How to boil broccoli perfectly so it is not mushy is here. Boiled broccoli is a healthy side dish that is cheap and tasty with butter and salt.
Boiled broccoli really couldn’t get any easier. You just need the stem cut off and into bite size pieces with a pot of boiling water and a bit of salt. Ok butter is a must for us when it is served too but that is up to you. Just one of the beginner cooking recipes we have on our site. (affiliate links present)
How Long to Boil Broccoli
Not long, in fact it is better to err on the side of less vs. too much. There is nothing worse than limp veggies, you just can’t fix that. Unless you are adding it into something soft that should be creamy like our broccoli beer cheese soup it should have a little “bite” to it.
One other reason you may want it to be super soft is if you were serving this to a toddler, or pureeing it into baby food. Other than that 2 minutes is really all you need to get it to the perfect texture. We are referring to bite size florets y’all so use that as a gage when preparing.
How Long to Boil Frozen Broccoli
You may be surprised to know that whether you boil from fresh or frozen the timing doesn’t really change. I guess it is because right out of the bag the pieces are quite small, probably smaller than what you would cut yourself off the stalk. 2 minutes max, that is it.
The biggest difference in cook time would be if you made Instant Pot steamed broccoli, that’s the fastest. Kinda. You do have to wait for the pot to pressurize which takes 5-10 minutes but once that is up you’ll choose either 0 or 1 minute, that is it. Seriously under high pressure it will become soft in just 60 seconds.
The longest would be if you wanted to try and make our broccoli in air fryer with parmesan. Reason being is it doesn’t create a lot of steam and just heats it. You do add a bit of liquid under the basket but still it takes quite a bit longer and has a different firmness when done.
Trick to boiling vegetables is to do it as short as possible. Why?? Because it keeps a bit of firmness while still becoming nice and tender. Most importantly you will be able to maintain as much nutritional value this way. Biggest downside to boiling food period is the hot water will leach vitamins out. 🙁
To prevent this, make sure the water reaches a rolling boil without stopping but isn’t boiling over either. Wait until this is adjusted and achieved and then submerge your veggies. Stand close though because you’ll want to use a slotted spoon to remove after it’s fork tender.
We usually just add a pat of butter to the top to melt with salt and pepper but you might prefer a Velveeta cheese sauce. If you are adding it into another recipe like our Instant Pot chicken broccoli rice you’d want to cut the pieces very small and watch it closely as it just needs a quick dip.
I mean yes there is still nutritional value to it and better than a starch served as your side dish, but steaming or raw broccoli is better. You will maintain more vitamins if you don’t submerge into hot water for sure.
Best Way to Cook Broccoli on Stove
Set a large pot of cold water on your stove and set to medium high heat. Wait until it reaches a rolling boil that doesn’t stop but isn’t bubbling over. Now add a pinch of salt. Have a spoon handy so you’re ready, this won’t take long.
- Prepare head by cutting the stem completely off, discarding, and cutting florets into large bite size pieces.
- Once boiling steadily dump fresh broccoli florets into pot. Use a metal slotted spoon to stir every minute. Check tenderness after 2 minutes of consistent boiling
- It may take additional 1 depending on how soft you want your perfect boiled broccoli to be.
- you do NOT want to overcook the broccoli so check every 30 seconds beyond 2 min. if you leave it in any longer
- outside should be a bit crisp but tender on the top, and a bright green color
- Immediately lift out pieces with slotted spoon allowing water to drip off.
- Transfer to a bowl and put a pat of butter or some cajun garlic butter sauce on top with a sprinkle of salt and pepper before serving.
You would do this same method for blanched broccoli if you needed to do that for a specific recipe. It’s sorta’ like when we blanch bell peppers except those we leave in for a few more minutes.
How can you tell good quality broccoli?
This green vegetable should always be a vibrant green color, always. If you see any brown or discoloration at all that means it is starting to turn bad and you should not choose that one. Bunches with the hard stems already removed usually are more expensive per head, and you can do that part easily.
So other than serving this as a healthy side dish what are some broccoli recipes you can use when this is done? You can fold it into the other ingredients to make crustless broccoli quiche in muffin tins! A meal my kids love is our Instant Pot chicken broccoli rice casserole.
Want to boil other things to perfection?? This is how long to boil a whole chicken believe it or not! Another tip on cooking veggies – have a post on how to cook frozen green beans and how to cook frozen spinach here as well.
Want to see a few of my favorite things that I am totally obsessed with?? Take a peek and see how many you might already have…twinsies!
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How to Boil Broccoli
- 1 pot
- 3-5 c broccoli florets, bite size
- Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil, add a pinch of salt. Prepare head by removing the large hard stem and cutting florets into large bite size pieces.
- Once boiling dump veggies into pot. Use a metal slotted spoon to stir every minute. Check tenderness after 2 minutes of consistent boiling, may take additional 1 depending on how soft you want it to be.
- Immediately lift out pieces with slotted spoon allowing water to drip off. Transfer to a bowl and put a pat of butter on top with a sprinkle of salt and pepper before serving. (or make our garlic butter sauce)