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Can you steam broccoli and then bake it?

Opening Summary

Yes, you can absolutely steam broccoli first and then bake it. Steaming broccoli partially cooks it while retaining nutrition and color. Baking broccoli after steaming helps intensify flavor and achieve desired texture. Steaming broccoli before baking is a great technique whether you are meal prepping broccoli for the week, cooking a quick side dish, or wanting to highlight broccoli’s flavor in a casserole or gratin.

The Benefits of Steaming Before Baking Broccoli

Steaming broccoli first offers several advantages:

  • Partially cooks broccoli to cut down on total baking time
  • Helps broccoli retain its bright green color better than solely baking
  • Retains more nutrients than boiling or solely baking
  • Softens broccoli for easier chopping or incorporation into casseroles
  • Intensifies flavor by concentrating sugars and flavors
  • Allows customizing texture based on how long it’s baked after steaming
  • Provides a head start on cooking broccoli while final meal components come together

The short steaming time partially cooks the broccoli, making it softer and easier to chop if desired, without completely cooking through.

Steaming also kickstarts the cooking process, allowing you to quickly get the broccoli ready while preparing other meal components. This is perfect for steaming broccoli to use in casseroles or side dishes when you need softened, quick-cooking broccoli.

How to Steam and Then Bake Broccoli

Steaming and baking broccoli takes just a few easy steps:

  1. Prep broccoli florets – Cut or break washed broccoli crowns into bite-size florets. Peel and slice the stem if desired.
  2. Steam broccoli – In a steamer basket over boiling water or in a steamer pot, steam broccoli for 3-5 minutes until bright green and slightly softened but still crunchy.
  3. Transfer steamed broccoli to a baking dish.
  4. Season and drizzle with oil – Toss broccoli with oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder, etc. Oil helps crisping.
  5. Bake at 400°F for 10-15 minutes until desired tenderness.
  6. Stir halfway through for even cooking and crisping.

The quick steam allows you to partly cook the broccoli while infusing it with flavor. Baking afterward crisps and caramelizes the broccoli for delicious flavor and texture.

Tips for Steaming Then Baking Broccoli

Follow these tips for steaming then baking broccoli:

  • Cut broccoli florets small and even in size for consistent cooking. Around 1-2 inches across works well.
  • Use a steamer basket or steamer pot with a tight fitting lid to contain the steam and evenly cook broccoli.
  • Add aromatics to the steaming water like garlic, citrus, or herbs to infuse flavor.
  • Steam for just 3-5 minutes until bright green and slightly softened but still crunchy.
  • Toss steamed broccoli with oil before baking. The oil helps broccoli caramelize and crisp up in the oven.
  • Season steamed broccoli before baking. Salt, pepper, garlic powder, or other seasonings penetrate better after steaming.
  • Spread broccoli evenly on a parchment lined baking sheet for crispier results.
  • Stir broccoli halfway through baking to promote even browning and crisping.

Adjust steaming and baking times to achieve your desired level of doneness – from tender-crisp to very soft.

Recipes Using Steamed Then Baked Broccoli

Here are some recipe ideas that involve steaming broccoli first and then baking it:

Roasted Broccoli Florets

– Steam broccoli florets for 3-4 minutes until bright green.
– Toss with olive oil, salt, pepper, and desired seasonings.
– Roast at 425°F for 10-15 minutes until browned and crisp-tender.

Broccoli Cheese Casserole

– Steam bite-sized broccoli florets for 4 minutes.
– Mix steamed broccoli into cheese sauce along with cooked pasta or rice.
– Pour into casserole dish and top with breadcrumbs or extra cheese.
– Bake at 350°F for 20-25 minutes until hot and bubbly.

Broccoli Fritters

– Steam broccoli florets for 3-5 minutes until just softened.
– Chop steamed broccoli and mix with egg, flour, and seasonings.
– Form into patties and pan fry until crispy and browned on both sides.

Broccoli Cheddar Quiche

– Steam bite-sized broccoli florets for 4-5 minutes.
– Mix steamed broccoli into egg-milk mixture along with shredded cheddar cheese.
– Pour into pie crust and bake at 375°F until set, about 30 minutes.

Broccoli Parmesan

– Steam broccoli florets for 4 minutes until bright green.
– Toss steamed broccoli with melted butter, lemon juice, garlic, and Parmesan.
– Sprinkle with panko breadcrumbs and additional Parmesan.
– Bake at 400°F for 12-15 minutes until topping is crispy.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should you steam or boil broccoli before baking?

Steaming broccoli before baking is preferable to boiling. Steaming better preserves nutrients, color, and flavor. Boiling can cause broccoli to become waterlogged and wash out flavors.

How long do you steam broccoli for baking?

Only steam broccoli for 3-5 minutes before baking. This partially cooks the broccoli without fully cooking it through. It will finish cooking while baking.

Should you coat broccoli in oil before baking?

Yes, coating steamed broccoli florets with oil before baking helps the broccoli brown and get crispy edges. Olive oil or avocado oil work well.

What temperature do you bake broccoli at?

Broccoli is best baked at temperatures between 375°F to 425°F. Higher heat promotes caramelization and crisping. Bake until broccoli reaches desired tenderness, 10-15 minutes usually.

How does steaming then baking broccoli differ from just baking it?

Steaming before baking partially cooks the broccoli for quicker baking time and infuses flavor. It also brightens the color. Just baking can dry out and dull the color of broccoli.


Steaming broccoli before baking is an easy way to build flavor and texture when cooking broccoli. The quick steam brightens color while softening the broccoli for easier incorporation into casseroles and bakes. Baking caramelizes and crisps the broccoli, concentrating the sweet, nutty flavor. This two-step cooking method results in tender, vivid broccoli with delicious concentrated flavor. Whether roasting broccoli florets or baking broccoli into a gratin, steaming first ensures moist texture and vibrant green color. Give this simple technique a try to take your broccoli recipes to the next level!