Updated Oct 15, 2023
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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.
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 overcook it. Broccoli cooks really fast and I’ve found that steaming even 1 to 2 minutes longer that necessary changes the color from bright green to murky olive green. So do keep an eye on the time!
How to Steam Broccoli Perfectly
Here’s how to steam broccoli in four 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 to 6 minutes.
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 to retain its antioxidants and vitamins which may be lost during the boiling process.
How To 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 to 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)
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.
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