing (optional)
- ½ teaspoon garlic salt, or your favourite seasoning
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, about ½ tablespoon
To Serve (optional)
- parmesan cheese, freshly grated (optional)
- black pepper, freshly ground (optional)
- chilli flakes (optional)
- Rinse your broccoli florets well.
- Pour one cup of water into the instant pot insert and add a pressure cooker steamer basket or the Instant Pot steamer rack trivet with handles.
- If you have a steamer basket, add the broccoli florets to the basket.
- Or, if you use the trivet, place larger florets on the trivet first, followed by smaller ones. If your florets are too small, top your trivet with a round of parchment paper. You want to keep them out of the water as much as possible.
- Lock the lid and move the steam release valve to the sealing position. Set the instant pot to pressure cook mode (or manual mode) on high pressure for zero minutes.
- If using the optional broccoli dressing, mix the ingredients in a small bowl while the broccoli cooks.
- The Instant Pot will take about 10 minutes to reach pressure. As the Instant Pot reaches pressure, the float valve pops up, and the machine gives its characteristic beep.
- Press cancel. Use a wooden spoon to quick release the pressure by moving the steam release valve to the venting position.
- Immediately remove the broccoli to avoid overcooking. Mix with the dressing while still warm. Or season with salt.
- Top with grated parmesan cheese, ground black pepper or chilli flakes. And serve while warm.
- You will get roughly 450 grams (1 pound) of broccoli florets from one large head of broccoli or two small heads of broccoli. But you don't have to be too precise here. Add the florets you have. It does not influence the cooking time.
- You don't need a steamer basket. You can also use the trivet to raise the broccoli from the bottom of the pot and allow steam to rise through. The blog post has more on how to make Instant Pot broccoli without a steamer basket.
- This method creates tender yet crispy broccoli. Just the way I like it. Set the timer for one minute if you want soft-cooked broccoli.
- You can use frozen broccoli without adjusting the cooking method. The broccoli will defrost and cook through, but it won’t have that same crispy texture. So, I don’t recommend using frozen broccoli. Instead, use fresh broccoli or cook frozen broccoli without an instant pot.
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