I’ve tested out a couple of different methods to find the Best Way to Cook Frozen Broccoli on Stovetop. Continue reading for my tips on cooking frozen broccoli.
Broccoli is a staple vegetable in our home. It’s so versatile and can be added to pretty much anything – stir fry, pasta, or used as a quick side dish. I love having frozen veggies on hand for when we’re in a pinch and need a quick meal or at the end of the week when our fresh produce stock is depleted.
You can cook frozen broccoli on the stovetop by boiling it in salted water.
Pros: The benefit of this method is that it is simple and relatively quick to do. Since broccoli has already been blanched (a short boil), it will cook within a couple of minutes.
Cons: A big negative of this method, in my opinion, is that I find that the broccoli retains moisture, especially in the stems. This results in a softer end product, and lacks the crispiness that fresh broccoli would have. I also find that the broccoli has a ‘frozen broccoli’ flavour when cooked during this method.
When to use it: since boiling frozen broccoli is so quick, it is a great method to have in your arsenal when you’re short on time. I find this method is best used when cooking pasta. You can add frozen broccoli to the pasta water in the last minute of cooking, then combine it with your protein and sauce.
Steamed Frozen Broccoli
Frozen broccoli can be cooked using a steamer basket and boiling water on the stove.
Pros: like the boiling method, steamed frozen broccoli cooks quickly and is ready within a few minutes.
Cons: similar to the boiling method, I find that steamed broccoli retains the ‘frozen broccoli’ texture and flavour. Water retention is better than the boiled method, but the broccoli still lacks the crispiness of fresh.
When to use it: if you need a quick side vegetable, steamed broccoli can be a great quick and hands-off option. Simply get your steamer basket ready and it basically cooks itself.
Best Way to Make Frozen Broccoli on Stovetop
Sautéed Frozen Broccoli
You can cook frozen broccoli in a med-hot pan with oil.
Pros: This is my preferred stove-top broccoli method because it results in the crispiest broccoli.
Cons: it takes slightly longer than the other stove-top methods, about 6-8 minutes depending on the size of the florets.
How to make sautéed frozen broccoli:
For best results, I suggest thawing your frozen broccoli before cooking. This is for two reasons:
Thawing before cooking will allow you to cut the broccoli into smaller florets. Depending on the frozen broccoli brand you buy, some of the florets can be quite large. Cutting them into smaller pieces will increase the surface area of the broccoli and allow it to get crispier.
When I compared sautéing frozen broccoli from frozen vs. thawed, the thawed version ended up having a more crisp texture than the from-frozen version. This is because you are able to drain more water from the broccoli that is retained when broccoli is blanched before freezing.
Otherwise, the look and flavour of the broccoli cooked from frozen or thawed were very similar.
Thawing frozen broccoli:
To thaw your frozen broccoli, you can leave it in a strainer over the sink until it has completely thawed. Slice the broccoli pieces into smaller florets, then squeeze the broccoli with a paper towel to remove any additional liquid.
Sautéing frozen broccoli:
To sauté frozen (thawed) broccoli, add olive oil to a pan at medium-high heat. Add broccoli florets to the pan and season with salt, pepper, and any additional seasonings.
Sauté broccoli at medium-high heat until crispy on the edges, about 6-8 minutes.
If you’re using this broccoli in a recipe, such as a stir fry, you can sauté it along with the other vegetables. For sautéed broccoli as a side dish, you may want to add additional spices or seasoning during the process. You can also add a drizzle of oil and sauté garlic with the broccoli during the last minute of cooking.
I’ve tested out a couple of different methods to find the Best Way to Cook Frozen Broccoli on Stove Top. This sautéed frozen broccoli will result in the crispiest stove-top frozen broccoli.
Frozen broccoli florets (about 1 cup per serving)
Olive oil (1+ tbsp)
Salt and pepper, to taste
Additional spices (optional)
Thaw frozen broccoli in a colander. Slice thawed broccoli florets into bite-sized pieces. Squeeze with a paper towel to remove excess moisture.
Add olive oil to a pan and set heat to medium-high. Add broccoli florets once the pan has heated. Season with salt and pepper, and any additional seasoning.
Sauté broccoli over medium-high heat until browned and crispy on the edges, about 6-8 minutes.
If you’re in a pinch for time you can skip the thawing step, though thawed broccoli will be crispier than from-frozen.
Garlic sautéed broccoli: In the last minute of cooking, drizzle additional olive oil and add garlic. Sauté garlic and broccoli until fragrant, about 1 minute (optional).
Keywords: frozen broccoli, broccoli, sautéed broccoli, how to cook frozen broccoli on the stove top, how to sauté frozen broccoli
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I am a registered dietitian and I 💚 food! I am passionate about making it easier for busy people to eat well by sharing quick and healthy recipes. Healthy cooking at home can seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. I love helping people uncomplicate weeknight dinners and reduce stress around meal time, so I’m so glad you’re here!