Learn how to steam vegetables for tender—not mushy!—results with our guide to how to prep and how long to steam asparagus, broccoli, potatoes and more.

Megan O. Steintrager
October 24, 2017
Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.
Advertisement

There are a variety of methods for cooking vegetables, but steamed veggies can't be beat for simplicity or healthfulness and it doesn't require special equipment beyond a steamer basket. Steaming works many types of vegetables–serve them with a drizzle of olive oil, lemon juice and a little salt and pepper for a simple side for any main course. Gussy them up with tamari, soy sauce, hot sauce, balsamic vinegar or nut oils and a sprinkle of seeds, nuts or cheese. Or add them to salads, omelets, frittatas, grain bowls and pasta dishes for a quick veggie boost to any meal.

How to Steam Vegetables

The amount of water you need depends on the size of your pot, but you'll need to fill it with about an inch of water. Boil water in a large pot over high heat. Prepare the vegetable of your choice and add the vegetables to the steamer basket and place it in the pot. Cover so you don't let the steam escape, and let cook until just tender. Cooking times vary for each type of vegetable–see below for prep instructions and timing for specific vegetables. It's one of the quickest cooking methods, just remember that thicker vegetables require longer cooking times. (Nutrition information is for a 1-cup serving and does not include oil or other additions.)

How to Steam Asparagus

Amount for 4 servings: 1 1/2 pounds (1-2 bunches), trimmed

Steam time on high heat: 4 minutes

Nutrition information per cup: 40 calories; 7 g carbohydrate; 4 g fiber

Pictured Recipe: Brown Sugar-Glazed Beets

How to Steam Beets

Amount for 4 servings: 1 1/2 pounds without greens, ends trimmed, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces or wedges

Steam time on high heat: 10-15 minutes

Nutrition information per cup: 75 calories; 17 g carbohydrate; 3 g fiber

How to Steam Broccoli and Cauliflower

Amount for 4 servings: 1 pound broccoli, 1 1/2-2 pounds cauliflower (about 1 head), cut into 1-inch florets

Steam time on high heat: 5-6 minutes

Nutrition information per cup: (Broccoli) 55 calories; 11 g carbohydrate; 5 g fiber | (Cauliflower) 29 calories; 5 g carbohydrate; 3 g fiber

Pictured recipe: Green Goddess Buddha Bowl

How to Steam Brussels Sprouts

Amount for 4 servings: 1 pound, stems trimmed

Steam time on high heat: 6-8 minutes

Nutrition information per cup: 56 calories; 11 g carbohydrate; 4 g fiber

How to Steam Carrots

Amount for 4 servings: 1 1/2 pounds, cut into 1/8-inch-thick rounds

Steam time on high heat: 4 minutes

Nutrition information per cup: 55 calories; 13 g carbohydrate; 5 g fiber

How to Steam Green Beans

Amount for 4 servings: 1 pound, stem ends trimmed

Steam time on high heat: 5 minutes

Nutrition information per cup: 44 calories; 10 g carbohydrate; 4 g fiber

How to Steam Snap Peas or Snow Peas

Amount for 4 servings: 1 pound, trimmed

Steam time on high heat: 3-5 minutes

Nutrition information per cup: 67 calories; 11 g carbohydrate; 5 g fiber

Pictured recipe: Greek Potato Salad

How to Steam Red or Yukon Gold Baby Potatoes

Amount for 4 servings: 1 1/2 pounds, scrubbed

Steam time on high heat: 10-15 minutes

Nutrition information per cup: 136 calories; 31 g carbohydrate; 3 g fiber