If you’re wondering how to microwave broccoli, you’re in the right place. Here you’ll learn how to make tender, perfectly steamed broccoli in the microwave, using either fresh or frozen broccoli!
The most underrated kitchen appliance is the microwave, hands down. Sure, everyone knows it’s great for reheating leftovers, but I routinely use it to do the cooking too!
By far microwaving broccoli is the fastest and easiest way to get steamed broccoli on your plate, and I’m showing you how to make steamed fresh broccoli, frozen broccoli, and broccoli rice.
Just keep on reading to learn all the tips and tricks!
🥦 Ingredients & equipment
You’ll only need a few items, and you probably already have them in your kitchen. Here’s what you need:
- Broccoli. You can use broccoli crowns, pre-cut broccoli florets, frozen broccoli florets, or riced broccoli.
- Water. Adding just enough water to cover the bottom of the bowl allows the broccoli to gently steam instead of boiling.
- A microwave safe bowl. I prefer to use a wider set bowl, rather than a deep bowl.
- Plastic wrap.
- A microwave. Cook times can vary based on the wattage of your microwave, so use this method and customize the cook times slightly, if needed.
👉 Note: As an alternative to microwaving a bowl wrapped with plastic wrap, you can use a reusable silicone sealable bag, like a Stasher bag, to steam the broccoli. The silicone is microwave safe, making this a fabulous, eco friendly option!
🔪 Step by step instructions
If you’re using fresh whole heads of broccoli, the first thing you’ll want to do is cut it. Set aside the large stems, then either dice into bite sized florets or use a food processor to make riced broccoli. Don’t toss the stems, though, since you can use them to make broccoli slaw!
And if you’re using frozen broccoli, do not defrost the broccoli first. If any pieces are stuck together, gently break the pieces apart.
Next, transfer the broccoli a wide, microwave safe bowl. Add about 1/4 cup water to the bowl, so that the bottom of the bowl is covered with water, and cover tightly with a piece of plastic wrap.
Set the bowl in the microwave and turn on high. The cooking times will depend slightly on what type of broccoli you’re using.
⏰ Cook times
- Fresh broccoli florets: 4 minutes
- Frozen broccoli florets: 5 – 5.5 minutes
- Fresh riced broccoli: 3 – 3.5 minutes
Once the broccoli is steamed, make sure to wait about 2-3 minutes before handling the bowl, then very, very carefully, peel back the plastic wrap.
The broccoli should be bright green and tender, ready to eat. But if you find the broccoli isn’t quite soft enough, microwave it again for 1 minute at a time, until it’s exactly the way you like it.
Last, drain the water and enjoy the steamed broccoli exactly as it is, or if you’d like, add a pat of butter or ghee and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
Transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for 3-4 days, per USDA. Reheat in the microwave for about 1 minute.
Steamed broccoli is a wonderful side dish that goes great with roasted chicken, pork tenderloin, grilled fish, burgers, and more. It works with Low carb, Whole30, WW and Vegetarians ways of eating, so it’s a very healthy, versatile side!
One method isn’t objectively better than the other, however if you like your broccoli tender with a little crispness, I’d recommend microwaving. If you prefer broccoli very soft, boiling is the way to go.
There’s no evidence to point to microwaves causing harm, and there’s some evidence that suggests it preserves nutrients better than other methods of cooking, according to Healthline. This is a common question and a personal choice, but I’ve read enough information on the subject to allow me to personally feel comfortable microwaving my food.
Like this recipe? Let me know what you think in the comments below, or tag me on Instagram @cookathomemom!
How to Microwave Broccoli – Fresh or Frozen
- 1 head broccoli; or 3 cups broccoli florets, fresh or frozen; or 1 cup fresh riced broccoli
- 1/4 cup water
Do the prep work
- Fresh broccoli: Either dice the broccoli into bite sized florets or use a food processor to make riced broccoli, setting aside the large stems.Frozen broccoli: If you’re using frozen broccoli, do not defrost the broccoli first. If any pieces are stuck together, gently break apart the pieces.
- Next, transfer the broccoli a wide, microwave safe bowl. Add about 1/4 cup water to the bowl, so that the bottom of the bowl is covered with water, and cover tightly with a piece of plastic wrap. Alternately, add the broccoli and water to a food grade silicone bag.
Cook the broccoli
- Set the bowl in the microwave and turn on high. For fresh broccoli florets: Cook for 4 minutesFor frozen broccoli florets: Cook for 5 – 5.5 minutesFor fresh riced broccoli: Cook for 3 – 3.5 minutes
- Once the broccoli is steamed, make sure to wait about 2-3 minutes before handling it. Carefully peel back the plastic wrap or open the silicone bag. Drain the water and enjoy the steamed broccoli exactly as it is. If you’d like, add a pat of butter or ghee and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.