This quick and easy method for Instant Pot frozen broccoli is going to have you jumping for joy! Not only is it mostly hands off, but it results in tender, bright green florets that are ready to be used in your favorite recipes or served with a pat of butter and some fresh cracked pepper.
One of my favorite things about the Instant Pot is how easy it makes cooking vegetables and other healthy side dishes. It's so easy to get to work on my main meal, and put a vegetable or some rice in my extra Instant Pot. Then I go ahead and grate some cheese or do some light prep work.
One of the absolute BEST things is being able to make vegetables directly from frozen. Since frozen vegetables are inexpensive, I like to keep them on hand for easy side dishes and economical meals. They have a long shelf life, and go on sale often. So why not?
Adding a bag of frozen broccoli to the Instant Pot is SO easy, which means I have no excuse not to serve up a healthy side dish with all of our favorite meals. I know one thing for sure: I'll be using this method AGAIN and AGAIN!
Perfectly Steamed Vegetables in the Instant Pot
All you have to do to steam your vegetables in the Instant Pot is to master the art of the "0 minute" cook time. That's right, 0 minutes!
Setting your Instant Pot to 0 minutes is the perfect time for steaming most of your favorite vegetables. You can use the steam OR the manual function. I tend to use the manual function just because it's a habit!
When you set your timer to "0 minutes" what you're effectively doing is allowing the vegetables to steam and cook during the pressure building time. As soon as the pressure has built up enough to seal the pot, you flip the valve to "venting" and do a quick pressure release.
And the result? Perfectly steamed vegetables every single time!
Ingredients and Equipment
This "recipe" is SO simple, and you really only need a few things to get started:
- Frozen Broccoli: You'll want to use the kind with large florets, rather than tiny ones. Brands with really tiny florets will overcook and become mushy.
- Water: For 6 quart models, you'll need 1 cup of drinkable quality water. For 8 quart models, use 1 ½ cups of water.
- Salt: This is optional, but it seasons your broccoli during the cooking process, rather than having to add salt after the fact.
- Instant Pot: Of course, you'll need an Instant Pot! The model that I use for almost all of my recipes is the Instant Pot 8 Quart Duo.
Cooking Frozen Broccoli in the Instant Pot
Start off by adding 1 cup of filtered water to the insert of a 6 quart Instant Pot, OR 1 ½ cups of water to the insert of an 8 quart model.
Add your salt (if using) and give it a good whisk.
Fit the steamer basket into the inner pot. If your steamer basket does not have little "feet" that hold it up out of the water, go ahead and place the trivet that came with your Instant Pot under it.
Add in up to 1 pound of frozen broccoli to your steamer basket. We don't want to overload the Instant Pot and end up with frozen bits in the middle, so keeping it to just 1 pound (~5 cups) is a best practice.
Fit the lid onto your pot, and flip the valve to "sealing".
Set the manual pressure to "0" and wait for the Instant Pot to beep to indicate it has started building pressure.
Once the Instant Pot has beeped to indicate the cook time is through, turn it off and switch the valve to "venting" using a long handled wooden spoon. Make sure that the stream of steam is pointing away from your face.
Once the pin drops, indicating the pressure has been released, open the lid away from your face.
Carefully, using an oven mitt, remove the steamer basket from the Instant Pot.
Allow to drain in the sink for a minute or so, or in a large bowl.
Then season and serve immediately! I love mine with a little bit of butter and a few cracks of pepper.
Without a Steamer Basket
If you don't yet have a steamer basket, you may be wondering if you can still make frozen broccoli in an Instant Pot. The answer is yes!
While broccoli cooked without a steamer basket (or alternative solutions below) may be on the mushy or soggy side when compared, it can work well in a pinch. The key is to keep your broccoli up and out of the water as much as possible.
You have three options:
- Classic Metal Steamer: This UFO-looking object that was always in your Grandmother's cupboard can actually fir perfectly well inside of a larger (8 quart) Instant Pot model. If you have one of these, it will work perfectly.
- Silicone or Heat Proof Colander: If you have a silicone or heatproof strainer or colander, you can place this on top of the trivet that came with your pot, and place your broccoli inside.
- Trivet: All Instant Pot models come with a trivet. If all else fails, you can place your trivet in the pot and carefully pile your broccoli on top. Any broccoli that comes into contact with the water will be on the mushy side, so try to keep them out of the water as much as possible.
- When cooking vegetables in your Instant Pot, be sure to do a quick pressure release (QPR) immediately after the cook time is up. Allowing the pot to sit, or do a natural pressure release (NPR) will result in mushy, overcooked broccoli.
- Choose the best quality broccoli you can find. I like to buy brands that have large, bright green florets. Some store brands contain mostly cut stems, and they tend to get very mushy as well as lack the flavor that florets have.
- If you would like to steam fresh broccoli, chop your broccoli into florets and proceed with the directions as written. Consider that if you like your broccoli very crisp, you'll need to set the time for 0 minutes. If you like your broccoli on the softer side, steam for 1-2 minutes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Frozen broccoli only needs to be timed for "0 minutes" on manual pressure. It will take 8-13 minutes to build pressure, and a minute or so to release pressure. This makes for a total time (from prep to wait time) of 15 minutes.
Yes, you can very easily steam frozen vegetables in the Instant Pot! Just add your favorite frozen vegetables to a steamer basket and select either manual pressure or "Steam" for 0 minutes for most vegetables.
Yes! Frozen broccoli is preserved at the peak of freshness, meaning it retains all of its vitamins and minerals. These are often depreciated during shipping and shelf life, so frozen broccoli actually may be more nutritious than fresh.
The easiest way to substitute frozen broccoli for fresh is by measuring them cup for cup after they have been cooked. Fresh broccoli is a little bulkier than frozen broccoli, which has already been partially cooked via blanching.
You can use a metal collapsible steamer, a silicone or heatproof colander, OR you can rest your vegetables on top of the trivet that came with your Instant Pot.
More Easy Instant Pot Recipes
- Instant Pot Hamburger Helper
- Instant Pot 5 Ingredient Mac and Cheese
- Instant Pot Creamy Chicken Tortilla Soup
- Instant Pot Cream of Mushroom Soup
- Instant Pot Chicken Parm Pasta - Meal Plan Addict
Instant Pot Frozen Broccoli
- 1 pound frozen broccoli florets
- ½ teaspoon salt optional
- 1 ½ cups water
- Add the water to the insert of a 6 quart or 8 quart Instant Pot.
- Sprinkle in the salt (if using), and whisk to combine.
- Add your steamer basket (*See notes for making without a steamer basket) to the insert, and add the broccoli to the steamer basket.
- Secure the lid on the Instant Pot and move the valve to "sealing."
- Set your pot on manual pressure and set the time for "0" minutes. Once the pot beeps, you'll know it has started to build pressure.
- The pot will take approximately 8-13 minutes to come to pressure. Since our broccoli is cooking during the pressure building time, as soon as the Instant Pot switches over to the cook time, it will turn off because the time (0 minutes) has been completed.
- Immediately flip the valve to "venting" to do a quick pressure release. Make sure you are not in the stream of steam, and use a long handled wooden spoon if needed.
- Once the pin drops, indicating that the pressure has been released, go ahead and open your lid.
- Lift the steamer basket out of the Instant pot and allow to drain in the sink or a large bowl for a few minutes.
- Season to your taste, and serve immediately.
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