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Steamed Broccoli

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.

Steamed broccoli in a grey bowl on a white background.

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.

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.

Top down view of steamed broccoli in a grey bowl on a white background.

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

Watch how Easy it is to Steam Broccoli

Steamed broccoli in a grey bowl on a white background.
5 from 4 votes

Steamed Broccoli: How to Steam it Perfectly!

Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 5 mins
Total Time: 10 mins
Servings: 2 servings
Author: Lisa Bryan
Print Recipe Pin Recipe
Steamed broccoli is an easy and healthy side dish that's packed with nutrients. Learn how to steam broccoli 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. 

Lisa's Tips

  • This is a great steamer basket and it's adaptable to many different size pots. I also love the easy to grab handle. 


Calories: 103kcal, Carbohydrates: 20g, Protein: 8g, Fat: 1g, Sodium: 100mg, Potassium: 960mg, Fiber: 7g, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 1895IU, Vitamin C: 271.2mg, Calcium: 143mg, Iron: 2.2mg
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Broccoli, How to steam broccoli, Steamed Broccoli
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12 comments on “Steamed Broccoli”

  1. Will this work for frozen broccoli?
    Thank you! 

    • Hi Cathy – I believe you can, but the texture may come out softer. Let me know how it goes if you try it!

  2. 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!

  3. 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 :)

  4. 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

  5. Finally, there is a recipe on how to properly steam broccoli. I should definitely try your way.

  6. I love steaming my broccoli, but never have made it the perfect way yet. Can’t wait to try this recipe out.