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How to Cook Frozen Broccoli (Ultimate Guide to the Best Ways!)

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Want to know how to cook frozen broccoli? There is a misconception that cooking frozen broccoli results in a bland and boring bowl of broccoli, but it doesn’t need to be that way. I’m going to cover the best way to cook frozen broccoli so you can decide what will work best for you. I think you’ll be convinced that it’s worth keeping a variety of frozen vegetables in your freezer.

So what is the best way to cook frozen broccoli? It depends on your preferences on how you like your frozen broccoli as well as your preparation method! I will say that it is most definitely possible to make frozen broccoli taste great. I was even surprised by the microwaved broccoli – I’ve always written it off as terrible, but that’s because it’s typically served plain! Add a little butter, salt, and pepper…much better. This is one of my kid’s favorite sides, so it’s one we make frequently.

Picture showing frozen broccoli cooked in different ways.

But if you prefer something with some more texture, the air fryer method is the best way to get some crunchy edges. The sautéed frozen broccoli isn’t mushy at all (which surprised me a bit!) and the oven roasted frozen broccoli, while easy, is probably my least favorite. But again, it will all depend on your own preferences, and the good news is that there are plenty of ways to cook frozen broccoli.

And you can’t beat the convenience factor of frozen broccoli, it’s great to keep it on-hand for whenever you need a quick vegetable side dish and you don’t even need to thaw it and the prep time is minimal to nonexistent. Naturally vegan, vegetarian, and gluten free.

If you love broccoli as much as we do, be sure to try my orecchiette with sausage and broccoli, ground beef and broccoli rice bowls, and ground turkey meal prep bowls.

How to Cook Frozen Broccoli in the Oven

Can you roast frozen broccoli? YES! You can absolutely roast frozen broccoli. The texture is different from fresh broccoli, but it can be a great method.

Frozen broccoli on a sheet pan for roasting.
  • Pros: Easy, mostly hands-off.
  • Cons: Doesn’t get crispy like raw broccoli would.
  • Recommendations: Be sure to leave plenty of room around each piece of broccoli or you’ll end up with one big pile of steamed, mushy broccoli
  • How to roast frozen broccoli: Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Spread broccoli in a single layer on a baking sheet pan. Roast broccoli for 15 minutes, toss, drizzle with olive oil, season with sea salt, and cook another 10-12 minutes.
Roasted frozen broccoli in a sheet pan.

How to Cook Frozen Broccoli in Air Fryer

Air fryer frozen broccoli is a favorite preparation – it’s similar to my air fryer broccoli recipe, but the cooking time is a bit longer.

Frozen broccoli in an air fryer basket.
  • Pros: Easy, gets it crispy, cooks fast.
  • Cons: May have to cook in batches depending on how much broccoli you need.
  • Recommendations: Don’t crowd air fryer basket! Cook in batches if necessary.
  • How to air fry frozen broccoli: Preheat air fryer. Add broccoli florets to air fryer in a pile. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt, and shake air fryer basket to distribute broccoli in a single layer. Air fry for 10 minutes, shake, and cook another 2-3 minutes to desired crispness.
Air fryer frozen broccoli in air fryer basket.

How to Cook Frozen Broccoli on Stove

I have to say that this method surprised me! It would be great with stir fry recipes (like salmon stir fry or udon stir fry noodles!) – but be sure to cook separately so that it stir fries instead of steams.

Frozen broccoli in skillet to saute.
  • Pros: Cooks quickly, creates a nice firm texture in broccoli stalks.
  • Cons: May have to cook in batches depending on how much broccoli you need.
  • Recommendations: Use a large pan so that you aren’t crowding the pan.
  • How to saute frozen broccoli: See full instructions in recipe card below.
Sauteed frozen broccoli in skillet.

How to Cook Frozen Broccoli in Microwave

Perhaps the least glamorous, but a method I use frequently for my kids, who LOVE steamed broccoli.

Steamed frozen broccoli in a glass bowl.
  • Pros: Soft, tender texture. Delicious with a pat of butter and salt.
  • Cons: Can quickly go to mushy, so need to watch closely.
  • Recommendations: Cut any large florets after they have thawed a bit so they cook evenly or you’ll end up with some hot pieces of broccoli and some cold pieces of broccoli.
  • How to microwave frozen broccoli: Place frozen broccoli in a microwave safe dish. Add 1/2 cup water and microwave in 2 minute increments, until hot. (Once it gets warm, you can do 30-60 second increments.) It will take about 4-7 minutes. Drain excess water and season before serving.

Frozen Broccoli FAQs

Is frozen broccoli cooked?

Yes, frozen broccoli is partially cooked. It is still recommended to cook frozen veggies.

Does frozen broccoli have nutrients?

Yes, frozen broccoli is a very nutritious food. Frozen fruits and vegetables are picked at their perfect ripeness (as opposed to early to account for transportation time and sitting in stores), which means they retain their nutrition through the blanching processing and can sometimes even have MORE nutrients than fresh!

Does frozen broccoli go bad?

Eventually frozen broccoli will go bad, but it has a pretty long shelf life, given that it is stored frozen. A general rule of thumb is that they are good for up to 12 months, though they are still safe to eat even past their expiration date. (Obviously, use your best judgement.) The flavor and texture however might start to decline.

Is frozen broccoli as good as fresh?

It depends on how you are comparing it. Frozen broccoli is incredibly nutritious, budget-friendly, and convenient to pull out of the freezer at a moment’s notice. I do prefer the flavor and texture of fresh broccoli, but we truly eat both!

Is frozen broccoli cheaper than fresh?

Yes, frozen broccoli is less expensive than fresh broccoli. Here’s what I found at my local store: $1.99 for 12 oz. frozen broccoli florets OR $2.59 for 1 head fresh broccoli (typically about 9 oz.) or $2.79 for a 12 oz. bag of fresh broccoli florets.

What is the best brand of frozen broccoli?

I think it’s more important to look at the TYPE of frozen broccoli as there are a few different options, though they all appear to be the same. This will probably vary a bit based on brand, but this is what I’ve found:

  • Broccoli cuts – A mix of broccoli florets and a lot of stems. There is a big variance in size and will cost less.
  • Broccoli florets – This type tends to have more florets and less stems and is also typically closer in size, but can also vary. They will cost more.
Bowl of frozen broccoli.

How to Season Frozen Broccoli

There are so many ways to season frozen broccoli! You can keep it really simple with olive oil or butter and sea salt like I’ve done here, or add some more flavor and try one of these ideas:

  • Lemon zest or a squeeze of lemon juice
  • Fresh garlic
  • Garlic salt or garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Seasoning salt
  • Lemon pepper
  • Ranch seasoning
  • Cajun seasoning
  • Steak seasoning
  • Jerk seasoning
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Cheese sauce
  • Soy sauce and sesame oil
  • Teriyaki sauce
  • Peanut sauce (try my ground pork stir fry with peanut sauce)
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Frozen broccoli cooked in a stir fry pan.

Sautéed Frozen Broccoli

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Description

Your guide to how to cook frozen broccoli! I’m going to cover the best way to cook frozen broccoli – because it doesn’t need to be bland and mushy!


Ingredients

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Instructions

  1. Heat large nonstick frying pan over medium heat. 
  2. Add frozen broccoli to skillet and cover. Cook for 5 minutes (you can stir, or if you like dark spots, leave it undisturbed) and then uncover. 
  3. Turn heat up to medium-high, drizzle broccoli with olive oil and season with sea salt. Toss to coat and cook another 3-4 minutes. 


Keywords: how to cook frozen broccoli, cooking frozen broccoli, best way to cook frozen broccoli

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