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Instant Pot Broccoli + FAQ & Step-by-Step

Instant Pot Broccoli is a staple at my house. Learn how to make perfect Instant Pot steamed broccoli that isn’t mushy or crunchy. This recipe works with or without a steamer basket.

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Instant Pot Steamed Broccoli

I make about 3 pounds of steamed broccoli in my Instant Pot each week.

INSTANT POT PRESSURE COOKER BROCCOLI

The Instant Pot makes it so easy to meal prep broccoli for weeknight dinners or (Keto or low carb) lunches. I love that it’s cooked and ready to use throughout the next few days.

I try to eat veggies with every single meal (including breakfast!). Steaming a big broccoli batch makes it easy to add to any meal or recipe. 

This is one of those “back to basics recipes” that everyone should know. It’s SO simple and easy! In this post, I answer all your questions about steaming broccoli in the Instant Pot.

a bowl of broccoli on a white napkin

essential Instant Pot recipe

Making broccoli in the Instant Pot is an essential recipe every pressure-cooker owner needs to know (like Instant Pot Rice!). Make sure to watch my YouTube video How to Make Instant Pot Broccoli and 6 Other Instant Pot Recipes You Need to Know!

Serve Instant Pot steamed broccoli with my Instant Pot Ribs, 4 Ingredient Instant Pot Country Style Ribs, or Pork Tenderloin. Yum!

Can I use any steamer basket in instant pot?

You can make Instant Pot broccoli with or without a steamer basket.

Any steamer basket that is all metal or silicone will work in a pressure cooker. Check the label on any product to ensure it is compatible. I recommend this steamer basket. You can read more about how much I love it in my article Best Instant Pot Accessories to buy (and AVOID!).

I also have a blog post sharing 12 Ways to Use an Instant Pot Steamer Basket.

How to Steam Broccoli in the Instant Pot

  • Wash and cut broccoli into uniform pieces. Make sure they aren’t too small, otherwise they may overcook (see my tips below if you want to keep them small). It’s important to cut them into similar sizes so they cook evenly.
  • I use the 3lb bag of broccoli florets from Costco. Some pieces are really large, so I cut them down (especially the big stems).
Broccoli florets in an instant pot steamer basket
  • Transfer the broccoli to a steamer basket or net.  Although you don’t need one in order to make Instant Pot broccoli, it certainly makes it easier! 

Before I had my basket, I would simply layer the broccoli on top of the trivet and hope it didn’t fall through.

I love using it for sweet potatoes, salt potatoes, hard boiled eggs, ribs, mashed potatoes, artichokes, corn on the cob, spaghetti squash, as a colander for my No-Mold Berry hack, and all other veggies!

Water in the Instant Pot

Add ¾ cup of water to the Instant Pot liner for a 6 quart pot. (½ cup for 3 quart and 1 cup for 8 quart). Don’t do more than 1 cup!

You can read why you don’t want to add extra water to delicate foods in my Instant Pot Bacon Green Beans post.

uncooked broccoli in the instant pot pressure cooker
Instant Pot Lid in sealing position
  • Lock the lid, turn the knob to sealing.
0 minute cook time on Instant Pot
  • Press the Manual (or if you have a newer model, it will say Pressure Cook). Cook on manual high pressure for 0 minutes. Yup, you heard me right. Press the (-) adjust button until you hit 0 minutes.

Instant Pot broccoli time is 0 minutes because the Instant Pot essentially “preheats” while it comes to pressure. The steamed broccoli cooks while the Instant Pot is pressurizing. This process takes about five minutes, which is all the broccoli needs to reach the perfect texture!

Lapsed 0 minutes on Instant Pot
  • As soon as the pressure cooking has completed, an L0:00 will appear for LAPSED time.
Quick release on Instant Pot
  • Do a quick release right away by turning the knob to VENTING.
Instant Pot Steamed BroccoliInstant Pot Steamed Broccoli
  • Open the lid, and test the broccoli with a fork to see if it is tender enough. If you fill up a big basket like mine and pack it super tight, you may have some pieces that are undercooked in the center.

I don’t mind this. I use the parts that are cooked first. The rest gets reheated in the following days and stays crisp, not overcooked.For the best, most consistent results, only fill the basket halfway.

  • Once you get the texture you’re looking for, remove the broccoli as soon as possible and serve immediately.

HOW TO STORE INSTANT POT MEAL PREP BROCCOLI

Broccoli may be stored in any airtight container in the refrigerator for about 2-5 days. Note that the broccoli will start to break down a little bit, and may get softer as the days go by.

Cooked broccoli also lets off sulforaphane, a gas that may smell unpleasant in the fridge.

Instant Pot broccoli can be reheated in the microwave, on the stove, or used cold.

Sometimes, I even reheat cold broccoli in the Air Fryer at 350 degrees for 5 minutes (shaking halfway). Perfect as a side dish or on a salad!

Read how to make roasted Air Fryer Broccoli.

Instant Pot Broccoli without Steamer Basket

You can still make instant pot broccoli with no steamer basket. Simply use the trivet that your Instant Pot came with (the metal “rack” that keeps food out of the water on the bottom.)

Place the trivet in the Instant Pot, along with 3/4 cup water for a 6 quart, 1/2 cup water for a 3 quart, and 1 cup for an 8 quart Instant Pot.

Stack the broccoli on top of the trivet and keep it out of the water as much as possible. Cook as directed. Then quickly remove the broccoli to a serving plate with tongs or a large spoon.

You can also dump the entire thing into a colander or strainer, but be careful since the trivet will fall out as well.

FROZEN BROCCOLI INSTANT POT

While fresh broccoli in the Instant Pot is definitely best, frozen broccoli that is purchased at the grocery store may also be cooked in the Instant Pot.

Frozen broccoli sold at the store is already par-cooked, so it will cook very quickly. The florets are also usually very small, so I recommend placing them in a steamer basket or net.

Cook the frozen broccoli for 0 minutes, as written in this post for fresh broccoli. Do a quick release, and then check the broccoli. Frozen broccoli is very easy to overcook. I would check the broccoli at 0 minutes, and if it is almost done, replace the lid and let it steam through using the residual heat of the Instant Pot.

Do NOT pressure cook again.

lisa childs and caitlin burchill on ksl studio 5 talking instant pot accessories
I shared my favorite Instant Pot accessories on KSL Studio 5. Watch my segment HERE

What if my broccoli is mushy?

If you follow this method and you’re still getting mushy broccoli, consider these troubleshooting ideas:

  • Cut your broccoli pieces larger next time.
  • Use the Low Pressure setting (not available on LUX models.)
  • While prepping your broccoli, add the water to the Instant Pot and turn it to High Saute. This will get the water hot and your broccoli will cook much quicker. After you put the broccoli in the Instant Pot, hit Cancel to stop Saute mode. Then, follow the steps as listed (0 min high pressure, quick release).
closeup of broccoli

What if my broccoli is still hard or unevenly cooked?

  • Cut your broccoli into smaller, more uniform pieces next time.
  • If your broccoli is still not quite tender enough, replace the lid on the Instant Pot for 2-3 minutes. You can shake up the broccoli in the basket (if you have a lot.)The residual heat and steam will continue to cook the broccoli on Keep Warm mode.

Check the broccoli after a couple minutes, until you get the texture you’re looking for.

  • DO NOT PRESSURE COOK AGAIN.

How to serve Instant Pot Broccoli

  • Chop it up into smaller pieces and add to a breakfast omelet.
  • Plain, with salt and pepper.
  • Air Fryer Broccoli. Toss broccoli with extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes. Crisp in the Air Fryer at 400 degrees for 2-4 minutes. Serve with a squeeze of lemon juice. SO GOOD.
  • Reheat cold broccoli in the Air Fryer at 350 degrees for 5 minutes (shaking halfway). Perfect as a side dish or on a salad!
  • Throw it into any soup (like my famous Instant Pot Chicken Noodle Soup) in the last couple minutes of cooking to add some extra veggies!

INSTANT POT BROCCOLI AND CHEESE

  • Drizzle broccoli with browned butter, salt, and Mizithra cheese. (Just like at the Spaghetti Factory!)
  • Read this post to learn how to make browned butter.
  • Mizithra cheese can be found at most grocery stores with a gourmet cheese section. I find mine (in Utah) at Smiths or Harmons.
  • For a simple Instant Pot Broccoli and Cheese recipe, just sprinkled broccoli with some parmesan cheese after cooking.

CAN YOU STEAM INSTANT POT BROCCOLI WITH OTHER VEGETABLES?

Yes, I often steam broccoli with other vegetables in the Instant Pot. When steaming two foods together, keep in mind that they need to be similar sizes and cook for the same amount of time.

If one food needs to cook for a longer time, you can pressure cook it first, then add raw broccoli in the Instant Pot and then pressure cook for 0 minutes.

I generally will pressure cook whatever needs to cook longer first, then add raw broccoli and let it steam through using the residual heat.

INSTANT POT BROCCOLI AND CAULIFLOWER

Cauliflower and broccoli are very similar, but they cook at slightly different times. Cauliflower is a bit tougher, so it takes about 1 minute to pressure cook.

If you would like to cook them together, cut the cauliflower florets about half the size of the broccoli and cook for 0 minutes with a quick release.

Read Instant Pot Cauliflower Soup

INSTANT POT BROCCOLI AND POTATOES

Potatoes require more time to cook than broccoli in the Instant Pot. If you cut up the potatoes into small pieces (a small dice), potatoes still take about 5 minutes with a quick release.

I recommend cooking potatoes first, then adding raw broccoli and letting it steam through using the residual heat.

Read Instant Pot Baked Potatoes

INSTANT POT BROCCOLI AND CHICKEN

Chicken and broccoli cook at vastly different times. I recommend using the same method as Instant Pot broccoli and potatoes above (cook chicken first, then add broccoli after pressure cooking).

I use this technique in my Instant Pot Chicken con Broccoli – Olive Garden Copycat recipe.

INSTANT POT BROCCOLI AND CARROTS

Carrots and broccoli cook great together in the Instant Pot. You will need to cut your carrots slightly smaller to ensure they’ll be fully cooked. I recommend cutting carrots 1/4 inch thick, and placing them in the water (not in the steamer basket). Place a steamer basket of broccoli on top of the carrots.

Cook for 0 minutes on high pressure with a quick release. If the carrots are not tender enough, replace the lid and let the carrots steam in the water for about 3-5 minutes, or until cooked to your liking.

Instant Pot Vegetable Dishes

INSTANT POT BROCCOLI FOR BABY

Broccoli is a great first food for babies because it’s a nutritional powerhouse! It’s rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. This supports growth, development, and digestion.

Steamed broccoli helps maintain the nutrients, in comparison to boiling or microwaving. It’s the perfect soft food for tender baby gums, and easy to puree if slightly overcooked.
Solid starts, my favorite baby feeding resource, recommends introducing broccoli (cooked until soft) as soon as the baby is ready to start solids, which is generally around 6 months of age.

Graphic of Instant Pot Broccoli with a picture of a bowl of broccoli

About Lisa

Lisa childs holding an instant pot lid with a mickey instant pot

Lisa Childs is the food blogger behind Tried, Tested, and True. Join the hundreds of thousands of people each month that learn from Lisa-

Subscribe to her website, follow her on Instagram at @tried_tested_true, follow her on Pinterest, and find her on Youtube at Tried Tested and True. She is passionate about giving home cooks confidence using their Instant Pots. Make sure to sign up for our email newsletter to hear from personally from her weekly! Learn more about Lisa.

Instant Pot Steamed BroccoliInstant Pot Steamed Broccoli

Instant Pot Broccoli

Yield: 1 pound
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

Instant Pot Broccoli is a staple at my house. Learn how to make perfect Instant Pot steamed broccoli that isn't mushy or crunchy. This recipe works with or without a steamer basket.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound fresh broccoli florets, washed and cut into uniform pieces
  • 1/2-1 cup water

Instructions

  1. Place cut broccoli into a steamer basket. (See alternative instructions in notes without a steamer basket.)
  2. Add water to the Instant Pot liner. 1/2 cup water for 3 quart Instant Pot, 3/4 cup water for 6 quart Instant Pot, and 1 cup water for 8 quart Instant Pot.
  3. Transfer broccoli to the Instant Pot pressure cooker.
  4. Lock the lid, turn the knob to Sealing, and pressure cook on Manual High Pressure for 0 minutes by pressing the Pressure Cook button, then using the (-) button to adjust the time to zero minutes.
  5. As soon as the pot beeps and pressure cooking has completed (the screen will say "L0:00") do a quick release by turning the knob from Sealing to Venting. Release all the pressure, until the pin drops. Remove the lid as quickly as possible to avoid overcooking. Remove the broccoli and check tenderness with a fork.
  6. If the broccoli is underdone, return the broccoli to the Instant Pot and replace the lid. Do not pressure cook again. The residual heat from the pot will continue to cook the broccoli for 2-4 minutes, until the desired texture is achieved.

Notes

  1. If you do not have a steamer basket, you can still make Instant Pot Broccoli. Simply use the trivet that your Instant Pot came with (the metal "rack" that keeps food out of the water on the bottom).
  2. Place the trivet in the Instant Pot, along with 3/4 cup water for a 6 quart, 1/2 cup water for a 3 quart, and 1 cup for an 8 quart Instant Pot.
  3. Stack the broccoli on top of the trivet and keep it out of the water as much as possible. Cook as directed, and quickly remove the broccoli to a serving plate with tongs or a large spoon.
  4. You can also dump the entire liner into a colander or strainer, but be careful as the trivet will also fall out.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 40Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 48mgCarbohydrates: 8gNet Carbohydrates: 0gFiber: 4gSugar: 2gSugar Alcohols: 0gProtein: 3g

Did you make this recipe?

Tag me @tried_tested_true on Instagram!

LInda

Wednesday 19th of February 2020

I like to cook my green beans and some other vegetables in my Instant Pot on a higher heat with the glass lid "Southern Style." When I put it on steam or saute, it turns off after a while all by itself. Do you know what setting I need to put it on so it won't turn off?

Lisa Childs

Monday 2nd of March 2020

Hi, Linda! the default setting on the saute setting is 30 minutes. You can just push the Saute button again to reset it!

Annita Dewyse

Saturday 15th of February 2020

This blog about Instant Pot Broccoli + FAQ , Troubleshooting, Step-by-Step Pictures! helps me a lot in my diet. You can have the best Custom Keto Diet plan here: https://s96.me/keto-diet Kiss you all!

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[…] Instant Pot Broccoli […]

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Monday 25th of November 2019

[…] My favorite way to serve this for a holiday meal is to cover with browned butter and mizithra cheese. It’s a family favorite and such a fancy way to serve Instant Pot broccoli! […]

Jenny

Monday 25th of February 2019

Would love this cookbook. I use the instant pot almost everyday to make soups and my 4 year old is on the Keto diet due to health reasons. I’m Always searching recipes to make for her especially in an instant pot. I have a 6 qt and an 8 qt.

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