Food & Recipes

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

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Sometimes dishes that require the least amount of ingredients are the most difficult to perfect. Take fresh broccoli: If you steam or boil it for a few minutes, the tops often cook faster than the stalks, leaving you with a veggie that looks dull, and worst of all, is mushy. This problem always plagued me, until a simple new trick for how to steam broccoli came into my life!

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The experts at TipBuzz shared this neat hack for steaming broccoli: First, you steam the stems! This gives them a head start, as they’re more dense than the florets and require more time to cook. Not a fan of broccoli stems? Trust us, eating this part of the broccoli is worth it, as it’s where the most fiber is found. Plus, the stems add a crunchy contrast to the dish, so it’s healthy and delicious at the same time!

When the stems are tender, the florets get added on top to finish steaming. Within five minutes, you’ll have perfectly steamed broccoli to serve alongside chicken cutlets or your favorite pasta dish.

I tried out this steaming method using a crown of broccoli that I washed thoroughly before separating into stems and florets. The key is to cut as close as you can to the florets without having them end 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

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 came to a boil, I added the broccoli stems to the pot and covered them with a lid to cook for two minutes. Then I added the florets to the pan and put the lid on for another three minutes. 

Broccoli stems and florets as they're steaming

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.

Steamed broccoli

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.

This article originally appeared on our sister site, First for Women.

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