Popular Topics

BACK TO How to Cook
How to Steam Broccoli and Vegetables

How to Steam Vegetables with Ease in 4 Steps

Steaming helps vegetables retain their shape, texture and color without turning water-logged or soggy. It also helps prevent nutrients from being lost to the cooking liquid.

Step 1: Get Your Equipment

All you need to steam vegetables is a pot with a lid and a steam basket insert that fits inside the pot. Inexpensive collapsible baskets can often be found in the housewares aisle of grocery stores; bamboo baskets commonly used in Asian cooking are usually stocked in Asian markets.

A metal colander could double as a steaming basket, in a pinch. 

Step 2: Over Hot Water

Fit the steaming basket inside the pot then fill the pot with water to within an inch of the bottom of the basket—the water shouldn’t touch the basket. Put the lid on the pot and bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat.

There is no value to steaming vegetables over broth instead of water. Little to no flavor from the broth is imparted into the vegetables as a result.

Quick Tip

Steaming helps vegetables retain shape, texture and color without turning water-logged or soggy.

Step 3: Start Steaming

Carefully remove the pot lid and arrange the food in a single layer in the basket—steam should be able to circulate inside the pot. Cover the pot and steam until the vegetables are done to your liking. Don’t remove the lid too often since that causes steam to escape and drops the temperature inside the pot.

Escaping steam is extremely hot so lift the lid away from your face.

Step 4: Is it Done Yet?

Check the vegetables for doneness by removing the lid and piercing the vegetables with a fork or the tip of a paring knife. Steaming times will vary depending on what and how much is being cooked and how “cooked” you want the food to be. Broccoli, green beans and asparagus could take anywhere from 3 to 8 min.

Very dense vegetables, such as beets, could take 1 hour or more depending on size. Check the water level in the pot periodically to prevent scorching. Add more water when the level is low.