How to boil broccoli

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As we move into cooler weather cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts, are in season. While these vegetables can generally be found in grocery stores year-round, for those who garden, you’ll likely find yourself eating these more often in the winter. 

Broccoli is great cooked in soups, stir-frys, and omelets. But if you’re looking for a simple side dish, boiled broccoli can be a quick way to add fiber and color to a plate of salmon, casserole, or chicken. 

Ways to cook broccoli:

  • Steamed
  • Roasted
  • Sautéed
  • Air-fried 
  • Microwaved
  • Boiled 

How to boil broccoli

You’ll want to use fresh broccoli florets when boiling. Frozen broccoli is better microwaved or roasted and will fall apart easily when boiled. First, get out a sauce pan and fill it about half-way with water. Bring the water to a boil. When the water starts to form small bubbles, you have the option to add a pinch of salt. 

While you’re waiting for the water to boil, wash the broccoli head. Then take your chef’s knife and cut off the main stem. Cut the florets off of the head of broccoli into uniform bite-sized pieces. Cutting them roughly the same size will help them cook evenly. 

The stem of the broccoli can either be added to your compost, cut into bite sized pieces and boiled with the florets, or you can save them in a baggie in your freezer to use for soup stock in the future. 

When the water is boiling, carefully add your broccoli to the pan. Cover with a lid and reduce the heat to a simmer. Let the broccoli cook for about 8 minutes. 

How long you should boil broccoli is a common question, and for good reason. When the broccoli has turned a bright green color and is tender when pierced with a fork, it is done. If the broccoli has turned a dull green, it is over-cooked and will become mushy quickly. 

When it’s done, turn off the heat on your stove. Drain the water from the broccoli by pouring the water and broccoli into a colander. Optionally, you can season the broccoli to taste. 

How to season boiled broccoli

  • Butter, salt and pepper
  • Olive oil, Italian seasoning, and parmesan cheese
  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Parmesan cheese
rice, pulled pork, and boiled broccoli on a white plate.

Boiled Broccoli

Simple boiled broccoli
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Course Side Dish

Equipment

  • sauce pan
  • cutting board
  • chef knife
  • 1 colander or strainer

Ingredients
  

  • 1 head broccoli fresh
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Instructions
 

  • Fill saucepan about 1/2 way with water, bring to a boil on stove-top.
  • Wash head of broccoli and cut off florets into bite-sized pieces.
  • When the water starts to form small bubbles you have the option to add salt.
  • With the water boiling, carefully add the broccoli to the saucepan.
  • Cover the pan with a lid and reduce heat to simmer. Set a timer for 8 minutes.
  • When the timer is done, or the broccoli is a bright green color and tender when pierced with a fork, turn off the heat and drain the water from the broccoli using a colander.
  • Season broccoli with butter, salt, and pepper or however you prefer.

Notes

Cooking times may vary. Watch the broccoli as it cooks. When it turns a bright green color and is tender to pierce with a fork, it is done. If it’s turned a dull green it may be over-cooked. 
Other options to season boiled broccoli:
  • Olive oil, Italian seasoning, and parmesan cheese
  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Parmesan cheese
Keyword boiled broccoli, side dish, vegetables

Recap

Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli get a bad rap. Many people have bad memories of being forced to eat broccoli as children. However, as we age our taste buds begin to pick up less on bitter flavors so trying vegetables as an adult can be a different experience than it was as a child. 

Broccoli is a great source of fiber, potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin B6. It’s good for heart health, blood sugar, and gut health. 

What was your experience with trying boiled broccoli like?

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