This image is a side view of a whole head of cauliflower with a drizzle of sauce on top, thyme leaves, sesame seeds, and a wedge sliced from the whole head. The head of cauliflower sides on a white piece of parchment paper on a white counter.
This recipe for instant pot cauliflower (whole head) is ready in 5 minutes. Nothing beats easy! The marinade is super tasty too.

Who is ready to make a whole head of cauliflower in your instant pot in only five minutes?! MEEE!!

Have you seen those beautiful platters with a full head of roasted cauliflower sitting in the middle? I think it’s such a fun moment that you can serve an entire cooked head of cauliflower and slice off wedges for your guests.

I’ve seen a lot of ways to cook a whole head of cauliflower but they always seem to take hours. And then my eye caught a peek at my Instant Pot and I had a lightbulb moment. Today I’m sharing the easiest way to cook a whole head of cauliflower. And! I’m sharing a tasty marinade and sauce to put on top. Ready for it?

I wrote an entire cookbook dedicated to cauliflower. The cauli love is real! I’m always amazed at how versatile and fun cauliflower can be, transforming from florets to dips to desserts. If you love it too, you have to check out my book Cauliflower Power!

This image is a side view of a whole head of cauliflower sitting on a white counter with a white background. A hand is holding a bowl that is pouring the marinade on top of the cauliflower The marinade drizzles down the cauliflower head onto the counter.

Size Matters!!

Small cauliflower heads: adjust cooking time in the Instant Pot to about 2 – 3 minutes.

Medium to large cauliflower heads: cooking time will be as directed in this recipe, five minutes.

HOW TO COOK A WHOLE HEAD OF CAULIFLOWER IN THE INSTANT POT:

It’s so simple and can be broken down in just a few short steps!

Prep the cauliflower:

Break off any leaves around the cauliflower head and cut the stem of the cauliflower so it sits on the counter flat.

I’ve seen some fun recipes to use the discarded cauliflower leaves in salads or sautéing them down to include in omelettes and casseroles. Keep them around if you want to get creative!

Make the Marinade:

Then we’re going to whisk together the marinade and drizzle it over the cauliflower head. Use your hands to massage it into the crevices of the cauli and coat the entire head. 

If you want to make this without the marinate, just drizzle the cauliflower head with some olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. I think the marinade adds a really gorgeous color and flavor to the outer florets.

Cook your cauliflower in the instant pot:

Place the trivet in the Instant Pot and pour ⅓ cup water into the bottom of the instant pot. You don’t want the cauliflower sitting directly in the water, otherwise it could get soggy. Place the cauliflower head on top of the trivet. 

Place the lid on and make sure the valve is on sealing. Press the pressure cook button and set the Instant Pot to high pressure for five minutes. Please note if you have a smaller cauliflower head, you should adjust the cook time to 2 – 3 minutes.

After the five minutes is up, release the steam from the instant pot by turning the sealing valve to venting. Allow all the steam to release before opening up the lid.

That’s it! Five minutes in your pressure cooker is all you need to cook an entire head of cauliflower!

Broil the cauliflower to crisp the outside.

Optional but recommended** after the cauli head is done cooking in the Instant Pot, you can place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and broil it for 2 – 5 minutes to crisp the outside. This is not necessary but adds a darker color and better crisp texture to the outside florets. 

This image is an overhead view looking into an Instant Pot with the whole head inside it. The Instant Pot sits on a white counter with a white background.

Make a sauce to drizzle on top of your instant pot cauliflower:

While the cauliflower is cooking, whisk together the sauce ingredients in a small bowl. If the ingredients need help incorporating, heat in the microwave for 20 seconds and continue to whisk until thickened and smooth. 

Serve as cauliflower wedges or florets:

Plate the cauliflower head and drizzle with the tahini soy sauce. Sprinkle with fresh thyme leaves and sesame seeds for garnish. Cut into wedges and serve.

Alternatively, after the cauliflower head is done broiling, you can turn it upside down and cut it into florets. Drizzle the sauce on top of the florets.

This is an overhead image of a whole head of cauliflower with a wedge cut out. The cauliflower sits on a white counter and is drizzled with a sauce, thyme leaves, and sesame seeds.

More cauliflower recipes to try:

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This image is a side view of a whole head of cauliflower with a drizzle of sauce on top, thyme leaves, sesame seeds, and a wedge sliced from the whole head. The head of cauliflower sides on a white piece of parchment paper on a white counter.

5-Min Instant Pot Cauliflower (Whole Head)

  • Author: Lindsay Grimes Freedman
  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Cook Time: 5 min
  • Total Time: 15 min+
  • Yield: 1 whole head 1x
  • Category: cauliflower
  • Method: instant pot
  • Cuisine: american
  • Diet: Vegan
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Description

This recipe for instant pot cauliflower (whole head) is ready in 5 minutes. Nothing beats easy! The marinade is super tasty too.


Scale

Ingredients

Cauli head

  • 1 medium head of cauliflower
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ⅓ cup water

Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons tamari
  • 3 tablespoons tahini
  • 1 tablespoon agave (honey or maple syrup works)
  • thyme leaves and sesame seeds for garnish

Instructions

  1. Break off any leaves around the cauliflower head and cut the stem of the cauliflower so it sits on the counter flat. Be careful not to cut off any florets and to keep the head in tact. 
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the avocado oil, lemon juice, minced garlic, thyme leaves, salt, and paprika in a bowl. 
  3. Drizzle the marinade over the cauliflower head, using your hands to coat the entire head. 
  4. Place the trivet in the Instant Pot and pour ⅓ cup water into the bottom of the instant pot. 
  5. Place the cauliflower head on top of the trivet. 
  6. Place the lid on and make sure the valve is on sealing.
  7. Press the pressure cook button and set the Instant Pot to high pressure for five minutes. 
  8. While the cauliflower is cooking, whisk together the tamari, tahini, and agave in a small bowl. If the ingredients need help incorporating, heat in the microwave for 20 seconds and continue to whisk until thickened and smooth. 
  9. After the timer is up, release the steam from the instant pot by turning the sealing valve to venting. 
  10. Optional** you can place the cauliflower head on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and broil it for 2 – 5 minutes to crisp the outside. This is not necessary but adds a darker color to the outside florets. 
  11. Plate the cauliflower head and drizzle with the tahini soy sauce. Sprinkle with fresh thyme leaves and sesame seeds for garnish. 
  12. Cut into wedges and serve.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 slice or 1 cup florets
  • Calories: 53
  • Sugar: 2.5g
  • Sodium: 553mg
  • Fat: 3.3g
  • Saturated Fat: 0.5g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 0g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 5.1g
  • Fiber: 1.2g
  • Protein: 1.9g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg

Enjoy!! xo