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Boiled broccoli comes out perfectly crisp tender and bright green! Spritz with lemon and drizzle with olive oil, and it’s a healthy and easy side dish.

Boiled broccoli in bowl with lemon wedge
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If there’s one vegetable that’s always a winner in our house, it’s broccoli. Surprisingly, there’s a quick method that has become our go-to: boiled broccoli! Salted and seasoned with olive oil and a spritz of lemon, it’s a favorite of the whole family (our kids actually even request it!). The florets come out perfectly bright green and crisp tender after just 2 minutes in hot water. Here’s exactly how to boil broccoli!

More great ways to cook broccoli? Try Roasted BroccoliSteamed Broccoli, or Sauteed Broccoli!

How to boil broccoli

How to make boiled broccoli

This is one the easiest methods of how to cook broccoli: ever! Why? There’s really no technique involved. The only thing to remember is very important. Don’t overcook the broccoli! Even just a minute longer in that boiling water and it will become yellow brown mush. (Gross.) Here’s exactly what to do (or jump to the recipe):

  • Bring a pot of water to a boil.
  • Chop the broccoli by cutting it into medium-sized florets, keeping the stems long.
  • Boil the broccoli for 2 ½ to 3 minutes, until crisp tender and bright green. Taste test and immediately stop cooking once the broccoli done.
  • Drain the florets in a colander.
  • Mix in olive oil, lemon juice (optional) and kosher salt. Give it a taste: perfect boiled broccoli!

What is blanching?

Is this blanched broccoli? Well, almost! Blanching is a cooking method that involves boiling vegetables until they’re crisp tender, then plunging them into ice water to stop the cooking process.

This recipe technically isn’t blanching because it doesn’t use ice water. The ice water is used to keep the veggies as colorful as possible. You’ll notice that this recipe is beautifully bright green, but leftovers can become more yellow in color depending on how long you boil them.

Boiled broccoli

The best way to chop broccoli

One final tip for boiled broccoli: a nice way to cut it is to keep the stems as long as possible, which makes for the best look on the plate. If you cut the stems short and stubby, you’ll end up with tiny florets that make a mess on the plate and look less than appetizing. Here’s how to chop broccoli so it looks the best:

  • Keep the stems as long as possible. When you chop the floret, cut it at the base of where the floret attaches to the main stem. This makes for the best shape.
  • Make the florets medium sized, as similar in size as possible. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but keeping the florets similar sized helps them to cook at the same rate.
Boiled broccoli

More ways to season boiled broccoli

The key to great-tasting boiled broccoli: the seasonings! First and foremost, make sure to salt it perfectly to taste, using the recipe below as a guide. If you’re looking for some adders, here are some tasty ways to take it over the top:

  • 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
  • Grated garlic or fresh ginger
  • Panko and dried herbs
Boiled broccoli

More broccoli recipes

Aside from our basic broccoli recipes, we’ve got lots of other great ways to cook it! Here are some favorites:

This boiled broccoli recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free, and gluten-free.

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Boiled broccoli

Boiled Broccoli (Easy & Delicious!)


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  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2 minutes
  • Total Time: 12 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
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Description

Boiled broccoli comes out perfectly crisp tender and bright green! Spritz with lemon and drizzle with olive oil, and it’s a healthy and easy side dish.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 1/2 pounds (2 large heads) broccoli
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Chop the broccoli into florets.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the broccoli florets and boil them for 2 ½ to 3 minutes until bright green and crisp tender, taste testing often (basically, don’t leave the pot!). Once they’re cooked, drain into a colander.
  3. Place in the serving dish and stir in the olive oil, lemon juice, and kosher salt. Taste and add additional seasoning to taste.
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Boiled
  • Cuisine: Vegetables
  • Diet: Vegan

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes and the joy of cooking! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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