The best way to cook broccoli in the microwave is to steam it! This is a super simple recipe for microwave steamed broccoli for the next time you need a quick and easy side dish!
Why you’ll love this recipe
Microwave steamed broccoli makes a great side dish for many meals. Steaming it in the microwave is super quick and easy, and a great option if you are short on time.
Microwave boiled broccoli can often end up overcooked, and leaches nutrients into the water. Steaming broccoli, on the other hand, is a much gentler way to cook it, which helps to retain its texture and flavor much better than cooking it directly in boiling water.
>> Related recipe: Instant Pot Steamed Broccoli
Try steaming vegetables in the microwave any time you need a healthy side dish and are short on time. Check out some of my other microwave recipes for steamed vegetables: microwave cauliflower, microwave carrots, microwave green beans, and microwave corn on the cob.
Scroll down for the printable recipe card for how to steam broccoli in the microwave, or read on for all the details.
What do you need?
Microwave-safe bowl with a lid
You will need a microwave-safe dish or bowl with a well-fitting lid. You can also use a plate upside down over the top of the bowl as long as it is well-fitting enough that it will prevent the steam from escaping.
I normally use fresh broccoli, but you can also cook frozen broccoli florets in the microwave.
If using fresh broccoli, one medium head of broccoli is usually a good amount for four servings.
A little water
You also need a small amount of water, just about an inch of depth in the bottom of the bowl as you don’t want the broccoli sitting in the water—you just want it to cook in the steam.
Optional trivet/steamer basket
The broccoli florets in the bottom of the bowl will be sitting in the water, and may get a little overcooked, but you can avoid this by raising the broccoli up out of the water using a microwave-safe trivet or steamer basket. I have this one: Joie silicone vegetable steamer*.
How to steam broccoli in the microwave
- First, wash the broccoli and cut into florets. Place broccoli florets into a microwave-safe bowl (use a microwave trivet if you have one). Add 1 cup of water (it should give you a depth of around 1 inch).
- Microwave on high for 4-8 minutes. You will need to microwave the broccoli until the water is boiling and the bowl has filled with steam.
- It needs to boil continuously for around two minutes, and then should be left for two minutes with the lid on to allow the broccoli to finish cooking in the steam.
How long to microwave broccoli
The total length of time you will need to microwave the broccoli 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 or higher wattage you may need to increase or decrease the times a little.
You can estimate times for cooking broccoli for different wattage microwaves using the chart below:
|Wattage||Cook time||Steam time|
|500W||7min 30s||2 min|
|700W||6min 30s||2 min|
|900W||5min 30s||2 min|
|1100W||4min 30s||2 min|
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!
Perfectly steamed broccoli is delicious on its own as a side dish, however you can easily dress it up with a few simple additions. Here are some fun ideas to try:
- Top cooked broccoli with cheese sauce, or for a simple version add some cream cheese on top of the broccoli while it is still piping hot and let it melt over the florets
- Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top
- Or for a vegan version, sprinkle broccoli with nutritional yeast
- Keep it simple with melted butter and a light sprinkle of kosher salt and black pepper
Storage and reheating
Store any leftover microwaved broccoli in the refrigerator in an airtight container and use within 3 days.
To reheat in the microwave, place broccoli in a microwave safe bowl, cover the bowl with a lid )or plastic wrap, and pierce a couple of times). Microwave on high for around 1 minute until piping hot.
- 1 head of broccoli
- 1 cup water
- 1 tablespoon butter
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Wash broccoli and chop into chunks.
- Place chopped broccoli into a microwave safe glass bowl [Note 1].
- Add water, and cover the bowl with a tight-fitting lid.
- Microwave broccoli on high for approximately 5 minutes, until broccoli is bright green.
- Leave the broccoli in the bowl with the lid on for two minutes to allow it to finish steaming.
- Take care when removing broccoli from the microwave, the bowl and the steam will be very hot.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve topped with butter.
- If using a microwave-safe trivet, place this in the bowl first.
Nutrition information is an estimate and provided for informational purposes only.