How to Steam Broccoli Perfectly Every Time

Delicious basic steamed broccoli recipe! How to steam broccoli so that it stays vibrant green. The easiest way to cook this wonderful vegetable.

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 2-4


  • 1 bunch of broccoli

Many options here:

  • Olive oil, butter, or mayonnaise (use olive oil if cooking vegan)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Lemon zest or juice, balsamic vinegar, seasoned rice vinegar
  • Toasted almonds, toasted sesame seeds


1 Prep the broccoli crowns and stems: Cut the crowns away from the large stems of the broccoli. Break the crown up into bite-sized florets. Rinse the broccoli florets thoroughly.

Peel and discard the thick outer skin of the stems. Slice the stems or cut them into quarters lengthwise.

2 Bring steamer water to a boil: Place 3/4 to 1 inch of water in a saucepan with a steamer and bring to a boil. (Note that is you don't have a steamer, you can simply put the broccoli directly into an inch of boiling water.)

3 Add broccoli, steam 5 to 6 min: Add the broccoli to the steamer and cover; reduce heat to medium and let cook for 5-6 minutes. The broccoli is done when you can pierce it with a fork. As soon as it is pierce-able, remove from heat, place in serving dish.

Note that green vegetables like broccoli will turn from vibrant green to drab olive green at about the 7 minute mark of cooking. So, watch the time, and don't let the broccoli overcook!

4 Dress with your favorite topping: Dress to taste with butter, olive oil, mayonnaise, lemon zest or juice, seasoned rice vinegar, balsamic vinegar, ground black pepper, toasted almonds, or sesame seeds.

Click on the comments you'd like to print with your recipe. Grayed out comments will not print.


  • Aileen

    The best way to dress steamed Broccoli is using Chinese oyster sauce and sesame oil. It is heavenly.

  • EmmShah

    Good but was missing something. The second time I made it, I added a knob of slivered young ginger. Was perfection!

  • Derek D

    The best way to dress it is lemon juice and some grated Parmesan or Romano. everyone who’s tried it agrees!

  • Chas Lewis

    Thanks to you, I have become a fan of broccoli.

  • Cooper

    Great recipe! I normally don’t like broccoli at all but I loved this! :)

  • Hesper

    Secret recipe: Try steaming the broccoli using a bottle of beer. It is unbelievably delicious, I promise.

  • Janis

    My favorite broccoli topping is blue cheese dissolved in simmering cream. Bring cream almost to boil and while stirring cream add ground blue mould cheese allowing it to dissolve. Keep adding cheese until sauce has right consistency. Pour it over your steamed broccoli.

  • Andrea

    I am also a big fan of broccoli, and I appreciate the new ideas for how to serve it.

    Even more, I appreciate the link you provided about how much protein is in various vegetables. That was a very informative and inspiring web site, and makes me feel much more comfortable about eating less meat or even going vegetrian. I am one of those who thought our protein requirements meant the regular consumption of meat. If the info. on the web site is true, I can use meat and fish much more as a “condiment” without worry (or cut it out entirely). Thanks, Elise. The chicken salad recipe also looks fabulous and healthful.

  • Laura

    Another wonderful way is to steam the broccoli for 4-5 min and then moved broccoli onto a fry pan along with 1tsp of butter, and a dash of garlic & salt for another 3-4 min untill soft. It’s delicious!!!

  • Cheryl

    Growing up, my mom would mix mayonnaise with a little bit of soy sauce to dress broccoli (or even artichokes or asparagus) – it’s still my favorite dressing. :)

  • Elizabeth

    Thanks! I tried that out with boiling it in an inch of salt water and the butter thing. It was tasty. I’m in college so I’m trying to learn how to cook from the internet ^_^

  • Zaq

    Another great variation is to just barely steam the brocolli, then satuee a good amount of crushed garlic in olive oil. Transfer the brocolli to the skillet with the garlic and sautee the complete mixture for another five minutes or so. Add some salt and pepper to taste; it’s just perfect.

  • Stacey S

    My 3 year old son is crazy about broccoli. We eat it at least twice a week…Our favorite is steamed and then quickly stir-fried with a little soy sauce and sesame oil.

  • Daniel

    I absolutely love broccoli. I like to steam it very quickly, so it’s still quite al dente, and then saute in butter/olive oil and garlic. I can easily eat a few heads of it.