Instant Pot Cauliflower Curry Recipe - Skillful Cook
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Instant Pot Cauliflower Curry

103 reviews / 4.7 average

Instant Pot Cauliflower Curry! Tender cauliflower, butternut squash, and red lentils cooked in a coconut-creamy red curry sauce and poured over a mini-mountain of steamy rice. YUM.

If your picture of fall does not involve butternut squash and red lentils and cauliflower cooked in a coconut-creamy red curry sauce and poured over a mini-mountain of steamy rice, are we even friends?

I'm not even sure where to start. This curry is cozy beyond cozy. There's just enough curry paste to make your tastebuds perk up, and the texture is creamy, but still with some tender veggie pieces intact, and it's all just so yummy.

Also: it is totally vegan, gluten free, dairy free, full of vegetables, all the things. And somehow it was still the container of leftovers that I found myself reaching for all week amidst cheesy pastas and meaty leftovers.

Hello, unicorn: healthy, delicious, seriously ridiculously easy.

Making The Instant Pot Cauliflower Curry Magic

Everybody in!

Ingredients for Cauliflower Curry in the Instant Pot before cooking.

Cook for 5 minutes and give it a stir.

The end!

Instant Pot Cauliflower Curry after cooking.

Oh, The Things You Can Do With Instant Pot Cauliflower Curry

  • You can serve it over rice, with naan, or just... plain, I guess? Like a stew?
  • You can make it more or less spicy with the addition of hot sauce, cayenne, etc. My daughter loved the non-spicy stuff right out of the Instant Pot, but we added some heat for the adults.
  • You can saute the onions and garlic first to get the most out of your aromatics. I did this once and it was great.
  • You can use dried onion and garlic, because sometimes chopping all that up is just... a lot.
  • You can use fresh cauliflower and squash.
  • You can use frozen cauliflower and squash.
  • You can add fresh ginger, fresh basil, fresh lime juice... anything to make it pop a little bit.
  • You can add other vegetables - greens like spinach or kale added after cook time are especially good.
  • You can add other protein like tofu or chicken.
  • You can freeze it! I like to freeze it uncooked, and then just transfer the whole frozen container of stuff to the Instant Pot.
  • You can use the stovetop instead - see recipe notes.
Instant Pot Cauliflower Curry in a bowl with rice.

This food - this entire fall season, this back-to-cooking routine, this type of recipe - this stuff gets me REAL excited. And I didn't expect to fall so hard and fast for one of my first fall recipes, but here we are.

Whatever you're doing in your life right now... it's a straight up guarantee that you could benefit from some Instant Pot cauliflower curry.

This recipe was inspired by my friend Angela at Oh She Glows! You can check out her original recipe here.

Check Out Our Video For How To Make Instant Pot Cauliflower Curry:

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Cauliflower curry on top of white rice.

Instant Pot Cauliflower Curry

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x


Instant Pot Cauliflower Curry! Tender cauliflower, butternut squash, and red lentils cooked in a coconut-creamy red curry sauce and poured over a mini-mountain of steamy rice. YUM.


  • half of an onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 2 cups squash, cut into cubes
  • 1/2 cup red lentils
  • 2 tablespoons red curry paste
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric (optional)
  • 1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt


  1. Place all ingredients in the Instant Pot. Cook on high pressure for 5 minutes. Immediately release the pressure to prevent overcooking the veggies.
  2. Stir and season with more salt, or something spicy if you want. Give it a few minutes to cool and thicken slightly. Serve with rice. The end! It's SO GOOD.


The vegetables will slightly break down, and red lentils are naturally kind of soupy, so the combo creates kind of a semi-pureed texture which is really, really yummy (and doesn't require a blender).

If you use frozen vegetables, they get mushy faster, so I'd recommend cooking for more like 4 minutes instead of 5!

To make this on the stovetop: saute the onion and garlic in a little bit of olive oil, add vegetables, lentils, and liquids, and simmer for 10 minutes or until everything is tender. Keep over low heat to let it gradually thicken as the vegetables break down, or use an immersion blender to get a semi-pureed texture.

If you are strictly vegan, the Thai Kitchen Red Curry Paste (our fav!) is vegan-friendly. (affiliate link)

Freezer Meal Version

  1. Freeze Together:
    half of an onion, diced
    3 cloves garlic, minced
    2 cups cauliflower florets
    2 cups butternut squash, cubed
    1/2 cup red lentils
    3 tablespoons red curry paste
    1 teaspoon turmeric
    1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
    1 can coconut milk
    1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  2. Instant Pot Instructions: Add 1 cup water before cooking. High pressure 6 mins + quick release.
  3. Slow Cooker Instructions: Add 1 cup water before cooking. High setting 4 hours.
  4. Final Step: Serve with rice and cilantro.
  5. Check out our full freezer meal posts with all recipes and instructions here!
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: Thai-Inspired

Keywords: vegan curry, vegetarian curry, Instant Pot curry, cauliflower curry

One More Thing!

This recipe is part of our best Instant Pot recipes page. Check it out!

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  1. Skillful Cook Logo

    Would this work with green/brown lentils or would the cook time need to be adjusted?

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Hey there, Mary! We’d really recommend red lentils in this case and don’t think green or brown lentils would work well – the veggies would likely overcook. We haven’t tested this out, but one option is to cook the green/brown lentils on the stovetop and just mix them into the finished dish at the end. Let us know how this goes for you if you end up trying this out.

      1. Skillful Cook Logo

        Hello! I really wanted to make this last night but my local Target and Lund’s doesn’t sell red lentils, so I opted for green despite your note above. I had a bunch of extra liquid after I released the pressure so I turned my pot to saute for about 5 minutes to boil off a little bit of the liquid. This definitely helped cook the green lentils a little bit more without getting them too soupy. This method resulted in a perfect texture for me and I paired the curry with brown basmati rice for lunch today! So good!

        1. Skillful Cook Logo

          One can typically find all types of lentils at an ethnic grocery, especially the Asian and African varieties.

          1. Skillful Cook Logo

            Followed the recipe as is except I subbed in brown lentils. Veggies turned out just fine. I found 2 TBS of red curry paste a bit spicy, so I added the juice of half a lemon. What brand curry paste did you test with? I love what an easy and filling week night dinner this is!

          2. Skillful Cook Logo

            Thanks for giving the recipe a try, Laura! We use the Thai Kitchen brand.

          3. Skillful Cook Logo

            I made this recipe last night with one substitution. I added more cauliflower and no squash as my family doesn’t like it. It was a huge his overall but quite soupy. I couldn’t get it to thicken. Any suggestions for next time? Cilantro is a must for extra flavor.

          4. Skillful Cook Logo

            Hi Patti! The squash is what helps the curry thicken. Sweet potatoes would be a great substitute if your family likes them. If not, you could try mixing a tablespoon of cornstarch or flour with a bit of water and adding it to the curry after it has cooked. Set the Instant Pot to Saute, let everything come to a simmer, and everything should thicken up quickly.

    2. Skillful Cook Logo

      This should work with split moong (green lentils). I use my Instant Pot mini to cook the curry and rice simultaneously while I steam the veggies in a separate pot. When the Instant Pot is done, I remove the rice and add the veggies to the curry. Voila!

      P.S.: I prefer curry on the thicker and spicier side, so I use different water and lentil ratios and add cayenne.

  2. Skillful Cook Logo

    This recipe looks excellent! Unfortunately, I am allergic to tomatoes so how would I adjust this recipe without affecting it. I know that the tomatoes add some liquid and messing with the amount of liquid in an instapot can cause a whole bunch of problems. Do you have any suggestions?

  3. Skillful Cook Logo

    How would you cook this from Frozen (like if you prepped it and froze it all uncooked)

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      I’d like to know too please! I made the Freezer Recipe for this last week and would like to cook today… I need to thaw first? Or can I place directly into Instant Pot frozen?? TIA!

  4. Skillful Cook Logo

    This looks so easy and delicious! My brother can’t have dairy – I’m always looking for things to make for them when they are over. Thanks!

  5. Skillful Cook Logo

    Do you use fry lentils straight from the bag? Or something else? I just bought an instant pot and have not used it yet…. so I’m confused 😂


      1. Skillful Cook Logo

        Good grief , just put the size of the can on the recipe! Why would you leave it off??!!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      You should include in the notes that white rice is also 5 minutes in the instant pot, so you could do them at the same time if you do pot-in-pot!

  6. Skillful Cook Logo

    This looks so yummy for when Autumn arrives. Just a question, what size cans do you use for the tomatoes and coconut milk?

  7. Skillful Cook Logo

    I made this tonight. Added a little bit of fish sauce, some brown sugar, a squeeze of lime, some fried shallots, and some carrots and it turned out amazing!!! Loved it, will be eating it all week for leftovers

  8. Skillful Cook Logo

    I can’t always find butternut squash in my local supermarket (I live in Norway). Can I use with sweet potato instead?

        1. Skillful Cook Logo

          Hmm we haven’t tested this out using zucchini yet. It might release a bit more liquid and the veggie might not keep its shape. Let us know if you end up trying it out though!

        2. Skillful Cook Logo

          I used zucchini in this dish tonight and it was delicious. We will be making this again.

  9. Skillful Cook Logo

    I made this last night and spaced the turmeric and garlic – with the recipe right in front of me (Mondays…) and it was delicious. Also added eggplant. Thank you for the inspiration!

  10. Skillful Cook Logo

    I can’t wait to make this and I appreciate the stove top directions. Is there any chance this would work in a crockpot, if you don’t have the Instant Pot??

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Good question, Allison! We haven’t tested this out in a slow cooker, but we probably wouldn’t recommend it because things would overcook. We’d suggest just doing the stovetop instead. 🙂

  11. Skillful Cook Logo

    This was SO yummy! I made it on the stovetop and it took about 15 minutes to get tender. I liked the texture which wasn’t too mushy. I added some garbanzo beans, stirred in some arugula from the fridge, squeezed lime and have it a blop of plain yogurt on top in my bowl. I’m in heaven and have lots of leftovers for the week wooo!!!

  12. Skillful Cook Logo

    I can’t seem to find red lentils in any of the stores near me, but I have plenty of green lentils – will those work, if I adjust the time? Excited to make this! 💛

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Hi, Julie! We don’t think green lentils would work well in this case – the veggies would likely overcook. We haven’t tested this out, but one option is to cook the green lentils on the stovetop and just mix them into the finished dish at the end. Let us know how this goes for you if you end up trying this out.

  13. Skillful Cook Logo

    Hi, can you tell me please the measurements in grams for the cauliflower and squash and lentils, I found a conversion that says 2 cups equals 650grams but it seems too much compared to your pictures. Many thanks, Steven

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      When I lived in England I used a teacup to measure items. The recipe calls for a 1/2 cup of red lentils. So maybe using a teacup will help with measurements.

    2. Skillful Cook Logo

      Hey Steven… the bag of cauliflower florets in my freezer says 1/2 cup = 85g…. so 340 g would be 2 cups by that calculation! 🙂

  14. Skillful Cook Logo

    My red curry paste is by “taste of Thai”. Is that ok to use in this dish? Not Indian, but is Thai red curry paste the same?

      1. Skillful Cook Logo

        Did this recipe with split green lentils and added extra spices: garam masala, cardamom and curry powder. Turned out fantastic ~ thank you!

  15. Skillful Cook Logo

    I loved this recipe. Thank you. Can you let me know the size of the cans. Mine turned out very soup like, I thought it would be thicker.
    But oh so good. YUM!!!!!

  16. Skillful Cook Logo

    This was an incredible introduction to Thai flavours. I had one plate then blended it all into soup form. I can’t recommend it enough 😍 (stovetop version)

  17. Skillful Cook Logo

    I made this today and it is already a staple. I cannot believe how delicious it is. I infused the oil with some dried chilis and sautéed the aromatics in my mealthy multipot, added the turmeric and curry paste to fry it a little then added all the liquid ingredients.

    superb. tagged you on Instagram with a photo of what I made.

    thank you for your nutritious and delicious recipes ♥️♥️♥️

      1. Skillful Cook Logo

        to double this – would I double all of the ingredients? how does that affect the cook time (multi pot)

        I’ve made so many of your recipes….You’re my food hero!

        1. Skillful Cook Logo

          Hi! I doubled this and shortened the cook time by 1 minute, since I wasn’t going to be home when it was done cooking to release the pressure right away from the Instant Pot, and it came out great!