Have you tried cooking broccoli in your Instant Pot yet? Instant Pot broccoli cooks in a zero minute cooking cycle (yes, zero minutes!) and I’ll show you how to do it step-by-step, along with all of the safety tips you should know.
How Long Do You Steam Broccoli in the Instant Pot?
Because it takes time for the Instant Pot to pressurize and de-pressurize, broccoli cooks in just a zero minute cooking cycle. That means as soon as the pot pressurizes (which can take 8 to 10 minutes) the cooking cycle will stop immediately, so you don’t end up cooking the broccoli for too long.
While the cooking cycle is only zero minutes, the total time in the Instant Pot is up to 15 minutes when you take into account the pressurization aspect. So, be sure to set your expectations accordingly if you need to time the rest of your dinner.
How to Cook It: Step-By-Step
Cooking Instant Pot broccoli requires just 3 simple steps.
Step #1. Cut the broccoli into florets. The smaller you cut the pieces, the faster they will cook and the more tender they will be. For broccoli with more bite, leave the pieces larger.
Step #2. Arrange a steamer basket in the bottom of the Instant Pot. (I use the same steamer basket that I use for stove-top cooking, so there’s no need to buy anything special here.)
Pour 1/2 cup of water into the bottom of the pot (for a 6-quart Instant Pot; use 3/4 cup for an 8-quart Instant Pot), then place the broccoli into the steamer basket, keeping it up and out of the water. Secure the lid and move the steam release valve to Sealing.
Cook at high pressure for zero minutes.
Note: If you don’t have a steamer basket, the trivet that comes with your machine should do a decent job of keeping the broccoli out of the water, too.
Step #3: As soon as the pot beeps, signaling that the cooking cycle is complete, move the steam release valve to venting. This is called a “quick release.”
It will take about 2 full minutes for the steam to release from the pot, and when the floating valve in the lid drops, that means the pot is no longer pressurized and it’s safe to open the lid.
Safety tip: Avoid having your hand over the top of the steam release valve when moving it into the venting position. Steam will shoot out of the top of the valve, so your hand will be safe from the hot steam if you push it from the side, instead.
The broccoli should be perfectly tender when you open the lid! Season it to taste, and serve it warm right away.
Instant Pot Tips
Instant Pot cooking will vary based on the quantity of ingredients you use. The recipe below calls for 12 ounces of broccoli and 1/2 cup of water, which is my go-to formula using a 6-quart Instant Pot, but results will vary if you change any number of factors.
Here’s what you should know:
Using a 8-quart Instant Pot: You’ll need to use more water to bring the machine to pressure; I usually can get away with 3/4 cup of water in this size, but feel free to use a full 1 cup of water to be on the safe side. In that case, the broccoli will cook longer, because it takes longer for the larger Instant Pot to pressurize, and de-pressurize.
If you’re worried about mushy broccoli, I would release the steam as soon as the floating valve in the lid pops-up. (Usually, you can hear this if you are around the Instant Pot. It can take up to 1 minute for the Instant Pot to beep after the floating valve pops up, so this can shave off some of the cooking time.) You can also try starting with hot water on the bottom of the pot, as that will shorten the cooking time, as well.
Using a 3-quart Instant Pot: I don’t have this size machine, but I think we can safely assume that a smaller pot won’t take as long to pressurize and de-pressurize. As a result, the broccoli may have more bite to it than if you were to cook it in a 6-quart pot, so you may want to cook it for 1 or 2 minutes, instead of zero minutes, in this size. Please let me know if you experiment with this in the comments below.
Want to cook more broccoli? The more full your Instant Pot is, the longer it will take to pressurize. So, as a result, cooking more broccoli will probably result in slightly more tender results, because the broccoli will be in the pot longer.
Want to cook less broccoli? If you only want to cook a small portion of broccoli, like 1 cup for example, the pot will pressurize faster, and as a result, the broccoli should have more bite to it. For more tender broccoli, you may want to use a 1-minute cooking cycle instead, but I’d try the zero minute cycle first, to see how you like it.
Does water temperature matter? Yes! I always recommend starting with cold water when using your Instant Pot. Most recipes call for cold water (or tap water) so if you start with hot water, that change may affect the overall cooking time.
However, in this case, if you’re looking for less-mushy broccoli, hot water could actually be a good thing, because it will shorten the Instant Pot cooking cycle. So, feel free to experiment with that!
Cooking Frozen Broccoli
Yes, you can cook frozen broccoli in the Instant Pot, too! I tested this by cooking a full 1-pound bag of frozen broccoli, using the directions below. The results were quite tender and mushy, but my kids gobbled it up! So, if you have family members who don’t mind very soft broccoli, you can cook frozen broccoli in the pressure cooker.
Prefer crispier broccoli? Try Air Fryer Broccoli instead. Frozen broccoli turns out much better using that method!
Instant Pot Broccoli
- 8 ounces broccoli florets , cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1/2 cup water
- Pour the water into the bottom of the Instant Pot, and arrange a steamer basket inside. (There's no need to buy something special here, I use the same steamer basket I use for stove-top cooking. You can also use the trivet that comes with your machine, instead.)
- Place the broccoli on top of the steamer basket, then secure the lid. Move the steam release valve to "Sealing" and use the Pressure Cook or Manual button to cook at high pressure for zero minutes. (Yes, zero is a real setting on the Instant Pot!) It will take roughly 4-5 minutes for the pot to come to pressure if you're using a 6-quart Instant Pot, so the machine will read "On" until then.
- As soon as the cooking cycle is complete, the screen will read L0:00. Immediately move the steam release valve to "Sealing" to release the pressure in the pot. It will take 1-2 minutes for the steam to release. When the floating valve in the lid drops, that means the pressure is gone and it's safe to open the lid.
- The broccoli should be perfectly fork-tender, without being mushy. Serve it warm right away as a healthy side dish, or store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days, so you can stir it into your meals throughout the week.
If you try this Instant Pot broccoli, please leave a comment below and let me know how you like it! And if you make any modifications, or experiment with different size pots, I’d love to hear about that, too.
Reader Feedback: What else would you like to know about Instant Pot cooking? Let me know if you have any other recipe requests.