Easy Steamed Broccoli with Garlic and Lemon

This easy Broccoli with Garlic and Lemon is one of my favorite go-to ways to jazz up simple steamed broccoli and my children absolutely love it! It’s naturally gluten-free and low carb too!

I originally shared this recipe on February 22, 2013. I have updated the text, images and video to share it again with you today.

Why Make This Recipe

If you are a fan of broccoli and looking for the simplest way to prepare it, then this steamed broccoli with garlic and lemon is going to be your new favorite recipe! It has long been a staple at my house and is my daughters favorite way to eat vegetables.

Reasons to love this broccoli recipe

The garlic and lemon are great with all sorts of main course recipes like our Grilled Rosemary Garlic Pork Tenderloin and Grilled Greek Chicken Thighs.It is healthy because steaming helps to preserve nutrients when the broccoli is cooked. It is simple to prepare and only takes 10 minutes start to finish! It is a great recipe for beginners and new cooks because it doesn’t require a lot of skill other than chopping. It is low in calories and carbohydrates and is Whole 30 Compliant, gluten-free and vegan so pretty much everyone can enjoy it.It is a great side for a holiday because it is prepared on the stovetop and won’t take up valuable oven space!

How to Make Easy Lemon Garlic Broccoli

Step 1: Steam The Broccoli

Steam it in a large pot over boiling water with a steamer basket. Make sure the water level is below the line of the broccoli. Cover and steam until it is just tender.

Step 2: Saute Garlic

Chop the garlic, you’ll need a whole tablespoon full! Then sizzle it in hot olive oil in a small skillet. Keep an eye on it so it doesn’t get too brown, then transfer it to a big bowl to stop it from cooking any more.

Step 3: Mix and Serve

Add in the lemon to the bowl along with the lemon zest, salt and pepper.

Once the broccoli is done, add it to the lemon mixture and toss it to coat. Serve it immediately.

FAQs and Expert Tips

Make Ahead Instructions

This broccoli can be made ahead, but the lemon will cause the broccoli to turn yellowish. While it will still taste great, it won’t be pretty.

To Meal Prep This Recipe:

Cut the broccoli into florets and seal in a ziplock bag or glass resealable container. The lemon can be zested and juiced. If desired, you can combine the juice and zest in a jar. The garlic is best chopped and cooked at the last minute

Can I Steam Frozen Broccoli?

The texture of frozen broccoli is too limp to use for steaming. When broccoli is frozen the water in the cells expands, and bursts the cell structure. So when it is thawed out, it is mushy. Frozen broccoli is better used in recipes like my Macaroni and Cheese with Broccoli or Mashed Broccoli with Garlic

Buying and Storing Broccoli 

When is Broccoli in Season?

Broccoli, while available commercially year round, is actually in season in mid to late summer and into the fall. It is cold hearty and can withstand frost. 

Buying Broccoli at the Grocery Store

I recommend that you look for broccoli crowns because they have less stem so you waste less.While I do like broccoli stems for their crunch in certain recipes, in this one I prefer the florets because they soak the lemon garlic sauce up.Make sure the broccoli is not limp. Broccoli comes packed in chipped ice to keep it fresh. If you see droplets of water on it, that’s a good sign that the produce department just put it out, or that it is getting sprayed by the automatic system. Both are good signs.Avoid any bunches or crowns that are black or yellowing- this is a sign that they are over the hill. 

Buying Broccoli at the Farmers’ Market

It is not common to see broccoli crowns at Farmers’ Markets. Instead the broccoli is often bunched with stems attached. You’ll often notice that it has more tender leafy greens along the stems. This is normal. Just keep in mind that you may need to buy two bunches, to get 5 cups of florets, as you’ll end up with stem waste. Save the stems to make slaw. 

You may also see Sprouting Broccoli which doesn’t look like a broccoli head or crown, instead it is individual thin stalks with florets. See photo above. This recipe would work just fine with sprouting broccoli or broccolini. Broccolini and Sprouting Broccoli are similar in appearance, but they are not the same thing. Either works, but chop the stems into 1-inch lengths. 

Storing Broccoli

When you bring broccoli home, make sure it is not excessively wet and then store it in plastic in the produce drawer. It should stay fresh up to a week. 

If your broccoli is limp, let it soak in a bowl of cold water for 45 minutes. It will firm up nicely. 

More Easy Vegetable Side Dishes

This has quickly become a super popular recipe here: Simple Sauteed Swiss Chard. We love the simplicity of roasting. Some of our faves are Roasted Turnips, Roasted Onions and Carrots and Roasted Parsnips. I would be remiss if I didn’t point out this Simple Skillet Green Bean recipe. If you love this broccoli recipe, you will want to try these green beans too! If you love cheese as much as we do in this house try my Roasted Broccoli and Cauliflower recipe. This Healthy Cream of Broccoli soup from Skinny Taste looks phenomenal. 

Thanks so much for reading. If you are new here, you may want to sign up for my free weekly email newsletter where I share weeknight meal plans delivered right to your inbox. Or follow me on Instagram. If you make this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review! It is very appreciated. Happy Cooking! ~Katie


Easy Steamed Broccoli with Garlic and Lemon

Katie Webster

Total Time:
10 minutes

4 cups


Easy Broccoli with Garlic and Lemon- it’s a simple way to make steamed broccoli taste incredible and the kids will love it too! It’s the perfect healthy vegetable side dish to pair with dinner.


5 cups raw broccoli, cut into florets
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 ½ teaspoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon lemon zest
rounded ¼ teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste


Bring 1 to 2 inches of water to a boil in a large saucepan fitted with a steamer attachment. Add broccoli, cover and steam until crisp tender, 3 ½ to 4 1/2 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat oil and garlic in a medium skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Cook until the garlic is fragrant and just starting to brown, 30 to 90 seconds. Scrape garlic mixture into a large bowl. Immediately add lemon juice. Add lemon zest, salt and pepper.
Stir broccoli into the lemon mixture and stir to coat. Serve hot.


Watch the garlic closely, and as soon as it starts to brown, scrape it into the bowl to prevent it from continuing to cook and brown more. If it gets too dark it will taste bitter.

Prep Time: 10 minutesCook Time: 5 minutesCategory: Side DishMethod: Stove TopCuisine: American


Serving Size: 1 cup
Calories: 70
Sugar: 2 g
Sodium: 182 mg
Fat: 3 g
Saturated Fat: 0 g
Carbohydrates: 8 g
Fiber: 3 g
Protein: 3 g

Keywords: steamed broccoli,lemon garlic broccoli,easy broccoli,lemon broccoli,garlic broccoli

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