How to Steam Broccoli in Microwave

Learn how much water to use and how long to cook broccoli in the microwave

Broccoli is a super nutritious vegetable that is especially delicious when steamed. The best part is that you can easily steam it in just a few minutes using your microwave. In this article, we’ll give you step-by-step instructions on how to steam your broccoli and get it nice and tender. Read on to get cooking!

[Edit]Things You Should Know

  • Chop broccoli into bite-sized pieces and place them in a microwave-safe bowl.
  • Add 2 tablespoons (29 mL) of water to the bowl and cover it with a microwave-safe lid.
  • Microwave the broccoli for 2 minutes, checking if it’s tender with a fork.
  • Microwave the broccoli for an additional 1 to 2 minutes, checking its tenderness every 30 seconds until it’s done to your liking.


[Edit]Chop the broccoli into bite-sized pieces.

  1. Clean your head of broccoli and cut it into even chunks. Soak the broccoli in water for 5 to 10 minutes. Then, place it on a cutting board. Using a kitchen knife, cut the broccoli. Remove the florets from the stem, chopping them into even, bite-sized pieces.[1]
    Steam Broccoli in Microwave Step 1.jpg
    • If you like the broccoli stems, include them too. Just chop them into smaller pieces as well.
    • How big or small you cut your broccoli pieces is really up to you. However, larger pieces take longer to cook than smaller, bite-sized pieces.

[Edit]Add water and the broccoli to a microwave-safe bowl.

  1. Pour 2 tablespoons (29 mL) of water into a ceramic or glass bowl. Then, add in the broccoli.[2][3]
    Steam Broccoli in Microwave Step 2.jpg

[Edit]Microwave the broccoli on high for 2 minutes.

  1. Place a microwave-safe cover over the bowl and set it in the microwave. Use a silicone microwave cover or a glass or ceramic plate to cover the bowl and trap in the steam. Then, set the microwave on high for 2 minutes.[4][5]
    Steam Broccoli in Microwave Step 3.jpg
    • If you don’t have a lid, use wet paper towels. Instead of adding the 2 tablespoons (29 mL) of water to the bowl, wet 1 to 2 paper towels and wring them out so they’re damp. Then, place them on top of your broccoli.[6]

[Edit]Check if the broccoli is tender.

  1. Poke your broccoli with a fork to see if it’s steamed all the way through. If your broccoli is done, you’ll feel just a little bit of resistance from your fork. The broccoli will also change from a dull, dark green to a vibrant, bright green.[7]
    Steam Broccoli in Microwave Step 4.jpg
    • If the broccoli is still hard and not super vibrant, it needs more time to steam.
    • If you are steaming with paper towels, be careful when lifting them up. They’ll likely be hot, so wear oven mitts or lift the paper towel with a fork.

[Edit]Microwave the broccoli for an additional 1 to 2 minutes.

  1. Steam the broccoli in 30-second increments until it’s tender and the desired texture has been reached.[8] Continue to check the broccoli’s tenderness with a fork after each 30-second increment until it feels done.[9]
    Steam Broccoli in Microwave Step 5.jpg
    • Microwaves with lower wattages between 600 to 800 likely need more time to cook the broccoli, while microwaves with wattages above 900 typically steam broccoli within 2 minutes.[10]
    • If your broccoli still needs more time, microwave it in 15-second increments until it’s tender.
    • Microwaving broccoli with paper towels typically takes longer than with a lid, so an extra 1 to 2 minutes might be necessary.

[Edit]Season the broccoli once it's steamed.

  1. Remove the broccoli from the microwave and sprinkle it with salt. Use a pair of oven mitts to lift the broccoli out of the microwave. The broccoli will be steaming, so be careful when taking off the lid. Then, season the broccoli to taste with a dash of salt.[11]
    Steam Broccoli in Microwave Step 6.jpg
    • To further season the broccoli, add a dab of butter or a drizzle of olive oil. Then, squeeze a bit of lemon on top or add a dash of garlic powder, red pepper flakes, or parmesan cheese.
    • Steamed broccoli is great on its own or as a healthy side dish to chicken, pork chops, or fish. It’s also perfect in a pasta, salad, and quiche.

[Edit]Refrigerate leftover broccoli for up to 7 days.

  1. Place any leftover, cooled broccoli in a storage container in the fridge. Use a plastic or glass container to store your uneaten broccoli in the fridge. Simply reheat it in the microwave on high for 1 to 2 minutes when you’re ready to eat it. Steamed broccoli keeps well for about 7 days before it needs to be tossed.[12]
    Steam Broccoli in Microwave Step 7.jpg
    • If you don’t have any storage containers, plastic bags work great too.

[Edit]Freeze leftover broccoli for up to 6 to 8 months.

  1. Freezing broccoli is a great option if you can’t eat it right away. Lay your cooled broccoli on a parchment lined baking sheet in the freezer for 1 to 2 hours. Once the broccoli is frozen solid, transfer it into a freezer bag or a plastic or glass storage container. Most frozen broccoli stays good and fresh for about 6 to 8 months.[13]
    Steam Broccoli in Microwave Step 8.jpg
    • When you’re ready to eat your frozen broccoli, thaw it out in the refrigerator overnight. Then, microwave it on high for 1 to 2 minutes.
    • If you don’t want to wait overnight, place the frozen pieces in a microwave-safe bowl with ¼ cup (59 mL) of water. Put a lid on the bowl and microwave the broccoli for about 4 minutes. If the broccoli isn’t hot enough, microwave it for an additional 1 to 2 minutes.


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