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How To Steam Broccoli

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Learn how to steam broccoli to perfection using either a steamer basket or a large skillet—it’s a quick and easy side dish for so many meals!

steamed broccoli in bowls with lemon wedges

Broccoli is such a versatile veggie, and while there are countless creative ways to prepare it, sometimes simple is best. That’s when knowing how to steam broccoli really comes in handy. The traditional method involves using a steamer basket in a large pot. If you don’t have one, a metal colander can work just as well, provided it fits snugly inside a pan. Alternatively, you can simply use a large skillet. Just add enough water to cover the bottom, ensuring the broccoli steams perfectly without boiling. I’ll walk you through each method below.

For serving, a simple sprinkling of salt might be all you need, especially if the broccoli is accompanying an entrée with a bold sauce. If you’d like to add more flavor, try a pat of butter, a sprinkle of salt and pepper, a squeeze of lemon, or hollandaise sauce. It’s a quick, healthy side that pairs well with almost any dish.

What You’ll Need To Make Steamed Broccoli

broccoli and salt

Step-by-Step Instructions

1. Steamer Basket Method

Fill a large pot with about an inch of water and bring to a rolling boil. Place the broccoli florets in a steamer basket (or metal colander) inside the pot.

broccoli in steamer basket in large pot

Cover with a tight-fitting lid.

adding lid to pot

Reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 6 to 8 minutes, or until the broccoli is bright green and tender-crisp. Once done, season with a bit of salt.

steamed broccoli in steamer basket in large pot

2. Large Skillet Method

Fill a large skillet filled with just enough water to cover the bottom, and bring it to a simmer over medium heat. Place the broccoli florets directly in the skillet.

broccoli florets in skillet with water

Cover it with a lid.

skillet covered with a lid

Steam the broccoli for 4 to 5 minutes on low heat, or until it’s bright green and tender-crisp.

steamed broccoli in skillet

Once done, season with a bit of salt and serve with lemon wedges, if desired.

steamed broccoli in bowl with lemon wedges and salt

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How To Steam Broccoli

Learn how to steam broccoli to perfection using either a steamer basket or a large skillet—it’s a quick and easy side dish for so many meals!

Servings: 4 to 6
Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cook Time: 5 Minutes
Total Time: 15 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 1¾ pounds broccoli crowns, cut into 1½" florets
  • Salt, to taste

Instructions

  1. Steamer Basket Method: Fill a large pot with about an inch of water and bring to a rolling boil. Place the broccoli florets in a steamer basket (or metal colander) inside the pot. Cover with a tight-fitting lid, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 6 to 8 minutes, or until the broccoli is bright green and tender-crisp. Once done, season with a bit of salt.
  2. Large Skillet Method: Fill a large skillet filled with just enough water to cover the bottom, and bring it to a simmer over medium heat. Place the broccoli florets directly in the skillet, and cover it with a lid. Steam the broccoli for 4 to 5 minutes on low heat, or until it’s bright green and tender-crisp. Once done, season with a bit of salt.

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (6 servings)
  • Calories: 72
  • Fat: 5 g
  • Saturated fat: 1 g
  • Carbohydrates: 8 g
  • Sugar: 5 g
  • Fiber: 2 g
  • Protein: 1 g
  • Sodium: 199 mg
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

Gluten-Free Adaptable Note

To the best of my knowledge, all of the ingredients used in this recipe are gluten-free or widely available in gluten-free versions. There is hidden gluten in many foods; if you're following a gluten-free diet or cooking for someone with gluten allergies, always read the labels of your ingredients to verify that they are gluten-free.

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Comments

  • With all due respect because your recipes are the best, Jenn … The easiest way to steam broccoli is to place rinsed florets in a covered glass/Pyrex casserole and microwave on HI for 2 minutes. No fuss, no muss. Rinse the casserole and dishes are done too.

    • — Florida Gal on May 16, 2024
    • Reply
  • Why isn’t microwave preparation not included here? Please advise, thank you

    • — Lou on May 16, 2024
    • Reply
    • Hi Lou, I’ve never microwaved my broccoli, but I’d suggest placing the florets in a microwave-safe dish with 2 to 3 tablespoons of water, then cover with a microwave-safe lid (leaving a corner open for steam to escape) and microwave on high for 3 to 4 minutes, or until tender. Carefully remove the cover and drain any excess water.

      • — Jenn on May 16, 2024
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,

    How much soy sauce and sesame oil would you use? Ratio?

    Thanks so much in advance:)

    • — Jenna on June 13, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Jenna, I’d suggest 2 to 3 tablespoons of soy sauce and 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on June 15, 2022
      • Reply
  • Thank you so much. Easy recipe & delicious.

  • Perfect!

    • — Darcelle Daigneault
    • Reply
  • So simple and so delicious! It was a nice change from my usual roasted broccoli that has oil and garlic. It was perfect with the Asian Flat Iron Steak. I would love more recipes on how to cook vegetables simply yet tasty. Thank you!

  • This is so delicious. I have a smaller round but tall pan that I stand the broccoli in the water, bring to boil, lower heat and steam/simmer the vegetable until bright green, then serve. So nutritious and so good! A little salt and pepper.
    We have been adding a dollop of mustard to the broccoli because my spouse read it make for better digestion and nutrition.

  • Thank you for writing this recipe. So simple to steam vegetables but you’ve taken the “guess” work out of it and the consistent result is properly cooked and beautifully green florets appear every time!

  • I was cooking my broccoli wrong all this time until now. Thank you Jenn!

  • Simple and delicious. I love steamed broccoli.

    • — Shirley LaFleur
    • Reply

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