How to cook kale in 3 minutes using your Instant Pot! It comes out perfectly steamed every time. Use pre-chopped and bagged kale to make this super easy, no chopped required! Best served on the side or in hearty grain bowls.

raw chopped kale in instant pot

What kind of kale should I use?

You can use any kind of kale, from curly to lacinato, but I recommend getting the bags of pre-packaged and chopped kale to make this SO easy!

The really awesome thing about cooking it in the Instant Pot is that you don’t have to worry so much about the stems that are often in those bags. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t generally like them and try to remove them as much as possible. I definitely don’t want stems in my kale salads, they are too hard to chew! But in the Instant Pot, they are no bother. They get soft enough to easily eat, without making the leafy part overcooked. It’s like kale magic!

I always get this bag of lacinato kale (also called dinosaur kale) at Trader Joe’s:

bag of packaged kale

How should I eat cooked kale?

  • With baked beans and cornbread.
  • On the side of (or mixed in) Vegan Alfredo.
  • With Baked Ziti or other pasta dishes
  • In any sort of hearty bowl with a grain, a bean and a yummy sauce.
  • Plain, sprinkled with a little salt or balsamic vinegar

This cooked kale is a great meal prep dish, it will keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. I often meal prep this alongside some brown rice, black beans and cashew cream.

cooked kale in instant pot

If you make this recipe, let me know how it goes! Rate it, leave a comment and tag a photo @noracooksvegan on Instagram. Enjoy!

raw chopped kale in instant pot
4.85 stars (20 ratings)

How to Cook Kale in 3 Minutes (Instant Pot)

How to cook kale in just 3 minutes, using the Instant Pot! It comes out perfectly every time.
Cook: 3 minutes
Total: 3 minutes
Servings: 6 servings


  • 10 ounce bag chopped kale (or 1 large bunch kale, washed and chopped)
  • 1 cup water


  • Pour the water into the inner cooking pot of the Instant Pot. 
  • Add the chopped kale. Don't worry if there are some stems, the Instant Pot will make them edible and not too chewy. 
  • Place the lid on, set the valve to seal and cook on high, manual pressure for 3 minutes.
  • Once it beeps, you can either do a quick pressure release or let it naturally release (usually this takes about 10 minutes).
  • Serve in hearty rice and bean bowls, or on the side of any meal. Sprinkle with salt or balsamic vinegar. It's also particularly good with cashew cream.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 23kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 20mg | Potassium: 232mg | Vitamin A: 4720IU | Vitamin C: 57mg | Calcium: 71mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Author: Nora Taylor
Did you make this recipe?Mention @nora_cooks_vegan_ or tag #noracooks!

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  1. This was PERFECT! I did everything you said except added seasoning with McCormick Garlic Herb seasoning, spoon of minced garlic and a pinch of garlic powder and its divine! Thank you!!

  2. This is ABSOLUTELY my go-to recipe for steamed kale!!! I cook it exactly as it’s written. After it’s perfectly steamed EVERY time and I’ve sautéed it til it’s pretty dry and then I can add toasted nuts and dried cranberries AND/OR vinegar! Tonight I’m going to try bacon bits. Possibilities seem endless!!! Sautéing makes it not “soggy” as others have commented.

  3. it’s an easy way to cook make but disappointed it wasn’t really steamed kale. I was hoping to find out how long to steam in the pot with stranger insert not just boiled in the water. Anyone have timing suggestions?

    1. I use the screened steamer insert which holds the kale just above the 1 cup of water. Cook time is the same. Manual pressure cook setting.

  4. My husband is 86 and subing for me in the kitchen. Today it is fresh Kale from the garden. I’m hooked on Instant Pot vegetables and passing it on to him. Loved seeing your post. I think I can wait 15 minutes to test his new learning endeavor!! Thanks!

    1. Fresh kale from the garden sounds wonderful! I’m so glad my post was helpful! Thank you for sharing, and have fun!

  5. This was so easy and tasted great!  I drained the cooking water off, added balsamic vinegar, a little olive oil, and seasonings.  I grilled some cheese (halloumi style) and served that on top.  It was a hit.

    1. Thank you for sharing your ideas, they sound delicious! I’m so glad you loved the kale, and appreciate your wonderful feedback!

      1. Draining the liquid off is a nutrient loss. I sauteed dry Chile Peppers, Curry leaves, Coriander seeds, and Fenugreek leaves. Then I add these to my kale. I finely cut the kale. Did not have anything close to 10 ounces. Used my bunch and kale and even extra water (1.5 cups) for the dried herbs to absorb the extra liquid. It came out perfect after I waited 13 minutes (3 under pressure and 13 natural release).
        I just add the flavorful leftover liquid to my food or drink it. Adding a little extra water and time to your cooking is an individual preference. I am happy because the Kale was not al dente.

  6. Thank you for explaining how to cook kale in the instant pot.  I wouldn’t suggest letting it naturally release for 10 minutes though, as doing so will result in very soggy, overcooked and wilting kale which I found out after doing so.  I would do a quick release after the 3 minutes.  If you still find the kale over cooked try 2 minutes next time and maybe only one minute, until you find the perfect level of doneness for the kale. 

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