Once you learn how to steam broccoli, it’ll be a go to when you need something quick to round out a meal.

Steamed broccoli takes only about 5 minutes and is great as a side or added to your favorite recipes!

Once steamed, this vegetable needs just a pat of butter or drizzle of olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice, and some salt. It’s the perfect addition to recipes like an easy, cheesy broccoli casserole or even added to chicken alfredo.

steamed broccoli in a pot

Steamed Broccoli Made Easy

Recipes such as Broccoli Rice Casserole require the broccoli to be lightly steamed before adding to the recipe and it’s easy to do.

Steaming vegetables helps preserve both nutrients and flavor.

  • Fresh broccoli has a better texture and flavor compared to frozen broccoli.
  • Making steamed broccoli is fast and it comes out tender crisp without being mushy.
  • Broccoli is a great healthy side dish option with simple seasonings or serve with a cheese sauce.
  • Steamed broccoli can be added to almost any casserole or pasta recipe.

broccoli ready to be steamed

How to Steam Broccoli

Steaming broccoli is easy to do, just be sure not to under or overcook it. Prep the broccoli by cutting into florets. You can eat the stem too, peel of the woody exterior, the lighter green interior is delicious too.

  1. To steam broccoli on the stovetop, add about a cup of water in the bottom of a pot or skillet.
  2. Place a steamer basket (or a strainer or colander that fits on top of your pot) add the broccoli. Ensure the water isn’t touching the steamer basket.
  3. Bring to a boil and cover to allow the steam to build up. Time the broccoli for about 5 minutes (per the printable recipe below).

If you’ve never used a steamer basket, they’re inexpensive (around $10), easy to use, and are adjustable to fit almost any pot size.

No Steam Basket? No problem! This recipe will still work if you do not have a steamer, simply add ½” water into the bottom of a saucepan. Drain well after cooking.

Alternate Method

You can make steamed broccoli in a microwave too.

  • Add the broccoli florets to a microwave-safe bowl with about 3 tablespoons of water.
  • Cover your dish with a plate or loose fitting lid (do not seal tightly, some of the steam will need to escape).
  • Steam the broccoli on high for 3-4 minutes. Check with a fork after 3 minutes to make it doesn’t overcook!

Steam can be very hot and easily burn when removing the lid (stove top or microwave). Be very careful to open the lid away from yourself.

broccoli in steamer basket

How Long to Steam Broccoli

When you steam broccoli, less is more. When overcooked, it can become mushy and you’ll lose that pretty vibrant bright green color. Even one extra minute can cause the broccoli to overcook.

Steamed broccoli florets should take 5-7 minutes to become tender crisp. (Shorter if you cut it smaller). You can check if your broccoli is ready by inserting a fork into it to check how tender it is or taste one floret to see if it’s cooked to your liking.

broccoli in strainer on board

What to Do With Steamed Broccoli

Steamed broccoli is a versatile vegetable that pairs well with many dishes.

  • Add it to creamy pasta dishes like chicken lasagna, or fettuccine alfredo.
  • Serve it as a simple side dish with seasonings like olive oil, garlic butter, a sprinkle of red pepper flakes or parmesan cheese.
  • Make a sauce and serve it as broccoli and cheese.
  • Add it to soups (it goes especially well with cheddar or ham soups).
steamed broccoli in a pot
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How to Steam Broccoli

Fresh broccoli steamed to tender crisp perfection.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 4 servings

Ingredients  

  • 3 cups broccoli florets trimmed and washed
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • salt pepper and butter for serving optional

Instructions 

  • Place a steam basket or colander into a large saucepan.
  • Add broccoli and enough water to cover the bottom of the saucepan.
  • Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer.
  • Cover and cook 5-7 minutes or until broccoli is tender-crisp when pierced with a fork.

Notes

Prep the broccoli by cutting it into florets. You can eat the stem too, peel of the woody exterior, the lighter green interior is delicious too.
Ensure the water isn't touching the steamer basket.
Steamer baskets are inexpensive (around $10), easy to use, and are adjustable to fit almost any pot size. No Steam Basket? No problem! This recipe will still work if you do not have a steamer, simply add ½" water into the bottom of a saucepan. Drain well after cooking.
Steam can be very hot and easily burn when removing the lid (stove top or microwave). Be very careful to open the lid away from yourself.
Check if your broccoli is ready by inserting a fork into it to check how tender it is or taste one floret to see if it's cooked to your liking.
5 from 11 votes

Nutrition Information

Calories: 23 | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 1g | Sodium: 27mg | Potassium: 215mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 425IU | Vitamin C: 60.9mg | Calcium: 35mg | Iron: 0.5mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Side Dish
Cuisine American

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About the author

Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!
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