How to Steam Frozen Broccoli in Microwave (7 Easy Steps)

Categorized as Microwave
how to steam frozen broccoli in microwave

A lot of people spend so much time cooking a delicious main dish but neglect the side dishes. When it comes to making a side dish, they don’t have any more time and energy to spend on it. Because of that, many people usually don’t even bother to have a side dish at all or, worse, end up with a very unhealthy one.

This is where frozen broccoli comes into play. It is healthy, easy to make, and it takes only a couple of minutes.

Can You Steam Frozen Broccoli in the Microwave?

You can steam frozen broccoli in a microwave. In fact, it is one of the best ways to cook frozen vegetables. It’s fast and easy, and you can add your favorite spices or seasonings to it for a different taste.

Here’s a short guide on how to steam frozen broccoli in the microwave:

Take a microwave-safe bowl and add the broccoli. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of water and cover the bowl with a lid. Microwave the broccoli for a couple of minutes until it’s tender.

Is Microwaving Frozen Brocolli Bad?

Microwaving frozen broccoli isn’t bad at all, providing that you don’t cook it for too long.

Let me explain it a bit more.

The most common concern that people have when steaming frozen broccoli is that it will lose its nutrients. According to one study, this is not true. The study found that microwaving frozen broccoli when it’s done in a short amount of time does not compromise its nutrient content.

Furthermore, the researchers wrote that microwaving could even perverse the number of flavonoids in the broccoli much better than steaming or boiling. As a side note, flavanoids are compounds with antioxidant properties that have been linked with many health benefits, including a reduced risk of heart disease, cancer, and cognitive diseases.

How Long Should I Steam Frozen Broccoli in the Microwave?

Generally, it takes between 2 to 5 minutes for broccoli to be cooked thoroughly in the microwave. The cooking time highly depends on how tender you want the broccoli to be.

If you’re making a side dish of broccoli, you may want to make it tender enough, and so you’ll need to cook it for a longer time. I found that 5 minutes are usually enough to get the broccoli tender but not overcooked.

Some people would even steam their broccoli for as long as 8 to 10 minutes, feel free to go ahead and try which time works best for you. Just remember, the longer you cook broccoli, the more you’ll risk losing its nutrients.

On the other hand, if you’re making a broccoli stir fry to put on top of rice or noodles, you’ll want to make the broccoli as crisp as possible. In such cases, you can try cooking it for as little as 2 minutes and see how it turns out.

How to Steam Frozen Broccoli in the Microwave

1. Place the Frozen Broccoli in a Microwave-Safe Bowl

Pour approximately 1/2 pounds of frozen broccoli in a microwave-safe bowl. Glass and ceramic are usually safe to use in microwaves even if they aren’t labeled ‘microwave safe. If you want to use a plastic bowl, make sure it’s microwave-safe and never use metal containers.

2. Add Water and Cover the Bowl With a Lid

Add approximately 1 to 2 tablespoons of water to the bowl. Don’t add too much water, or else the broccoli will be soggy. Moreover, according to the same study I mentioned above, adding too much water can cause a drop in flavonoids in the broccoli.

You just want enough water so that as the water heats up, it will create the steam to cook the broccoli.

After adding water, cover the bowl with a microwave-safe lid. If your microwave-safe bowl does not have a lid, you can use a microwave-safe plate.

3. Microwave on High for 3 Minutes

The next step is to put the bowl in the microwave and set the microwave’s power to high, and nuke the broccoli for 3 minutes. If you’re going to make a broccoli stir fry start with 1 minute.

4. Stir the Broccoli

Once the 3 minutes have elapsed, open the lid and stir the broccoli. Be careful when you open the lid because it will be hot, and steam may escape. To protect your hands, wear oven mitts or use hot pads.

5. Microwave for 2 Additional Minutes

Recover the lid and cook for an additional 1 to 2 minutes depending on how crisp you want your broccoli. If you want the broccoli to be more tender, you may want to microwave it for more time.

6. Strain the Broccoli

Take the broccoli out of the microwave and put it on a colander. Place it over the sink and give it a good shake to get rid of excess water. Once the excess water is drained, transfer the broccoli to a serving plate. Now, your broccoli is ready to season and serve.

7. Season and Serve

Sprinkle your broccoli with salt, pepper, butter, or whatever seasoning you want. Here are some more seasoning ideas to try out:

  • Olive oil and some grated Parmesan
  • A drizzle of balsamic glaze
  • A squeeze of a lemon
  • Rice vinegar and sesame seeds
  • Crumbled feta cheese
  • Minced garlic and olive oil
  • A few shakes of soy sauce

What’s the Difference Between Broccoli Cuts and Florets?

One last thing, you may have noticed that when shopping for frozen broccoli, you’ll see that some bags of broccoli say “broccoli crowns” while others say “broccoli cuts.” What is the difference between the two?

If the bag just says “broccoli cut,” you’ll get the cut-up broccoli. Broccoli cuts are good if you’re making a casserole, but if you’re making a side dish or a broccoli stir fry, you should get the crowns. If you prefer even more tender broccoli, you should buy baby broccoli.


Broccoli is a highly nutritious vegetable that packs a powerful punch. There are many ways to cook broccoli but if you want to do it quickly, steaming in the microwave is definitely the best way to go.

When you steam your broccoli in the microwave, keep in mind two things:

  1. Don’t add more water than necessary because the excess water will result in soggy broccoli.
  2. Steam your broccoli on high heat for a short period of time to retain the most amount of nutrients possible.

That’s it! Now, you know how to steam broccoli in the microwave. Try it and enjoy your nutritious vegetables.

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