How To Cook Broccoli On Stove

By Rena Awada | Updated On January 19, 2024

Learn how to cook broccoli by either steaming it or boiling it on the stove in this easy step-by-step tutorial. The tender, vibrant green florets are great as a side dish or can be used in a variety of broccoli recipes!

3 heads of broccoli next to each other on a flat surface


Learning how to cook broccoli using your stovetop is easier than you might think! Once you can steam or boil broccoli, there are so many ways to make use of this superfood veggie. Not only is broccoli versatile and quite tasty, it’s a good source of fiber, vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium, protein, calcium, and iron.

Add the perfectly cooked florets into everything from broccoli cheddar soup to broccoli and cheese breakfast casserole, or enjoy them as a delicious side dish on their own. We love broccoli paired with salmon piccata or creamy ranch chicken and so much more!

Why you should try this recipe

  • Simple: All you need is broccoli and water to cook an incredible side dish. Add some salt and pepper and any other seasonings you like, and you’re all set!
  • Quick: Whether you choose to steam or boil your broccoli, it can be on the dinner table in just about 5 minutes.
  • Tasty: Broccoli can be wonderfully flavored in many different ways depending on what spices, sauces, or other flavorings you use. You will love how this cooks up!
  • Perfectly cooked: Follow this guide for how to cook broccoli, and you’ll end up with fork-tender florets every time.
  • Versatile: Season this broccoli however you want, then add it to recipes or enjoy it as a healthy side.
Broccoli served on a plate with a fork.

How to choose broccoli

When looking to purchase fresh broccoli from either the farmer’s market or grocery store, look for a head of broccoli that has either a dark or bright green to purplish color with closed flower buds. It should feel firm to gentle hand pressure and the florets should be compact. The stalks should also look dark green, feel firm, and be free of any brown or discolored spots.

How to cut broccoli

Start by slicing off the floret stems where they meet the larger stalk. Leave as long of a stem piece as you’d like, and chop off and discard the part that you don’t want. You can also save it for another use. Cut larger florets in half, and if they are very large it may be necessary to cut them in half again. You can also use your fingers to pull apart the florets to get the perfect size.

top view of cooked steamed broccoli florets on a round plate

How to store broccoli

Before cooking the broccoli, it’s best to store it like flowers in a vase of water. Place the stems into a bowl, container, or jar with about a half-inch of water at the bottom. The heads should be sticking out of the container like flowers. Cover the heads loosely with plastic wrap and place them in the refrigerator. Change out the water each day, and the broccoli will keep for a week in the fridge.

Steaming broccoli

  • Add the water to a large pot so it covers 1-2 inches. Bring it to a gentle simmer.
  • Add the steamer basket into the pot over the layer of water. Make sure the basket does not touch the water. Add the broccoli florets onto the steamer basket and cover the pot with a lid.
  • Let it steam for 3-5 minutes or until tender and remove the steamer basket from the pot. Serve the steamed broccoli as needed. You can steam for an additional 1-2 minutes longer for a softer broccoli.
  • Season the steamed broccoli and serve or use in recipes or salads.

COOKing broccoli on the stovetop

Add water to a large pot over medium-high heat and bring to a boil.

When the water boils, add the broccoli florets and let it simmer for 2-3 minutes or until they are tender.

Carefully strain the cooked broccoli and add to a bowl. Season and serve

If using it in salads and do not want to use it immediately, place it in an ice bath for a few minutes.

Blanching broccoli

You may blanch broccoli which is perfect to serve with cold salads, pasta salads, veggie platters, in casseroles, and other recipes like fritters or frittatas. To blanch your broccoli, do the following:

  • Before doing anything, make a bowl of ice water bath and set it by the pot.
  • Place a large pot of water over high heat and bring it to a boil. Add 2 teaspoons of salt to the pot of water.
  • Once the water comes to a boil, add the broccoli florets and let it cook until crisp-tender,for about 1-2 minutes.
  • Remove the slightly cooked florets with a slotted spoon and transfer them immediately to the ice water bath.
  • If you prefer the broccoli to be softer, cook for an additional 30 seconds. If you would like softer vegetables.

Expert tips

  • Wash: Thoroughly wash the head of broccoli, making sure to rinse off all dirt and debris.
  • Seasoning: Add salt and pepper, plus other seasonings to the broccoli for the best flavor.
  • Size: Cut the broccoli into similar bite-size pieces, so they all cook at the same rate.
  • Use the stalk: There are many ways to use the stalk, and it’s filled with nutrients. You can chop it up and use it to make soup, Steam it alone with the broccoli florets, make broccoli rice, and more.

Frequently asked questions

Which cooking method is best for broccoli?

Both boiling and steaming broccoli are quick and easy methods. Steaming is considered one of the healthiest ways to prepare it because it will lose less of the nutrients.

How long are you supposed to cook broccoli?

The length of time it takes to cook broccoli on the stovetop will depend on the size of the florets, but it typically takes about 3 to 5 minutes. If you prefer your broccoli extra soft, cook it for 6 to 8 minutes.

Can you use frozen broccoli for this recipe?

Yes! Although not quite as fresh tasting, frozen broccoli will work great to either steam or boil. You don’t have to worry about defrosting it, simply follow the instructions for the fresh broccoli. Cook time will be about the same, too!

hand holding fork grabbing a piece of cooked broccoli floret from a plate

Variations

Here’s a few ideas for making your broccoli super flavorful:

  • Brighten the flavor with a squeeze of lemon juice.
  • Spice it up by sprinkling red pepper flakes over the top.
  • Make it cheese by tossing it in parmesan cheese, cheddar cheese or melted cheese.
  • Dip into sauces like ranch dressing, cheese sauce , or healthy Alfredo.

Serving suggestions

Need ideas for ways to use your cooked broccoli other than as a side dish? We’ve got you covered with these crowd-favorite broccoli recipes:

Plate full of broccoli florets next to a bowl filled with broccoli.

Storing cooked broccoli

Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. Reheat in the microwave or air fryer.

More how to guides

If you found this tutorial helpful, you may enjoy these other how-to guides:

Top view of cooked broccoli florets on a round plate over a gray cloth napkin.

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top view cooked broccoli on a round white plate

How to Cook Broccoli

Learn how to cook broccoli by either steaming it or boiling it on the stove in this easy step-by-step tutorial. The tender, vibrant green florets are great as a side dish or can be used in a variety of broccoli recipes!
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Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Diet: Gluten Free, Low Calorie, Vegan
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 52kcal
Author: Rena

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 1 head broccoli cut into florets

Cooking in water

  • 8 cups water only for the cooking method
  • 1 tbsp Salt

Instructions

Cooking in water

  • Add water to a large pot over medium-high heat and bring to a boil.
  • When the water boils, add the broccoli florets and let it simmer for 2-3 minutes or until they are tender.
  • Carefully strain the cooked broccoli and add to a bowl. Season and serve
  • If using it in salads and do not want to use it immediately, place it in an ice bath for a few minutes.

Steaming method

  • Add the water to a large pot so it covers 1-2 inches. Bring it to a gentle simmer.
  • Add the steamer basket into the pot over the layer of water. Make sure the basket does not touch the water. Add the broccoli florets onto the steamer basket and cover the pot with a lid.
  • Let it steam for 3-5 minutes or until tender and remove the steamer basket from the pot. Serve the steamed broccoli as needed. You can steam for an additional 1-2 minutes longer for a softer broccoli.
  • Season the steamed broccoli and serve or use in recipes or salads.

Notes

  • Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days.
  • Reheat in the microwave or air fryer.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 52kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 0.2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.05g | Sodium: 50mg | Potassium: 480mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 947IU | Vitamin C: 136mg | Calcium: 71mg | Iron: 1mg
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