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.

Steamed broccoli in the pan
Elise Bauer

Steamed broccoli is the best cure for over-indulgence I know. It's cleansing, healthful, high in vitamin C, protein (45% of the calories in broccoli are from protein), and fiber.

How to steam broccoli so that it comes out perfectly every time?

Video: How to Make Steamed Broccoli


How to Steam Broccoli

Tips for Steaming Perfect Broccoli

The most important thing to know about steaming broccoli is that cooking the broccoli any more than seven minutes tops risks overcooking it. After seven minutes the broccoli will turn olive green, instead of that beautiful vibrant green color we want.

So, to make sure the broccoli is perfectly cooked, here are a couple tips:

  • TIP 1: Get the steaming water hot and steamy first, before adding the broccoli to the steamer basket. A quick way to get the water hot is to use a tea kettle.
  • TIP 2: Set your timer for only five to six minutes. Smaller florets of young fresh broccoli may only need five minutes to cook, larger florets of more mature broccoli made need six. I recommend starting with five and then testing the broccoli with a fork to see if it is cooked through.
Steamed Broccoli
Elise Bauer

How to Serve Broccoli

As for serving the broccoli, the easiest way to dress broccoli is to dot it with dabs of butter. My favorite way to eat broccoli is to toss it with lots of freshly ground black pepper, and sprinkle it with a little seasoned rice vinegar. (Black pepper, by the way, is one of those perfect pairings with broccoli.)

My parents love their broccoli served with a little mayonnaise on the side, which is surprisingly good. You can also do olive oil and lemon zest (pictured above), olive oil and balsamic vinegar, etc. Good with toasted slivered almonds or toasted sesame seeds too.

Why Use a Steamer Basket

A steamer basket will lift your broccoli out of the liquid and off the bottom of the pan, preventing it from becoming soggy. If you don't have a steamer, you can simply put the broccoli directly into an inch of boiling water, but keep a close eye on it and remove the broccoli from the pan as soon as it's done so it doesn't get waterlogged.

Best Toppings for Steamed Broccoli

Want to take your side dish to the next level? Try topping or tossing the broccoli with any of these:

  • Top with finely grated Parmesan, Pecorino, asiago, or any other hard cheese
  • Top with warm alfredo sauce

More Easy Vegetables to Serve on the Side

From the Editors Of Simply Recipes

How to Steam Broccoli Perfectly Every Time

Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Servings 2 to 4 servings


  • 1 bunch 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 if 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.

How to Steam Broccoli
Elise Bauer
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
32 Calories
0g Fat
7g Carbs
2g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 2 to 4
Amount per serving
Calories 32
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 38mg 2%
Total Carbohydrate 7g 2%
Dietary Fiber 3g 11%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 2g
Vitamin C 60mg 301%
Calcium 37mg 3%
Iron 1mg 3%
Potassium 272mg 6%
*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.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.