Is It OK To Microwave Broccoli? What You Need to Know

The idea of microwaving broccoli tends to split people right down the middle.

Some argue that microwaving it reduces the nutritional value of the broccoli. Others argue that this is countered by the speed and convenience of getting these extra greens on your plate.

Who’s right or wrong?

The truth is that you’ll actually lose fewer nutrients by microwaving your broccoli – and it’s an easier way of increasing your intake at the same time.

In this article I’m going to lay out my case. Yes, I think you should microwave your broccoli over other methods, and this is why…

Is It OK to Microwave Broccoli?

The process of microwaving broccoli actually retains more nutrients compared to other methods like boiling.

The shorter cooking time prevents excessive loss of water-soluble vitamins like vitamin C and B-complex vitamins. 

There is a bit of a twist, however.

It’s really important you avoid overcooking your broccoli. If you expose it to high heat for too long, you’ll lose some of those nutrients.

What are the benefits of microwaving broccoli?

Here’s a quick snapshot answer of why I think you should microwave your broccoli:

Nutrient retention: Microwaving broccoli preserves more nutrients than boiling, making it a healthier preparation method.

Speed and convenience: Microwaving broccoli is a time-saving method, taking only a few minutes to prepare a nutritious side dish. I’m far more likely to load up some extra greens if it’s easy.

Reduced water usage: Unlike boiling, microwaving broccoli requires minimal water, which helps preserve both nutrients and flavor.

A very close up shot of several heads of broccoli

How To Get Better Results From Microwaved Broccoli

Here are a few tried and tested tips to get better results when you’re microwaving your broccoli.

Tip #1 Use a Microwave-Safe Dish

Select a microwave-safe dish or bowl with a cover or microwave-safe plastic wrap. This really helps to trap the steam and cook the broccoli more evenly.

Tip #2 Cut The Broccoli Into Even Pieces

To ensure even cooking, I’ll cut the broccoli florets into uniform-sized pieces. Smaller pieces will cook faster, while larger ones might end up undercooked or overcooked.

Smaller pieces will cook faster, while larger ones might end up undercooked or overcooked.

You don’t have to treat this like a science project! It does pay to make a little extra effort here though.

Tip #3 Add A Little Water (But Not Too Much)

To create steam and maintain moisture during microwaving, I like to add a tablespoon of water to the dish before covering it. This helps the broccoli cook evenly without drying out.

Tip #4 Microwave in Intervals

Rather than microwaving continuously, I’ll cook the broccoli in short intervals (think 1-2 minutes), and then check its doneness after each interval. 

This prevents the broccoli from overcooking and helps you achieve a good level of tenderness.

Tip #5 Stir and Rearrange

During the microwaving process, I’ll stir or rearrange the broccoli florets gently. This helps distribute the heat evenly and ensures consistent cooking.

Tip #6 Don’t Overcook It!

There’s nothing worse than overcooked broccoli, so try not to microwave it for too long. This not only turns the broccoli into mush, but can also lead to a loss of nutrients

It’s better to cook it for less time – and test – until you know how the results look using your own appliance.

What I look for is a vibrant green color, and a slightly crisp texture. It might take you a few goes to really dial this in in your own kitchen.

Tip #7 Use a Microwave Steamer

Cook a lot of vegetables in your microwave like me? It’s well worth investing in a microwave steamer.

They don’t cost a lot of money, but they help steam the broccoli efficiently and you avoid losing any nutritional value.

GoodCook’s steamer comes highly recommended, or you can browse through all the options over on Amazon:

GoodCook BPA-Free Plastic Microwave Vegetable...
  • Makes it easy to steam fish and veggies
  • Adjustable steam release vent let's out the right amount of ventilation
  • Preserves vitamins and nutrients in food
  • Bpa free and dishwasher safe

(Heads up! If you click on a product link and make a purchase, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you. I never recommend a product I wouldn’t use in my own kitchen, and this helps keep the site running. Thank you.)

Frequently Asked Questions

Certain questions keep coming up on this topic. To clear things up once and for all, I’ll answer them quickly here!

Is it better to boil or microwave broccoli?

I actually think microwaving broccoli is generally better than boiling. It helps retain more nutrients due to the shorter cooking time and the reduced water usage.

Just follow the tips in this article to get results that I think will surprise you!

What is the healthiest way to cook broccoli?

The healthiest way to cook broccoli is through steaming. Steaming helps retain most of the nutrients while maintaining its vibrant color and crisp texture.

Is microwaving frozen broccoli healthy?

Yes, microwaving frozen broccoli is a perfectly healthy option. 

The freezing process retains much of the nutritional value you get from fresh broccoli. Having a big bag of broccoli in the freezer makes for a convenient and nutritious serving of veg!

Is steaming vegetables in the microwave healthy?

Yes, steaming vegetables in the microwave is a healthy cooking method. It helps preserve the nutrients and natural flavors of the vegetables.

Wrapping Up

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with microwaving broccoli – and in fact I recommend it! It’s a convenient and healthy method of preparing the veg, and anything that helps you get more of your greens is a winner in my book.

You can definitely get better results by following the tips I’ve included in this article though – preserving the taste, nutritional value and color of the broccoli at the same time.

Remember the simple rules: Use a microwave-safe dish, cut the broccoli into equal pieces, add some water, and always avoid overcooking.

Do that and you’ll have delicious and nutritious broccoli served up in a flash!