How to Steam Broccoli in Minutes

by Jeff Herman

Broccoli steams quickly, no matter which cooking technique you use.

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Broccoli can be steam-cooked in a matter of minutes both on the stove and in the microwave. While both techniques cook the broccoli quickly, if you’re in a hurry, the microwave will steam your broccoli in three to four minutes as opposed to the stove method which takes up to six minutes plus extra prep time boiling water. While the steam techniques are different, the end result is the same: steamed broccoli in minutes.


Prepare your broccoli by washing it under cool water. Broccoli has a lot of nooks and crannies to wash, including the stalk and the underside of the florets.

Cut off the small florets -- the parts that resemble tiny trees -- using a small knife like a paring knife and place them in a microwave-safe bowl or food steamer.

Slice any small stems off the large main stem while removing any leaves, and place the small stems in the bowl as well.

Peel the outer skin off of the large stem and discard it, leaving only a clean large stem, which you'll slice into bite-sized cubes. Add them to the bowl with the florets and smaller stems.

Add one tsp. of water to the bowl or steamer and cover it. Most steamers have a special lid, but if you’re using a regular bowl, cover it tightly with plastic wrap and poke a few holes in the top with a small knife for ventilation.

Place the bowl in microwave and cook for three to four minutes on high. Once done, remove the dish and finish off the broccoli with cheese or butter.


Add 1/2 inch of water to a large pot. The pot must be big enough to fit a vegetable steamer basket inside. If you don’t have one, you can use a metal colander. You'll need a lid as well, so the pot you choose needs to have a matching lid. Place the pot on the stove and turn the burner on high to begin boiling the water.

Prepare broccoli the same way you would fin the microwave steaming, by washing, cutting florets, trimming and cutting the stems and place them in the steamer basket or colander.

Place the basket or colander into the pot once the water starts to boil. The basket shouldn’t sit so low in the pot that the water is touching the broccoli; this will make it soggy instead of crisp and steamed.

Cover the pot with the lid and let the broccoli steam for six minutes. Remove the basket from the pot and prepare your broccoli to be served.

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About the Author

Jeff Herman began his journalism career in 2000. An experienced, award-winning sportswriter, his work has appeared in "The Washington Post," "ESPN the Magazine" and the "Boston Herald," among other publications. Herman has a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from West Virginia University.