How to Steam Cauliflower

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Cauliflower has really stepped into its own as a front and center vegetable!

Loaded with fiber and antioxidants, cauliflower is a family favorite veggie around here! This steamed cauliflower recipe is made on the stove in only a few minutes!

bow of cauliflower to show How to Steam Cauliflower

Favorite Steamed Veggie

We love this recipe because it’s easy to make, and super healthy!

Frozen cauliflower florets can be steamed as well. Once it’s steamed, cauliflower can be added to so many things or topped with cheese sauce!

Steamed cauliflower is a healthy, filling, and tasty alternative to potatoes and rice! And cauliflower with broccoli is perfect either roasted or steamed.

uncooked cauliflower in a strainer to show How to Steam Cauliflower

How to Steam Cauliflower

To steam cauliflower, you’ll want a steaming basket. You can find them at almost any grocery store or online and they can be metal or even silicone.

  1. Place cauliflower in a steam basket or colander in a pot.
  2. Add enough water to cover the bottom about 1/2″.
  3. Place the lid on the pan, bring to a simmer. Let simmer/steam until cauliflower reaches desired texture.

Caution: Steam is very hot and can burn, use extreme caution when removing the lid from the pan.

How Long to Steam Cauliflower

Depending on the size of the florets, it will need 5 or 6 minutes to be tender-crisp. For softer cauliflower, cook 7-9 minutes.

To test for doneness, pierce the cauliflower with a fork. When it’s done, it should pierce easily.

Using Frozen Cauliflower

You can steam frozen cauliflower right from frozen. Simply place in the basket and steam as directed below.

cauliflower in a strainer to show How to Steam Cauliflower

To Steam in a Microwave

No steam basket or colander? No problem! Easily steam cauliflower by placing it in a microwave-safe bowl.

  • Cover with microwave-safe plastic wrap, or a silicone cover.
  • Add enough water to cover the bottom.
  • Microwave on high for 10 minutes, checking every 4 minutes for doneness.
  • Remove the bowl from the microwave and uncover it. Be careful of steam escaping.

Store steamed cauliflower in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It should keep about 4 days.

Great Veggie Side Dishes

Did you try this Steamed Cauliflower? Be sure to leave a rating and a comment below! 

bow of cauliflower to show How to Steam Cauliflower
5 from 6 votes
Review Recipe

How to Steam Cauliflower

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Steamed Cauliflower is simple and quick, making it a staple side dish for any day of the week!


  • 4 cups cauliflower florets trimmed and washed
  • 1 ½ cups water or as needed
  • salt & pepper
  • butter for serving, optional

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  • Place a steam basket or colander into a large saucepan.
  • Add cauliflower to the basket and add enough water to cover the bottom of the saucepan.
  • Bring water to a boil, reduce heat to simmer.
  • Cover and cook 5-6 minutes or until tender-crisp (or cook 7-9 minutes for soft cauliflower).
  • Season with salt, pepper & butter if desired.

Recipe Notes

Nutrition information is for cauliflower only.
If you do not have a steamer, add 1/2 " water into the bottom of a saucepan and add cauliflower directly to the saucepan. Proceed with recipe as directed.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1cup, Calories: 25, Carbohydrates: 5g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 1g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 34mg, Potassium: 299mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin C: 48mg, Calcium: 25mg, Iron: 1mg

(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


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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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Recipe Rating


  1. Straight forward easy directions on how long to steam cauliflower. It really tastes better steamed than boiled.5 stars

  2. We love steamed cauliflower! I don’t have a steamer basket, so just steam it in a frying pan with water & the lid on.

    Once done, I sauté with a little butter.