Microwave broccoli has been a lifesaver for me when I need to fit some extra veggies into my diet but don’t want to put in the effort to cook an elaborate side dish.
Microwave steamed broccoli is packed with nutrients and extremely versatile, whether served alongside a main dish like roasted chicken, grilled steak, or baked salmon, used to top a baked potato, or tossed into an omelet or quiche. Steamed broccoli is also delicious in salads, atop grain bowls, in soups, and in pasta dishes (broccoli mac and cheese, anyone?).
While this recipe is made in the microwave, it does not sacrifice texture or flavor. The broccoli comes out bright green, crisp, and tender, similar to classic steamed broccoli made on the stovetop but without the hassle.
Adjusting the Cook Time
The total time you need to cook your broccoli is dependent on the power of your microwave. I make this recipe in a 1000-watt microwave, and I find that 4 minutes gives me the perfect texture: still firm and crisp but tender.
If you have a lower microwave wattage, you may need to microwave your broccoli for 5 minutes or longer. If you have a higher microwave wattage, start with 3 minutes. If the broccoli is not tender after 3 minutes, you can continue to microwave it in 30-second increments until you reach the desired texture.
Use the Right Dishware
Make sure that you are using microwave-safe dishes for this recipe. Glass and ceramic are best, as are specially-made microwave cookware. Avoid using plastic or metal unless they are specified as microwave-safe.
Use caution when taking the dishes out of the microwave. Some ceramic and other materials heat up when microwaved.
Dress Up Steamed Broccoli
Microwave steamed broccoli is great with just salt, pepper, and butter or olive oil, but you can dress it up to make it more flavorful. I like to add some lemon juice and garlic powder to mine. Here are some other ways that you can make this recipe your own:
- Sprinkle on some Parmesan, pecorino, or Asiago cheese.
- Add a dash of red pepper flakes to give your broccoli a kick.
- Add a tablespoon of soy sauce for some umami flavor.
- Replace the water with vegetable or chicken broth for more savory flavor.
- Drizzle your favorite salad dressing on top. Lemon vinaigrette, honey mustard, and bleu cheese dressing all work well.
- My favorite way to dress up microwave broccoli is with tahini sauce.
Ways to Use Microwave Steamed Broccoli
How to Steam Broccoli in the Microwave
1 large head broccoli (approximately 1 pound)
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon lemon juice, optional
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, optional
Prep the broccoli:
Cut the broccoli into large florets. If you’d like to cook the stem, trim the dry end and peel the stalk. Slice into 1/4-inch slices.
Microwave the broccoli:
Transfer the broccoli florets to a large, microwave-safe bowl. The broccoli florets should all fit in the bowl without peeking over the top. Add the water to the bowl. Cover with a plate (upside down or right-side up) that lies flat against the top of the bowl, capturing all of the steam.
Microwave on high for 4 minutes. Once the 4 minutes are up, let the broccoli sit for 2 minutes in the bowl with the plate still on top so that it can continue to steam.
Test the broccoli’s doneness by poking a fork through one of the stems. You should be able to easily insert the fork into the stem; it should feel crisp-tender. If your broccoli is not yet done, stir it, place the plate back on top, and microwave it in 30-second increments until you reach your desired doneness.
Transfer the broccoli to a colander to strain out any extra water, then add it back to its original bowl.
Dress it up:
Add the butter, salt, and pepper to the broccoli while it is still hot. Toss until the butter is melted and the broccoli is evenly coated. Taste and add more salt as needed. Stir in the lemon juice and garlic powder, if using.
Leftover broccoli can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. To reheat, microwave uncovered on high for 1 minute.
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|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Servings: 3 to 4|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 3g||4%|
|Saturated Fat 2g||9%|
|Total Carbohydrate 7g||2%|
|Dietary Fiber 3g||11%|
|Total Sugars 1g|
|Vitamin C 60mg||301%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|