Instant Pot Kung Pao Cauliflower

Kung Pao Cauliflower in the Instant Pot is certainly an interesting and tasty twist to the traditional Kung Pao take-out version you’ll be used to ordering with chicken!

chopsticks holding instant pot kung pao cauliflower

You’ll Love this Cauliflower Twist on a Classic Chinese Recipe!

The soft and tender cauliflower florets soak up all the rich flavors of the sauce and seasoning, providing a refreshing change to meat while still providing a hearty Chinese-American meal with the same level of deliciousness.

Serve your Kung Pao Cauliflower over freshly steamed white rice or thick noodles. And if you’re looking for a low-carb option, then throwing in some crunchy stir fry would certainly be a winner!

Should I use Light or Dark Soy Sauce for the Recipe?

You can use whichever type of soy sauce you prefer, but just make sure that if you do opt for a dark soy sauce, you use it sparingly. Too much soy sauce can overpower any recipe, but this one especially – cauliflower’s flavor is susceptible to being overpowered, which is something that you certainly don’t want.

If you’re worried about using too much soy sauce, opt for light soy sauce since it has a less intense flavor and will allow you a bit more wiggle room for experimentation.

kung pao cauliflower in a white bowl in front of an instant pot

Wait? I Can’t find Rice Vinegar! What Can I Use?

I’m super glad you asked this question. You still have options, not all is lost!

If you can’t find rice vinegar, then use something that’s similar such as apple cider vinegar which you can easily source in stores or online. The flavor profile of apple cider vinegar is similar enough to rice vinegar and can be used in a 1:1 ratio, which is super easy and convenient without the overall flavor of this dish not being compromised in any way.

What can I serve with this Instant Pot Kung Pao Cauliflower?

This Chinese takeout-inspired dish is best served over steamed white rice, vermicelli or udon noodles.

If you’re looking to keep your entire dish low-carb then I recommend ditching the portion of starch and rather add in some stir fry vegetables to make a delicious meal that will certainly keep your weight-loss goals in check.

Easy instant pot kung pao cauliflower over udon noodles

How should I store my Kung Pao Cauliflower?

This dish can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To reheat, add your cauliflower to the oven at 350℉ for 20-25 minutes, preferably covered with aluminum foil to prevent it from burning. 

Selecting Your Cauliflower for this Recipe.

When it comes to selecting cauliflower for this Kung Pao Cauliflower, it’s best to choose cauliflower with a firm and compact head.

The cauliflower florets should be a bright white color without any brown spots and should have a fine, tight grain.

Added to this, checking the freshness of the cauliflower leaves will ensure that you select a quality cauliflower – you definitely don’t want to buy a cauliflower that’s just starting to bloom.

Instant pot kung pao cauliflower over udon noodles

Tips for Making Kung Pao Cauliflower in the Instant Pot

  • While I’ve used powdered garlic and ginger for this recipe, you could use fresh garlic and ginger instead. Make sure that if you do decide to use them, you chop them up very finely. This will mean that they infuse quickly with the cauliflower  just like garlic and ginger powder would.
  • I suggest using a light brown sugar for this recipe. It has a soft flavor, which means that it will dissolve and absorb into your food very well.

Since the chunks of cauliflower are relatively big compared to the starch that you’ll be using, I suggest going for thicker noodles – it will make a more satisfying mouthful overall.

For MyWW Friends: You’ll love all the flavors that this recipe has! The points are fabulous! WITHOUT THE PEANUTS GARNISHMENT: For Green, Blue, and Purple: 3 SmartPoints each. You get 3 PersonalPoints PLUS you get a PersonalPoint for eating a cup of the cooked cauliflower. You’ll add on 3 Points on all plans, if you use 1/8th of a cup of peanuts.

More Easy Instant Pot Recipes

If you like this easy Instant Pot recipe, then I’m sure you’ll love some from the list below! Be sure to browse other great recipes to enjoy!

Yield: 4

Instant Pot Kung Pao Cauliflower

Instant Pot Kung Pao Cauliflower

The soft and tender cauliflower florets soak up all the rich flavors of the sauce and seasoning, providing a refreshing change to meat while still providing a hearty Chinese-American meal with the same level of deliciousness.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 2 minutes
Additional Time 8 minutes
Total Time 8 minutes


  • 1 head of cauliflower florets
  • 1 tsp ginger powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp Cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp water


  1. In a small bowl combine ginger, garlic, 1/2 cup water, soy sauce, hoisin sauce brown sugar, rice vinegar and sesame oil.
  2. Add the sauce and cauliflower florets in the bowl of an Instant Pot.
  3. Close and lock the lid. Set steam valve Sealing.
  4. Cook on manual / high pressure for 2 minutes.
  5. Release pressure immediately.
  6. Open the lid and scoop out the cauliflower of the instant pot.
  7. Turn on the pressure on sauté mode.
  8. Meanwhile, whisk cornstarch and 2 Tbsp water together until smooth. Add cornstarch mixture to the instant pot bowl.
  9. Simmer for 1 to 2 minutes until the sauce thickens.
  10. Top with peanuts and chopped green onions.


Use peanuts and green onions for garnishment!

Did you make this recipe?

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