Instant Pot Whole Fish

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Delicious perfectly cooked instant pot whole fish. Using black tilapia along with sliced lemon, sliced garlic, and fresh herbs, this is fantastic for an easy Mediterranean lunch in the instant pot.

You will love this simple method for cooking instant pot tilapia. Once cooked you can cut through the skin to be greeted with the best tasting fish ever and then serve it with your favourite instant pot veggies.  

instant pot whole fish recipe
Instant Pot Whole Fish Recipe

Whole Fish In Instant Pot

I remember a few years ago now, seeing a picture on Pinterest of a whole fish been cooked in the instant pot.

I just loved the idea.

That you could load the instant pot up with a whole fish, sit it on the trivet, and then let the instant pot work its magic.

That was several years ago now, and I am finally getting around to cooking a whole fish in the instant pot!

Yesterday, I shared with you how to cook an air fryer whole fish and I will be using the EXACT same ingredients and just swapping it for air fryer to instant pot to see how they compare.

If you want a simple way to cook fish, then you will love instant pot whole fish!

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Instant Pot Tilapia

As I mentioned above, we are cooking a whole black tilapia in the instant pot. I managed to get a selection of black tilapia from Morrisons fish counter and at £7 each they are fantastic value for money.

Because they are sold ready from Morrisons this means they are already gutted, already scaled and are ready for stuffing and then pressure cooking.

I also find in the UK that tilapia is not a fashionable fish like cod, haddock or plaice, therefore carries a much lower price point.

You can also cook the following whole in the instant pot:

  • Instant Pot Seabass
  • Instant Pot Bream
  • Instant Pot Red Snapper
  • Instant Pot Pollock

Can You Cook Fish In Instant Pot?

Yes, yes, yes, I want to shout from the rooftops that you most certainly can cook fish in the instant pot.

There is so much choice with fish in the instant pot, from salmon fillets and other fish fillets to shrimp or to cooking a whole fish.

The method of instant pot fish is steaming the fish, and just think how many times people steam fish for a healthy lunch or dinner.

Can You Cook Frozen Fish In Instant Pot?

Yes, you can. I have cooked instant pot frozen salmon before, and a few other frozen fish dishes and have found it cooks just as good as fresh in the instant pot.

For cooking this instant pot whole fish recipe with frozen simply add 5 more minutes to the cook time.

How Do You Pressure Cook Fish With Bones?

The best way to pressure cook fish with bones is to cook it whole in the instant pot pressure cooker.

You then sit your fresh whole fish on the trivet and then after cooking you can slice into the fish and have perfectly cooked fish.

It is so much easier than boning a fish for fillets and so ridiculously fast.

How Do You Prepare A Whole Fish For Cooking?

Before you even start preparing a whole fish for cooking in the instant pot, you need to make sure you have ticked three boxes.

  • Box #1 is that your whole fish has already been gutted
  • Box #2 is that your whole fish has already been scaled
  • Box #3 is that your whole fish has clear eyes

This is important because fresh whole fish needs to be gutted and scaled before cooking and getting it sold like this, takes this job away from you and makes your life easier.

Then the clear eyes says that you have a fresh fish and that you are buying quality and that its not likely to lead to food poisoning.

After these 3 steps, you are ready to prepare your instant pot tilapia.

Simply use a pair of scissors to remove the fins and then add your seasonings into the cavity of the fish.

Then score the skin of the fish and season the skin. This then gives the fish the best flavour and allows the fish to be perfectly seasoned.

After this your fish is then ready for you to cook in the instant pot.

And the process of getting your tilapia ready only takes a couple of minutes, making it fantastic for a quick prep healthy lunch.

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Whole Tilapia Recipe Ingredients

Instant Pot Whole Fish

Fish – You have a few choices here, (see above) and we will be showing you how to cook a black tilapia in the instant pot. Just remember to make sure it is gutted, scaled, and has clear eyes first.

Lemon – Lemon and fish go together like salt and pepper. I recommend chopping up some lemon and adding it to the fish.

Seasoning – I also recommend adding in some fresh herbs with the lemon. We used a mixture of fresh thyme, fresh curly parsley, and fresh dill.

Garlic – Then alongside the lemon and fresh herbs I recommend slicing up a little garlic. Garlic, fresh herbs, and lemon just taste so good with fish.  

Oil – Then after scoring the tilapia fish skin I recommend extra virgin olive oil and salt, pepper, and dried dill tops.

Then for the kitchen gadgets that we have used in this tilapia instant pot recipe it has just been our Instant Pot. We have this one and it’s my favourite and great for a lot of simple healthy foods.

Plus, we recommend you head over to our instant pot recipes category as we have many electric pressure cooker recipes and have been using instant pots for 5 years.

How Do You Cook Whole Fish In Instant Pot?

instant pot whole fish step by step
  • Stuff. Using scissors cut off the fins. Then add your fresh herbs, sliced garlic and lemon slices to the inside of the fish.
  • Score. Using a vegetable knife score the outside skin of your whole fish and then drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and then season with salt, pepper, and dill tops.
  • Cook. Add a cup/240ml of fish stock or water to your instant pot. Add the trivet and then place the whole fish onto the trivet. Place the lid down on the instant pot, set the valve to sealing and cook for 10 minutes followed by a 5 minute natural pressure release.
  • Finish. Then remove the remaining pressure and serve your instant pot steamed fish with favourite veggies.

And I am sure you can see now how easy it is cooking tilapia in instant pot and why you should be doing it too!

How Long Do You Cook Fish In An Instant Pot?

You will be impressed with the instant pot whole fish cook time. I know I am and its half of the cook time for the air fryer.

In fact, this instant pot tilapia recipe takes JUST 10 minutes. Though you will also need a 5 minute natural pressure release, taking it to 15 minutes.

Instant Pot Steamed Fish Tips & Tricks

  • Always make sure the whole fish has been gutted, scaled, and has clear eyes before you purchase it.
  • Focus on a fresh fish that cooks well whole in the pressure cooker. Such as tilapia, seabass, or red snapper.
  • Avoid a fish that is too big, or it won’t fit inside your instant pot. Our black tilapia was 765g and would only just fit.
  • Remember to score your fish, it allows the seasonings to drip into the inside of the fish as it cooks and stops you eating bland fish.
  • It is optional whether you remove the fins or not. I prefer to, but its your choice.
  • Feel free to mix and match seasonings. Depending on what you have in.
  • I recommend stuffing your fish until you are out of room. Some fish will be bigger than others so you might not be able to add as much as us.

Interesting Instant Pot Trick – Use hot water from the tap when adding water to the instant pot. It will then speed up the time it takes to go to pressure.

Instant Pot Fish & Seafood Recipes

Instant Pot Whole Fish

Your tilapia instant pot recipe is below, note you can print it out with or without photos, adjust servings, or click between metric and imperial depending on where you are in the world.

Though before you do, don’t forget to subscribe, and grab your FREE VIP Pass to Recipe This. You will get access to our latest recipes first, you will be able to request recipes, you will have access to free mini courses, free instant pot ebooks and useful instant pot cook time charts and so much more.

Instant Pot Whole Fish
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Instant Pot Whole Fish

Delicious perfectly cooked instant pot whole fish. Using black tilapia along with sliced lemon, sliced garlic, and fresh herbs, this is fantastic for an easy Mediterranean lunch in the instant pot.
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time15 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Instant Pot
Servings: 2
Calories: 168kcal


  • 1 Whole Black Tilapia
  • 1 Lemon sliced
  • 2 Garlic Cloves sliced
  • 2 Tsp Fresh Curly Parsley
  • 2 Tsp Fresh Dill
  • 2 Tsp Fresh Thyme
  • 1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 2 Tsp Dried Dill Tops

Kitchen Gadgets


  • Check that your whole fish has clear eyes, has been gutted and scaled.
    How Long Do You Cook Fish In An Instant Pot?
  • Cut off the fins with a pair of scissors.
    How Long Do You Cook Fish In An Instant Pot?
  • Then fill the fish with your lemon slices, garlic slices and fresh herbs. You can do as many as will fit in the fish.
    How Long Do You Cook Fish In An Instant Pot?
  • Then score the sides of the fish with a veggie knife and then rub in extra virgin olive oil, followed by salt, pepper, and dill tops.
    How Long Do You Cook Fish In An Instant Pot?
  • Place a cup of water into your instant pot, then add your trivet. Place the whole fish on the trivet and then place the lid on the instant pot and set the valve to sealing.
    How Long Do You Cook Fish In An Instant Pot?
  • Pressure cook your whole fish for 10 minutes, followed by a 5 minute natural pressure release. Then after releasing pressure, remove the fish and tuck in.
    How Long Do You Cook Fish In An Instant Pot?



Make Ahead. You can also make ahead your whole fish and then pressure cook it once you are ready.
Scoring. The scoring is essential as it allows the seasoning to go into the flesh of the fish as it cooks.
Oil. The oil is fantastic for allowing the seasoning to stick to the fish and well season it.
Thanks for reading our instant pot whole fish recipe on Recipe This. We have many more instant pot recipes for you to check out next. Though if you would like to see more healthy recipes, I recommend you try our instant pot chickpeas next.


Calories: 168kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 43mg | Sodium: 48mg | Potassium: 390mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 182IU | Vitamin C: 33mg | Calcium: 54mg | Iron: 2mg
Nutrition InfoPlease Note: Nutrition values are our best estimate based on the software we use at Recipe This and are meant as a guide. If you rely on them for your diet, use your preferred nutrition calculator.
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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 →

3 thoughts on “Instant Pot Whole Fish”

  1. 5 stars
    I love trying new things and never tried this before. It was delicious and now i am going to try your air fryer version, i would just like a crispy skin but this was delicious, thank you for opening my mind to new things.


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