The Microwave Mistake That Always Leaves Cauliflower Undercooked

Shapeshifting into everything from rice to pizza crust to "tater" tots, cauliflower is the cruciferous vegetable that can truly do it all. It's hearty and healthy, which is why you'll often find it stepping into the role of a starch substitute, but its mild flavor makes it the perfect canvas for a range of spices and seasonings, so it can easily be zhuzhed up to star in any number of creative recipes.

It's also robust enough to withstand plenty of different cooking methods, from roasting to frying to grilling, making it a versatile ingredient you'll never run out of ways to cook. But if you're looking for a quick and easy way to prepare your cauliflower, you can also always turn to your microwave.

Whether you're dealing with fresh or frozen cauliflower, popping it into the handy kitchen appliance is a convenient way to cook the vegetable, and it only takes a few minutes. And while it's a pretty straightforward method, there is one major mistake you might make when microwaving cauliflower: not adding water.

Water is needed to steam the cauliflower

In order to ensure that the thick heads and stems of your cauliflower get completely cooked through in the microwave, adding a small amount of water to your plate before popping it in is a must. And don't worry, this won't result in a wet and soggy stack of florets. Rather, the heat from the microwave will turn the water into steam, which is the key to cooking it through.

In order to best apply this method, chop your fresh cauliflower head into smaller, bite-sized pieces (or, if they're pre-cut and frozen, try to separate them individually). Add about two tablespoons of water to the microwave-safe bowl or plate you'll be using, then place in your florets before securely covering the dish with a lid or plastic wrap.

Depending on your serving size and microwave settings, you may need to experiment with different cooking times, but you can start by microwaving the veggies on high for about four minutes. The water will create steam while the lid locks in the moisture, creating an environment that will cook the vegetable fully. After they're done, you can coat your cauliflower pieces in cheese, butter, salt, pepper, or any of your favorite seasonings for a yummy and nutrient-rich side dish or snack. Just don't forget that water is your most important secret ingredient for getting the perfect bite.