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How Long To Boil Broccoli

by Gina Elizabeth
How long to boil broccoli
How long to boil broccoli

Go green or go home.

Can there be anything easier than boiling broccoli? It’s almost as easy as boiling water. Almost.

But there are a few helpful tips that will make your broccoli taste a little better.

This is how long to boil broccoli, and 12 tips for perfect boiled broccoli every time!

How Long To Boil Broccoli

Bring water to a rolling boil and cook broccoli over high heat for 3-6 minutes (or until fork tender). The boiling times depend on your personal taste and the size of the florets. Drain and place the broccoli into an ice bath immediately. This will help ensures a bright, green color and crisp texture.

RELATED: How Long To Boil Potatoes for Mashed Potatoes

12 Tips For Boiling Broccoli

These are seriously useful.

1. Do Not Cover Broccoli While Cooking

When chlorophyll is cooked, it produces carbon dioxide. Covering the cooking broccoli will trap the gas, and turn the chlorophyll a drab, gray color.

It will also produce that bad smell.

2. Chop Florets Uniformly

Remember: If it looks the same, it cooks the same. When prepping, slice broccoli florets and stems so they’re all about the same size.

This ensures everything cooks evenly and consistently — and lets you avoid overdone smaller pieces, and still-raw larger ones.

3. How To Buy Fresh Broccoli

Look for a bright dark green color, avoiding old broccoli with brown spots on the florets or stems.

The florets should be tightly bunched together, and the stems should feel firm. And the crown should be tight.

4. How To Store Fresh Broccoli

  • Fresh raw broccoli can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days.
  • You can store raw broccoli in your refrigerator drawer for at least a week.
  • However, its nutritional properties will begin to decline after three days.
  • Store broccoli in the crisper drawer in the fridge until you’re ready to use it. Broccoli should keep fairly well for at least a week.

5. Clean Your Broccoli Thoroughly

The best way is to clean it with vinegar and water (3:1 water and vinegar). Using the diluted vinegar method first removes about 98% of surface bacteria.

Soaking the broccoli in vinegar water for about 5 minutes will ensure no insects lodged inside the florets remain.

Then rinse well under cold tap water.

6. Cook Broccoli With Salt

Use one teaspoon salt per 1 cup of water. Salt provides a “barrier” against carbon dioxide, which prevents chlorophyll from changing color.

7. Use Boiling Water

Boil your water before adding broccoli. This ensures that the pores on the broccoli will be quickly blocked, and prevents vitamins and minerals from leaching into the water.

Make sure that you have enough water in your pot so that all of the broccoli is floating in it.

8. Cooking The Stems

Separate the broccoli stems from the florets, and cook them first for two minutes.

This ensure even cooking as broccoli florets cook faster than the stems.

9. Blanching vs Boiling Broccoli

Blanching vegetables maintains more flavor and nutrients than fully boiling them. If adding broccoli to a cold salad, first blanch in boiling water for 2 minutes and then immediately rinse with cold water.

Blanch broccoli if you plant to freeze it.

10. Testing Doneness

The broccoli is done when it is tender enough to easily insert the tip of a knife or fork.

11. Don’t Overcook

Don’t overcook Broccoli as it will become mushy and lose taste. And extreme overcooking may also deplete nutrients.

Remember that things continue to cook after you turn the heat off.

Use A Timer

Set your timer for only 5 to 6 minutes. Cooking the broccoli any more than 7 minutes tops risks overcooking it. After 7 minutes the broccoli will turn it olive green, instead of that beautiful bright green.

12. Place Broccoli In An Ice Bath After Cooking

After removing from heat, drain the boiled broccoli in a colander.

It’s best to submerge the cooked broccoli in a bowl of cold water or ice water immediately.

This will help stop the cooking process and ensures the crisp texture along with the bright green color.

Consider this your broccoli 101 class.

Did you know?

Broccoli is a nutrient-rich vegetable from the cabbage family. Nutritionists recommend that you avoid boiling it for too long, since it takes away many of the anti-carcinogenic properties. You can boil broccoli until it is soft, or blanch it to preserve nutrients and texture. Blanching broccoli removes its bitterness but maintains texture and taste similar to raw broccoli.

How long to boil broccoli

Check out the FAQ section below for more amazing boiled broccoli facts …

Easy Boiled Broccoli Recipe

Sooo easy!


2 lb. broccoli, cut into florets
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Crushed red pepper flakes
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling


  1. In a high-sided skillet over medium heat, bring about ¼” deep water to a boil. Add broccoli and cover with lid. Let steam until just tender, 5 minutes. 
  2. Remove from pan with a slotted spoon and season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Drizzle with olive oil before serving.

Optional Boiled Broccoli Toppings

Super simple, but totally flavorful.

  • Bacon bits
  • Feta cheese or goat cheese crumbles
  • Shredded Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese
  • A shake or two of rice vinegar, soy sauce, and a sprinkle of sesame seeds
  • Slivered toasted almonds or toasted pine nuts
  • Fresh ginger or grated garlic

Equipment You’ll Need

  • Saucepan or skillet
  • Colander
  • Slotted Spoon

Boiled Broccoli FAQS

Is it better to boil or steam broccoli?

Boiling broccoli is ideal for soups. If you are planning to serve broccoli as a side, steaming is the best option. This retains more antioxidants and vitamins which may be lost during boiling.

How do I steam broccoli?

  1. Bring one inch of water to boil in a pot.
  2. Add a steamer basket to the pot.
  3. Place the broccoli florets on the steamer basket and reduce the heat to medium.
  4. Add a lid and steam for 5-6 minutes.

How do I sautee broccoli?

Saute over medium heat 5 minutes

In a large skillet, saute in olive oil for 5 minutes over medium heat. Don’t cook on high heat or the broccoli will brown too much. Stir frequently.

Cover and cook 2 more more minutes

Add your seasonings. Cover the broccoli to lock in moisture and steams it. This helps it to get fully cooked through.

How long to boil frozen broccoli?

For bright green and tender broccoli, blanch frozen broccoli in boiling, salted water for 2-4 minutes.

Can broccoli be eaten raw?

Broccoli can be eaten raw, but boiling or blanching it helps bring out its flavor and gives it a tender texture. Like some other raw vegetables, raw broccoli may cause gas or bloating.

How do you cook fresh broccoli in the microwave?

In a microwave-safe bowl, add the prepared broccoli florets and pour 3 tablespoons of water. Cover with a lid and microwave for 3 minutes on high. Check if the broccoli is crispy tender. Microwave additional 1 minute if necessary.

How long does raw broccoli last in the fridge? 

You can store raw broccoli you the fridge for about 3 days. Its flavor and nutrition will start to decline after that.

Is broccoli really that healthy? 

Broccoli is a good source of fiber and protein. It’s also is rich in iron, potassium, calcium, and vitamins.

How many calories does broccoli have?

1 cup = 31 calories. The florets contain almost no fat. Plus, they’re low-carb. 

Can I roast brocoli?

Steaming broccoli strengthens its cholesterol-lowering potential. It also better for preserving antioxidants, compared to cooking in oil.

How long can I store boiled broccoli?

Leftovers do well in the fridge for 3-4 days. Be sure to store them in an airtight container. 

The downside of storing the broccoli is that they become a little soggy when rewarmed, and they won’t taste as good as when they are freshly cooked. 

How do I reheat leftover broccoli?

Place any leftover in a microwave-safe bowl and warm for 30 seconds to one minute, depending on the setting of your microwave.

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