Steamed broccoli is an easy and healthy side dish that’s packed with nutrients. Learn how to steam broccoli perfectly (crisp tender) so you don’t end up with mushy or lackluster broccoli. And if you want to jazz it up, just add some of the flavor variations mentioned below.
How to Steam Broccoli Perfectly
I’ll admit I was never a fan of broccoli as a kid. But in hindsight, it’s probably because it was overcooked and mushy. I’ve since learned how to cook broccoli perfect – so it stays crisp tender and vibrant green. And spoiler alert, it’s incredibly easy.
So let’s jump to the chase. The biggest key is to not over cook it. Broccoli cooks really fast and I’ve found that steaming even 1-2 minutes longer changes the color from bright green to murky olive green. So do keep an eye on the time.
Here’s what you do, in 4 simple steps:
- Bring one inch of water to boil in a pot.
- Add a steamer basket to the pot.
- Place the broccoli florets on the steamer basket and reduce the heat to medium.
- Add a lid and steam for 5-6 minutes.
Steamed Broccoli Recipe Video
Watch how easy it is to steam broccoli in this quick recipe video. Give it a watch below!
Is it Better to Boil or Steam Broccoli?
Boiling broccoli is ideal for soups where you want the flavors and nutrients to leak out into the broth. If you’re using the broth as part of the recipe, that’s a great option. But if you’re tossing the water, remember that some nutrients will be lost.
If you are planning to serve broccoli as a side, steaming will be the best option in order to retain its antioxidants and vitamins which may be lost during the boiling process. You can learn more about broccoli and why its one of the 8 anti-inflammatory foods I eat every week.
How Do I Steam Broccoli Without a Steamer?
A quick and easy way to steam broccoli without a steamer basket is to microwave it with a little water.
- Place broccoli florets in a bowl with just enough water to cover the bottom (or 2 – 3 tbsp).
- Cover bowl with a plate or microwave-safe lid.
- Microwave broccoli for 2 – 5 minutes depending on your desired consistency.
Best Toppings for Steamed Broccoli
While steamed broccoli is great on its own with a little salt and pepper. Your taste buds may be itching for a little… enhancement. These are some of my favorite toppings for steamed broccoli. Just add and stir together!
- Parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes
- Sautéed garlic in a little olive oil
- Olive oil and lemon juice
- Dijon Vinaigrette
Healthy Dinner Recipes to Pair with Broccoli
- Orange Glazed Salmon
- Dijon Baked Salmon
- Scallops with Citrus Ginger Sauce
- Crispy Baked Chicken Thighs
- Salmon Patties (gluten-free, paleo)
And if you love broccoli, make sure to check out my roasted broccoli and broccoli rice recipes as well!
Steamed Broccoli: How to Steam it Perfectly!
- 1 head broccoli
- water, (fill your pot with 1 inch of water)
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Bring one inch of water to a boil in your pot.
- While you're waiting for your water to boil, use a knife to cut the head of broccoli into florets.
- Add your steamer basket to the pot and place the broccoli florets on the steamer. Reduce the heat to medium, add lid and steam for 5-6 minutes, for tender crisp broccoli.
- This is a great steamer basket and it's adaptable to many different size pots. I also love the easy to grab handle.
This is an excellent tutorial. One comment I would add for those new to cooking broccoli is that fresh heads should be washed just before cooking, and never before storing in the refrigerator. Whether fresh from the garden or purchased from a store broccoli can have some dirt and grit in the heads that needs to be removed. I like to put the cut florets in the steamer basket placed in the sink under cold running water while the water in the pot is coming to a boil, then place the basket with the broccoli to the pan. Bon Appetite.
Our neighbor brought over a huge bunch of gorgeous broccoli, fresh from his garden. I used your super easy recipe to prepare it, and there was none leftover after! Everyone, kids included, loved it! Thank you! :)
Hi Bridget- Fresh broccoli is always the best! I’m so glad everyone loved this recipe, including the kids :)
I love steamed broccoli, but have never made it successfully. Thanks for breaking this down into such simple steps. I’m excited to give it a try!
Hi Kait – I’m glad I could brush you up on some basics in the kitchen with this recipe :)
It is never too late to perfect your broccoli skills LOL I’ve tried so many recipes and there is always something new to try – yum!
Hi Mahy- I couldn’t agree more! It’s always a good idea to brush up on the basics :)
This is my favorite way to make broccoli! We use your recipe every time we make it!
Hi Jessica – Amazing! Sometime steamed broccoli can be overlooked, but it’s so delicious.
We love how simple this was to make! Broccoli is a favorite side dish of ours!
Hi Suzy – It’s such an easy, throw together veggie that pairs perfectly with any meal!
Will this work for frozen broccoli?
Hi Cathy – I believe you can, but the texture may come out softer. Let me know how it goes if you try it!
I love super crunchy broccoli, but it is so easy to over-cook… so thank you so much for all of those tips and different ways to cook this veggies!
You’re welcome Sylvie! Enjoy!
I was on a quest for a steamed broccoli recipe. It’s one that I always make too mushy. Your recipe is wonderful! Love this healthy side dish now that I make it right.
Thanks Jen, I’m glad I could help fulfill your quest for the perfect steamed broccoli recipe :)
I am a huge broccolli fan! I love all greens but this one has a bit of crunch to it. Sounds like a great idea steaming it, instead of baking it! Thanks
Yes, I love broccoli too! Definitely try steaming it and adding some toppings! mmm yum!
Finally, there is a recipe on how to properly steam broccoli. I should definitely try your way.
I know Ilona! So simple, but so worth it to do it right! :)
I love steaming my broccoli, but never have made it the perfect way yet. Can’t wait to try this recipe out.
Hi Jordin – Yes, I can feel it, your perfect broccoli is coming soon :)