How to Steam Broccoli

Whether it’s on the stove or in the microwave, learn how to steam broccoli for use in pasta dishes, side dishes and more.

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Broccoli & Quinoa Casserole
Photo: Photography / Antonis Achilleos, Styling / Christine Keely, Ali Ramee

From Crustless Broccoli-Cheddar Quiche to Pesto Pasta Salad, no matter how broccoli is prepared, it adds a boost of color and nutrition to any meal. One easy way to cook this healthy cruciferous vegetable is steaming. Read on for tips on how to steam broccoli, both on the stove and in the microwave. Plus, get tasty recipes that use steamed broccoli.

How to Steam Broccoli on the Stove

Crispy Smashed Broccoli with Balsamic and Parmesan
Brie Passano

Pictured recipe: Crispy Smashed Broccoli with Balsamic & Parmesan

Before you can steam broccoli on the stove, you'll need a steamer basket. Steamer baskets can be made from a variety of materials, including stainless steel, ceramic, bamboo and silicone. Depending on your needs, you may opt for a bamboo steamer basket like this one (buy it: Williams Sonoma, $20), which is often used in Chinese cooking. Or, try this stainless-steel steamer from OXO, which features an extended handle, making it easy to remove from the hot water (buy it: OXO, $21). Whatever kind you choose, be sure that your pot is slightly larger in diameter than the basket so everything fits properly.

  1. Bring 1 inch water to a boil in a large pot fitted with a steamer basket. Add 3½ cups broccoli florets, cover and steam until tender, 5 to 7 minutes. (Use caution when removing the cover, as hot steam will escape.)

Steaming on the stove is an easy way to get tender, bright broccoli. You can also steam broccoli on the stove without a basket. For example, you can cook grains and broccoli simultaneously, like we do in this Broccoli & Quinoa Casserole The broccoli sits on top of the quinoa, which acts as a barrier between the heat and the broccoli. The quinoa cooks and lets the steam pass through, cooking the broccoli right alongside it.

How to Steam Broccoli in the Microwave


Pictured recipe: Chicken-Spaghetti Squash Bake

Another way to steam broccoli is to cook it in the microwave. This method for steaming doesn't require a steamer basket, so no extra equipment is needed. Here's how to cook broccoli in the microwave.

  1. Place 3½ cups broccoli florets in a large microwave-safe bowl with 2 tablespoons water. Cover and cook on High, stirring once, until the broccoli is crisp-tender, 5 to 8 minutes. (Use caution when removing the cover, as hot steam will escape.)

Steaming broccoli in the microwave is quick and easy. Plus, you can dress up and serve the broccoli in the same bowl you microwave it in to cut back on cleanup.

Now that you know how to make steamed broccoli, recipes like Cheesy Broccoli and Crispy Smashed Broccoli with Za'atar are at your fingertips.

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