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.

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  • Yolanda

    Wonderful. Easy to remember recipe and so quick to get it ready to serve.


  • Mel

    Tried today, didn’t work for me. 5 minutes is way too long, should have done 2 minutes. It was soggy..


  • helen

    came out great

  • Tara

    Cooked perfectly in 5 min. I used fresh butter and grinder pepper and the family loved it

  • Sheila

    Delicious, we like Italian dressing on it too


  • Kara

    Turned out perfect at 6 min!


  • Sarah

    Waaay too underdone at 5 min. It was pretty much raw

    • Elise Bauer

      Sounds like it needed another minute! Also make sure that your water is boiling at a hard boil, not a gentle simmer. You need the steam energy from boiling water.


    WAY too long. I find 3-4 minutes perfect for crisp tender. 5 makes it dull and mushy.

  • Kim

    Is heat reduced to medium high, medium or simmer?

  • Brittany

    AMAZING! It was my first time steaming broccoli and it came out great! The 6 minute mark made my broccoli perfect!!


  • Bruce

    This worked great for me. Best broccoli ever! Everyone loved it. Thanks!


  • Stephanie R

    I’ve always been a little random with my technique and timing, but this worked great! I’ll be using it from now on. :)


  • Kelly K

    Tried and true! My only method for steaming broccoli.


  • Susan

    How can I steam without steamer?

    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, Susan! Emma here, managing editor for Simply Recipes. For this method to work properly, you’ll need to buy a steamer basket (like this one). They fit inside almost any pan. Hope that helps!

    • Patricia

      “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.)” Might have been added after your question posted…

  • Teresa A

    To preserve the bright green color, if the broccoli will not be eaten right after steaming, put the freshly steamed broccoli into ice water for just a minute. Drain & place in a covered container until ready to use. A minute or so in the microwave will warm it up at serving time.

  • 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.

  • 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 ^_^


  • 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. :)

    • Janet

      Yes! You are so right about mayo and soy sauce. Also great with asparagus and artichokes

  • 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.