How to Make Fresh Steamed Broccoli: Quick and Healthy


Peg Cole is a self-taught cook who shares favorite recipes and methods of cooking and baking.

Fresh broccoli in a steamer.

Fresh broccoli in a steamer.

Easy and Economical Meal

One of the most simple vegetables to prepare is fresh steamed broccoli. Even for the beginning cook, this easy side dish can be on the table in less time than it takes to go after fast food. Broccoli is hearty and delicious when prepared fresh.

Add a serving from a bagged salad and some store-bought dessert, and your family will think you slaved over a hot stove for hours when you set this meal on the table. Though I love to cook more involved and difficult meals, I find this meal is one that my family asks for on a regular basis.


To begin, you'll need the following:

  • a metal steamer found in the housewares area of most grocery stores
  • a heavy-duty 2-quart pan with a lid that fits
  • a sharp knife
This is a metal steamer.

This is a metal steamer.

Why Use a Metal Steamer?

Broccoli can be prepared in the microwave, but it takes about the same amount of time as steaming, and the results are not nearly as tasty. In fact, sometimes it becomes rubbery when overcooked in the microwave.

By investing in a genuine, old-fashioned metal steamer, the smart cook will find many uses for this handy kitchen implement. It's useful for a variety of vegetables like cauliflower, carrots, and snap beans. For now, lets take a look at steaming broccoli.

Once you try this method, you'll be amazed at how quick it really is to prepare. Here are the simple step-by-step instructions illustrated with photos.

Three essentials for steaming broccoli.

Three essentials for steaming broccoli.


  1. Be sure to put just enough water in the bottom of the pan to steam the vegetables but not so much that they sit in the water. Another caution: Don't put in too little water, or it will dry out and scorch the pan.
  2. Depending on your personal preferences, steam the broccoli in a covered pan for around five (5) minutes, then take a peek under the lid. The florets start to turn a bit darker as they soften up.
  3. You can test a small floret by cutting into it with a fork. I cook for my elderly mother and her older sister quite a bit, so I've learned they don't care for the crunchy stalks. In fact, I must overcook it a bit in order for them to manage eating it.
  4. Cook the remainder of the broccoli until it reaches the desired degree of softness to your family's liking. Usually, this will be within ten (10) minutes, but trial and error will be your guide.

This is a dish you will want to monitor while you're preparing the other side dishes and the main entrée, whether it is a chopped steak or chicken or mushrooms. They each make a nice accompaniment to this vegetable.

Simmer over medium heat until steam forms.

Simmer over medium heat until steam forms.

Where to Find Bargains

I've discovered an amazing new place to get terrific produce at better prices than the warehouse stores you see on every corner. The package of fresh raw broccoli crowns in the photo below came from ALDI, and it was on sale for just 99 cents. Can you believe it?

There is enough in this package to serve two people a generous portion. I like to cook broccoli fresh each meal rather than have leftovers, so I don't overbuy. Trial and error will give you a good idea of how much you need for your family.

Some deals I found at ALDI.

Some deals I found at ALDI.

Other Deals I Found

Check out the price of these avocados for 49 cents apiece! The box store advertised them at 98 cents that week! At Kroger and Tom Thumb, they're regularly $1.49 each. Peel and slice these into small cubes, sprinkle with lemon juice, and serve on a bed of lettuce for a nice side salad.

Yellow summer squash is also a great side vegetable for this meal, and at $1.29 they'll add nutrition and flavor to this meal. Creamed summer squash was one of the staples of my childhood family. It's easy to prepare as well (find the recipe below).

If you like to find bargains on produce, you can find them at this internationally based store right in your neighborhood.

Where to Buy a Steamer

Looking for kitchen gadgets? You can often find incredible kitchen tools at the thrift store or Goodwill, so keep your eyes open for a metal steamer. I've had one for many years that I purchased at a thrift store.

How to Make Creamed Summer Squash

  1. Wash the squash, slice thinly, and add just enough water in a medium saucepan to cover.
  2. When it comes to a boil, cook it for 3 to 5 minutes until tender. Drain off the water.
  3. Add salt and pepper and margarine or butter to taste. I like to add a dash of milk and mash the squash slightly before serving as a side dish.
Steamed broccoli makes an excellent side dish for many meals. See how much this meal cost below.

Steamed broccoli makes an excellent side dish for many meals. See how much this meal cost below.

The cost per meal including dessert is less than $3 per person.

The cost per meal including dessert is less than $3 per person.

Cost Per Meal

When you add up the cost of this simple meal, you may be surprised that it totals to less than a trip to the fast food place down the street. When cooking at home, you can control the freshness and quality of the ingredients and rest assured that your food is clean and prepared with a touch of love.

Family meals around the dinner table represent some of my best memories from childhood. It's a time to share the events of our day with one another, offer a prayer of thanks, and set an example of good manners for our children who, all too often, eat a meal from a bag some stranger handed them from the window of the drive-through.

© 2012 Peg Cole


Vespa Woolf from Peru, South America on May 23, 2016:

Thank you for the useful tips for a beginning cook. I also liked the information on finding food bargains. Great article!

Frank Atanacio from Shelton on May 21, 2016:

Just coming back to check this one out again Pegcole17 :)

Sandy Mertens from Frozen Tundra on October 31, 2015:

Need to get back to eating healthy. Steamed broccoli is very good.

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on December 08, 2014:

Hello Victoria, Me too. The steamer is easy to use, clean and store. Most of the time I use it for broccoli as well. Aldi is great for produce and their potato chips are really good at half the price of other places.

Victoria Lynn from Arkansas, USA on December 07, 2014:

I love my metal steamer! And what I mostly use it for is broccoli. Sometimes carrots or cabbage. Love it! I need to branch out and try it with other things. I shop at Aldi, too! Great prices!

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on May 13, 2014:

Hi Tina, thank you for dropping in and for reading about broccoli. I love using the metal steamer even though I have a good microwave one that works well. Something about the taste seems better over the boiling water. Best of luck in locating a steamer and thanks so much for the backlink. I'll be checking out your hub too!

Christina Lornemark from Sweden on May 13, 2014:

Thanks for all the great information and especially for the tips and inspiration about the metal steamer. Steaming must be the best way to prepare vegetables and I will search for one immediately. Voted up, up, and I will link your hub to mine hub about broccoli as well. Thanks for the initiativ


Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on May 28, 2013:

Me too, Moonlake. I have some broccoli in the refrigerator right now. Thinking about a large salad as well. Thank you for the visit and the votes. Always nice to see you here.

moonlake from America on May 28, 2013:

Steamed broccoli I love. I make much like you do. Chicken breast for us tonight maybe I will add broccoli to that meal. Voted up on your hub.

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on March 25, 2013:

Hello Beingwell. Thanks for the votes and the visit. Veggies! Yea!

beingwell from Bangkok on March 25, 2013:

Voted up, pegcole! You're vegetables look delightful! Ahh... delish!

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on December 26, 2012:

Hello KoffeeKlatch. Thank you and hope you had a wonderful Christmas holiday.

Susan Hazelton from Sunny Florida on December 26, 2012:

Steamed broccoli - Yum. What a great collection of information. I agree, steamed is the way to go. Awesome.

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on December 23, 2012:

Thank you for the great comment, Vespa. Peru sounds so wonderfully exotic to me. Quick and easy is the best kind of meal. I like "giving the illusion of hard work."

Vespa Woolf from Peru, South America on December 23, 2012:

Thanks for all these budget-friendly purchasing ideas and tips for steaming veggies. Here in Peru, I try to buy produce in season which cuts our costs. When I shop at the grocery store, I seek out the sales. Most of all, I like that this recipe is quick and easy while giving the illusion of hard work! : )

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on December 06, 2012:

Hello LoveDoctor926. Hope you find this article useful. Thanks for stopping in.

lovedoctor926 on December 05, 2012:

wow! simply delicious! I love mashed potato & gravy and steamed vegetables too.

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on December 05, 2012:


Thank you so much for pinning this hub. Now I need to figure out how to opt back in for Pinterest out here on Hub Pages. In the beginning I was skeptical but I'm seeing a lot more of it now.

Merry Christmas to you too, Deborah. I look forward to reading more of your hubs soon. Have a safe and fun holiday season.


Deborah Brooks Langford from Brownsville,TX on December 05, 2012:

Hello Peg.. I absolutely love steamed broccoli and any kind of vegetables steamed.. I agree with you about the microwave.. I don't know why i have one I hardly ever use it.. your dinner is making me so hungry.. lol

I know what I am making for dinner..lol

Merry Christmas Peg

sharing and pinning


Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on November 23, 2012:

Carol, help yourself to a goodly serving. There's more where that came from. Yuk yuk. Virtually no calories.

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on November 23, 2012:

Carol7777. I love your choice in names because 7 is my lucky number! And 11 and 17. And I do hope you and your family had a wonderful Thanksgiving day holiday. It was really nice to see you here today. Hope you're not out in that black Friday traffic. I'm staying home. Leftovers in the fridge and movie in the dvd - Home!

carol stanley from Arizona on November 22, 2012:

Thought I would drop by for some broccoli and I got much more. Lots of good ideas and voting up.

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on August 08, 2012:

Hello Cogerson. We have one of those microwave dishes for steaming veggies. And I've used it quite a bit in the past. There's just something about steaming broccoli in a pan that makes it a little tastier, to me anyway. Personally I drown mine in Buttermilk Ranch dressing which I'm sure takes away some of the health aspects (hahah).

Isn't that an interesting thought? About people who were born after microwaves were invented; they have no idea of life without them. And same goes for cellular phones. We had to carry a dime in our shoes!

Thank you for dropping in here today. I saw your message at the Cafe about voting in the Hubbie awards and thank you for that or I would have missed it. Congratulations on your awards!!


UltimateMovieRankings from Virginia on August 08, 2012:

My kids are very picky eaters....but luckily broccoli has somehow figured out a way to get through the pizza/hotdog/spaghetti barcade they have put up. We currently steam our broccoli in a microwave dish designed for steamed veggies.....but seeing your hub reminds me of how my mom used to do her broccoli....yes sadly I am old enough to remember when microwaves did not exist....lol. I think we try the old fashioned method the next time we eat broccoli...thanks for the e-bay links...very handy. Voted up and useful.

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on August 07, 2012:

Hello Prasetio. So nice to see you again. You Mom must be an excellent cook, I am sure. Thanks for the votes and kind words. Cheers to you too.


prasetio30 from malang-indonesia on August 06, 2012:

Dear friend, I really love your tips above and I can't wait to share this hub with my mom. Thank you very much for writing. Voted up and pressing the buttons here, except funny. Cheers, Prasetio

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on August 06, 2012:

Wayne. Howdy there! Nice to see you today. We love to grill out and that method for cooking broccoli sounds pretty cool. I have grilled corn on the cob many times but I'll have to try the grill for the broccoli using your foil method. Thanks for the idea! Peg

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on August 06, 2012:

Hello Hyphenbird! Hope your dinner comes out divine, as I know it will. My young man loved to eat vegetables too! And Quiche.

I like my broccoli with a splash of Ranch dressing. Lately I've been cooking less and less in the microwave. I think I shared a picture on fB that my niece posted of the plant grown with microwaved water versus one grown with pure water. Made me really think about it.

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on August 06, 2012:

Hi Just Ask Susan, I love your recipe ideas and the food methods you explain in your hubs. Haven't tried cooking asparagas in the steamer but that's a great idea. Cauliflower comes out great too. Nice to see you.

Wayne Brown from Texas on August 06, 2012:

We find that maximizing the use of the grill in the summer helps on the old electric bill. Veggies can be steamed on the grill by wrapping them in foil and adding 2 to 4 ounces of water. Things like broccoli I ususally go for about 6 to 8 minutes. Good ideas here...thanks for sharing. WB

Brenda Barnes from America-Broken But Still Beautiful on August 06, 2012:

Your Hub is so timely and full of great advice. We are having steamed broccoli tonight. I agree that cooking in the microwave is not a good idea. I avoid it and rarely use mine. After viewing your lovely photos, I am looking forward to dinner tonight even more.

Susan Zutautas from Ontario, Canada on August 06, 2012:

I have 2 different sizes of that same steamer. They are great! I use mine for broccoli, cauliflower, green beans and asparagus. I even do my frozen veggies in the steamer, but I do prefer fresh.

Cooking at home is so much healthier and cost saving as well.

Voting up ++ and sharing.

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on August 05, 2012:

Hi Suzettenaples. Thanks for noticing the caption. I thought it was important to mention that was a metal steamer since for a long time I didn't know its use. Even my Mom asked me the other day what that thing was in her cabinet. I love steaming food in it.

Hearty meals are really easy, economical and they provide a time for families to bond during the prep and the cleanup afterward. My sister and I had some great suds fights while she washed and I dried the dishes growing up.

Suzette Walker from Taos, NM on August 05, 2012:

Great food article! The photo of your meal has my mouth watering. I steam my veggies the old fashioned way. LOL I love your photo of the metal steamer with the caption 'This is a metal steamer.' Many of today's cooks wouldn't know what it is. I'm with you - I'd rather steam my veggies over the stove than use the microwave when can change the nutritional value of the vegetable. This is a great, hearty meal and you are correct, it is so easy to make. Thanks for sharing the 'old fashion' way of cooking! Voted up and shared!

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on July 26, 2012:

Oh please do use the steamer, B. I have always had suspicions that we would later discover some microwave "issues" but if you have a steamer you will find that the taste is far superior to the microwaved veggies. Just give it a shot. I love the bag of Jersey Tomatoes for two bucks! Amazing.

b. Malin on July 26, 2012:

You know Peg, I have a Steamer, but I have never really used it...Now I just might...I'm always buying broccoli. We have a Wonderful Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Market here. The prices are unbelievable. A bag of Jersey Tomatoes for $2.00!

Thanks for sharing these Budget Ideas!

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on July 26, 2012:

Hi James, How's it going with the project? We did the one-burner hotplate for the first year in the 'house' but there was running water. I tried to link to the pics about the microwave water etc posted by my niece on fB but they have disappeared for now. I'm still trying to figure that site out but it keeps changing. Oh well. Thanks so much for the visit. Always nice to see you. Peg

James W. Nelson from eastern North Dakota on July 26, 2012:

Interesting hub, Peg, and I've "heard" about the problem with microwaves but haven't really read anything. Unfortunately, that's the only way I've cooked for quite awhile, as, you may have guessed, with my lengthy building still going on I live a bit spartan. A small one-burner hotplate and no running water. Maybe in another year or two. I love broccoli, BTW.

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on July 25, 2012:

Thank you IntegrityYes!

IntegrityYes on July 25, 2012:

I voted up,Peggy. WHOA!

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on July 24, 2012:

Hello Drbj, I drown mine in Ranch Dressing. That may not be too healthy but it gets the veggie down. Also love it with a boatload of Hollandaise sauce. Thanks for the note about your daughter loving the broccoli. I was amazed at the Vitamin C that is in one serving.

drbj and sherry from south Florida on July 24, 2012:

I'm not a fan of broccoli, Peg, but my daughter loves the stuff and she agrees with you, steamed is the BEST!

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on July 23, 2012:

Hello Always. Thank you. I love shopping for bargains and when you can find home gadgets at the thrift stores and recycle them it feels good too! Plus, you can find the vintage stuff that was made sturdier than the disposable stuff made these days. Loved seeing you here!

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on July 23, 2012:

Hello Shiningirisheyes. Me too! Thanks for the wonderful comment and hope you find something good to eat.


Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on July 23, 2012:

Hi Peg, You have some great ideas here. I love steamed veggies. I've been shopping at Goodwill and thrift stores for years. I love to shop there...Cheers

Shining Irish Eyes from Upstate, New York on July 22, 2012:

I looooooove broccoli! This well written article has made me famished. And youa re so right - steaming brings out the delicious taste.

Maria Jordan from Jeffersonville PA on July 22, 2012:

Let's not get "steamed", Sista... my hub is republished as I write...

meet you at the cafe for some special tea! Love you so much, Maria

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on July 22, 2012:

Thank you friend,

Hope you find only the freshest and best veggies at the Farmer's market. And thanks for the sweet remarks. It is way too hot to venture out today. Eat hearty me sweet. And thank you for the visit. Hope your latest is out there once again. It is tough to fight city hall.

It has been a difficult day. Hope you and yours are doing well, my sista.

Hugs in return


Maria Jordan from Jeffersonville PA on July 22, 2012:

Dear Sista,

This is a beautiful piece from the earth Momma of HubVille... I love my healthy fruits and vegetables and this is the time of year I enjoy going to a nearby Farmer's market and shop to my heart's content.

You have given valuable suggestions in an attractive and professional presentation. Voted UP & UABI & YUMMY! Hugs, Maria

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on July 22, 2012:

Hi Lesley, Thank you so much. I love fresh steamed veggies too. Your pictures are always top of the line and your recipes would be no different. You just have to be quick with the camera or face the hungry hungry hubby.

Movie Master from United Kingdom on July 22, 2012:

Hi Peg, that plate of dinner looks absolutely delicious!

I love steamed veggies, they are so much tastier....

I have only ever written one recipe hub and we are still talking now about me taking photos first, then eating a cold dinner second!!!!

Voted up

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on July 22, 2012:

Too funny. Yes I do that too, poor guys starving while we're snapping pics. I've started carrying my camera everywhere I go and receive some funny looks when take pictures of my food in restaurants! It has become an obsession to take pictures of things in progress. I could have slapped myself the other day when we were replacing the wax ring under the toilet that I didn't take pictures. D'oh!

Sheila Brown from Southern Oklahoma on July 22, 2012:

I know what you mean! My husband just shakes his head when I am in the kitchen taking pictures of our food. Sometimes he will ask if he can eat it now, or do you want to take a picture of it first. LOL

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on July 22, 2012:

Hi Sheila! Nice to see you. I love broccoli too although not as much raw as steamed. Glad you liked the picture. My husband was taken by surprise when I grabbed his dinner and started taking pictures! By now he should be used to it. Thanks for the nice comments and your visit.

Sheila Brown from Southern Oklahoma on July 21, 2012:

I like broccoli just about any way it can be cooked, or raw. I have to agree that steaming is much better than microwaving. Your picture has made me hungry! I am going to have to cook chopped steak, etc. tomorrow. Voted up and useful!

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on July 21, 2012:

Hi Rosemay!

You are so right about the taste of steamed vegetables. I'm convinced that we will get bad news one day about all the microwave food we've eaten. Like you, I use it mostly for warming frozen entrees or leftovers. I remember the early microwave ovens, how big they were, and trying to warm up some bread in there. Wow. I could have built a wall with the brick that I turned the bread into by cooking it too long. It went beyond rubber.

Nice to see that you like finding treasure at the thrift stores too. We did what we had to to stretch the dollar.

Thank you so much for your visit and for your votes!


Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on July 21, 2012:

Will, What a great idea to use the metal steamer to warm up leftover fried chicken. (Oooh that KFC is so bad for you but oh so good!)Although, I do love to eat it cold as well. I never thought to use the steamer for warming tamales. We serve a lot of burritos at my house since the hubster prefers the flour tortillas. Stuff them with just about anything for a good meal!

Nice to have you visit here and I truly enjoyed your recent release.


Rosemary Sadler from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand on July 21, 2012:

A great hub Peg with lots of info

I love steamed vegetables they are so much better and tastier. I tried microwaving vegies when I got my first one many years ago but they were rubbery so never done that again. All I use it for really is reheating or if I need something thawed quickly. Steamed is definitely the best way to serve veges.

Thrift stores are great for picking up a bargain... one mans treasure as they say and with a bit of work things are almost as good as new.

Voting up Peg you have covered a multitude of info here :) Love the step by step photos

WillStarr from Phoenix, Arizona on July 21, 2012:

The metal steamer is a great kitchen tool and so overlooked. Use it to cook, but also use it to warm up foods that tend to dry out in the microwave or on the stove. It's the only way to properly heat a tamale, and it's superb for reheating cold fried chicken (it makes day old KFC taste fresh and juicy all over again!) It's the best of moist heats.

Great Hub!

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on July 21, 2012:

Hi there Nell,

My nieces and nephews are quite health conscious (vegans) and they post lots of informative articles about food and nutrition. I was shocked to read about the potential hazards of microwaving water and food. Perhaps I'll add a link to one of those here.

I better not show the kids this hub as I'm sure they would disapprove of my use of packaged sauces and instant potato flakes. Thanks for your visit and sweet comment. Stop by the house or meet me at Emerald Wells Cafe No.38. This meal is today's blue plate special. :)

Nell Rose from England on July 21, 2012:

Hi Peg, I love steamed vegetables, and broccoli is one of my favorites, I am so used to throwing everything in the microwave these days that I really should get back to cooking the proper way, your photo at the top made me starving! lol!

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on July 21, 2012:

Hi Nina64, We used to learn this stuff in Home "Economics". Do they teach cooking at the schools anymore? My first lesson in 8th grade was on how to cook frozen broccoli. We never had that at my house. It was usually canned veggies.

You bring the dinner rolls and I'll serve up the plates. Come on over.


Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on July 21, 2012:

Hi Frank! I don't know if you cook at home or not but this meal is easy for anyone to do. The other day I saw a guy at the grocery store with a stack of frozen meals piled up and I had to imagine this was all he ever ate. I'm glad to find out you are a bargain hunter like me. Cheers!

Peg Cole (author) from North Dallas, Texas on July 21, 2012:

Hello Mckbirdbks! Thanks for the early visit. You must have been sitting right there when I pushed that publish button. I always appreciate your insightful comments.

Most definitely, I have also furnished many households and kitchens through shopping at the thrift stores. I hate to admit how long I've been doing that but we were still wearing mini skirts when I started. Goodwill used to employ "special needs" folks to refurbish things and provide useful employment. Now they don't accept furniture donations any more. But I've often found great bargains there on other things like books, clothing and small appliances.

I hope to see you at the Cafe later for some steamed broccoli!

Nina L James from chicago, Illinois on July 21, 2012:

Excellent hub on such an economical side dish. The picture of the steamed broccoli with the mashed potatoes with the gravy and meatloaf looks delicious!! All I need is some crusty dinner rolls to go with that plate. Great hub!!!!

Frank Atanacio from Shelton on July 21, 2012:

pegcole what a wonderful useful share... now you're talking my language.. savings!!!!

mckbirdbks from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on July 21, 2012:

Hello Peg. This is a lot of information. I like steamed vegetables. I have steamed squash and broccoli. The quick way is the microwave, but there is a difference in results. And I thought I was the only one to furnish the place with kitchen gadgets found at estate sales and thrift stores.

Now, I read this too early in the morning because I am now hungry and it is nowhere near lunch time. I guess I'll go water the garden.

Related Articles