Steamed carrot flowers - pressure cooker steaming lessonCarrots  retain so much flavor when pressure cooked, you won’t mind serving them without dressing, in other words…  naked! This dish is so fast and easy, I thought we could fancy it up a bit by spending the time you don’t need for cooking on making the carrots special — even the garnishing means just a few extra swipes of the vegetable peeler.

Steaming in your pressure cooker

You can steam vegetables, fruits, and meats in your pressure cooker. It is the best cooking method for retaining water-soluble minerals and vitamins. When nutritionists ding pressure cooking for vitamin retention they are referring to boiling and not steaming.

Steaming means that the food does not come into contact with the liquid but, instead, its vapor. Steaming in your pressure cooker requires you to use a steamer basket insert to keep the food lifted out of the liquid  (see more about steamer inserts and suitable substitutes).  The liquid used for steaming, need not be plain water!  You can inject extra flavor in your steamed food by adding spices,  herbs, squirts of lemon, a dash of vinegar or even replace water with a stock, wine and even a tomato sauce! (see my Hip Stuffed Zucchini recipe for that in action)- only do this if you have plans to re-use the steaming liquid as the taste difference is negligible.  Usually, you just need one cup of liquid to steam in your pressure cooker but models differ so check your manual to find the minimum amount of liquid your pressure cooker needs to reach pressure.

Oh, and don’t throw away the liquid once you’re finished steaming.  Re-use it in place of water, or a light broth, when you next boil anything, make polenta or risotto!

Consult your manual or my pressure cooker timing chart for the item you would like to steam. For vegetables, I list the cooking time at both High and Low pressure settings.  When in doubt, or receiving conflicting advice, always use the least amount of time first and check for doneness- you can always add more time, never less!

High and Low Pressure Setting

pressure cooker pressure levelsIf your pressure cooker has the ability to cook in Low pressure, I recommend using this setting for vegetables  because they can go from al dente to mushy in seconds! Fish and seafood are another category  that benefits from the gentler cooking on Low Pressure.

Each manufacturer has their own specific High and Low pressures, consult your manual to be sure. I have noted the most common pressure ranges for these settings in the above table.

The “Low” setting on your pressure cooker might also be noted as a “1” or “I”  – some pressure cookers identify the low setting as the first of two rings to appear on the pressure indicator rod.  The “High” setting on your pressure cooker might also be noted as a “2” or “II”  – some pressure cookers identify the high setting as the second of two rings, or lines,  to appear on the pressure indicator rod.

Electric pressure cookers vary widely  in their pressures.  As a general rule – when following recipes not specifically written for your model –  use the longer time if the pressure  cooking time is given in a range of minutes – for example “5 to 7 minutes” cook for 7; or, as I note in many of my recipes, use the timing for the “Low” pressure setting.

Some electric pressure cookers won’t let you choose between high or low pressure – they either don’t have that capability or let you select pressure via a cooking program. For these cookers, you can experiment using the recommended cooking time for stovetops (the shorter time) at the cooker’s default “high” pressure.

see also: Pressure Cooker Pressure FAQ

Pressure Cooker Accessories Pr. Cook Time Pr. Level Open
6 L or larger steamer basket 5 min. Low(1) Normal

4.5 from 2 reviews
Steamed Carrot Flowers - pressure cooker recipe
Nutritional Information
(per serving)
  • Serves: 4
  • Serving size: 176th
  • Calories: 32
  • TOTAL Fat: 0g
  • TOTAL Carbs: 8g
  • Sugar Carbs: 4g
  • Sodium: 54mg
  • Fiber Carbs: 2g
  • Protein: 0g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg
Recipe type: pressure cooker
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • 1 lb (500g) thick carrots, peeled
  • 1 cup water (or your pressure cooker's minimum)
  1. :Make Carrot Flowers
  2. Turn carrots into flowers and by either using either the thing sticking out of your potato peeler designed to remove "eyes", or the extra thing on your zester .
  3. Make four to five long grooves along the body of the carrot. Reserve what comes off to use in a stock or sauce! Then, cut the carrots into "coins" which are now flowers.
  4. Place the carrot coins, or flowers, in the steaming basket. Add about one cup of water into the pressure cooker (or the minimum amount stated in your manual), then the steamer basket. Some steamer baskets may already have feet to stay out of the water, others come with a separate trivet to keep them lifted. Close and lock the pressure cooker lid.
  5. Close and lock the lid of the pressure cooker.
  6. For electric pressure cookers: Cook for 4 minutes at low pressure.
    For stove top pressure cookers: Turn the heat up to high and when the cooker indicates it has reached low pressure (with this model, the indicator comes up to the green ring) , lower to the heat to maintain it and begin counting 4 minutes pressure cooking time.
  7. When time is up, open the cooker by releasing the pressure through the valve.
  8. Remove the steamer basket from the pressure cooker quickly to stop the carrots from cooking further and transfer to a serving dish. Keep all of the scrapings from making the flowers for a future recipe (or the chicken stock, coming up).
  9. Serve carrots "naked" with no dressing or seasoning, or at least taste them this way before adding a little swirl of good olive oil and a pinch of salt.

Steamed Carrot flowers

Try the next Beginner Basics Lesson: Quick Pasta Sauce Brown, Boil and Reduce or view the entire Beginner Basics Course outline!

Now that you can steam in your pressure cooker, you can make…



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  1. Fantastic Laura! You did a good job with your tip and tricks demos. They look so inviting and delicious with the flower motif. Thanks for showing the best way to steam vegetables! Very healthy indeed!!!

  2. Thank you “michelangelo”! You inspired the extra flare in the garnish, so thank you for teaching me to look a food in a completely new way!


  3. those Laura’s sure are cool. ;) i love this! great write up and precious pictures.

  4. This works a treat. 5 minutes on low pressure (8 – 10 psi) for carrots and they taste great! I always cook other vegetables with the carrots at the same time, like broccoli. You could also add diced potatoes to the water, before adding the basket of carrots or other veg you want to steam, to all cook at the same time.

    Allowing all of the air inside of the pressure cooker to be vented first is the secret. If you try to speed-up the time to pressure, like using boiled water from a kettle or using induction heat on high for instance, the carrots will be raw after 5 minutes. I thought I would share this info, since it’s taken me years to learn this!

    Very good recipe. 5 stars from me. Cheers!

    1. I now cook this for 4 minutes.

    2. David I’m intrigued – what do you mean allowing all the air inside of the cooker to be vented first? Once you close the lid do you “vent” the air out somehow? I’m not sure how you would do this? I actually thought about trying to speed up the time to pressure by using boiling water, so glad you’ve convinced me not to!! :D

      1. I’m glad you ask. When you close/lock the lid of the pressure cooker, the water comes to the boil, the steam will push-out the air and then the lid will seal shut automatically (on mine a yellow pin will rise to show the lid has sealed shut). The old pressure cookers with weights required the user to wait for steam to hiss out of the centre pipe and only then would the user place the weight onto the pipe, otherwise there would still be air trapped inside the pressure cooker and this trapped air lowers the internal temperature. If you use boiled water from a kettle or warm the pressure cooker first, the time to pressure is reached too quickly before the air has been vented-out by the steam and you have the same problem – trapped air lowering the temperature and food being undercooked.

        Now I steam my carrots and other veg (longer cooking veg like carrots cut small enough) with potato chunks underneath in the water for 3 minutes at low pressure. As I only use cold water I never have the problem of undercooked veg.

        1. Cool! Thanks for the explanation.

  5. OK so for some reason the little nub on the side of my veggie peeler is a different shape so it really didn’t work to create the flowers! I tried using a knife tip but that felt dangerous and didn’t work much better :( Otherwise the carrots came out great!! Quick and great!!

  6. I tried this recipe last night and the carrots were very flavorful but too soft. My husband and I were reminded of overlooked school cafeteria vegetables. I did use the flavorful carrots to make a tasty soup – softening them a bit more by boiling them in broth and then adding a pinch of cumin and a bit of finely chopped Serrano chili pepper and a teaspoon of sour cream for a single serving of soup.

    Since my stovetop pressure cooker (2-liter Universal brand model L24200) doesn’t have high/low pressure settings I used the table of cooking times which says 1-2 minutes for carrots for stovetop and electric pressure cookers for both high and low pressure. Does that seem odd? I cooked for one minute after it came to pressure and used the quick release and still got overcooked carrots.

    I’m still learning to use my pressure cooker, so perhaps I didn’t judge when it came to pressure properly. My cooker is made in Colombia (where I live) and the Spanish manual says it is a “quiet modified jiggler” type. My Spanish is just barely passable but the manual seems to say it reaches pressure when steam starts coming out the sides of the weight. I find this somewhat subjective or ambiguous.

    Anyway I thought I’d post my first results. If I keep having trouble as I tweak my timing I’ll move on over to the forums and ask for help.

    1. Welcome Miriam,
      It looks like you are on the right track here. Cooking times are not an exact science as many variables come into play. Not least your own expectations. Another factor is how thick you cut your rings. Personally I have never cooked this recipe as I like my carrots raw. But your plan going forward looks like a good one.

      The old style jiggler top pressure cookers can be tricky to detect when at pressure and also it can be tricky to maintain an even pressure. They tend to oscillate between over and under pressure. That’s why most of us prefer the newer spring based PCs. Still they do have some advantages over newer designs. And they will still cook faster than an open pot.

      Most things cook faster at high pressure than low, but a few things, usually with short cooking times are pretty much the same regardless. It seems carrots are one of them.

    2. Miriam, did you use a steamer basket? I’m asking because I don’t know of a 2L pressure cooker with a steamer basket – but I’m also unfamiliar with Colombian pressure cooker brands.

      You’ll find that foods cook much more quickly in the cooking liquid than in a steamer basket. I’m glad that you were able to make good use of the carrots and, if you did not steam them, I hope you saved and used the cooking liquid too!



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