How to Cook Broccoli in the Electric Pressure Cooker

I used to think about broccoli only from my own perspective: What do I remember about eating it as a child? Was I always a fan? How can I make it more exciting when I’m serving it?

Vertical image of a white plate filled with green vegetables in front of a large kitchen appliance, with text on the top and bottom of the image.

But now that I have a child who is starting to eat solid foods, I’ve begun to think about broccoli in a whole new way.

Watching my son grab a stalk of broccoli and try to gnaw on the little “tree” ends is something that brings me immense joy as a new mom. Even more joy comes flooding in when he sticks the stalk end in his mouth and just sucks on it.

Ah, the adventures of being a new mom and passing down my love of food to a six-month-old baby. It’s a work in progress, but we will get there.

Now that broccoli has become a vegetable that appears consistently in our household’s diet from week to week, I am all about cooking a lot of it, and cooking it quickly. Thank goodness for the electric pressure cooker!

Vertical image of steamed green vegetables in a pot.

Instead of having to tend to steaming, roasting, or sauteing the vegetables, I can set my Instant Pot and forget it while I enjoy time with my son (or a little time to myself, if I’m being totally honest).

The appliance does all the work, and the end result is perfectly cooked little green “trees” for my son to gnaw on while I incorporate the rest into other recipes.

Ready to dig in, and start cooking? Here’s what’s ahead in this helpful how-to guide:

Should I Buy Crowns or Heads?

When it comes to buying broccoli, you will usually run across full heads with stems at the grocery store. The difference between heads and crowns is that heads have the longer stems attached, and crowns do not.

Vertical image of two whole heads of fresh green vegetables on a wooden surface.

If you can’t find crowns, don’t worry about it. All you have to do is buy the heads and chop off the stems to turn them into crowns. From there, you can break these down into florets.

Want a pro tip on determining how much to make? Two large heads is enough for 4 servings.

How Can I Serve It Up?

I find that many people tend to underestimate the versatility of broccoli.

Vertical image of a white plate with a mound of green vegetable florets, all on a yellow towel.

While it is excellent as is with just a little butter or oil, salt, and pepper, you can also choose to dress it up with a variety of different seasonings.

Or better yet, be a little more adventurous, and serve it in a salad or pasta dish!

Here are some ideas to get you started to bring bold flavors to a humble steamed veggie:

Simple Side

Use salt and pepper to season, then incorporate some garlic and onion powder for added flavor. Serve with your favorite protein.


Add a cheese sauce like our classic mornay – this is one of my favorite ways to coax picky eaters (kiddos and adults too) to eat it.

Use It in a Salad

In a cold dish like this asparagus broccoli salad, this vegetable is a revelation.

Add It to Pasta

Incorporate it into a simple lemon pasta or a pasta bake, like your favorite baked macaroni and cheese.

Turn It into Soup

Making broccoli soup in the pressure cooker instead of roasting it first saves time, and trying this method is the best place to start if you’ve never used it in a soup before.

Use It for Meal Prep

Cooking a big batch of florets is an easy way to add veggies to your meal prep. I like to use them as a side to enjoy with my favorite teriyaki chicken.

With this quick and easy cooking method, you might just find that this green vegetable makes its way onto the dinner table much more often than it did before.

How to Cook Broccoli in the Electric Pressure Cooker

Whether you are using this vegetable as a side dish or an element in a recipe like macaroni and cheese, utilizing this appliance is the most convenient way to get it done in minutes.

Step 1 – Measure Ingredients

To begin, you will need:

  • 1 to 2 fresh broccoli crowns
  • 1/2 cup water

Wash the broccoli. Cut the crowns into florets.

Horizontal image of a metal bowl with green vegetable florets.

Measure the florets in cups and note the total number, as this will determine the cooking time. Set aside.

Measure out the water.

Step 2 – Pressure Cook

Add the water to the insert and place the steamer basket or trivet inside.

Layer the florets on top, and seal the lid.

Set to Manual and cook on High pressure according to these guidelines:

  • 1 cup broccoli = 0 minutes for crisp tender, 1 minute for tender
  • 2 to 3 cups = 1 minute for crisp tender, 2 minutes for tender

As soon as the timer goes off, immediately manually release the pressure.

Horizontal image of chopped green vegetables steaming in a pot.

Remove the broccoli from the insert and season as desired. Serve.

What’s Better – Crisp Tender or Tender?

This all depends on whether you like your vegetables to have some bite to them or if you prefer them to be soft.

Horizontal image of a white bowl filled with green vegetables on top of a yellow towel in front of a large kitchen appliance.

To me, crisp tender has the best texture. The broccoli still holds its shape and has a little crunch. This is ideal particularly if you are incorporating it into another recipe like a pasta dish.

If you like them softer, set the timer as indicated for tender. And note that this is the amount of time that the appliance will continue cooking after it reaches pressure.

How do you like to serve up your broccoli? Tell us in the comments below!

And learn how to cook more side dishes in the electric pressure cooker on Foodal, starting with these:

Photos by Meghan Yager, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details.

About Meghan Yager

Meghan Yager is a food addict turned food and travel writer with a love for creating uncomplicated, gourmet recipes and devouring anything the world serves up. As the author of the food and travel blog Cake 'n Knife, Meghan focuses on unique foodie experiences from around the world to right at home in your own kitchen.

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