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Food & Recipes

How to Steam Broccoli So It’s Never Overcooked or Mushy


It feels like the dishes that require the least amount of ingredients are sometimes the trickiest to perfect. Let’s take fresh broccoli, for example: If you steam or boil it for a few minutes, the tops often cook quicker than the stalks, leaving a veggie that looks dull and is, worst of all, mushy. I’ve always had this gripe until a simple new trick for how to steam broccoli came into my life!

The experts at TipBuzz share a neat trick for steaming the broccoli stems first in water. This gives the stems a head start as they’re more dense than the broccoli florets and require more time to cook. Trust us, eating this part of the broccoli is worth it as it contains the most fiber in the veggie. Plus, it adds crunchy a contrast to the dish (healthy and delicious at the same time!). Then, the florets get added on top of the stems to finish up steaming. Within five minutes, you’ll have perfectly steamed broccoli to serve alongside baked chicken or a comforting pasta dish.

I tried this out steaming method using a crown of broccoli that I washed before separating into the stems and florets using a knife. The key is to cut as close as you can to the florets without it ending up in a million tiny pieces. Don’t worry if there’s a little bit of stem remaining on the floret as long as you’ve removed the majority of it.

Broccoli before steaming
Alexandria Brooks

Next, I filled a pan with an inch of water, added a pinch of salt, and placed it on the stove at medium heat. I used a pan because it was wide enough for the broccoli florets to have plenty of space to evenly steam. However, a pot works just fine too. Also, one inch of water is the right amount to create steam without ending up with watery broccoli (yuck!).

Once the water started boiling, I placed the broccoli stems in the water and covered them with a lid to cook for two minutes. Afterwards, the florets were added to the pan and covered again to cook for another three minutes. 

Broccoli stems and florets as they're steaming
Alexandria Brooks

After a total of five minutes, the broccoli was a vibrant green and ready to season with a pinch of salt, pepper, and a tablespoon of butter. Tasting a forkful of the broccoli, I loved how the stems were tender with a slight crunch and the florets were soft without being mushy. Plus, the speedy cooking time maintained the broccoli’s fresh taste.

I can truly say this tip was a game-changer for me — my broccoli was the furthest thing from being overcooked and flavorless! I’ll definitely be using it any time I want to add some more green veggies to my meal.

Steamed broccoli
Alexandria Brooks
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