The Best Method for Cooking Broccoli in the Instant Pot® – Instantly Delicious

This isn’t a recipe, per se. It is more of a technique for cooking broccoli in the Instant Pot®. I was so excited to make all sorts of steamed veggies using the steam setting in the pressure cooker.  However, I was less than impressed with my first few attempts.  Asparagus? Soggy. Broccoli? Reduced to a grayish hue. This is no way to treat a vegetable, and certainly no way to convince your family to eat more green things.

The steam function is not the best method for cooking vegetables in the Instant Pot®.  Sure, many people use and like it, however I found the results to always be overdone.  My method greatly reduces the water from the recommended 1-2 cups down to 1/4 cup for 2 or 3 cups broccoli florets.  I also reduced the cooking time from 1-3 minutes to 0 (zero) minutes on manual – high pressure. You have to watch the pot carefully, because it is done relatively fast and you have to release the pressure immediately, by switching the valve from sealing to venting. A quick dunk in an ice bath, stops the cooking and helps to ensure bright green color.  I can’t wait to try this with asparagus.

3/15/2016 11:52:14 am

Looks like you mastered it. That is exactly how I like my broccoli to look!


3/17/2016 11:55:59 am

Thanks Kim! Me too.


7/20/2016 06:12:32 pm

do you put the broccoli directly in the water or in a bowl as recommended in the steaming instructions?


7/20/2016 06:57:17 pm

I place the broccoli directly in the water.


8/6/2016 10:38:40 am

Can you do this with frozen broccoli as well?


8/9/2016 07:18:43 pm

Hi. I don’t believe I have tried. I am making fresh for dinner and just checked if I still had a bag of frozen to test for you. I don’t. If you do try, set to zero mins. It will be soft, but hopefully bright green,


9/27/2016 09:09:49 pm

Your broccoli recipe was the first thing I tried in my Instant Pot…it came out perfectly delicious!!!! Thank you so much for the great advice.


9/28/2016 12:19:57 pm

So glad it turned out for you Jennifer. The method works great with lots of other veggies, too! I find that I make so many more quickly steamed veggies this way.


10/8/2016 01:01:51 pm

Just got my instant pot yesterday and (after the water test) the first thing I decided to try was broccoli. I followed your method rather than the cookbook and it came out perfectly! Even my fussy 5 year old (who doesn’t normally eat anything green) ate some! X


10/8/2016 03:55:06 pm

Thanks, Sarah 😉


1/12/2017 06:02:30 pm

did the broccoli – was great, but how do i get it to be served warm? after the quick ice bath it was cold.


1/12/2017 07:37:20 pm

Hi Cynthia,

You have a couple of options. If you plan to serve it immediately, you can skip the shocking in water. I am rarely that together, so I either plunge into boiling water or reheat in a skillet with a little water or butter.



5/25/2017 10:23:03 am


Have you tried with frozen broccoli and asparagus? Please let me know how it turned out?



5/27/2017 09:27:55 am

Hi Annett,

I have not tried it with frozen broccoli and asparagus. My guess would be zero to one minute – same method, but I can’t be sure. Let me know if you try.



Molly Miceli
7/3/2017 05:40:18 pm

This was perfect! Thanks for another use for my “magic pot”


12/5/2017 05:55:13 pm

Yes! I had to figure this out on my own … ruining so much innocent broccoli as I did.. I will now try more of your recipes because I just can’t trust any of the blogs that thinks 2 minutes is ok!😳😩


12/6/2017 03:49:19 pm

Right? What did broccoli ever do to anyone.


1/1/2018 07:59:18 am

Funny! And thanks for the broccoli and other great tips!

Kim M.
12/31/2017 03:29:08 pm

Wow! I was a little skeptical about 0 minutes, only because I’d never cooked something in my IP for that short of a time but tried it.. Amazing…..!


1/2/2018 04:24:08 pm

Ha! Glad you had faith.


1/6/2018 04:43:38 pm

Just made broccoli tonight! so glad I found your recipe first!!! It was absolutely perfect! thank you


1/17/2018 05:20:43 pm

I tried this with frozen broccoli pieces and florets, it came out perfect.


1/17/2018 10:00:10 pm

Great! I have never tried with frozen. Glad it worked too.


Mark J
1/21/2018 05:57:13 pm

Okay, I’m really not trying to be difficult here, because I LOVE my Instant Pot. But I guess I just don’t understand the “Steam” function. And apparently you don’t either because you put your veggies directly in the water in you IP pot so you aren’t actually steaming them but boiling them. So why use the “steam” function? In fact, why use the IP at all unless you don’t have a stove and pots and a steamer basket or perhaps you are cooking PIP?

Again, I’m just trying to understand this. I’ve tried the “steam” function with No success, because it isn’t actually steaming, it is pressure cooking. So just use “manual” I guess? Why have steam when it isn’t actually steam but pressure cooking?

And frankly, I can put a cup of water in a pot on my (electric) stove with my veggies in a steamer basket for five minutes and done. The IP takes so much longer to heat up.

Again, I’m not trying to be difficult, just trying to understand. I use manual, rice (for white) and saute. The other settings just seem superfluous.


1/22/2018 10:58:15 am

Hi Mark,

I am not sure I fully understand your comment? I agree that many of the settings seem unnecessary (at least to me). With the small amount of water, the cooking time for this method is probably in line with stove top steaming (it heats up quite fast.) This method is not necessarily better or a replacement for stove top steaming, just an alternative.

I use the manual setting for nearly everything too, including rice – the steam setting never really gave me good results. Since I am a creature of habit and *most* things work well with the few features I use, I am going to stick with that.

Good luck to you on your IP adventures.



Shannon Chin
1/26/2018 02:08:29 am

Just wondered if you were concerned at all about only using 1/4 cup of liquid? I have read so often to only operate with at least 1 cup of liquid. No worries?

1/26/2018 01:39:33 pm

Hi Shannon,

The recommended amount from Instant Pot® is indeed 1 cup. I have never experienced a problem in my instant pot with using less. Please use your best judgement, but adding more water will lengthen the cooking time, and will result in a different end result.


1/28/2018 02:40:20 pm

Julie – I came across your blog via a Google search on how to cook broccoli in the IP. Just tried your “weird trick” (setting pressure to zero), and boy, does it work!

In response to Mark’s comment above, I would say (1) you make clear that you are NOT steaming the broccoli, you’re pressure cooking – and if it works, it works; and (2) for me, it’s not so much a question of what’s faster as what’s the least trouble. Sure, you can put veggies in a steamer basket on the stove, but then you need to watch for the water to boil and monitor the cooking. With your technique, all you need to do is keep your ear out for the “done” beeper. And you’re assured of consistency of results. That’s awesome.


1/30/2018 03:14:55 pm

Thanks Michael, glad you liked the result. 🙂


1/29/2018 12:01:31 pm

This was perfect! The last time I tried broccoli in the IP I was so disappointed in how mushy it was. Your method was spot on. I served immediately, so I didn’t need to use the water bath. Thanks again!


1/30/2018 03:15:24 pm

Thanks, Chris!


1/29/2018 05:42:50 pm

Have you tried this with asparagus? I ruined mine recently by cooking too long.


1/30/2018 03:16:50 pm

I am fairly certain I have and had a good result, but can’t remember for certain. It works for carrots and cauliflower. It’s worth a try. I will try to remember the next time I pick up asparagus.


Karen Beghly
2/1/2018 06:11:52 pm

If I use an entire head of broccoli, do I still use 1/4 cup water?


2/3/2018 08:53:07 am

Without trying it, I can’t say for certain. Do you mean a heads worth of florets? Or an entire head without cutting up?


Karen Beghly
2/4/2018 09:14:19 am

An entire head cut up.

2/4/2018 02:40:45 pm

As long as it isn’t a really large head of broccoli, my guess is that it would be fine.

2/6/2018 05:03:37 pm

Hi!! Just made broccoli! Sorry to say don’t know what I did wrong, thought I followed your method to a tee!! It came out as a pile of mush😥


2/18/2018 08:40:58 am

I am sorry to hear this. 🙁


Cheryl Murray
2/15/2018 04:46:42 pm

I just tried this…..perfection! Had to do the ice bath cause it finished so quickly…lol. it’s now sitting in my microwave waiting for me to nuke it for a few seconds and melt some butter over it. Thanks so much for a great recipe and idea…🤗


2/18/2018 08:41:27 am

Yum. Sounds great.


2/17/2018 07:55:16 pm

Perfect broccoli! I would never have thought to set to zero! This helps me to love my instant pot, I have been very tentative about it until this broccoli!


2/18/2018 08:42:04 am

Glad this method helps you to get some IP love. Hopefully more successes will help, too. Enjoy!


11/11/2018 01:48:58 pm

Per the question about about why bother cooking broccoli in the IP… I am cooking a chicken recipe in the IP and using this method to cook the broccoli saves me other pots and pans to clean in order to “steam” the broccoli.


12/5/2018 06:14:59 pm

I read online to use one minute on manual to cook asparagus. It worked perfectly. Another site recommended two minutes but it turned out mushy. 1 minute for asparagus was divine.


12/6/2018 02:08:11 pm

I’ll have to try that sometime. I believe I have done zero for asparagus and was happy with the result.


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