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How to Boil Broccoli

Learn how to boil broccoli with these easy steps and tips and tricks to make this dish delicious. Quickly make fresh broccoli into a side dish or add it to soups or stir-frys. The bright green color is a beautiful centerpiece to any meal. 

Make your boiled broccoli into something special for your weeknight meal by adding seasonings or mix-ins like butter, salt, vinaigrette, dressing, or cheese. 

Or keep this dish gluten-free and dairy-free by adding olive oil and salt. 

Broccoli doesn’t have to be boring or something that the kids avoid! With these fun and easy methods, you can have the best broccoli on the block. 

Broccoli in pot on a dark wooden background.

How to boil broccoli

Boiling broccoli is incredibly easy and a great way to add a side dish to your meal. 

  1. Cut off the stem from the broccoli head and then slice it into smaller florets. 
  2. Carefully place the florets in a pot of boiling water.
  3. Allow them to simmer for three to five minutes or until they’re bright green.  
  4. Using a slotted spoon or strainer, remove the broccoli from the water.  
  5. Run the florets under cold water or submerge them in ice water to stop the cooking process and keep them bright green. 

Tips for How to boil broccoli 

Boiling broccoli isn’t hard, but a few tips will make sure you get the best results every time. 

  • Broccoli is done when a sharp knife slides easily into the stem 
  • Cut all the florets into a similar size, so they cook consistently 
  • Cut off the base but leave the stems of the florets with about an inch of stem  
  • Don’t overcook the broccoli, or it will get mushy and not appetizing 

What to add to broccoli to make it flavorful 

Plain broccoli is healthy but not very flavorful. Add some seasonings or mix-ins to shake things up! 

Seasonings: butter, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, olive oil, lemon juice, vinaigrette dressing, mayo-based dressing, rice vinegar, or soy sauce  

Mix-ins: raisins, shredded carrots, pine nuts, walnuts, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, cheddar cheese, feta cheese, parmesan cheese, minced garlic, grated ginger, dried or fresh herbs, or panko bread crumbs 

Other ways to cook broccoli 

Boiling isn’t the only way to achieve that crunchy center and soft exterior in broccoli. There are three other ways you can use to cook your broccoli like this. 


Steaming broccoli is easy, and you don’t need to dunk the broccoli in water. 

Bring a pot of water to boil on the stove, place the broccoli florets in a steamer basket on top of the water and allow the steam to do the work. 

Instant pot 

You can use the instant pot to pressure-cook broccoli as well. Be sure there is enough liquid in the pot that the bottom doesn’t burn. 

You may need to drain excess water from the pot after it’s done cooking. 


An easy way to steam broccoli is to microwave it

Place florets in a glass bowl with one tablespoon of water and cover it with plastic wrap. 

Microwave until the broccoli is bright green, slightly crunchy on the inside, and tender on the outside. 

Remove the plastic wrap and add your mix-ins or toppings. 

How to use boiled broccoli

There are many ways you can use boiled broccoli after cooking it. The most obvious one is to eat it with a bit of butter and salt as a side dish. 

Here are some other options as well: 

  • Dip in sauce or dressing 
  • Make it into a broccoli salad 
  • Cover in melted cheese 
  • Added to other dishes like stir-fry or chili 
  • Substitute for broccolini

For tips on how to store broccoli, read more on my next post.

Is boiled broccoli still healthy? 

Yes, boiling broccoli is one of the healthiest ways to eat this cruciferous vegetable. You may lose some nutrients in the water, but not much if you cook it until the water is only light green.  

If the water is dark green and the broccoli is mushy, it has lost most of its nutrients. 

This also depends on what you add to the broccoli after cooking it! 

How can I tell if my broccoli is bad? 

Humans have a well-developed disgust gene that helps us determine when something isn’t good to eat. Follow your intuition, and you’ll most likely be right. 

Here are some good indications that you should go ahead and throw it out. 

  • If you see yellow spots that go all the way through the head or if the broccoli looks very dried out. 
  • If it starts to bloom and you see little yellow flowers.
  • Feels mushy or slimy at all.  
  • Smells funky and makes your stomach churn. 


You should boil broccoli for about 3 – 5 minutes or until it’s crisp in the middle and tender on the outside. You don’t want it too hard in the center, just enough so you get a crunch. 

The healthiest way to cook broccoli is to steam it. This way, it doesn’t lose any nutrients in the water. 

The next healthiest option is to boil it. 

Blanching broccoli is part of the cooking process when submerging it in ice water after boiling. This stops the cooking process and keeps the broccoli bright green and beautiful. 

This is a great way to use frozen broccoli. Empty the bag of broccoli into boiling water and cook until it’s tender. 

Conclusion: How to boil broccoli the best way

Broccoli is a delicious dish that can be served as a side dish with dinner or added to soups or salads. Choose your favorite toppings and additions to make this the centerpiece of your meal. 

Get the same crunchy insides and tender outsides by using the instant pot, microwave, or steaming. 

Be sure to cook it just long enough to get broccoli the perfect texture, otherwise, it will be raw on the inside or mushy throughout. 

Broccoli is a tasty dish, any way you cook it.  

Broccoli in pot on a dark wooden background.

How to boil broccoli

In this post Im going to show you the steps on how to boil broccoli.
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Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 52 kcal


  • 1 Chef knife
  • 1 Cutting board
  • 1 Sauce pan
  • 1 Strainer


  • 1 Crown of broccoli


  • Cut off the broccoli stem. Then cut into florets.
  • Put the florets in a saucepan with boiling water.
  • Simmer for 3-5 minutes or bright green.
  • Strain the water from the broccoli.
  • Put the florets in ice or cold water to stop them from cooking.
  • Now they are ready to serve.


Serving: 4gCalories: 52kcalCarbohydrates: 10gProtein: 4gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0.2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.2gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.05gSodium: 50mgPotassium: 480mgFiber: 4gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 947IUVitamin C: 136mgCalcium: 71mgIron: 1mg
Keyword How to boil broccoli
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