Sautéed Broccoli

Learn how to sauté broccoli like a pro! This easy sautéed broccoli recipe is a light, healthy side dish or delicious addition to pastas, bowls, and more.

Sautéed broccoli

I’ll say it: I don’t cook sautéed broccoli often enough. I don’t know why, but whenever I have broccoli on hand, my first impulse is to roast it. But a few weeks back, I was making this butternut squash pasta for dinner, and I needed a quick and easy side dish to pair with it. I chopped up a bunch of broccoli and cooked it on the stove with lemon juice, olive oil, and garlic. The broccoli florets came out vibrant green and tender, while the stalks kept a nice al dente bite. It was so simple, flavorful, and refreshing that I’ve had this sautéed broccoli recipe on repeat ever since!

Sautéed broccoli recipe ingredients

How to Sauté Broccoli

If you’ve never sautéed broccoli before, you’ll be surprised by how simple it is. The whole process takes under 10 minutes! Here’s how it goes:

  • First, sauté. It sounds silly, but my method for how to sauté broccoli actually involves two steps: sautéing and steaming. You’ll start by heating a glug of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Toss in the broccoli florets and thinly sliced garlic, and season them with salt and pepper. Cook for 3-4 minutes.
  • Then, steam! This step helps sautéed broccoli cook and soften all the way through. Add two tablespoons of water to the pan, and quickly cover it. Cook, covered, for 2 to 4 minutes more, until the broccoli is tender but still bright green.
  • Finally, season. Remove the cooked broccoli from the heat, and season it with a big squeeze of lemon juice and more salt and pepper to taste. If you like, sprinkle on some red pepper flakes, too. Enjoy!

Sautéed broccoli on a plate with serving spoon

Sautéed Broccoli Serving Suggestions

When I make sautéed broccoli, I often enjoy it as a side dish. It’s light and refreshing, with a nice crisp-tender bite. It pairs well with almost everything, so serve it with whatever protein, pasta, or soup you like. The lemon and garlic in this recipe give the sautéed broccoli a bright, fresh flavor, but if you want to punch it up more, drizzle on some vegan ranch, tahini dressing, or lemon vinaigrette. Some everything bagel seasoning or grated Parmesan cheese would be a yummy topping too.

I also encourage you to use sautéed broccoli as a component in larger recipes. If I’m not serving it as a side dish, these are my favorite ways to use it:

How do you like to eat sautéed broccoli? Let me know in the comments!

Sautéed broccoli in a skillet

More Favorite Vegetable Basics

If you love this sautéed broccoli recipe, try cooking one of these vegetables next:

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Sautéed Broccoli

rate this recipe:
5 from 43 votes
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Serves 4
This easy sautéed broccoli has a delicious crisp-tender texture and bright, fresh flavor. Serve it as a side dish, toss it with pasta, or add it to a stir fry! You'll find even more serving suggestions in the post above.



  • Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the broccoli, garlic, salt, and several grinds of pepper and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons water, cover, and cook until the broccoli is tender, 2 to 4 more minutes.
  • Turn off the heat. Squeeze with lemon juice and sprinkle with red pepper flakes, if using. Season to taste with more salt and pepper.


5 from 43 votes (33 ratings without comment)

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Rate this recipe (after making it)

  1. Vickie Hickox

    Can you use frozen broccoli?

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Vickie, you could – I’d let it thaw and then use a kitchen towel or paper towel to pat the extra moisture out of the broccoli before making the recipe.

  2. Deb

    5 stars
    I was looking for a heathy low calorie broccoli recipe and something that doesn’t take a lot of time. It fits the bill! I would double the recipe for a family of 4. I didn’t have a garlic clove so I added garlic salt. I should have used the powder instead. I will make this again!

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)

      So glad you enjoyed the broccoli, Deb!

  3. Diane K (foodieforpeace)

    5 stars
    Broccoli goodness! Made as written. The end product was a perfect al dente, lemony with a slight spice kick. This is a go-to side. Thanks L&L!!

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)

      Hi Diane, so glad you loved it!

  4. Jen

    Wow! The best compliment to a recipe, especially a veggie: My teenage son whose only veggie he’ll eat is spinach and said “I don’t like broccoli, I’ve had it before.” says “This is good. I actually really like it.” after asking him what he thinks. Huge victory for me as I’m always trying to find a way to make veggies enjoyable for him (and always failing). He told me to not lose this recipe. Thanks for a yummy veggie recipe!

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)

      Hi Jen, Thank you for sharing this! I’m so glad the recipe was a hit with your son. 🙂

  5. Victoria

    5 stars
    Delicious recipe that takes boring sauteed broccoli to a level of comfort even your kiddos will love. My 3 children aged 12 through 2 all loved this particular recipe.. and the toddler is picky!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m so happy to hear that your kids loved it so much!

  6. Barb

    5 stars
    Perfectly delicious side with my quick strip steak dinner. Definitely a keeper recipe, so fresh ( and I used frozen broccoli which I nuked for 2 min + drained 1st) Thanks

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)

      Hi Barb, so glad you enjoyed the broccoli!

  7. Shannon

    5 stars
    This recipe is perfect & delicious !
    I normally roast our broccoli but getting too warm to use the oven. The broccoli was just as good as roasted & nice and green.
    I always add the red pepper flakes for a kick of heat’
    Thank you for sharing.

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the broccoli without having to turn the oven on!

  8. LexiJean

    5 stars
    This is the BEST broccoli recipe I’ve ever tried. I also used this method for brussel sprouts and that turned out great, too. Thanks for all the easy and healthy recipes you share.

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the broccoli!

  9. Jan G.

    5 stars
    I had part of a head of fresh broccoli left in my fridge that I wanted to use up. Since it only was about 2 cups, I halved this recipe. It was delicious and so easy. I served it alongside your leftover Chickpea Salad as a side veggie. Another winner from Love & Lemons!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Jan, I’m so glad you’ve been enjoying the recipes!

  10. Pamela

    5 stars
    I made this today and it was so good! It was super easy and quick. I had a little chicken broth left over from another recipe so I used it instead of water for steaming. It gave the veg a little depth which I liked, but I look forward to trying it with plain water next time and can’t wait to make it with cauliflower. Excellent, simple technique that is going to become a regular part of my cooking arsenal. Thank you!

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)

      Hi Pamela, I’m so glad you loved the recipe! Using stock instead of water is a great idea.

  11. Foodieforpeace

    5 stars
    Well, that was a tasty side! Used both the lemon and crushed red pepper. Served it with baled fish fillers and grilled corn. A winner!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

  12. Aryn S

    5 stars
    Perfect tenderness not mushy 🥇🥦👌😋

  13. Heather Pruitt

    Could I use minced garlic in place of sliced? If so how much?

  14. Andrea

    who makes your wok? It doesnt look coated and I’ve been looking for one like that.

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      It’s actually just a large stainless steel pan, it’s the Open Kitchen line at Williams Sonoma.

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.