How to Cook Broccoli

Broccoli can be cooked using several methods. Some common methods are steaming, boiling, sautéing, stir frying, and microwaving. Broccoli should be cooked until they are tender-crisp. Before starting to prepare the broccoli, rinse the head thoroughly in cold water and remove any wilted or damaged leaves. After the broccoli has been cut as shown below, soak it in salt water or vinegar water to help force any insects out that are lodged within the florets.

If the stalk is going to be used, cut off the tough bottom end. Then trim the the stalk off, leaving about 3 inches below the florets.
Peel the tough outer layer from the stalk using a vegetable peeler or a paring knife. Cut the stalk into quarters lengthwise. Holding the quartered strips together, cut the stalk crosswise to the desired size.
Finish trimming the broccoli by cutting each floret off the head, leaving a little stalk on each cluster. If the individual florets are fairly large, they can be sliced in half lengthwise to make smaller pieces.

The stalks of the broccoli take longer to cook than the florets so, when cooking broccoli pieces, the stalk pieces should be started a few minutes before the florets.

Steaming Broccoli:

Add enough water to the pot so that it is below the bottom of the steamer basket when it is placed in the pot. Bring the water to a full boil using a high heat.

Place stalk pieces in the steamer basket and place the basket in the pot over the boiling water, making sure no water is coming up through the holes in the steamer. Cover and cook for 4 to 5 minutes.
Add floret pieces, cover, and steam for an additional 5 minutes or until pieces are tender-crisp.
Remove steamer basket from pot and prepare broccoli for serving.

Boiling Broccoli:

Bring salted water to a boil in a saucepan. Add stalk pieces to the boiling water and allow to boil for approximately 2 minutes.

Add floret pieces to the boiling water with the stalks and continue to cook for 4 to 5 more minutes, just until broccoli is tender-crisp.
Drain broccoli and prepare for serving.

Microwaving Broccoli:

Place broccoli into a microwave safe dish. Arrange so that the florets are in the center with the stalks around the outside edges.

Sprinkle two tablespoons of water over the broccoli pieces.

Cover and microwave on high from 5 to 6 minutes. Turn dish once halfway through cooking time if the microwave does not have a turntable.

After cooking, leave covered and allow to stand for 4 to 5 minutes.

Drain excess moisture and prepare to serve.

Some recipes may call for the broccoli to be cut lengthwise into larger pieces which include both the stalk and florets together. The larger pieces will require additional cooking time. To speed up this cooking time, slit the stalks lengthwise up to the florets.

When sautéing or stir-frying, it is a good idea to parboil the broccoli first so it is partially cooked ahead of time. This will allow the broccoli to be cooked to the proper doneness when sautéed or stir-fried with other ingredients that are faster cooking.


  • Do not overcook broccoli. Overcooking will cause it to break apart, lose its color, diminish its taste, and will cause the lose of many nutrients.
  • If adding broccoli to a cold salad, first blanch in boiling water for 2 minutes and then immediately rinse with cold water. Blanching for a short period of time will bring out the flavor of the broccoli and brightens its color.
  • Enhance the flavor of broccoli with flavored butter, lemon juice, flavored vinegar, or seasonings, such as basil, dill, caraway seed, oregano, tarragon, and thyme.
  • For a flavorful side dish, cover broccoli with a cheese sauce and brown under the broiler.
  • When selecting broccoli, be aware that the stronger its smell the older it is.
  • Peeling the fibrous outer layer of the broccoli's stalk makes it easier to digest.
  • Throwing a few chunks of bread into the water when cooking broccoli will help remove the smell.
  • One pound of broccoli equals 2 cups cut up. One 10 oz. frozen package equals 1 1/2 cups chopped.

How to Cook Broccoli Reviews

how to cook broccoli

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KiyLynn User
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"I cook a lot of broccoli and use it in salads often. I have never cooked it for a couple of minutes before adding it to a salad but I might try that next time. Thanks for the tip!"
CamiLea User
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"I had never cooked raw broccoli in the microwave before I saw this article. I tried it last night and it turned out great. Best part was it was quick and simple."
GabriELLA User
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"Good basic info on cooking broccoli. Great methods for healthy cooking."
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