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:

Sautéed Broccoli

rate this recipe:
5 from 22 votes
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 10 mins
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 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 and add a squeeze of lemon juice and a pinch of red pepper flakes, if using. Season to taste with more salt and pepper.


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Rate this recipe (after making it)

  1. 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.

  2. 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!

  3. Aryn S

    5 stars
    Perfect tenderness not mushy 🥇🥦👌😋

  4. Heather Pruitt

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

  5. 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.