Simple Steamed Broccoli Recipe

We all know that little green trees on our plate have lots of value, but ever wonder why exactly broccoli is so special — and what is the best way to prepare it? Recipe developer Miriam Hahn of YouCare-SelfCare is here to show us the healthiest way to whip up this hearty, cruciferous vegetable. "This simple steamed broccoli recipe is a quick and easy side dish with many health benefits," she says. The magic compound in broccoli is sulforaphane, and according to, it may protect our brains, protect our eyesight, protect our bodies against free radicals, boost our detoxification enzymes, and help prevent and treat cancer.

So what do you serve with this super-star vegetable once you've steamed it? Hahn says "you can serve this broccoli with literally anything you are making for dinner. I love it as a side dish with pasta, burgers, wraps, sandwiches, or even tacos." We love it paired with kale lasagna or honey lime salmon. "For a speedy weeknight dinner," Hahn says you should "toss it with some cooked pasta, olive oil, lemon juice, Parmesan, and basil. Dinner in a snap."

Gather your ingredients for simple steamed broccoli

The ingredients don't get much simpler than this — just broccoli and water. "When buying broccoli," Hahn says, "I always buy my broccoli in pre-cut florets. I find it is fresher than the broccoli heads sitting out, it's a huge time saver having it already trimmed, and, as an added bonus, the bags stack nicely in my refrigerator crisper." A helpful tip for those who love to stock up on this versatile vegetable.

Wash and trim the broccoli

Whether you buy your broccoli by the head or pre-cut, give it a good washing. Hahn likes to swish it around in a big bowl of water and then drain it to make sure it is clean. "I then give the florets a quick chop into bite-size pieces," Hahn remarks. "This makes it much easier to eat after it is steamed and also helps to reduce the cooking time." If you are working with a head of broccoli, be sure and chop up the stems also. They are full of all the good stuff too.

Steam the broccoli

Next you are ready for the main event: the steaming. If you are using a steamer basket, add 1 ½  to 2 cups of water to the bottom pan or pot. Fill the steamer basket with the chopped broccoli, set it inside the pan with water, and turn the heat to high. Once you get a good boil going, reduce the heat to low, cover, and set your timer for 3 minutes. It doesn't seem like much time, but Hahn says, "you get the most nutrition from the broccoli when it is lightly steamed and not overcooked, and it tastes better this way too. You will know it is done when it's bright green." If you don't happen to have a handy steamer, no worries. Just add about 2 inches of water to a medium pot, add your broccoli, and follow the same method, ending with draining the cooked broccoli in a colander.

Season and serve the broccoli while it is hot

Your broccoli is best served when it is steamy hot. Add a squeeze of fresh lemon, salt and pepper, or dress it as you would a salad with olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Hahn says "if you have leftovers, you can just heat up them up on the stove or in the microwave," adding that they're an easy enough ingredient to incorporate into other recipes. "If I have a pot of soup on the stove, I just throw it in," she adds. "Broccoli will never go to waste in my house!"

Simple Steamed Broccoli Recipe
5 from 41 ratings
Steamed broccoli is simple to make — and super versatile. Eat it as a side, or keep it on hand to give any number of recipes a nutritious and flavorful boost.
Prep Time
Cook Time
broccoli on gold fork
Total time: 8 minutes
  • 5 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 ½-2 cups water
Optional Ingredients
  • lemon juice
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  1. Wash the broccoli and drain in a colander
  2. Trim the broccoli into bite size pieces.
  3. Add 1 ½ to 2 cups of water into a pot or pan for steaming.
  4. Pour the broccoli into a steamer basket and place this inside the pot or pan. Bring the water to a boil. Cover with a lid and reduce heat to medium.
  5. Cook for 3 minutes. Remove broccoli from steamer basket. Your broccoli should be bright green and tender, but still crunchy.
  6. Transfer the steamed broccoli to a bowl for serving and season with fresh lemon, olive oil, salt, and pepper if desired.
Calories per Serving 17
Total Fat 0.2 g
Saturated Fat 0.0 g
Trans Fat 0.0
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Total Carbohydrates 3.1 g
Dietary Fiber 0.0 g
Total Sugars 0.0 g
Sodium 18.7 mg
Protein 1.8 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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