Perfectly steamed Instant Pot asparagus drizzled with a sweet and tangy balsamic glaze.
This easy recipe for Instant Pot steamed asparagus is the most reliable method for cooking tender asparagus in a pressure cooker.
What you'll also love is the easy, luscious balsamic glaze that can be drizzled over your steamed asparagus.
The glaze is sweet and tangy and takes just 5 minutes to make.
If you'd like a different version of asparagus, try easy oven roasted asparagus.
If you want plain, steamed Instant Pot asparagus you can make that too! Just follow the same cooking method outlined in the recipe card below. Or, top the asparagus with butter, lemon juice or parmesan cheese.
Lots of options here, to make sure you can have whatever type of asparagus you crave!
Asparagus: Medium-thick spears steam better than very thin spears. Very thin asparagus spears cook very quickly, and are likely to get overcooked when steamed in a pressure cooker.
Balsamic Glaze Ingredients: Balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar and butter simmer together and reduce into a glossy glaze to drizzle over the asparagus.
- Pour 1 cup of water into the pressure cooker. Set a steamer basket with asparagus over the water.
2. Whisk together the balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, and brown sugar. Set aside.
3. Program the Instant Pot to cook for "0" minutes on LOW pressure. When the steaming time is complete (L0:00) and the pressure cooker beeps, immediately release the pressure.
Low pressure steams at a slightly lower temperature, making it more likely that the asparagus won't be overcooked. The Instant Pot defaults to high pressure, which is more likely to result in overcooked asparagus.
4. Take the steamer basket of asparagus out of the Instant Pot. Press the "saute" button and add the balsamic vinegar, soy sauce and brown sugar. Simmer for 5 minutes into a thick glaze, then add a pat of butter.
5. Drizzle the balsamic glaze over the asparagus and serve
Is a steamer basket necessary?
Yes, if you want pressure cooker asparagus to have a perfectly cooked texture you need to use a steamer basket in the Instant Pot. If you set the asparagus directly in the water, it will boil not steam.
This can result in overcooked, soggy or limp asparagus.
If necessary, you can use the metal trivet that comes with the Instant Pot. However, the asparagus might fall through the large gaps and it's harder to lift out once the veggie is cooked.
Pro Tips for Perfectly Cooked Instant Pot Asparagus
- Use a steamer basket
- Cook for "0" minutes, then use a quick release
- Cook on low pressure
- If the cooked asparagus is too firm, just set the lid back on the Instant Pot and the stalks will continue to steam in the residual heat
Seasonings and Sauces
Balsamic glazed asparagus has sweet and tangy flavor. A glaze is simply a sauce that's simmered long enough to concentrate the flavor and thicken the consistency.
The balsamic glaze in this recipe is made from balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar and butter. It's salty, tangy, & sweet and has a silky, syrupy texture. Yum!
This asparagus is an easy side dish and flavor-packed green vegetable that's perfect for dinner.
You can also use the recipe below to make plain asparagus in a pressure cooker. Nothing more is needed to flavor the steamed veggie than a little butter or olive oil and a sprinkle of salt.
To add more flavor, you can top plain steamed asparagus with one or more of these ingredients or sauces:
- Squeeze of lemon juice
- Grated parmesan cheese
- Crumbled goat cheese or feta
- Black pepper or red pepper flakes
- Slivered almonds
- Curry powder + mayonnaise = tasty dip
- Creme fraiche and mustard sauce
- Cucumber yogurt sauce
- Best-Ever Thai Peanut Sauce, from Feasting at Home
Depending on how fresh the asparagus is when it's purchased, uncooked asparagus will stay fresh for 3 to 5 days in the refrigerator. After 5 days, it might begin to dry-out and shrivel and/or droop and become limp.
To keep asparagus as fresh as possible and extend the 3 to 5 day window, trim the bottoms and then wrap the bottom of the stalks in a damp paper towel. Just the ends need to stay moist, not the whole stalk.
After being steamed, asparagus really does tastes best and have the best texture if eaten immediately or within a day. It will stay fresh for several days, but the texture will get limp.
More Instant Pot Steamed Veggies
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Balsamic Glazed Instant Pot Asparagus
Perfectly steamed Instant Pot asparagus drizzled with a sweet and tangy balsamic glaze. You can also use this recipe to make plain Instant Pot steamed asparagus.
Total Instant Pot Cooking Time: 5 minutes to reach pressure + 0 minutes cooking time + quick release (plus 5 more minutes to simmer the glaze)
- Prep Time: 5
- Cook Time: 10
- Total Time: 15 minutes
- Yield: 4 servings 1x
- Category: Side Dish
- Method: Instant Pot
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Vegetarian
- 1 pound asparagus (you can steam a smaller amount if you like)
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce (regular or lower sodium)
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons salted butter
- Trim the bottoms off of the asparagus
- In a small bowl mix together the balsamic vinegar, soy sauce and brown sugar. Set aside.
- Pour 1 cup water into the Instant Pot. Place a steamer basket over the water and set the asparagus inside the basket.
- Program the Instant Pot to cook on low pressure for zero minutes: First, press the "manual" or "pressure cook" button and then the "pressure" button to switch the pressure level to "low" instead of high. Then press the minus button "-" until the cooking time goes down to zero. (see the step-by-step photos in the blog post above)
- It will take between 4 to 8 minutes for the Instant Pot to reach pressure, depending on how much asparagus is stacked in the steamer basket.
- Once the Instant Pot reaches pressure, it will then it will cook for zero minutes and immediately start beeping to alert you that the cooking time is done.
- Immediately initiate a quick release of the pressure by moving the steam release knob to “venting”
- Lift out the steamer basket and spread the asparagus out on a serving plate. It's best to spread the asparagus out on a plate; if it stays stacked up in the steamer basket it will continue to steam itself and the texture will get softer.
- Pour the water out of the insert
- Press the saute button (set on "normal" heat). Pour in the balsamic vinegar, soy sauce and brown sugar. Simmer for 4 minutes, stirring frequently with a heat resistant spatula. You'll notice the glaze thickening and become more syrupy as it simmers.
- After 4 minutes, add the butter. Stir the glaze for another 30 to 60 seconds as the butter melts, then immediately pour the glaze into a bowl, using the spatula to scrap the glaze from the bottom of the Instant Pot. The balsamic glaze should have the thick, sticky consistency of molasses.
- Drizzle the glaze over the asparagus, and serve. The glaze thickens very quickly. If it becomes too thick to pour over the asparagus, just warm it for 10 seconds in the microwave.
This recipe was tested in a 6-quart Instant Pot
It’s important to instantly release the steam when the 0 minutes of cooking time is complete, otherwise the asparagus will continue to cook and soften. For this reason, I always set a timer for 4 minutes after I secure the lid, so that I’m paying attention and ready to release steam as soon as the Instant Pot beeps.
To use the "normal"heat level for sautéing, press the Saute button then press the Adjust button until the red light is under "normal" instead of "less" or "more"
Storage: Steamed asparagus tastes best and has the best texture if eaten immediately or within a day. However, even if the texture is softer it will stay fresh for up to 5 days if kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
If you prefer plain, steamed asparagus just follow the steaming instructions and skip the balsamic glaze.
Many home cooks (including me!) trim asparagus by snapping off the bottom of the spear. This method is quick and easy and works especially well with firm spears. However, you’re throwing away more asparagus than necessary.
To waste less of the stalk, use a knife and only chop off the very tip, or any part of the stalk that is white. If the asparagus has tough, woody ends even after being trimmed, you can use a vegetable peeler to peel off the tough outer skin, instead of chopping off more.
Keywords: instant pot asparagus, balsamic glazed asparagus, Pressure cooker asparagus, Storing asparagus, Asparagus in pressure cooker