Pressure-Cooker Octopus Recipe

A pressure cooker will tenderize octopus faster than any other method.

Vicky Wasik

Why It Works

  • A pressure cooker rapidly transforms octopus's tough collagen into tender gelatin, thanks to its high heat.

No ingredient has inspired as many wacky tricks to guarantee it will cook well as octopus. We're telling you now: Put away your corks and vinegar, your rocks and meat tenderizers, because the pressure cooker is your best bet for making octopus tender rapidly. Once it's fully cooked, it's ready to be seared, grilled, or served chilled in a seafood salad or ceviche.

The recipe below offers instructions for serving the cooked octopus cold or seared. If you'd like to grill your cooked octopus, follow the instructions here.

Recipe Facts



Active: 25 mins
Total: 25 mins
Serves: 4 to 6 servings

Rate & Comment


  • 1 (2 1/2-pounds; 1kg) whole octopus, rinsed well (including inside head cavity)

  • Kosher salt


  1. Place octopus in a pressure cooker and add just enough water to cover. (Be sure to keep water level below pressure cooker's maximum fill line.) Add a couple of large pinches of salt. Close pressure cooker and bring to high pressure (12 to 15 psi). Once cooker has reached high pressure, cook for 15 minutes.

  2. Using steam-release valve, depressurize cooker rapidly. Check octopus for tenderness by sliding a paring knife into the thickest part of one of its tentacles; it should slide in easily with little resistance. If the octopus is not tender enough, return to high pressure and then cook for 5 minutes longer. (Fifteen minutes was the correct time based on all our tests, but variations in the octopus, such as size, and in the pressure cooker used may change the cooking time slightly.) Let octopus cool in its cooking liquid, then drain. Cooked octopus can be refrigerated in a sealed container for up to 2 days before use.

  3. To use cooked octopus, cut out and discard the hard beak (if it hasn't been removed already by the fishmonger), which is found in the center of the base of the octopus body, where the tentacles converge. Cut out and discard the section of the head with eyes; the rest of the head is edible. Separate tentacles into individual pieces.

  4. To Serve Cold: Cut tentacles and head into pieces and add to a seafood salad or ceviche.

  5. To Sear: Leave tentacles whole (or, if very long, cut into manageable sections); cut head meat into large pieces. Heat a tablespoon or two of vegetable oil in a skillet over high heat until shimmering. Add octopus pieces and cook until well browned and crisp, about 3 minutes. Turn and brown on other side, about 3 minutes longer. Season with salt and serve as desired.

Special equipment

Electric or stovetop pressure cooker

This Recipe Appears In

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
273 Calories
3g Fat
7g Carbs
50g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 273
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 3g 4%
Saturated Fat 1g 4%
Cholesterol 160mg 53%
Sodium 819mg 36%
Total Carbohydrate 7g 3%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 50g
Vitamin C 13mg 67%
Calcium 177mg 14%
Iron 16mg 88%
Potassium 1050mg 22%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)