How To Steam In The Instant Pot

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Would you like to learn how to steam in instant pot and create the same steamed food taste using the instant pot rather than a traditional steamer? Then you will love our instant pot steam guide.

We have been steaming food (especially potatoes and veggies) in the instant pot pressure cooker for years now and it was instant pot broccoli that was our very first instant pot recipe we ever did.

Originally shared with you instant pot steam info back in 2017, updated it in 2020 and just wanted to update it for you today.

Instant Pot | How To Steam In The Instant Pot from

Instant Pot Steam

Have you ever owned a food steamer? We got our first one many years ago and used one for steaming veggies, potatoes and salmon for about 5 years prior to getting our first instant pot.

What we loved most about using the steamer is that it made food taste so good. You didn’t have that bland taste to your veggies that you get with boiling and never boiled another vegetable again.

So, no surprise that the first thing we ever cooked in the instant pot was instant pot steamed broccoli.

If you want to recreate steamed food in the instant pot, say goodbye to your old food steamer and say hello to our how to steam in instant pot guide.

Can You Steam In An Instant Pot?

Yes, you can steam in an instant pot, and you will love it. Also, for the same taste and texture as steamed foods you don’t even need an instant pot with a steam button. In fact, we have the instant pot duo and the instant pot duo plus, at home in our kitchen.  

What Can You Steam In Instant Pot?

Anything that you imagine boiling will cook much quicker in a steamer in the Instant Pot. You also get to retain the flavour and nutrients if you steam vs boiling.

Here are a few ideas for instant pot steaming:

  • Boiled Eggs
  • Fish
  • Meat
  • Vegetables
  • Pureed Fruit

You can also rinse and repeat with the instant pot steaming method and experiment with more and more different foods from the same family.

For example, you can try instant pot broccoli first, then at your next mealtime, use the same method to do instant pot cauliflower and it’s a great way to learn the instant pot.

IMPORTANT Tips For Instant Pot Steaming

Before diving into how to steam in instant pot lets talk about some important instant pot steaming tips.

  1. You need liquid to bring the instant pot to pressure. Depending on the size of your instant pot this is between 1 cup and 2 cups (240ml to 480ml).
  2. You can flavour the instant pot. Maybe you are steaming food and then using it for something else such as a soup, or a sauce. If this is the case swap water for our instant pot veggie stock. It will make such a difference to the flavour.
  3. You need a steaming cook time chart. We have one below for you that you can print off at home or click here for it. It gives you a quick reference for how long the different foods need in the instant pot.
  4. Make sure you set the valve to sealing. This is important as to get that perfect steam like cook you want to bring the instant pot to pressure followed by a quick cook time.
  5. Use a steamer basket. If you don’t it will be liking boiling your food. A good steamer basket (we love this one) also has a few moderate holes so that the food can breathe and so that you can create the best meals.
  6. If steaming a whole meal stack in the right order. Place the hardest to cook things at the bottom of the steamer basket and then lay the rest on top. An example would be hard carrots on the bottom to thin strips of chicken on top.
  7. Save your stock for another instant pot recipe. If for example you are making salmon and broccoli, then the salmon juices will drip down giving you a brilliant fish stock for a future meal.
  8. Don’t over fill your instant pot steamer basket. Otherwise, things will not cook properly, and you will have to take it back to pressure again.

How To Steam With Instant Pot?

how to steam anything in your instant pot

The process of steaming with instant pot is a very easy method and you will love it. The same process remains the same regardless of whether you are steaming eggs, veggies, potatoes, fish or even meat.

Let’s demonstrate steaming in instant pot with instant pot cauliflower.

You place your liquid into the instant pot first. Its important that you have enough water to go to pressure and this will vary depending on the instant pot model you are using.

For example, in the instant pot duo 6 quart that we are using this is 1 cup of water which is the same as 240ml.

step 1 - add liquid to the instant pot

Then after adding the liquid which can be water, or it can be stock, you add in your steamer basket.

If your steamer basket has its own stand then you can put it directly in the instant pot and it is perfect for pressure cooker as steamer. BUT if you don’t have legs on your steamer basket, you will need to add the trivet and then your steamer basket.

Then add the food you plan on steaming, which in this case is lots of cauliflower florets.

step 2 - add cauliflower to the instant pot

Next, place the lid on your instant pot, set the valve to sealing and pressure cook for the required cook time.

Then do a quick pressure release and check that your cauliflower (or other veggie) is fork tender and you are DONE.

step 3 - steam instant pot veggie until done

Now imagine, rinse and repeat and doing this over any of your favourite veggies or potatoes and how simple the instant pot is for everyday cooking.

Instant Pot Steam Cook Times Cheatsheet

instant pot steam cook times cheatsheet

Rather than struggling to print the image or jotting down all the info, we have a PDF version. You can download the PDF for free in our instant pot members area including lots of other instant pot printables, and free air fryer and slow cooker printables too.

Instant Pot Steam Seal Or Vent?

When making food with the instant pot steamer, you need to set it to sealing not venting. That way it will quickly go to pressure for the required minutes and then you can do a quick pressure release.

No Steam Button On Instant Pot Duo Plus

I have only owned the instant pot duo and the instant pot duo plus. This model has no steam button on instant pot. You may be wondering how do you do instapot steaming without it?

Well, without the instant pot steam setting, you simply press the “pressure cook” button instead.

The steam function on instant pot is simply a pre-set cook time and by using the pressure cook button you are simply manually setting the time and temp.

However, if you have a super old instant pot like we have, then this might be called “manual” instead.

Now you know what to do if you have no instant pot steam button!

How To Steam Meat In Instant Pot?

You can steam meat in the instant pot, in the same way you instapot steam veggies.

It’s the same process of placing the meat in the steamer basket and then pressure cooking until done.

Which Instant Pot Steamer Basket?

We have talked about how to use steamer basket in instant pot, but we haven’t talked about which one is the best and which ones we use.

Well, I love being totally honest with you, and I am sure you will be surprised to learn that Dom has a favourite and I have a favourite, and we don’t like the same instant pot steamer basket.

When using instant pot steamer basket, I much prefer the expandable ones. They allow you to fill it with more food and you can expand it depending on what you are cooking. You can read more about it here and the recent reviews. Dom dislikes it because it is harder to clean lol plus it’s a little flimsy.

Dom prefers this instant pot steamer basket which is bigger and with its handles is very practical. But you do need to use the trivet for it to rest on, unlike my favourite which has its own little legs. You can read more about it here and the recent reviews.

We also have a very old one, that was from an old soup maker, that we kept and use in the instant pot. Unfortunately you wont be able to find it anywhere as that steamer basket doesn’t exist anymore. You can see it in use (and how old it looks) in our instant pot carrots recipe.

Though, if you plan to do instant pot hard boiled eggs a lot, then you might prefer treating yourself to an egg steamer basket. They are fun and many instant pot users love them. And yes, we have one!

Listen To How To Steam In The Instant Pot

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Instant Pot Steamer Basket Recipes

I have shown you the instapot steamer, how to steam in instant pot, what instant pot steamer basket you need, but now lets talk about some delicious instant pot steamer basket recipes you can try.


That way you can practice the instant pot steam method and use it as a quick way for cooking.

#1 Instant Pot Cauliflower

Instant Pot Cauliflower

Start steaming in an instant pot with instant pot cauliflower, its one of those easy instant pot veggies and you can chop up a medium cauliflower for a quick experiment.

#2 Instant Pot Carrots

Instant Pot Carrots

Next, try instant pot carrots. I originally made instant pot carrots in my early pressure cooker days and because I am doing sliced carrots, they fit in a smaller steamer basket.

#3 Instant Pot Turnips

instant pot turnips

Another firm family favourite is instant pot turnips. They are probably most associated with Christmas, but we love them whenever they are in season.

#4 Instant Pot Rutabaga

Instant Pot Rutabaga

Or similar to the turnip why not try instant pot rutabaga. Or where you live you might call it instant pot swede or instant pot neeps.

#5 Instant Pot Red Potatoes

Instant Pot Red Potatoes

If you have not followed our instant pot steamer instructions for instant pot red potatoes yet, then you must. The instant pot is just as good for the potatoes as it is the veggies.

#6 Instant Pot Potatoes & Carrots

Instant Pot Potatoes And Carrots

Or beyond instant pot red potatoes why not do a combo and do instant pot carrots along with instant pot potatoes. It makes a fantastic midweek evening option.

#7 Instant Pot Asparagus

instant pot asparagus

Or for a very simple veggie for your next evening meal, try instant pot asparagus that sits and cooks in the instant pot steamer basket.

#8 Instant Pot Frozen Vegetables

Instant Pot Vegetable Soup With Frozen Vegetables

Though don’t dismiss frozen vegetables in the instant pot. You can cook a lot of your frozen veggies using the steamer basket. We love to do a medley of frozen cauliflower, frozen broccoli and frozen peas. Though you can mix and match.

#9 Instant Pot Frozen Broccoli

Instant Pot Frozen Broccoli

Or just focus on the broccoli. We love to do some instant pot frozen broccoli for our lunch and can quickly steam it for 0 minutes and it’s done in no time!

#10 Instant Pot Shepherd’s Pie

instant pot shepherds pie

Then for the unexpected instant pot steamer basket recipe it is instant pot shepherd’s pie. You cook the minced lamb at the bottom of the inner pot, then add a trivet, followed by the steamer basket and can then steam the potatoes for the mash as the mince cooks.  

How Long To Steam In Instant Pot?

The instant pot steam time can vary from food to food, what we recommend is that you download our free PDF which goes into detail with different cook times, then you can print it out and use it at home.

Can’t read it now? Then pin it for later!

Recipe This

Hi! I am Sam and along with my chef hubby Dom we love sharing with you easy everyday recipes using kitchen gadgets. We are also the authors of The Complete Air Fryer Cookbook, an amazing air fryer cookbook filled with 140+ everyday air fryer recipes. Beyond the air fryer we also love the instant pot, slow cooker, soup maker, ninja foodi, pie marker and several other kitchen gadgets. CLICKING HERE →

32 thoughts on “How To Steam In The Instant Pot”

  1. Love your blog! Thank you for all your tips and suggestions. Very helpful. My Mom used to make pot roast in the pressure cooker. After cooking a pork roast, she also made the best barbecue in the pressure cooker.

    • Hi Kim,

      We love ours too. Plus they have come along incredibly over the years compared to the old days when you would end up with mushy peas splattered on the ceiling!

      Kind regards


  2. The big cooking times graphic shows 5 minutes for hard-boiled eggs and 10 minutes for soft-boiled eggs. Color me bewildered.

    • Hi Teresa

      Yes it was an error. We have uploaded another graphic with the correct information.



    • Hi Dianne

      Yes it was an error. We have uploaded another graphic with the correct information.



  3. I don’t understand the Steam function as opposed to the regular manual pressure cook function? What is the difference? You say that the Steam function needs to come to pressure. So what gives? Why not just use the regular pressure setting?

    • Hi Mark

      Yes you can use the regular pressure setting instead of the steam function. The difference is with the manual setting you can set the pressure between low normal or high but on the steam setting it is fixed to high and you cannot change it. You can change more things on the manual setting compared to the pre-programmed buttons.

      Kind Regards


      • Why does Instant Pot differentiate between a STEAM setting and a PRESSURE COOK setting? If you pressure cook vegetables too long on a high setting they will disintegrate.

        My Instant Pot does not have a STEAM setting. It has PRESSURE COOK.

        How would a person cook a steak and kidney pudding?

        • Hi Jean,

          A lot of the earlier Instant Pots have the steam setting as well as pressure cook, i am not sure the difference but when we tried with our old instant pot the steam did not cook as quick as the pressure cook, but only a slight difference. The newer ones do not have a steam setting just pressure cook, we have not tried a steak and kidney pudding but i would guess it could be cooked on low pressure, but until we try things out we do not really know 🙂

    • Steam function cooks as its coming to pressure. I use steam function for soft cooked Ramen eggs for instance are done in 1 minute minute( runny yolk) 2 minutes for jammy yolk.
      Steam cooks faster for veg.

    • Hi Emily

      If they are small crabs legs i would try 3 minutes, but i have never tried to cook them from frozen or fresh in the Instant Pot.

      Kind Regards


  4. This is a question…I have some over baked muffins and wondering if IP steam setting would rejuvenate them, and in general rewarming rolls and breads?

    • Hi Cindi,

      I would not try to rejuvenate them in the instant pot because even though it is steaming them and giving them moisture it is also cooking them so if they are already over cooked it could make them worse and alot of mess, but you can try and if you do put it onto half pressure for 1 minute and see what happens. For warming and reheating breads and rolls we use our airfryer on a low setting and it does a really good job 🙂

  5. I was wondering why you can’t just use the steam function with an alternate lid instead of sealing? I know it won’t time itself without the lid but wouldn’t it still work?

    • Hi

      I am not sure as we have not tried it but if the lid is not fixed on i think it will just turn itself off and not continue steaming, without the lid 🙂

      • I know that slow cooking or yogurt or sous vide does not require the locking lid and Instant Pot actually sells a glass lid that can be used for that type of cooking

  6. Hi Recipe This,
    I’m considering an Instant Pot and I just found this article. Will the Instant Pot automatically shut off when the timer is done? How long will one cup of water last? I keep burning my steaming pot on the stove, that’s why I’m asking.
    Thank you so much for your help!

    • Hi Holly,

      After the time has run down the Instant Pot goes into keep warm mode. But alot of recipes need you to turn it off and release the pressure straight away called quick pressure release, then you have Natural pressure release which is where you leave it until all pressure has been released by itself. One cup of water will last the whole time of the food you are cooking because you have a lid on it and the instant pot is sealed the water does not evaporate so stays in the pot, replace it everytime you use as you have to wash it anyway after each cook.

      If you have anymore questions please feel free to reply to this comment 🙂

    • Hi Candace,

      No the sauté button does not steam, it is for sealing the meat, making it brown before pressure cooking. You could look for a pressure cook button instead of the steam button 🙂

      • Does anyone know what the PSI is for the pressure cooking mode on the Instant Pots. I know what PSI means. I just want to know what the pressure is for low, medium, and high.

        • Hi Jean,

          The cooking psi between 10 – 12.5 between the different cooking ranges, but different places have different measurements 🙂

  7. Hi! Thank you for this! Question for you. My instant pot (which is a new one with air fry etc) will only let me steam for maximum 30 minutes. Not sure why this is. I actually bought the pot to steam soy beans for natto, and I need them to steam for 40 minutes. So I am guessing my options are to steam them for 30, then another 10, or what I am trying now, which is to set it to pressure cook for 40 minutes, but then assemble it as a steamer, with a steaming basket and water. Thoughts?

  8. Hi – one thing I notice you don’t mention is pulses. I would like to pressure steam soaked soy beans – what are your thoughts?

  9. I am trying to make cranberry Christmas pudding. It is a moist molasses cake. The recipe says to bring the water to a boil and to steam for about 2.5 hours checking the water level every 30 minutes or so and refilling as needed. I have a glass lid as well as a sealing lid on my Instant Pot. I also have a steam button. I assume I would need the glass lid if I have to check the water levels every 30 minutes. Could you please tell me how to proceed so I do not overcook the cake. Can I put my cake pan on my trivet inside the Instant Pot?


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