An easy Instant Pot recipe for steamed carrots and parsnips with a rich, creamy, cheesy sauce. The perfect side dish for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or any fall dinner.
Much of the food inspiration for my household growing up came from Taste of Home magazines. My sisters and I would eagerly open every issue and tear out recipes that we wanted to make. Cheesy Turnips and Carrots are a classic from Taste of Home, originally published in 1997. We made it for Christmas that year and it’s been a staple for my family ever since. At some point we started using parsnips instead of turnips – both work equally well. This is my take on the original Taste of Home recipe but adapted to the Instant Pot instead of stove top.
What is an Instant Pot?
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An Instant Pot is a brand name of multi-use, programmable electric pressure cookers. The Instant Pot brand offers several different sizes and there are a number of other brands on the market as well with similar features. I have the Instant Pot Duo 6qt, so my instructions are based on that one. All of the pressure cookers are pretty similar; they just name things a bit differently, so refer to your manual if I reference a button that you don’t have on yours – or leave a comment in the notes and I’ll try to help you out!
How to Make Instant Pot Cheesy Carrots and Parsnips
When I perfected my Instant Pot mac and cheese recipe, I was inspired to use a similar method for this dish. Start by adding some water to the bottom of your stainless steel Instant Pot insert. Peel and cut up your parsnips and carrots and place in a steamer basket (this is the basket I use). Seal the lid, press the “Pressure Cooker” button until it’s on “Normal”, press the “Pressure Level” button until it’s on “High” and then press the +/- buttons until it says “00:00” (for 0 minutes; the Instant Pot only needs to get up to pressure, and then it’s done). Make sure that the pressure release valve is closed. The Instant Pot will beep once and say “On”. Then it will get up to pressure, beep again, and finish. When it’s done, turn off the Instant Pot by pressing “Cancel” and quick release the pressure by opening the pressure release valve, making sure to stay clear of the steam. When the float valve is down, take the lid off.
Carefully remove the steamer basked using an oven mitt and the basket handle. Set the vegetables aside, pour out the water in the bottom of the pot, and place the stainless steel pot back in the Instant Pot. Add the evaporated milk, mustard, and salt. Press the “Saute” button until it’s on “More” to saute on high. Cook for about two minutes until the evaporated milk starts to simmer. Turn off the Instant Pot by pressing the “Cancel” button. Stir in the cheeses gradually, in about four batches. If the cheeses haven’t fully melted, press the “Saute” button until it’s on “Less” to heat through. You want to avoid overheating the cheese as it will make it grainy. Turn the Instant Pot off again when the sauce is creamy and smooth. Then add the steamed carrots and parsnips and gently mix through to incorporate the cheese sauce.
Looking for more recipes perfect for the holidays? Try this Butternut Squash Lasagna or Instant Pot Mac and Cheese. For sweet options, check out these Mini Caramel Apple Cheesecakes or this roundup of beautiful fall desserts. If you try this Instant Pot cheesy carrots and parsnips recipe, leave a comment and review below and let me know how it worked out for you!
Instant Pot Cheesy Parsnips and Carrots
- 1 1/2 to 2 cups water
- 3-4 lbs carrots & parsnips (see note below)
- 1 can evaporated milk (12 oz)
- 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 oz sharp cheddar cheese
- 4 oz American or Monterey Jack cheese
- Place the stainless steel pan in the Instant Pot and add the water (use the larger amount for an 8 qt). Peel the parsnips and carrots and cut into 1/2 inch chunks. Place the parsnips and carrots in a steamer basket for the Instant Pot and place the steamer basket in the stainless steel pot.
- Seal the lid, close the pressure release valve, and press “Pressure Cook” button until it’s on “Normal” and press the “Pressure Level” button until it’s on “High Pressure”. Then press the +/- buttons until it’s on “0” for 0 minutes. The time it takes to come up to pressure is enough to steam the carrots and parsnips.
- When it’s done, turn off the pressure cooker by pressing the “Cancel” button. Quick release the pressure by opening the pressure release valve, staying clear of the steam. Remove the lid when the float valve is down and carefully remove the steamer basked using the handle and an oven mitt.
- Set the steamed veggies aside, pour out the water from the stainless steel pot, and place the stainless steel pot back in the Instant Pot. Press the “Saute” button until it’s on “More”. Add the evaporated milk, mustard and salt and bring to a simmer (about 2 minutes). Turn off the Instant Pot by pressing the “Cancel” button, then add in the cheeses in several batches.
- Turn the Saute button to “Less” if the cheese hasn’t quite melted yet - you want just enough heat to melt the cheese, but not too much so it overheats and gets grainy.
- When the cheese has melted into the sauce, add in the steamed carrots and parsnips and gently mix through.