Instant Pots are great for cooking up a delicious dinner in a hurry, and sides are no different. While it’s true that not all vegetables are great candidates for cooking in your Instant Pot (or pressure cooker), we’ll teach you about all the ones that are, including how long to keep them under pressure and if you can use a quick pressure release or not.

By Andrea Beck
Updated December 11, 2018

Pressure cookers are one of our favorite kitchen tools because they make cooking so speedy. The same goes for vegetables—some veggies cook so fast in an Instant Pot, it’s almost unbelievable (like acorn squash in just 7 minutes!). We’ll teach you how to quick-cook all your favorite veggies in your Instant Pot or pressure cooker so you can serve them as a side dish, add them to an entrée, or make your favorite vegetable recipe (like mashed sweet potatoes) much faster. Tender veggies are just a few minutes away!

Get the recipe: Pressure Cooker Braised Carrots and Pearl Onions

Use these instructions for prepping your veggies and pressure cooker, then follow our suggestions below for how long to pressure- cook each vegetable and whether or not to use the quick pressure release. Cooking times can vary a little depending on the vegetable size and moisture content, so use these suggestions as a guide until you find out what works best for your pressure cooker.

Start by placing ½ cup water in the bottom of your Instant Pot or pressure cooker. If you’re cooking whole medium-size beets, cubed or whole potatoes, or whole sweet potatoes, use 1 cup water instead. Add in your desired vegetable and lock the lid in place. For an electric pressure cooker (like an Instant Pot), cook on high for the suggested time below. For a stove-top pressure cooker, bring up to pressure over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to maintain steady (but not excessive) pressure. Cook for the time suggested below. Release the pressure as directed and open the lid carefully.

  • Artichokes (whole, large): Cook 15 minutes and quick-release the pressure once the cooking time is up.
  • Beets (whole, medium): Cook 18 minutes but allow the pressure to release naturally.
  • Beets (whole, baby): Cook 12 minutes and quick-release the pressure at the end of the cook time.
  • Carrots (1-inch pieces): Cook 4 minutes and quick-release the pressure.
  • Corn (on the cob): Cook 3 minutes and quick-release the pressure.
  • Parsnips (1-inch pieces): Cook 4 minutes then quick-release the pressure at the end.
  • Potatoes (1-inch pieces): Cook 7 minutes and quick-release the pressure.
  • Potatoes (whole russet, pricked): Cook 18 minutes but let the pressure release naturally once the cooking time is up.
  • Acorn Squash (halved, cut sides down): Cook 7 minutes and allow the pressure to release naturally.
  • Butternut Squash (1-inch pieces): Cook 5 minutes then quick-release the pressure.
  • Spaghetti Squash (halved, cut sides down): Cook 10 minutes then let the pressure release naturally after cooking.
  • Sweet Potato (1-inch pieces): Cook 4 minutes and quick-release the pressure at the end of the cooking time.
  • Sweet Potato (whole, pricked): Cook 15 minutes then allow the pressure to release naturally.
  • Turnips (1-inch pieces): Cook 6 minutes then quick-release the pressure.

These aren’t the only veggies you can make in your Instant Pot! They have slightly different cooking methods, but you can also try making Instant Pot cauliflower steaks, Brussels sprouts, and red cabbage. You can also combine vegetables that have the same cook times—like baby carrots and pearl onions—if you want to make a more vibrant, flavorful side dish.


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