Learn how to freeze broccoli so you can always have the cruciferous vegetable on hand.
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Slow Cooker Cheesy Rice with Broccoli

Broccoli is a go-to vegetable for many people. From Slow-Cooker Cheesy Rice with Broccoli to Broccoli-Cauliflower Soup, there are many tasty ways to enjoy broccoli. When you have extra broccoli on hand and can't eat it all at once, don't let it go to waste. Instead, read on for how to freeze broccoli and get more out of this cruciferous veggie. Plus, get recipes that call for frozen broccoli.

How to Prep Broccoli

Broccoli needs a bit of prep before it's frozen. If you learn how to cut broccoli into florets, it will be easier to store than a whole stalk or crown. Not only do broccoli florets save precious freezer space, but storing broccoli this way also saves time when cooking and allows you to use the exact amount you need.

How to Blanch Broccoli

Once you have cut your broccoli into florets, it's time to blanch them. Blanching vegetables helps preserve their color, kills unwanted bacteria and stops food-degrading enzymes. Learn how to blanch broccoli for freezing in two easy steps (the instructions below are for 1- to 1 ½-inch florets, so you may have to adjust the timing depending on the size of your florets).

  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add broccoli florets, cover, return to a boil and cook for 3 minutes.
  2. Transfer the broccoli to a large bowl of ice water (this stops the cooking process). Drain well and pat dry.

How to Freeze Broccoli

After you've blanched your broccoli, it's ready to be frozen. If packed away properly, broccoli can be stored in the freezer for 10 to 12 months (Need more storage advice?  Learn how to store broccoli in the fridge.)

  1. Spread blanched broccoli in a single layer on a large baking sheet and freeze until solid. Transfer to an airtight, freezer-safe bag and store in the freezer for up to 12 months (we like this reusable Stasher bag, buy it: Target, $27).

How to Cook Frozen Broccoli

When you're ready to get cooking, frozen broccoli can be used in the same recipes that call for fresh. For recipes like salads, quiches and casseroles, it's best to thaw the broccoli first so the dish doesn't turn soggy (frozen broccoli can leach water while it thaws). However, for recipes like soups or stir-fries, you can add the broccoli straight from the freezer. 

To thaw frozen broccoli, simply place the florets in a bowl in the fridge and let them defrost. Drain any excess water and pat dry before cooking. Once your broccoli is ready, recipes like Broccoli Salad with Bacon and Easy Broccoli-Cheddar Quiche are just the beginning. Read on to learn how to cook frozen broccoli.

How to Roast Frozen Broccoli

Balsamic & Parmesan Roasted Broccoli

If you're looking to make roasted broccoli, it's best to defrost it first, drain it, then pat it dry. Frozen broccoli releases water, which isn't great for roasting, and any excess moisture will prevent the broccoli from getting crispy in the hot oven. Follow recipes like Chile-Roasted Broccoli and Roasted Broccoli with Lemon-Garlic Vinaigrette, subbing thawed frozen broccoli for the fresh, and you'll have a delicious side dish with little effort.

How to Steam Frozen Broccoli

Broccoli Casserole

Pictured recipe: Broccoli Casserole

When you're steaming frozen broccoli, there's no need to thaw it! In fact, the extra water from the frozen broccoli is beneficial because it helps create more steam. Learn how to steam broccoli, then try recipes like Tangy Broccoli with Almonds and Broccoli with Creamy Parmesan Sauce.

How to Sauté Frozen Broccoli

Shrimp & Broccoli Stir-Fry
Credit: Victor Protasio

Sautéing is a quick and easy way to cook frozen broccoli. While there's no need to thaw frozen broccoli beforehand, you may need to adjust cooking times or add your frozen broccoli to the pan first if you're also sautéing fresh veggies, as the fresh veggies will tend to cook faster. Try recipes like Broccoli Fried Rice and Sautéed Broccoli & Kale with Toasted Garlic Butter.