how to cook broccoli
how to steam broccoli

There are very very few vegetables my picky toddler will eat.  She balks at anything that’s green, except for broccoli. Yes of all the vegetables she chose not to hate, it’s broccoli.  Because she loves broccoli and hates basically any other vegetable so much I cook it as often as I can.  I’ve basically every method out there on  how to cook broccoli, especially quickly, but never found anything I loved.

Broccoli is such a nutritious vegetable rich in vitamins and minerals, and fiber!  It’s a good source of vitamins K and C and folate, more info on the nutritional value of broccoli here.

We love broccoli as a side dish paired with a nice juicy steak.  Another favorite pairing is broccoli and roast chicken.  

fastest way to steam broccoli
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How to Cook Broccoli

Traditionally we have cooked broccoli in three different ways, saute/stir-fry, roast in the oven, or steamed.  

Saute/Stir-Fry – Cook Broccoli by Stir-Frying or Sauteing

Sauteing broccoli can take some time because it’s such a sturdy vegetable, especially the stalks.   It usually takes about 20 minutes of me flipping broccoli around in my wok for it to be as tender as my toddler likes it.  Stir-frying broccoli is my go to thought if I’m introducting a meat into the dish itself, such a beef and broccoli.  But when I just want broccoli as a side dish I try to avoid the saute method of cooking broccoli.

Roasting Broccoli – Cooking Broccoli in the Oven

I love roasting it with olive oil because it brings out all the nutty flavors and crisps up the edges nicely.  Usually I’ll coat the broccoli in olive oil, salt and pepper then set it to roast for about 30 to 40 minutes in the oven at about 350 degrees F.  Roasting broccoli definitely produces delicious results if you have the time to roast it properly, because if you don’t you will end up with hard broccoli that hasn’t developed any flavor.  This made it impossible for weeknight meals because we always get home super late.  I needed a method for cooking broccoli faster!

Also having a hot oven on during the swampy summer months in DC is a total nightmare.

Steaming Broccoli without a Steamer

My husband loves steaming broccoli because it cooks rather quickly this way, but his method of steaming broccoli without a steamer uses too many dishes in my opinion.  He usually uses a giant pot to boil the the water, then a splatter guard to rest the broccoli on, and on top of that a metal bowl turned upside down to capture the steam.  Once the broccoli has been steamed he will add salt better and a bit of olive oil to finish it off.

how to saute broccoli quickly
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The Secret of How to Cook Broccoli Quickly

My mom shared a secret method of cooking broccoli in 3 minutes that she learned while watching some Chinese tv program.  Of course, she tested it out before passing it down to me, and it works amazingly well! The best part is it only requires one pan, a saucepan with a fitted lid.  The saucepan doubles as a mixing bowl and a cooking pan for cooking your broccoli quickly.

This secret method of cooking broccoli produces the same results as stir fried broccoli at the speed of steamed broccoli all in one pot!   It even produces the nutty taste of oven roasted broccoli but with the speed that makes it a great weeknight recipe.  I cook broccoli so often now that I’m surprised my toddler isn’t sick of it yet.

Now I can whip up a quick dinner for the toddler of noodles and broccoli in about 15 minutes total (because it takes longer to cook noodles than it takes to cook broccoli using this method).

how to cook broccoli fast

The Fastest Way to Cook Broccoli without a Steamer

Equipment Needed

  • Non-Stick Saute Pan
  • Lid

Ingredients

  • 2 Small Crowns of Broccoli
  • 1 Tbs of Olive Oil
  • 3 Tbs of Water
  • Pinch of Salt
  • Pinch of Pepper

How to Cook Broccoli in 3 Minutes

  1. Cut your crowns of broccoli into small florets.  I usually cut them up extra small for my toddler.
  2. Put the cut broccoli into the saute pan directly from the cutting board.  This saves you a lot of dishes!  
  3. Add salt, pepper, and olive oil to taste on your broccoli in the saute pan.
  4. Toss the broccoli in the saute pan to coat.  The saute pan doubles as a cooking pan as well as a mixing bowl.
  5. Add 3 Tbs of water to the pan.  
  6. Put the pan on the stove and cover it with the fitted lid. 
  7. Turn your burner to medium high to high heat.
  8. Set your timer for 2 to 3 min.
  9. Remove the lid and check your broccoli for doneness.  
  10. If the broccoli is still hard and there’s no more water in the pan add a tiny bit more water and close the lid for another 30 seconds.
  11. Once the broccoli is done, remove from pan into serving dish!
  12. Enjoy!
fastest way to stir fry broccoli
easiest way to steam broccoli
best way to steam broccoli

Cooking Tips for Cooking Broccoli Quickly

  • This method relies on steaming the broccoli so the amount of water you use will depend on how much broccoli you have.  
  • If there is water left in the pan after the broccoli is done, simply remove the lid and saute a bit to let the rest of the water evaporate.
  • To brown the broccoli and give it that nutty taste of roasted broccoli saute the broccoli after you remove the lit until you see it brown on the outside slightly.
  • Make sure the lid fits the pan properly so that you don’t let steam escape during the cooking process.
  • Leave the lid on for longer if you want really soft broccoli.  And remove the lit sooner if you want crunchier broccoli.
broccoli recipe
recipe for broccoli

How To Cook Broccoli

How to cook broccoli in 3 minutes! The perfect broccoli side dish for easy weeknight meals
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time3 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: broccoli, how to cook broccoli, steamed broccoli
Servings: 2 2

Equipment

  • Saute Pan
  • Lid

Ingredients

  • 2 Crowns Broccoli
  • 1 Tbs Olive Oil
  • 1 Pinch Salt to taste
  • 1 Pinch Pepper to taste
  • 3 Tbs Water

Instructions

  • Cut your crowns of broccoli into small florets.  I usually cut them up extra small for my toddler.

  • Put the cut broccoli into the saute pan directly from the cutting board.  This saves you a lot of dishes!

  • Add salt, pepper, and olive oil to taste on your broccoli in the saute pan.

  • Toss the broccoli in the saute pan to coat.  The saute pan doubles as a cooking pan as well as a mixing bowl.

  • Add 3 Tbs of water to the pan.

  • Put the pan on the stove and cover it with the fitted lid.

    fastest way to cook broccoli
  • Turn your burner to medium-high to high heat.

    easiest way to steam broccoli
  • Set your timer for 2 to 3 min.

  • Remove the lid and check your broccoli for doneness. 

  • If the broccoli is still hard and there’s no more water in the pan add a tiny bit more water and close the lid for another 30 seconds.

  • Once the broccoli is done, remove from pan into serving dish!

  • Enjoy!

    how to steam broccoli

Notes

  • This method relies on steaming the broccoli so the amount of water you use will depend on how much broccoli you have.  
  • If there is water left in the pan after the broccoli is done, simply remove the lid and saute a bit to let the rest of the water evaporate.
  • To brown the broccoli and give it that nutty taste of roasted broccoli saute the broccoli after you remove the lit until you see it brown on the outside slightly.
  • Make sure the lid fits the pan properly so that you don’t let steam escape during the cooking process.
  • Leave the lid on for longer if you want really soft broccoli.  And remove the lit sooner if you want crunchier broccoli.

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