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Microwave Cauliflower

Microwaving cauliflower is the quickest and easiest way to cook it. Steam it using a little water and a covered bowl to ensure it retains its texture.

How to steam cauliflower in the microwave
How to steam cauliflower in the microwave

How to Steam Cauliflower in the Microwave

Steamed cauliflower florets make a delicious and healthy side dish. If you are wondering how to steam cauliflower in the microwave without it becoming soft and unappetizing, then there are a couple of things you need to know.

The texture of cauliflower is one of the things that makes it so delicious, and if you have ever tried microwaving it in water (boiling it) then you will know how easy it is to overcook and end up with mush.

Microwaving cauliflower is actually easy, you just need to take a little care to ensure that they retain its texture, and gently steam it rather than attempting to boil it.

How to Prepare Cauliflower

Cut the cauliflower into florets. You can retain as much of the stalk as you like. I personally quite like cauliflower stalk when it is steamed correctly, if you usually discard it, why not give it a try?

What do You Need to Steam Cauliflower in the Microwave?

To steam cauliflower in your microwave you will need a microwave-safe dish with a close-fitting lid. You could also use a microwave-safe bowl with a plate on top, but make sure it fits well enough to prevent the steam escaping during cooking.

You just need a small amount of water in the bottom of the bowl. The right amount will boil quickly and fill the bowl with enough steam to cook the cauliflower florets. I usually find around a half inch of depth works.

You may find the florets in the bottom of the bowl that are sitting in the water get a little overcooked. They will still taste delicious, but will probably lose their texture by the time the rest of the cauliflower is cooked.

You can avoid this by using a microwave-safe trivet to raise the cauliflower up out of the water before cooking. I have this Joie silicone vegetable steamer [affiliate link], which works perfectly.

Cauliflower in microwave bowl
Cauliflower all prepped and ready for the microwave.

How long to microwave cauliflower

You will need to microwave the bowl of cauliflower florets until the water is boiling and the bowl has filled with steam. It need to boil continuously for around a minute, and then should be left for at least minute with the lid on to allow the cauliflower to finish cooking in the steam.

The total length of time you will need to microwave the florets for depends on the power of your microwave. The times in the recipe below are perfect for my 1000W microwave, so if you have a lower wattage you may need to increase the times a little.

You can estimate cooking times for a different wattage microwave using the chart below:

WattageCook timeSteam time
400W9min2 min
500W8min 20s2 min
600W7min 40s2 min
700W7min2 min
800W6min 20s2 min
900W5min 40s2 min
1000W5min2 min
1100W4min 20s2 min
1200W3min 40s2 min
Estimated cauliflower cook times for different microwave wattage

You may need to use a little trial and error to get it exactly right. I would recommend printing off the recipe card below and making a note of how long worked for your microwave to make it easier next time!

How to steam cauliflower in the microwave
Yield: 4 servings

Microwave Steamed Cauliflower

Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 7 minutes

How to steam cauliflower in the microwave.


  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 1/2 cup water


  1. Wash cauliflower and cut into florets.
  2. Place cauliflower florets in a microwave-safe bowl with a lid (use a microwave trivet if you have one).
  3. Microwave cauliflower on high for 5 minutes, then allow to steam for an additional 2 minutes (do not remove the lid from the bowl during this time).
  4. Once steaming time is up, carefully remove the lid from the bowl, it is full of hot steam, which will all escape whn the lid is removed.
  5. Serve cauliflower with a sprinkle of kosher salt, or topped with butter. Enjoy!

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 32Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 22mgCarbohydrates: 6gFiber: 3gSugar: 3gProtein: 3g

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