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The Single Best Way to Steam Broccoli

Steamed broccoli plays well with chicken, fish, or steak.

Learning how to steam broccoli quickly and easily can actually help you eat more vegetables. Why? Because you'll see how easy it is to turn a head of broccoli into a light side dish that plays well with chicken, fish, or steak, and only requires a drizzle of olive oil and some salt.

Steaming is really all you need to do to prepare this nutritious cruciferous veggie. Broccoli gets overcooked pretty easily when completely submerged in water, so use this technique to cook it to crispy perfection.

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Trim the stem

cutting the bottom of a broccoli crown
Kiersten Hickman/Eat This, Not That!

Make sure you get rid of all the stem leaves and trim the hard main stem. Some like to save it and use it for long-cooking soups.

Break it up into florets

tearing apart broccoli florets from a crown
Kiersten Hickman/Eat This, Not That!

Snap the smaller stems off to separate the head into florets.

Place in a colander

placing broccoli in a colander to steam
Kiersten Hickman/Eat This, Not That!

Find a colander that fits perfectly into a pot or pan. You want to be able to keep the bottom of it away from an inch or so of water. Place the florets in the colander.

Place colander in a pot with water

covering broccoli in a colander for steaming
Kiersten Hickman/Eat This, Not That!

Fill the the pot or pan that fits the colander with 1 to 2 inches of water. Bring to a boil then place the colander inside and cover with a lid.

Steam for a few minutes

finished steamed broccoli in a colander
Kiersten Hickman/Eat This, Not That!

Steam 3–4 minutes for crispy broccoli, or 7–8 minutes for a softer version. For the easiest side dish, transfer to a serving plate, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt.

Mura Dominko
Mura is ETNT's Executive Editor, leading the coverage of America's favorite restaurant chains, grocery stores, and viral food moments. Read more about Mura