How to Cook Broccoli

Broccoli is one of the healthiest veggies and also one of the most delicious if it’s prepared the right way. Sometimes home cooks tend to overcook it and turn it into a mushy mess that doesn’t look very appealing.

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So, how to cook broccoli so you can enjoy its taste along with the perfect texture? Read on and learn about the best ways to cook broccoli.

How to Cut Broccoli?

Apart from knowing how to cook broccoli, it’s also important to cut it properly in order to keep both its unique taste as well as look. If you have the tendency to chop broccoli into very small florets that look stubby, it’s time to enhance your cutting technique.

The most effective way of cutting fresh broccoli florets is to slice them right off the base where the floret attaches to the main broccoli stem. If you keep the stems as long as possible, the florets will resemble tiny trees and will make for an elegant shape. 

What’s more, it’s crucial to keep the florets medium size, with each one similar in size. This will help the florets cook through at the same rate. 

Cooking Broccoli

One of the main advantages of broccoli – apart from its delicious taste – is that it can be prepared in a variety of ways, depending on your preferences. Here we’ve listed 6 methods you can use to get the most out of this bright green veggie. No matter which cooking method you choose, you will be able to prepare delicious broccoli in just a few minutes.

Boiled Broccoli

boiled broccoli

Boiling broccoli is one of the most common cooking methods that allows you to enjoy the amazing flavor of this nutrient-dense vegetable.

Start by bringing a large pot of salted water to a boil. In the meantime, chop your broccoli into medium-sized florets. Once the water is boiling, throw the florets into the pot. 

Boil broccoli for about 2 to 3 minutes on medium-high heat and cook uncovered. Test the taste, and once it has a crisp-tender texture, immediately stop the cooking process. Make sure not to leave it on the stove too long as it goes fast!

Remove cooked broccoli from the pot using a slotted spoon or strain and serve immediately. If you’re serving the broccoli cold, let it cool down first before serving.

You can season your boiled broccoli with, for example, feta cheese or goat cheese crumbles, dried herbs, or grated garlic

Blanched Broccoli

Blanching broccoli is as easy as boiling it and helps keep the veggie’s bright green color and crispy-tender texture.

To blanch broccoli, heat a large pot of salted water and bring it to a rapid boil on high heat. Cut the broccoli into small florets. Add chopped broccoli to the boiling water and cook for about 1 to 2 minutes. 

In the meantime, prepare an ice water bath by filling a bowl with cold water and ice cubes. Once your broccoli is slightly softened and still bright in color, remove it from the pot, drain it, and add to the cold water immediately. Let the broccoli cool down in an ice bath for about 30 seconds, drain again, and serve. 

Blanched broccoli is extremely versatile and can be used in many different meals. To jazz up the dish, toss it with a vinaigrette sauce, dried cranberries, and sliced almonds, and you’ve got yourself a nice and fresh side dish to nibble on. 

Steamed Broccoli

steamed broccoli

Steaming broccoli is another great way to cook broccoli that is super quick and simple. This cooking method guarantees your broccoli will be bright green in color and crisp-tender every time you make it. Unlike boiling, the steaming method helps keep all the valuable nutrients present in the broccoli, as some of them leach into the cooking water while boiling.

To prepare steamed broccoli, the first thing you should do is bring water to a boil. Add a few inches of water into a medium pot and boil it. 

Next, chop the broccoli florets into bite-sized pieces and add them to the steamer basket with a handle. Place the basket on the pot and cover it with a lid or dinner plate. Cook with the cover on for up to 4 minutes. Test a piece with a fork, and if you like it more tender, cook for an additional 1 minute. Once it’s done just how you like it, remove the broccoli from the pot and serve. 

Similarly to boiled broccoli, it will taste amazing with crumbled cheese or minced garlic. You can also top it with slivered almonds or lemon zest. 

Roasted Broccoli

roasted broccoli with garlic

Oven-roasted broccoli is one of the most delicious ways of preparing broccoli that even kids will love! It’s tender yet slightly crunchy on the sides – a pure pleasure. 

Start by preheating the oven to 425 F (220 C). Toss medium-sized broccoli florets with olive oil, lemon juice, and minced garlic. Sprinkle some kosher salt over the broccoli and toss. 

Arrange the broccoli florets in a single layer on a baking sheet or sheet pan lined with parchment paper. 

Roast broccoli for about 20 to 25 minutes until it’s slightly crunchy and you can see caramelized edges. Once it’s fork-tender, take it out of the hot oven.

Transfer roasted broccoli to a bowl and sprinkle with lots of ground black pepper and grated parmesan cheese. If you like to add a bit of a spicy flavor, try out red pepper flakes that will also enhance the color of the dish. Toss broccoli with the additional ingredients and serve immediately. 

Such roasted broccoli will make for an excellent side dish for your meaty dinner, or you can simply enjoy it along with other roasted veggies, like roast potatoes

Grilled Broccoli

If you’re looking for a perfect healthy side dish that tastes like summer, then grilled broccoli is your best bet. Its slightly nutty and smoky flavor can make anyone a true broccoli lover.

Preheat the charcoal grill to medium-high heat. While the grill is preheating, cut broccoli into pieces keeping the stems as long as possible. 

Add the broccoli florets into a large bowl and mix with kosher salt, black pepper, and olive oil. If you like to make it even more fancy, you add some honey, soy sauce, ketchup, garlic, and red pepper flakes to bring out the delicious sweet and spicy taste. Once the broccoli is coated, let it sit in a bowl for about 10 minutes before you throw it on the grill. 

Place the broccoli florets on the grill and cook for about 8 to 10 minutes, flipping every 2 minutes. Once the broccoli is slightly charred and fork tender, take it off the grill, sprinkle it with parmesan cheese, and serve with lemon wedges.

You can enjoy grilled broccoli will all sorts of BBQ treats. It will add some new flavor and color to your traditional grilling routine and elevate your summer grilling game for good!

Sautéed Broccoli

sauteed broccoli

Sautéeing broccoli can be a very effective method, especially when you need a flavorful side dish for your dinner ad hoc. The whole cooking process will take up to 10 minutes, so it’s definitely worth a try!

Cut the broccoli into bite-sized florets and heat up a glug of extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet over medium flame. Toss in the broccoli along with thinly sliced garlic, and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Cook for about 3 to 4 minutes, stirring frequently.

To help the broccoli soften all the way through, add two tablespoons of water to the skillet and cover it. Cook covered for another 2 to 4 minutes until the broccoli is tender. Once cooked, turn off the heat, add some lemon juice, and optionally a pinch of red pepper flakes. Season with more salt and pepper and serve.

Sautéed broccoli will make a delicious pairing with almost everything. You can use it as a side dish or enjoy it with pasta dishes, soups, and frittatas. Feel free to add it to a stir fry or Buddha bowl to complement it with other delicious veggies. The possibilities are endless!

The Bottom Line

Cooking broccoli doesn’t have to be boring and eating it can be a genuine pleasure, even for those who aren’t massive fans of vegetables. 

Thanks to its versatility, this bright green and extremely nutritious veggie can be prepared in many different ways and paired with a variety of food ingredients to enhance its unique flavor.

You can add broccoli to various dishes, like pasta or salads, or use it as a side dish to larger dinner meals. Get creative with your broccoli cooking and get the most out of its taste values.

sauteed broccoli

How to Cook Broccoli

Enjoy these different ways to cook broccoli tested in our kitchen.
5 from 8 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 223 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 2 heads of broccoli
  • salt
  • olive oil

Instructions
 

Boiled Broccoli

  • Boil broccoli for about 2 to 3 minutes on medium-high heat and cook uncovered.

Blanched Broccoli

  • Blanching broccoli is as easy as boiling it and helps keep the veggie's bright green color and crispy-tender texture.

Steamed Broccoli

  • To prepare steamed broccoli, the first thing you should do is bring water to a boil. Add a few inches of water into a medium pot and boil it.

Roasted Broccoli

  • Roast broccoli for about 20 to 25 minutes until it's slightly crunchy and you can see caramelized edge

Grilled Broccoli

  • Place the broccoli florets on the grill and cook for about 8 to 10 minutes, flipping every 2 minutes.

Sautéed Broccoli

  • Cut the broccoli into bite-sized florets and heat up a glug of extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet over medium flame. Toss in the broccoli along with thinly sliced garlic, and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

Nutrition

Calories: 223kcal
Keyword How to cook broccoli
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Cassie brings decades of experience to the Kitchen Community. She is a noted chef and avid gardener. Her new book "Healthy Eating Through the Garden" will be released shortly. When not writing or speaking about food and gardens Cassie can be found puttering around farmer's markets and greenhouses looking for the next great idea.
Cassie Marshall
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