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Steamed Broccoli

How to steam broccoli so that it’s perfectly crisp-tender and flavorful. This easy Steamed Broccoli recipe is a versatile, healthy side dish!

steamed broccoli with lemon wedges in a serving bowl

My family eats a lot of broccoli, and this steamed broccoli is one of my favorite ways to prepare this healthy veggie. It’s fast, it’s easy, and my kids love it!

Most often I serve this steamed broccoli as a side dish, seasoned with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and some Parmesan cheese, or a pat of butter plus salt and pepper. You can also steam broccoli to use in recipes, like our favorite Broccoli Cheese Quiche or Baked Broccoli Mac and Cheese.

While it’s really simple to steam broccoli, it can be too easy to overcook it and end up with mushy broccoli. Below I’m sharing my easy method for steaming broccoli that is perfectly crisp-tender, with a beautiful bright green color that will have everyone at the table saying, “More broccoli, please!”

steamed broccoli floret on a fork held over a bowl of broccoli

How to Steam Broccoli

The first step is to get some water boiling in a pot. You want only 1-2 inches of water in the pot, so that all or most of the broccoli will be above the water as it cooks. Put a steamer basket in the pot and bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat. Bringing the water to a boil first and then adding the broccoli allows you to better time how long the broccoli will take to cook, since the amount of time that it takes for the water to come to a boil can vary.

While the water comes to a boil, prepare the broccoli by cutting it into florets. If some of the broccoli florets are very large, you can cut them in half.

steamed broccoli in a steamer basket in pot with lid on

Once the water is boiling, put the broccoli in the steamer basket in the pot and cover the pot with a lid. Reduce the heat to medium and steam until the broccoli is crisp-tender. I find that 4-5 minutes is just perfect for my tastes. Cook it for fewer minutes for crisp broccoli, or a few more minutes for softer broccoli. 

How Long to Steam Broccoli

  • For crisp-tender broccoli, steam for 3-4 minutes. 
  • For softer broccoli, steam for 5-7 minutes.

Since the exact cook time can vary with the size of the broccoli pieces and how firm or soft you like your broccoli, it is important to check it often by piercing with a fork. Set a timer so that you don’t forget about it! Broccoli will go from crisp-tender to mushy quickly. Remove the pot from the heat and take the lid off as soon as it is done to your liking.

steamed broccoli in steamer basket set in pot

How to Steam Broccoli Without a Steamer

Can you steam broccoli if you don’t have a steamer basket? Yes! Just put an inch or two of water in the bottom of the pot and add the broccoli. The broccoli on the bottom of the pot will be in the water, and the broccoli on top will steam out of the water. For more even cooking, give the broccoli a gentle stir to rotate the pieces half way through the cook time. Be sure to keep the lid on the pot while it cooks to trap the steam in the pot!

Steamed Broccoli Seasoning Ideas

This is the fun part! To make your broccoli extra enticing, add some flavorful seasonings. Try:

  • Simple: A pat of butter or a drizzle of olive oil, plus salt and pepper are easy ways to add flavor.
  • Cheesy: Sprinkle on Parmesan cheese or serve your broccoli with cheese sauce.
  • Olive Oil & Lemon: A simple, yet so delicious combination! Use either lemon juice or lemon zest.
  • Italian: Sprinkle on a bit of Italian seasoning, plus Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper and extra virgin olive oil.
  • Garlic Butter: Spread some garlic butter on broccoli for a buttery, garlicky treat.
  • Sesame: Try a splash of soy sauce and a sprinkle of sesame seeds.
  • Spicy: Sprinkle on a pinch of red pepper flakes, along with your other seasonings of choice.

steamed broccoli in a serving bowl with two lemon wedges

More Broccoli Recipes

If you love this steamed broccoli recipe, you might also enjoy these broccoli recipes: 

  • Roasted Broccoli: You’ll love the crispy, caramelized edges! My roasted broccoli recipe includes 5 flavor options, so your broccoli will never get boring.
  • Air Fryer Broccoli: One small step makes all the difference in making the best crispy air fried broccoli!
  • Instant Pot Broccoli: Instead of steaming broccoli on the stove top, steam it in your Instant Pot for perfect, foolproof broccoli, every time.

Steamed Broccoli

Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword how to steam broccoli, steamed broccoli
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time4 mins
Total Time9 mins
Servings 4 servings
Calories 58kcal
This Steamed Broccoli is perfectly crisp-tender, with a beautiful bright green color. This healthy side dish goes with almost any meal! See the notes below the recipe for seasoning ideas for your steamed broccoli.

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ pounds broccoli*

Instructions 

  • Put 1-2 inches of water in the bottom of a pot. Put a steamer basket in the pot. (If you do not have a steamer basket you can cook the broccoli directly in an inch or two of water in the pot.)
  • Put the pot on the stove over medium-high heat and bring to a boil.
  • Meanwhile, cut the broccoli into florets.
  • Once the water comes to a boil, add the broccoli to the steamer basket (or right to the water in the pot), cover with a lid, and reduce the heat to medium. Cook for 3-4 minutes for crisp-tender broccoli or 5-7 minutes for softer broccoli.
  • Once the broccoli is cooked to your liking, immediately remove it from the heat and take the lid off of the pot. Use a slotted spoon to carefully transfer the broccoli to a serving dish. Serve broccoli with salt and pepper, lemon wedges, or Parmesan cheese, or as desired. See more seasoning ideas in the notes below.

Notes

  • This method can be used to cook more or less broccoli.
Seasoning Ideas:
  • Simple: A pat of butter or a drizzle of olive oil, plus salt and pepper are easy ways to add flavor.
  • Cheesy: Sprinkle on Parmesan cheese or serve your broccoli with cheese sauce.
  • Olive Oil & Lemon: A simple, yet so delicious combination! Use either lemon juice or lemon zest.
  • Italian: Sprinkle on a bit of Italian seasoning, plus Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper and extra virgin olive oil.
  • Garlic Butter: Spread some garlic butter on broccoli for a buttery, garlicky treat.
  • Sesame: Try a splash of soy sauce and a sprinkle of sesame seeds.
  • Spicy: Sprinkle on a pinch of red pepper flakes, along with your other seasonings of choice.

Nutrition

Calories: 58kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 56mg | Potassium: 538mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 1060IU | Vitamin C: 152mg | Calcium: 80mg | Iron: 1mg
Nutrition information is an estimate.
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