3 Ways to Steam Broccoli Without a Steamer Basket

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3 Ways to Steam Broccoli Without a Steamer Basket
3 Ways to Steam Broccoli Without a Steamer Basket

Steaming broccoli is a way to better preserve the vegetables' nutrients and natural flavor. Bored children are also more likely to eat a crispy, soft green vegetable rather than a limp, dark version of cooked broccoli! If you don't have an electric steamer or basket, you can improvise in the microwave or on the stove. You can also use a metal colander that fits into a pan.


Makes four servings.

  • 500 g of broccoli (with the stalk) washed.
  • Pinch of salt (optional).
  • 1 or 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (optional).


Method 1 of 3: Using the microwave

Steam Broccoli Without a Steamer Step 1

Step 1. Wash the broccoli plant and cut it into smaller pieces

Run it under running tap water and look for hidden bugs. Dry the broccoli head with a paper towel and use a sharp knife to cut it into smaller florets. Chop the stalks into small slices and then cut them in half if they are large.

  • Even if you don't want to eat the stalks, cut them to place them at the bottom of the bowl, preventing the soft florets from coming into contact with the water.
  • A head of broccoli usually weighs around 500 g.

Step 2. Place the broccoli in a microwave-safe bowl and add water

For example, it could be a large ceramic or glass bowl, or a small dinner plate. Add 2 ½ tablespoons of water for every 500 g of broccoli.

You don't need to leave the broccoli in a single layer as the steam rises and fills the covered bowl

Steam Broccoli Without a Steamer Step 3

Step 3. Cover the bowl to trap steam inside

If the container has a lid, fit it firmly so that steam does not come out.

If it doesn't have a lid, use a piece of plastic-film. You can also place a glass plate covering the opening of the container. It should fit snugly so the steam doesn't escape

Step 4. Run the microwave on high power for two and a half minutes and check the bowl every 30 seconds

After two and a half minutes, remove the hot bowl and carefully remove the lid or cover. If the broccoli is a bright green color and you can easily skewer a fork, then it's done. If not, cover the bowl again and return it to the microwave for another 30 seconds.

  • It may take up to four minutes to steam the broccoli to perfection.
  • Continue checking the food every 30 seconds after the first two and a half minutes, as broccoli can be overcooked quickly, overcooking!
  • Always be careful when uncapping a bowl of steamed vegetables. Hot steam comes out quickly and you can get burned if you're not careful. Move the bowl away from the body to avoid exposure.

Step 5. Season as desired and serve immediately

Once the vegetable is cooked and cooked through, add whatever seasoning you prefer, such as 2 tablespoons of butter and a pinch of salt. It is possible to serve the broccoli directly in the bowl or pass it to a platter.

How about adding a little soy sauce for an extra touch of flavor?

Method 2 of 3: Using a Pot

Step 1. Wash, dry and chop a 500g head of broccoli

Wash it under tap under running water and dry it with a paper towel. Then use a sharp knife to separate the foils from the stalk, cutting them into smaller pieces.

  • Smaller pieces should be about 2.5 cm long.
  • Cut the thickest stalks in half diagonally and then chop them into very thin slices. Do this even if you don't want to eat the stalks, as they help to raise the delicate foils above the level of the boiling water in the pot.
  • Take a look at the broccoli head after washing it so that no hidden insects go unnoticed!
Steam Broccoli Without a Steamer Step 7

Step 2. Add 90ml of water to a medium saucepan

The pot should have an average capacity of 2, 5 to 3 l. You shouldn't add all this water, but this is the ideal size to accommodate 500g of chopped broccoli.

  • 90 ml of water equals 6 tbsp.
  • If you put in a larger amount, you might end up cooking the broccoli. That much is just for making steam.
  • Choose a pot that has a neat lid. If necessary, use a refractory glass dish as a lid.

Step 3. Add the broccoli to the pan when the water boils

Put the pan on high heat and wait for the water to come to a full boil. As there is a small amount, the wait will be very short!

Put the thickest, hardest stalks in the pan first and then place the soft florets on top. Be careful not to let the boiling water splash on your skin

Step 4. Cover the pan and leave it on high heat for three minutes

Do not remove the lid, stir the pan or do anything. Just wait three minutes!

It is essential that the pan is tightly covered to retain the steam inside. A tight-fitting lid is the best option

Steam Broccoli Without a Steamer Step 10

Step 5. Lower the heat and wait another three minutes

Don't take the lid off to check the broccoli – after all, the steam needs to be trapped inside. This steam is what continues to cook the vegetable without making it soft.

Step 6. Add butter and seasoning if you like and serve the broccoli right away

After six minutes in all, carefully uncover the pan. Stir the broccoli and add 2 tablespoons of butter if desired. You can also add a pinch or two of salt.

  • Use the lid as a shield to direct the steam away, away from your face. That way you don't risk getting burned.
  • Once cooked, the broccoli should be very green and tender, but without losing the crunchy touch. A softened, dark vegetable has stayed too long in the water and in the pot.
  • Serve the vegetable directly in the pan or transfer the contents to a serving dish.

Method 3 of 3: Using a Drainer as a Basket

Steam Broccoli Without a Steamer Step 12

Step 1. Wash and cut a head of broccoli

Run it under running tap water, check for insects hidden between the foils, and dry the broccoli head with a paper towel. With a sharp knife, cut it into smaller foils and slice the stalks into very small slices. If they are too thick, cut the slices in half.

  • Try to make the foils more or less the same size, ie 2, 5 cm. That way they cook evenly. The stalks take longer and therefore must be cut into such small pieces.
  • Choose a medium-sized broccoli head, which should weigh about 500g.
  • You can discard the stalks if you like, but they are delicious and very soft if steaming is done right!
Steam Broccoli Without a Steamer Step 13

Step 2. Get a cauldron, a lid and an aluminum noodle rack

The colander must hold the entire amount of broccoli you chopped. At the same time, it needs to fit into the opening of the cauldron without touching the bottom of the pot. The lid should be used to cover the drying rack and trap the steam inside.

  • If the colander doesn't fit snugly around the edge of the pan, it can either touch the bottom (causing a portion of the broccoli to cook in the water) or stick outward (letting some steam escape).
  • If you don't have the right combination of cauldron, lid and metal colander, it's better to use an alternative method or buy a suitable basket.
Steam Broccoli Without a Steamer Step 14

Step 3. Add one or two fingers of water to the cauldron

The ideal is to add 2, 5 to 5 cm of water, but do not add so much if the bottom of the drainer touches the water and is submerged. However, put at least 2, 5 cm.

A finger of water is the minimum amount to produce enough steam to make the broccoli possible to cook

Steam Broccoli Without a Steamer Step 15

Step 4. Wait for the water to boil over high heat

As the amount of water is not large, it should boil in a few minutes. Place the cut broccoli in the pasta rack during this time if you haven't already.

Step 5. Put the colander with the broccoli inside the pan and cover it

Wait for the water to fully boil before proceeding to this step. Then lower the heat as soon as you cover the drying rack.

The lid must be snug so that steam cannot escape

Step 6. Leave the heat to medium low and check the vegetable after five minutes

Soft foils may be ready in five minutes, but in most cases it's a good idea to set aside six to seven minutes. Cover again if the broccoli is not quite green and easy to pierce with a fork after five minutes. Wait another minute and check again. Repeat one more time if necessary.

The vegetable can get past the point quickly and become dark and mushy. So check it every one minute after the first five minutes

Step 7. Season and serve immediately

Remove the strainer from the cauldron and transfer the broccoli to a platter. If you like, add 2 tablespoons of butter and a pinch or two of salt.

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