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Instant Pot Vegetables 101: How To Cook Guide

From starchy veggies to leavy green to the fungus among us, learn how to perfectly cook nutritious and delicious Instant Pot vegetables with our comprehensive pressure cooker 101 guides.


Instant Pot Vegetables 101 - how to use pressure cooker to make potatoes, carrots, beets, greens and more

If you’ve cooked enough vegetables in your Instant Pot, you know that it can be a very delicate balance! I’m sure I don’t speak for just myself when I say a single minute or two mistakes can turn a decent veggie dish into unpalatable mush.

Most often, it’s due to a combination of things, trying to cook vegetables in the Instant Pot at the same time as something else that simply doesn’t work with it, or forgetting to perform a quick release at the end to stop the cooking.

Fear not – even if you’ve had your fair share of cooking disasters with veggies and the Instant Pot, that’s no reason to stop trying. After all, we need our five servings a day! Today, I want to provide a thorough and easy-to-use guide to cooking every veggie you can imagine. I’ll include cooking times, any special considerations, and any warnings that you should be aware of. You’ll have every dish mastered in no time.

 

Starchy vegetables in Instant Pot

First, let’s talk about starchy vegetables. These are the veggies that will be the most forgiving as they often need a longer time to cook: potatoes, carrots, pumpkin, squash, beets, sweet potatoes. But, not all starches are created equal. Whether you love your meat and potatoes or you’re cooking your way through the hardy veg during the fall season, here’s how to do it (and do it right).

Instant Pot Potatoes

Cooking Instant Pot potatoes

Let’s begin with potatoes because they’re not technically a vegetable. That doesn’t mean we don’t love them. Of course, we love them. We know you do too, so how do you get the perfect spuds?

There are so many ways to cook potatoes in the Instant Pot. Potatoes and other hardy roots like carrots are great for adding to soups/stews and cooking for the duration of the time because they are more likely to stay intact.

For whole potatoes:

  • Toss your potatoes into the pot whole after poking holes in the flesh with a fork. Poking them prevents the pressure from causing any explosion! You can use a steamer rack if you just have a few potatoes and want to keep them more evenly spaced. Another alternative is to wrap each potato in foil. The latter two are a good idea if you’d like to season your spuds prior to cooking them and seal in the flavour with heat.
  • Add one cup of water to the pot (regardless of how you’ve placed your potatoes in there).
  • For small potatoes, set the pot to cook for 8 minutes. For medium potatoes, set the pot to cook for 10 minutes. For large potatoes, set the pot to cook for 13 minutes. All times should be set for HIGH pressure.
  • When the cooking time is up, let the pressure naturally release for around 10 minutes before performing a QR (quick release).

For Instant Pot mashed potatoes:

  • Begin with the recipe above. If you prefer to have your mashed potatoes without skins, make sure to peel the potatoes prior to cooking.
  • When the potatoes are done the cooking, unseal the lid and add in your favourite mashed potato ingredients. You can reserve some of the water in the pot for mashing, or replace it entirely with milk/a milk substitute.
  • You can follow any mashed potato recipe you like for the next step. Mash everything together in the pot for a one-pot meal. The residual heat will also make it easy to mash the spuds and blend everything together. Plus, the potatoes will be hot for serving if your pot is set to the warming function.
  • Add-in ideas: olive oil, butter, milk, buttermilk, heavy cream, coconut milk, almond milk, salt, pepper, sour cream, chives, Parmesan cheese.

For cubed potatoes:

  • Begin with cubed potatoes of your choice. You can also use baby potatoes or fingerling potatoes with this cooking time. With less mass to work through, you can cook for less time. These are great for use in other recipes (soups, stews, hash browns), as a side dish, or pre-cooking for roasting throughout the week with your choice of fat and seasonings. Find some awesome potato salads here.
  • From fresh: Cook for 3-4 minutes on high pressure and perform a quick release.
  • From frozen: Cook for 4-5 minutes on high pressure and perform a quick release.
  • By the way, you can cook potatoes and carrots in the Instant Pot together and for best result, cut potatoes in small cubes and leave the carrots as larger halves or thirds. 

Check out these perfect Instant Pot potato recipes and dishes.

 

Sweet potatoes

Instant Pot vegetables: sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes are another kitchen staple. Some folks prefer nutritious sweet potatoes over regular potatoes. They are fibrous, lower on the glycaemic index, and rich with vitamins and minerals – most notably, vitamin A.

You can make them in all the same ways as white potatoes so they’re just as versatile. Whether you have strong preferences or like a little bit of both in your life, here’s how to cook ’em. These instructions should work for sweet potatoes (orange), white sweet potatoes, and Japanese sweet potatoes (purple). Eat the rainbow!

For whole sweet potatoes:

  • Just like with whole potatoes, you want to begin by poking your sweets with a fork a few times. Then, you can choose to pile them in the pot, wrap them individually in foil with seasoning, or use a steamer basket (my preferred method).
  • Add one cup of water to the pot.
  • For small to medium sweet potatoes, set the pot to cook at high pressure for 10 minutes. For large sweet potatoes, set the pot to cook at high pressure for 12-15 minutes.
  • Allow the pot to naturally release pressure for around ten minutes (or longer) before performing a quick release.

For mashed sweet potatoes:

  • Begin with the recipe above and fully cook the desired amount of sweet potatoes.
  • When the NPR is finished and you release pressure from the pot, unseal the lid. Reserve 1/2-1 cup of the cooking liquid (if you like) and mash with the desired add-ins. Follow the same instructions for regular mashed potatoes.
  • Add-in ideas: coconut oil, butter, olive oil, coconut milk, buttermilk, heavy cream, milk, salt, pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, chives, nut butter, pecans, sugar/coconut sugar.

For cubed potatoes (for roasting):

  • Begin with cubed sweet potatoes, and emphasise making them evenly sized. These are similarly great for use in other recipes (soups, stews, hash browns), as a side dish, or pre-cooking for roasting throughout the week with your choice of fat and seasonings.
  • From fresh: Cook on high pressure for 3-4 minutes and perform a quick release.
  • From frozen: Cook on high pressure for 4-5 minutes and perform a quick release.
  • Check out these 20 Scrumptious Instant Pot Sweet Potato Recipes

Instant Pot Butternut squash

Instant Pot Butternut squash

Winter squash takes a notoriously long time to cook in the oven or on the stovetop. The Instant Pot cuts back on cooking time significantly, and it couldn’t be easier to get great results. Whether you like to serve it as a side, a mash, or make soup from it, butternut squash is a lovely alternative to sweet potato. It’s a bit less starchy so it’s lower in carbs. Still, it’s just as sweet and creamy with many of the same desirable health benefits.

For whole butternut squash:

  • Peel the butternut squash if desired. Slice the butternut squash in half or quarters either way – horizontally or vertically – and remove the seeds.
  • OR leave the butternut squash whole. You can skip the first step and make it seriously easy if you can fit the entire squash in the pot. It will be more difficult to scoop out the seeds cleanly, and this is not my preferred method personally.
  • Place the halves into the trivet or directly into the put with one cup of water.
  • Cook on high pressure for around 12 minutes and follow up with a natural pressure release for 5 minutes before performing a quick release.

For sliced or cubed butternut squash:

  • Peel the butternut squash if desired. Slice the butternut squash in half, remove the seeds, and cut into uniform slices or chunks.
  • Place the slices in a steaming basket and add one cup of water to your pot.
  • Cook on high pressure for 4-6 minutes and follow up with a quick release. As a rule, 4-minute cooking time will be sufficient for smaller cubes while a 6-minute cooking time will suit longer/thicker slices best.
  • Try our Instant Pot butternut squash recipe here.

Instant Pot Acorn Squash

Instant Pot Acorn Squash

Acorn squash is similar to butternut squash, but it’s got an entirely different flavour. It’s a bit nutty and a little less sweet, but it is delicious nonetheless. Its large cavity makes it fantastic for stuffing with sausage, meat, grains, and fall flavour infusions with dried fruits, fresh herbs, and more. It’s also a healthy side dish. Personally, I love mine with a healthy spoonful of grass-fed butter and cinnamon.

For sliced or cubed acorn squash:

  • Peel the acorn squash if desired. You can eat the skin or wait until you cook it to peel it because it will come off effortlessly. Cut the squash in half and remove the seeds.
  • Cut the acorn squash into uniform slices or cubes.
  • Cook on high pressure for 6-7 minutes and follow up with a quick release. For cubes, lean towards a 6-minute cooking time. For slices, lean towards a 7-minute cooking time.

Spaghetti Squash

Instant Pot spaghetti squash

Spaghetti squash is quite different from its winter squash companions. While it’s not technically a “starchy” vegetable, it more closely resembles squash and its cooking method(s), so we’ll place it here. When cooked, you can scoop out the insides of spaghetti squash and serve it as a pasta alternative with a delicious bolognese for a low-carb Italian meal.

For whole spaghetti squash:

  • Start by cutting the squash in half. My personal preference is to slice the spaghetti squash crosswise rather than lengthwise because it produces longer strands that better resemble spaghetti. You’ve gotta get a good twirl on your fork! They also soak up sauce better this way. Then, remove the seeds.
  • Place a steamer basket or trivet in the pot along with one cup of water.
  • Place the squash halves into the basket or trivet and seal the lid.
  • Set the pressure cooker to cook on high for 7 minutes and follow up with a quick release. You can do a natural pressure release for a few minutes if you prefer your “pasta” well done. A quick-release will give you “al dente” results.

Pumpkin

Instant Pot pumpkin

Many people never cook with fresh pumpkin. It can be quite intimidating! They just so happen to make quite delicious food, though. They are similar in taste to butternut squash. You can easily cook it as a side dish or to make your own pumpkin puree from. Puree freezes well so you can enjoy it in smoothies, pies and desserts year-round. Preserve the autumn harvest! For the best tasting results, use pie pumpkins or sugar pumpkins to cook with. If you prefer Japanese pumpkin or kabocha squash, you can follow the same cooking instructions.

For whole pumpkin:

  • If you can fit the entire pumpkin in your pot, you can cook it that way. Again, this does make it more difficult to de-seed without also wasting some edible parts of the pumpkin. I recommend cutting your pumpkin in half first.
  • For the best results, halve the pumpkin and scoop the seeds.
  • Place the pumpkin in the bottom of the pot with 1/2 cup of water. Cook on high pressure for 13-15 minutes.
  • Finish up with a quick release of pressure.

For small pumpkin pieces:

  • If you have a small pumpkin, you can cut it in half to de-seed it. If you have a larger pumpkin, you can slice off the stem first and de-seed it like you would before carving a Jack-O-Lantern. Once the seeds and stringy bits are out, you can slice it into small chunks or slices.
  • Place a trivet or steamer basket in the Instant Pot along with one cup of water.
  • Cook on high pressure for 2-3 minutes and let the pressure naturally release for a few minutes before performing a quick release.

For large pieces:

  • Follow the instructions above, then cook on high pressure for 8-10 minutes. Let the pressure naturally release for a few minutes before performing a quick release.

Instant Pot Rutabaga/Swede

rutabaga instant pot

Rutabaga is an underrated root. It’s a tasty, creamy root quite similar to white potato though it is lower in starch and in carbs. It is a lovely addition to a meal when cubed, cooked, and tossed in oil and spices. It also makes a good mash. They are very high in vitamin C and contain some B vitamins and magnesium. Potatoes contain similar health benefits but in smaller amounts, so this is one of my favourite alternatives in terms of getting some bang for your buck!

For sliced or cubed rutabaga in Instant Pot:

  • Peel the skin of the rutabaga. It is very waxy and unpleasant to eat. Then, slice into uniform pieces.
  • Place a trivet or steamer basket into your Instant Pot along with 1/2 cup of water.
  • For slices: Cook on high pressure for 3-4 minutes and perform a quick release.
  • For cubes: Cook on high pressure for slightly longer at 5 minutes and perform a quick release.

Celeriac Root

Instant Pot Celeriac

Don’t let celeriac turn you off. It looks a little ugly if we’re being frank, but it’s quite a fun veggie to add to your diet! The Instant Pot makes it a little less intimidating to cook, too. Once you get past its bumpy, fuzzy, unsightly outside, it’s a world of flavour and nutrition inside. Celeriac is also called celery root. It’s a lot like a potato, except it tastes like celery. It’s milder though, and rather enjoyable. It is good baked (or in this case, pressure steamed), as a mash, and in soups. It’s best as a mash when mixed with other starches or roots.

For sliced or cubed celery root:

  • Peel the skin of the root. It is often difficult. Slice off any particularly rough or uneven parts to make it easier. Then, slice into uniform pieces (slices or cubes).
  • Place a trivet or steamer basket into your Instant Pot along with 1/2 cup of water.
  • For slices: Cook on high pressure for 4-5 minutes and perform a quick release.
  • For cubes: Cook on high pressure for slightly longer at 6-7 minutes and perform a quick release.

Beetroot/Beets

Instant Pot vegetables 101

Beets are such a star root veggie. They are earthy with a gorgeous vibrant hue that stains everything it comes in contact with – the only downside – and versatile. They make a fantastic addition to any root bake or dishes like this beetroot risotto. Really, they go with anything you want to turn pink. They’re great to batch cook and serve cold atop salads with some goat’s cheese too. Can you tell they are a favourite? Here’s how you make ’em in the IP!

For whole beetroot:

  • Wash beets and peel if desired. You should know that after steaming, the skin will come off very easily so you can save the hassle! Remove greens and save for later, compost, or discard.
  • Place a trivet or steamer basket into the pot along with one cup of water.
  • For medium beets: Cook on high pressure for 12 minutes.
  • For small beets: Cook on high pressure for 10 minutes.
  • For large beets: Cook on high pressure for 15 minutes.
  • Finish your beets off with a quick release of pressure. Now, you can peel them and use them how you’d like to.
  • Check out our gorgeous Instant Pot borscht (beet) soup recipe.
 

Carrots

Instant Pot carrots

Of all the roots on our list, carrots will take the least amount of time. In fact, they take substantially less time. It’s safe to say that the higher water content a vegetable has, combined with how small the vegetable is, makes a huge difference. Carrots have the smallest mass, so they cook relatively quickly.

For simple Instant Pot steamed carrots:

  • Clean carrots and peel if desired. Slice, chunk, or shred carrots if desired.
  • Place the trivet or steamer basket into the inner pot and add one cup of water. Then, add the carrots.
  • For sliced or shredded carrots: Cook on HIGH pressure for 0 (zero) minutes before performing a quick release. Even though the timer is set to zero, the cooking still happens during the pressure build-up.
  • For whole or chunked carrots: Cook on high pressure for 1-3 minutes before performing a quick release. As a rule, thinner carrots or baby carrots will cook fine at the 1-minute mark, whereas larger, thicker, whole carrots will cook best around the 3-minute mark.
  • For frozen: Add 1-2 minutes to the appropriate cooking time for the best results.
  • Try out Honey & Sy Glazed Instant Pot Carrots or our Carrot Lemongrass & Cilantro Soup.
 

Non-starchy vegetables in Instant Pot

All those roots can really take the heat. They perform fairly well under pressure. If we slip up by a minute or two, we can generally work from there and repair the damage if there is any. Some of us are just stronger than others! With non-starchy vegetables, the cooking times differ a lot more. In fact, many of them require a cooking time of zero minutes. Yeah – you read that right. Let’s learn more.

Broccoli

Instant Pot veggies: broccoli

We’re going to kick things off in the non-starchy category with cruciferous vegetables! First up is broccoli. Now, many non-starchy veggies don’t need much time to cook and are at much higher risk of getting mushy. I always recommend cooking broccoli on its own because it doesn’t work well under pressure if you catch my drift. This will apply to many of our more delicate foodie friends.

For simple Instant Pot steamed broccoli:

  • Chop broccoli head into florets.
  • Place a steamer basket or trivet into the pot along with one cup of water.
  • Place the broccoli into the basket (you want to avoid direct contact with the bottom of the pot here). Here, you can add any spices, oil/butter, and fresh lemon you’d like. Close the lid.
  • From fresh: Cook on HIGH pressure for 0 minutes – yes, zero. It will cook as the pot comes to pressure.
  • From frozen: Cook on HIGH pressure for 2 minutes.
  • Finish broccoli with a quick pressure release. Season now if you’d like or add additional seasonings if you’ve already done so.
  • Try this recipe for Instant Pot soy-ginger salmon with broccoli or our Instant Pot broccoli soup with gremolata.
 

Cauliflower

Instant Pot cauliflower

Cauliflower has become the ultimate health food. We’re making rice out of it, we’re making pizza dough with the stuff, and we’re pretending it’s mashed potatoes. It’s the low-carb alternative to literally everything and hey… I’m not complaining. Whether you need to thoroughly cook your cauliflower through for a fun and unique recipe or you’re kickin’ it old-school and want a side of the stuff for your dinner, here’s what you need to know about cooking it in the pot.

Here is how to cook cauliflower in the Instant Pot

  • Chop cauliflower head into florets.
  • Place a steamer basket or trivet into the pot along with one cup of water.
  • Place the cauliflower into the basket (you want to avoid direct contact with the bottom of the pot here). Here, you can add any spices, oil/butter, etc. Close the lid.
  • From fresh: Cook on HIGH pressure for 0 minutes. It will cook as the pot comes to pressure.
  • From frozen: Cook on HIGH pressure for 2-3 minutes.
  • Finish cauliflower with a quick pressure release. Season now if you’d like or add additional seasonings if you’ve already done so.

Kale & Other Sturdy Leafy Greens

Instant Pot kale

Kale is the ultimate superfood. You just feel healthy when you eat kale. It’s a fact of life. It’s actually quite tasty. Most greens are jam-packed with micronutrients that our bodies love. These micronutrients help us stay healthy and avoid deficiency. They also provide antioxidants and help us to naturally detox and fight off oxidative damage. We all know we need to eat our greens. Let the Instant Pot make it easier.

For plain greens:

  • Chop greens or place whole into trivet or steamer basket.
  • Fill the pot with 1/2-1 cup of water (depending on how many greens you have). Season greens or add oil/butter if you’d like.
  • Cook on HIGH pressure for 1-3 minutes and perform a quick release.

For adding greens to other dishes:

  • Do not add greens into the recipe prior to cooking. You will end up with browned, stringy, completely nutrient-less greens!
  • For the best results, add greens after you open the lid and stir in to let wilt. If they need to cook down some, place the lid back on after to lock in some heat for 4-5 minutes until they are soft and cooked through.

Cabbage

Instant Pot cabbage

Cabbage is a delightful veggie. It’s low-calorie, low-carb, full of fibre and vitamins… what’s not to love? It goes with almost anything, and it’s nearly always budget-friendly. All I know is that I always have a head of cabbage either for making raw slaws with or cooking. It’s no surprise that the Instant Pot makes a perfect side of it every single time.

For Instant Pot shredded cabbage:

  • Remove the flimsy outer leaves from your cabbage and shred it. I prefer to shred mine in the food processor because it is easy to clean and very fast. You can also do this with a mandoline slicer or a knife, of course.
  • Place 1-2 cups of water or broth in the inner pot, then place the cabbage in. You don’t need to use the trivet or steaming basket for this.
  • Cook on high for 2 minutes.
  • For soups or for a softer result: Let the pot naturally release pressure.
  • For a side or crisper result: Perform a quick release to finish up with.
  • Check out these 20 Instant Pot cabbage recipes and make sure to try out Sri Lankan Coconut Cabbage.
 

Brussels Sprouts

Instant Pot Brussels Sprouts

To wrap up with the lovely, fibrous, nutritious, and delicious cruciferous vegetables, we have tiny cabbages a.k.a. brussels sprouts. It’s everyone’s least favourite veggie as a kid, but we tend to grow fond of them as adults – or at least I have! They are a fabulous side dish and they pair well with so many flavours (especially bacon – just saying!).

For whole & halved brussels sprouts:

  • Wash your brussels sprouts first. You can choose now to halve them (my preference) or keep them whole. Halving them will work better if you want a more authentic “roasted” end result.
  • Place a steaming rack or the trivet into the pot along with one cup of water. Then, place the brussels sprouts into it.
  • Cook the sprouts on HIGH for 1 minute and follow up with a quick release of pressure. The 1-minute cooking window is better for halved sprouts or small sprouts. Cook for 2 minutes if you have large, whole sprouts.
  • Once the sprouts are softened, you can set them aside. Pour out the water you used to cook with.
  • Set the pot to ‘saute’ mode and add 1-2 tbsp. of coconut oil, olive oil or butter (or your cooking fat preference). A high smoke point is ideal. Now, add the sprouts back in. You can add a little garlic, lemon or herbs
  • Saute until crispy with desired spices and serve.

Asparagus

instant-pot-vegetables-101-20 (1)

Beautiful, tender asparagus is a sign of the warmer months. This summer veggie is a BBQ favourite, coming together brilliantly on the grill for a steak or chicken side dish. It’s also a standout star in creamy risotto dishes. If you’re just looking to keep it simple, quick steam will do you good, giving you the perfect texture for addictive asparagus. Finish off with butter, fresh lemon, and ground pepper and flaky sea salt for the best results. Parmesan and garlic don’t hurt, either.

For simple Instant Pot steamed asparagus stalks:

  • Trim off the woody bottom ends of the asparagus as these don’t cook up nicely. Wash the veggies.
  • Place the asparagus into a steamer basket or trivet, then place the basket into the pot with one cup of water.
  • Drizzle asparagus with olive oil or add butter, season if you’d like.
  • For tender, firm results: Cook on HIGH pressure for 0 minutes and perform a quick pressure release.
  • For softer results: Cook on HIGH pressure for 1-2 minutes and perform a quick release.
  • If you have thicker stalks: Add 1-2 minutes to each cooking time.
  • If you have thin, stringy stalks: Cook on LOW pressure for 1 minute. 
 

Artichokes

Artichokes in Instant Pot

Artichokes can be a little weird to some and intimidating too. They’re not your average vegetable. They’re not even intuitively eaten let alone cooked. Fortunately, the Instant Pot makes it incredibly simple. Overall, you just want to steam ‘chokes and serve them with some melted butter or ghee for dipping. They’re a simple and delicious side dish with an impressive appearance – perfect for entertaining.

For simple Instant Pot steamed artichokes:

  • Chop off the tops of the artichoke. Not the stem! The top.
  • Place a trivet or steaming basket into the inner pot alongside one cup of water, then insert the trimmed artichokes.
  • For whole trimmed artichokes, set your pot to cook at high pressure for 15-20 minutes. Cook them for a shorter period of time if you have smaller artichokes, and cook for longer if you have larger artichokes.
  • We have a more detailed post on how to cook artichokes in the Instant Pot here.
 

Green beans

instant-pot-vegetables-101-16 (1)

Green beans are always a good choice. You just can’t go wrong serving them with your favourite protein. They’re great with seafood, poultry, beef, lamb, and everything in between. They also make a great casserole during the holidays. Getting the perfect green bean texture can be tough, but steaming them in the Instant Pot is far from difficult.

For whole Instant Pot steamed green beans:

  • Break off the stringy ends or trim your beans. Then, clean the green beans.
  • Add the trivet or your steamer basket to the inner pot as well as a cup of water.
  • Steam on high pressure for 2 minutes and follow up with a quick release for more tender beans. If you like softer beans, you can let the pot naturally release for 3-5 minutes before turning the valve.
  • Try our Instant Pot green bean casserole here.

Pod peas

Instant Pot peas in pods

While they are technically a legume, pod peas include sugar snap peas, garden peas, and snow peas. They are most often regarded as vegetables, so we’ll include them in this list. For frozen peas, you really just want to stir those into a dish at the end or else they will explode, end up hard, or just turn into mush. You can read more about cooking dried peas in our Instant Pot 101 guide to legumes.

For simple Instant Pot steamed pod peas:

  • Wash and prepare your peas for cooking.
  • Add the trivet or steamer basket to the inner pot with around a cup of water to steam with.
  • For fresh: Add your peas to the basket and cook on high for 0 minutes.
  • For frozen: Add your peas to the basket and cook on high for 1-2 minutes.
  • Follow up with a quick release and enjoy.
 

Mushrooms

Instant Pot mushrooms

Mushrooms often taste best served sauteed or roasted. They have a natural umami flavour that really stands out, but it’s enhanced by other ingredients locked into the flesh. However, you can get a jump start and steam some ‘shrooms up in your Instant Pot for use in other dishes throughout the week. I like this idea for blending or slicing them into soups, adding them to omelettes, and finishing them up in the Instant Pot with a little oil and salt.

For Instant Pot cooked mushrooms:

  • Wash and prepare mushrooms. You can halve them or prepare them in slices, or leave them whole.
  • Turn the Instant Pot on saute mode and add 1-2 tbsp. of coconut oil or olive oil. Then, add in the mushrooms. Here, you can also use any additional spices you like, fresh garlic, etc. Salt to taste.
  • Saute for 4-5 minutes or until browned and beginning to caramelise.
  • If you are using sliced mushrooms: Your mushrooms will be done after this and you won’t need to steam them.
  • If you are using whole mushrooms or 1 lb.+ mushrooms: Place the lid on and steam for 12-15 minutes with a minimal amount of liquid, oil and/or butter, and spices.
  • For smaller amounts of mushrooms, halved mushrooms or a more tender mushroom: Steam for 8-10  minutes on high pressure.
  • End with a quick release of pressure.

Eggplant

Instant Pot eggplant

Eggplant is a creamy and delicious nightshade vegetable that softens up beautifully in the Instant Pot. While steaming it might not be palatable for you, it can cook it through so you can quickly broil, fry, or saute it after to brown up the sides. It’s a staple in Italian cuisine and I love adding slices of it to ratatouille. Overcooked eggplant quickly turns to mush, so be careful about adding it to dishes that require longer cooking time.

For simple Instant Pot eggplant (sliced or chunked):

  • Wash eggplant and cut into uniform slices or chunks.
  • Place a trivet or steaming basket into the pot with one cup of water.
  • Place the eggplant into the basket and set the Instant Pot to cook on HIGH for 3-4 minutes,
  • Finish up with a quick release.
  • Optional: Drain the water and add butter or oil. Season and saute the eggplant to brown the outsides.
 

Bell Peppers

Instant Pot peppers

Bell peppers are an awesome addition to meals. They’re fabulous steamed or roasted whole, too. Even better, cooking them in bulk makes it easy to peel the skins and use the flesh for blended dishes like roasted pepper hummus or dip. No matter your needs, here’s how you do it in the Instant Pot. Oh, and for some inspiring full meal ideas, check out our favourite Instant Pot stuffed pepper recipes.

For Sliced or Chunked Peppers:

  • Wash peppers and cut into uniform slices or chunks.
  • Place a trivet or steaming basket into the pot with one cup of water.
  • From fresh: Place the pepper slices into the basket or trivet and set the IP to cook on high for 1-2 minutes.
  • From frozen: Place the pepper slices into the basket or trivet and set the IP to cook on high for 2-3 minutes.
  • Finish up with a quick release.

Celery

Instant pot celery

You won’t likely be cooking much celery on its own, but it is a common ingredient in many dishes. You can add it to the recipe that calls for it without much worry. However, if you’d like to cook up a mirepoix or soup starter to add to another dish (celery, onions, and carrots), you can follow these instructions. Having cooked celery handy can be useful depending on what your meal prep schedule looks like!

For Instant Pot chunked celery:

  • From fresh: Cook on high pressure for 2-3 minutes before performing a quick release.
  • From frozen: Cook on high pressure for 3-4 minutes before performing a quick release.

We hope that you found this Instant Pot 101 guide helpful. Make sure to bookmark it for later for all of your vegetable cooking needs! If you enjoyed it, we’d love if you spread the word and share this article. 

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29 Comments

  • Reply
    Kathryn Ward
    June 3, 2018 at 9:08 pm

    When I pressure cooked beets with my new Instant Pot, I set the timer for 10 minutes for medium beets. They weren’t nearly done. I cooked them another 10 minutes, peeled them and cut them up. They weren’t nearly done. I put the cubed beets in for another 4 minutes, and then forgot about releasing the steam vent, so they did a natural steam release. Then they were done. Yes, I did close the steam vent each time.

    • Reply
      instantpoteats
      June 22, 2018 at 3:47 am

      Hey Kathryn, thanks for sharing your experience. I have had different cooking experiences with different types of beets, but for roots, I usually do a natural release or partial NPR which is often the trick.

  • Reply
    Edna Oneal
    August 15, 2018 at 4:19 pm

    This is a great article. It has more useful information for cook vegetables. I like this post. I learned a lot from it. Thanks for sharing this.

  • Reply
    Winston
    August 15, 2018 at 7:26 pm

    My instant pot has a low and high pressure setting. What would be the times under the “low” pressure setting?

    • Reply
      instantpoteats
      September 3, 2018 at 3:29 am

      Hi Winston. I’m not too sure about low pressure as I’ve never cooked with low pressure. You’ve given me something to look into though, and I hope to update this post for other IP models with the low pressure setting.

  • Reply
    William
    August 23, 2018 at 1:47 pm

    Sure be nice to have this info in a chart

    • Reply
      instantpoteats
      September 3, 2018 at 3:23 am

      Hi William, you’re right! Hopefully we can get one up some day.

  • Reply
    Deborah
    November 25, 2018 at 8:15 pm

    I don’ t think I’m saving much time with instapot because after cooking if I have to quick release for 15-20 mins, then I may as well just boil/broil/ or steam another way. What am I missing/

    • Reply
      instantpoteats
      November 29, 2018 at 10:16 am

      Hey Deborah, the quick release means that you can release the pressure quickly without having to wait for it to do so naturally. If you let the Instant Pot to release the pressure naturally, that will take 10-20 minutes depending on how long it was on for. Quick release means that you can move the top valve to Venting as soon as the timer has finished. For veggies like broccoli or carrots, you would want to use quick release but for hardy starchy veggies you can let some pressure release naturally. The benefits of the Instant Pot are not just with the timing as more nutrients remain in the foods when cooked under pressure and also, it means that you can set and forget, so to speak. It’s also great for people that need more space on the stove for something else.

  • Reply
    David
    December 8, 2018 at 11:45 pm

    I’ve bookmarked this page and will share it, thanks for this. Now I know why my turnips and parsnips were a bit mushy. I cooked them along with potatoes and beets which take longer. Pretty new Instant Pot-head here.

  • Reply
    Eric
    January 3, 2019 at 1:33 pm

    Hi, my instant pot has a “steam” setting but I am assuming these recipes expect use of “manual” mode, since we’re dialing in specific times. Is that correct?

    I enjoyed your article but the reason I am doing research is I tried using my instant pot to cook asparagus the other day. It was the most overcooked disgusting asparagus I’ve ever had! All color gone and floppy as could be. I put the asparagus in a steamer basket, used manual setting of 1 minute, instant pot sealed, and did a quick release to vent the steam as soon as the timer went off. What I am thinking might have gone wrong is I used three cups of water – the directions make a big deal about always using at least 18oz of water, blah blah blah, so I just dumped 3 cups in to be safe. I will try just one cup of liquid next time because I am guessing that might have been the issue.

    • Reply
      Ann Fabrizio
      January 9, 2019 at 10:05 pm

      HI Eric, I think you are right in your assessment about the cups of water. Water should not go beyond the steamer rack, cut back if it does. Even a 1/2 cup would still work. But keep it to 1 cup. Also if you have an 8 quart or a 6 quart that is less than two years old you may need to cook your asparagus for “0” minutes. The newer pots are much more temperamental and cook hotter than the original models. Hope this helps.

  • Reply
    Laura
    January 5, 2019 at 4:17 am

    How would I cook one whole large onion in an instapot

    • Reply
      Ann Fabrizio
      January 9, 2019 at 9:14 pm

      Hi Laura, not sure what meal you had in mind or the use of the onion. Did you want to eat it whole or caramelized?

    • Reply
      Lynn
      March 4, 2019 at 3:57 pm

      I have the same question. I often grill whole onions wrapped in foil. Could I cook it in my IP instead of on the grill or even in the oven?

    • Reply
      fryque
      September 15, 2019 at 10:33 pm

      Been awhile and amazing that NO one has ever answered this simple question. I guess that I will contact the company and ask them. I want to cook whole onions [peeled, not chopped or ringed.] No added anything. I will add seasoning in the dish.
      I guess I will steam them for a couple of minutes then keep on trying till I get what I want.

  • Reply
    Ralph
    January 7, 2019 at 6:20 pm

    So when cooking a roast, would you cook the vegetables after the roast?

    RCJ

    • Reply
      Ann Fabrizio
      January 9, 2019 at 9:52 pm

      Yes… All pending on how you prefer your vegetables. Most people have found that cooking at the same time as the roast makes mushy veggies. So ideally, start cooking the roast first at half the time needed, then add veggies for the remaining amount of time. This may take some experimenting to see what you prefer.

  • Reply
    Lily
    January 18, 2019 at 5:22 pm

    Thank you so much for this list. I’ve bookmarked it for future reference :).

  • Reply
    Elisabeth G Daniel
    January 20, 2019 at 4:39 pm

    how long should you cook onions, potatoes, carrots, celery, and mushrooms together in the instant pot?

    • Reply
      instantpoteats
      January 21, 2019 at 6:56 am

      I would do them for the required time for the potatoes as they take the longest.

  • Reply
    Bobkat
    January 28, 2019 at 6:50 pm

    Great article, thanks. What about Turnips

    • Reply
      Ann Fabrizio
      February 5, 2019 at 9:26 pm

      Pressure Setting
      Place Steamer basket in your Instant Pot liner. Wash, peel & chop turnips, place in the steamer basket. Pour in 3 cups Water. Close and lock lid. Press Manual, high pressure. Adjust time to 3 minutes. When pot beeps, allow the pot to naurally release pressure keeping your hands and face away from the release valve.
      OR
      Steam Setting
      Place Steamer basket in your Instant Pot liner. Wash, peel & chop turnips, place in the steamer basket. Pour in 3 cups Water Close lid. Press the steam button. Adjust time to 8 minutes. Allow pot to come to temperature and finish the cook time.

  • Reply
    cass
    February 20, 2019 at 8:08 pm

    What about blanching??

    • Reply
      instantpoteats
      February 23, 2019 at 11:11 pm

      It’s probably easiest to blanch in boiling water on the stove 🙂

  • Reply
    Natalie
    March 6, 2019 at 7:08 am

    Thanks so much for putting the time into this! I’m still learning my instant pot and certainly appreciate help like this. Good work! Many thanks..

  • Reply
    Bill Emerson
    March 15, 2019 at 4:14 pm

    Is there any way I can print this? I have it downloaded on my tablet, but I’d sure like to have it in print so I can put it on the microwave while I’m cooking.

    • Reply
      Ann Fabrizio
      March 16, 2019 at 9:50 pm

      Our other recipes do have a print button. Unfortunately, this informative 101 section does not. If you have a Mac computer with safari browser, I know that you can export a pdf of any web page you are looking at.

    • Reply
      Debra
      August 23, 2019 at 5:15 pm

      Bill, you can copy the text and paste it into a Word document, then print it. Alternatively, you can right click anywhere on the text and a box will pop up, you can click on “print” and the entire page will print, but I just looked and that will give you 22 pages which will include all the photos, ads, etc. Hope this helps.

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