Perfectly cooked Instant Pot cauliflower served with a creamy tomato and coconut-milk sauce. Everything cooks in the pressure cooker, in just 2 minutes!
This Instant Pot cauliflower is a stunning vegan/vegetarian main dish or a filling side dish. A whole head of cauliflower steams perfectly in a pressure cooker in just 2 minutes!
You can choose to serve plain steamed cauliflower instead, with just butter and salt (also delicious).
Or you can jazz it up with a creamy tomato & coconut milk sauce lightly spiced with garlic, cumin, coriander and just a pinch of cinnamon. Generously garnished with cilantro or parsley, this dish is so flavorful, healthy and easy!
If you're looking for more easy Instant Pot veggies, try these favorites:
Why This Recipe Works
- The cauliflower is perfectly cooked, tender but not mushy
- A simple tomato & coconut milk sauce adds tons of flavor and turns this dish into a main course
- Includes instructions for plain steamed cauliflower (whole head or florets)
First, trim the stem off of the cauliflower. This opens up the bottom, so steam can rise up into the vegetable.
Step 1: Saute garlic
Step 2: Add tomatoes and spices
Step 3: Set the cauliflower in the Instant Pot and spoon sauce over the top
Step 4: Cook on high pressure for 2 minutes, instant release. Take the cauliflower out and stir in coconut milk.
Serve the whole cauliflower in a serving bowl, surround by the tomato and coconut milk sauce.
What to Serve with This Recipe
Rice: Brown or white rice soaks up this sauce nicely. Consider using pre-cooked frozen rice to make this dinner really easy (check the freezer section at the grocery store)
Naan or Pita bread: Fluffy, warm bread is perfect for sopping up the sauce. If you're feeling ambitious, make homemade yogurt flatbread.
Pasta: Serve the cauliflower and sauce on a bed of orzo, egg noodles or fettuccine. Add a can of briefly sauteed chickpeas and wilted baby spinach to make the pasta even yummier.
Chicken Thighs: Grilled or roasted, chicken thighs are so good with this meal (or buy a rotisserie chicken).
How Long Do You Steam Cauliflower?
In a pressure cooker, a whole head of cauliflower (weighing around 2 pounds) steams in just 2 minutes at high pressure. The texture will be fork tender, but not mushy. Make sure to quick release the pressure immediately, or the vegetable will overcook.
Cauliflower florets only need to steam for "0" or "1" minute at high pressure in the Instant Pot.
Florets Cooked at "1" Minute = larger florets are tender, smaller florets are very soft (easy to mash with a fork)
Florets Cooked at "0" Minutes = larger florets are easy to pierce with a fork but still have some firmness, smaller florets are tender but not mushy
It's better to error on the side of under-cooking, rather than overcooking Instant Pot vegetables. If the cauliflower isn't soft enough for you, just set the lid back on the pot and let it steam longer in the residual heat.
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FAQs About Pressure Cooker Cauliflower
Yes. Trim the head of cauliflower as this recipe states, then just add ½ cup water to the pressure cooker. Set the head of cauliflower on a trivet in the Instant Pot and cook for 2 minutes at high pressure, with a quick release. Flavor the cauliflower with butter, salt or other favorite seasonings.
You can, but the cooking time needs to decrease. Florets cook in "0" or "1" minute (see details in the "How Do You Steam Cauliflower" section above). Because the sauce would be also be cooking for a shorter amount of time, you might need to simmer it for a few minutes after the coconut milk is added to cook off some of the raw tomato flavor.
No, I've tested this recipe several times and it cooks best without water added. Water would dilute the sauce and isn't necessary because the cauliflower only cooks for 2 minutes. If this recipe were to cook longer in the Instant Pot, you'd probably need to add water to the tomato sauce to avoid the burn notice.
I've found that 2 minutes is the perfect cooking time for a head of cauliflower that weighs around 2 pounds. It's tender, but not at all mushy. However, if the cauliflower is too firm for your liking after cooking for 2 minutes, just set the lid back on the Instant Pot after releasing the pressure and let it rest in the residual heat until the veggie softens more.
Yes. Just let the steamed cauliflower cool, then freeze it in a sealed freezer bag. If you don't want the florets to stick together, first freeze them on a sheet tray, then put the frozen cauliflower florets in a freezer bag.
Frozen steamed cauliflower can go directly into smoothies, adding nutrients and a smooth texture without noticeable flavor.
More Vegetarian Family Dinners
Instant Pot Cauliflower
Perfectly cooked Instant Pot cauliflower served with a creamy tomato and coconut milk sauce. Everything cooks in the pressure cooker, in just 2 minutes!
Total Instant Pot Cooking Time: 15 minutes to reach pressure + 2 minute cook time + quick release
- Prep Time: 10
- Cook Time: 2
- Total Time: 12 minutes
- Yield: 4 to 6 servings 1x
- Category: Instant Pot
- Method: Instant Pot
- Cuisine: South Asian
- Diet: Vegan
- 1 head cauliflower
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 14.5 ounce can crushed tomatoes (fire roasted, if possible)
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon coriander
- ⅛ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup canned coconut milk
- Fresh cilantro or parsley
- Slice the stem off of the cauliflower, so that the bottom of the head is flat and even. Use a paring knife to carefully cut out about an inch of the remaining stem. This creates a space where steam can rise up into the cauliflower head and cooking it evenly.
- Press the Saute button and add the olive oil and garlic. Saute only about 1 minute, to lightly cook the garlic.
- Add the tomatoes, spices (cumin, coriander, cinnamon) and salt. Mix well. Turn off the saute function.
- Set the cauliflower in the Instant Pot on its flat bottom. Season the cauliflower lightly with salt (about ¼ teaspoon).
- Spoon some of the sauce over the cauliflower.
- Secure the lid, making sure the steam release valve is in the “sealed” position.
- Cook on high pressure for 2 minutes.
- Immediately quick release the pressure when the cooking time is complete
- Lift the cauliflower out with a large spatula and large tongs and set in a serving bowl.
- Stir the coconut milk into the tomatoes. Pour the sauce over the cauliflower.
- Garnish with fresh cilantro or parsley.
This recipe was made in a 6-quart Instant Pot.
I really recommend using crushed tomatoes, not diced. Diced tomatoes stay whole and don't break down at all, making a sauce that is chunky rather than smooth.
Keywords: instant pot cauliflower, pressure cooker cauliflower,