How to Cook Taro or Malanga

Learn how to effortlessly steam Taro and Malango, two very similar, nutrient-packed roots, with your Instant Pot. Instant Pot steaming is convenient, simplifies the process significantly, and also facilitates peeling malanga easier.

More about Taro

Taro, sometimes labeled as Malanga in grocery stores, shares similarities with its cousin malanga, while possessing distinct characteristics. Both are root vegetables that belong to the same family but different genus [1]. Taro is typically larger with smoother skin, whereas malanga resembles potatoes with a woody, hairy exterior. Their flesh also exhibits subtle differences; malanga appears whiter compared to the speckled flesh of taro, which can vary in color from creamy to light pink or purple. 

I often interchange these roots in recipes, as malanga tends to be more ubiquitous in supermarkets, while taro is commonly found in Asian grocery stores. They are remarkably versatile roots, and can be enjoyed many ways: from immensely popular milk tea to being fried, boiled, tossed with sugar, added to frostings, combined with purple ube, stir-fried in dishes, baked numerous ways (i.e. Taro Baked Oatmeal, Taro Dessert Bread, Taro Overnight Oats), and more.

Cooking Taro properly is paramount due to its toxicity when raw. Raw Malanga contains oxalic acid, which, in large doses is toxic. When cooked thoroughly, the roots are safe to consume. 

Taro and malanga can be prepared using various cooking methods, including steaming, boiling, baking, or frying. In this blog, we focus on two of the most convenient techniques: steaming via the Instant Pot and boiling. While steaming with the Instant Pot offers a hassle-free approach, boiling infuses the roots with water, resulting in a softer texture that is ideal for mashing.

Taro also offers significant health benefits. It is known for its immune-boosting properties, and being rich in essential nutrients such as vitamin C, vitamin B6, vitamin E and minerals, such as manganese, potassium, copper, phosphorus and folate. According to WebMD, a single cup of taro provides 7 grams of fiber and contains 39 grams of carbohydrates. Notably, much like oats, taro is classified as a resistant starch, so should be cooled to enhance its resistant starch. Resistant starches can play a role in stabilizing blood sugar levels and reducing the risk of diabetes.
Serves: n/a
Prep Time: 5 minutes – Cooking Time: 30 minutes – Total Time: 35 minutes

Helpful equipment

  • 6 Qt. Instant Pot


To boil taro/malanga: 

Step 1
Place roots in a pot and cover with water, ensuring they are fully submerged. Bring water to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook until the roots are fork-tender and the flesh can easily be scooped out with a spoon.

Step 2
If unskinned, allow the roots to cool before slicing the skin off. The simmering time will vary depending on whether the roots were initially skinned, chopped into blocks, or chopped into large or small chunks. Generally, simmering can range from 10-20 minutes.

To instant pot Taro/Malanga:

Step 1
Pour 1 ½ cups cold water into the inner pot of the Instant Pot. Place a trivet or steamer inside.

Step 2
Chop the taro/malanga into chunks, roughly 2 inches in size or smaller. Arrange them on a trivet or steamer in a single or double layer.

Step 3
Close and lock the lid of the Instant Pot. Set it to steam mode for 20 minutes, followed by a 10 minute natural release.

Step 4
Once the cooking cycle is complete, carefully vent any remaining steam and open the lid. Test the roots with a spoon to ensure the flesh can be easily scooped out. 

Step 5
Remove the roots from the Instant Pot and allow them to cool. If unskinned, use a knife to slice off the skin. For malanga, the skin can be pushed off using your hands, as the steaming process facilitates easy removal.


  • Cooking Taro properly is critical due to its toxicity when raw. Raw Malanga contains oxalic acid, which, in large doses is toxic. When cooked thoroughly, the roots are safe to consume. 
  • If peeling the roots beforehand (though it is unnecessary for Instant Pot or boiling), consider wearing gloves when handling malanga due to its rough and woody skin texture.
  • Taro is best mashed when warmed.
  • Smaller chunks cook more quickly than larger ones.
  • Peeled roots require less cooking time compared to unpeeled ones.

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