Perfect Pan-Fried Broccoli ♥ Recipe

Perfect Pan-Fried Broccoli, another quick, healthy recipe ♥ A Veggie Venture.
How to cook broccoli in a hot skillet. It's super simple, just broccoli, a touch of oil, salt and pepper. The real secret ingredients? Flat surfaces and heat. If you keep a mental list of simple ways to cook broccoli, this recipe belongs on your "make now" list too.

A Year-Round Kitchen Staple. Weeknight Easy, Weekend Special. Rave Reviews. Weight Watchers Friendly. Low Carb. Low Fat. Naturally Gluten Free. Whole30 Friendly. Not just vegan, Vegan Done Real.

Bye bye 2019. Hello 2020. Bye bye Christmas cookies. Hello ... broccoli.

But if you too are still coming off a sugary, buttery holiday high, this delicious pan-fried broccoli will make the trip back to real-life food really easy. I'm willing to bet it's one we'll all make again and again.

I know I do. Turns out, this is about the only way I cook broccoli, even ! I use a cast iron skillet so that the broccoli gets hot-hot-hot and often let the stems, especially, darken even more than pictured. Once the broccoli is prepped, it takes just minutes to make.

Is "Pan-Fried" Broccoli "Fried" Broccoli? Um. NO.

Lest you think that "pan-fried" means frying the broccoli in lots of fat, think again.

This recipe uses just a single tablespoon of fat for a whole pound of broccoli! If it were me, I would call the recipe "heat-fried" broccoli because the skillet is brought to a hot-hot-hot temperature. But it's really more like a quick broccoli stir-fry except with a lot less stirring!

So no! Cooking broccoli in a super-hot skillet is super healthy and super delicious.

What Makes a "Perfect" Broccoli Recipe?

SIMPLICITY The ingredients are simple, the cooking technique is simple. This is an easy recipe to commit to memory.
MEMORABLE TASTE So simple, yet so good! I could make a meal out of this quickly cooked broccoli. I could happily eat two or three times a week.
SOURCE I call the recipe "perfect" pan-fried broccoli because it is slightly adapted from the "test until it's perfect" folks at Cook's Illustrated. I keep old issues nearby because they're packed with recipes and tips that build technique and confidence. I really do recommend a subscription, for both new and experienced cooks!

Tips & Techniques

Time it carefully. It takes 20 minutes from start to finish and there's only a few minutes hands-free. The broccoli is best eaten hot-hot straight out of the pan – and the heat doesn't hold.
Most of the time is in prepping the broccoli stalks and crown, this can be done ahead of time if that helps the timing. The cutting technique is important – not hard but a little different so allow time to figure it out – because it creates more surface area. After you've made it once though, it'll go much more quickly and you'll never need to refer to the "recipe" again.
The browned caramelized parts are delicious. This means that a non-stick skillet isn't ideal since it can't get hot enough. I use a well-seasoned cast iron skillet and notch up the heat to create more brown parts.
Prepare to be amazed!


"I made this recipe for dinner guests this past weekend. It was a hit!" ~Anonymous
"This broccoli is amazing, thanks for the recipe!" ~ Joanna
”Yummy!" ~ Anonymous
”… most delicious way I have ever prepared broccoli!" ~ Marie
"I have hated broccoli all my life ... until I made your pan-fried broccoli…absolutely delicious. ~ Judy

How do you save and share favorite recipes? recipes that fit your personal cooking style? a particular recipe your mom or daughter or best friend would just love? If this recipe hits the mark, go ahead, save and share! I'd be honored ...

Perfect Pan-Fried Broccoli, another quick, healthy recipe ♥ A Veggie Venture.


Hands-on time: 15 minutes
Time to table: 20 minutes
Serves 4

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 pound broccoli, florets and stems, trimmed (see instructions)
3 tablespoons water
1/4 teaspoon table salt
Sprinkle of ground black pepper

HEAT THE PAN Heat oil over medium high in a large, heavy skillet (it will need a cover later) until thinking about beginning to smoke. It's hot enough when a few sprinkles of water flicked from your fingers sizzle.

PREP THE BROCCOLI STALKS Meanwhile, trim the broccoli stalks. Think of the broccoli as a big tree with a thick light-green "trunk" (that's the stalk) and big green "boughs" (that's the crown). First slice off the rough end of the stalk. Cut the "boughs" off the "trunk" but put the boughs aside for a moment. Peel the stalk with a carrot peeler, then slice the stalk cross-wise about 1/4 inch thick, on the diagonal to create more surface area.

START THE STALKS Add the stalks to the hot skillet, flat sides down in a single layer and let cook without stirring for 2 minutes.

PREP THE CROWNS While the stalks cook, cut the crown into florets about 1-1/2 inches long. Usually you can just cut a floret into quarters, cutting through its branch.

START THE FLORETS Add the florets to the hot skillet, toss well to combine. Cook without stirring for 1 - 2 minutes until the surfaces touching the skillet just begin to brown.

SEASON & COVER/UNCOVER TO FINISH Stir together the water, salt and pepper in a small bowl until the salt dissolves. Add to the skillet, cover and cook until the broccoli turns bright green but remains still crisp, about 2 minutes. Uncover and cook until the liquid evaporates, the broccoli stalks are tender and the florets are tender-crisp, about 2 minutes. Serve immediately.

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Still Hungry?

More Favorite Broccoli Recipes

~ Detox Chopped Salad ~
~ Lemony Broccoli with Lemon Vinaigrette ~
~ Broccoli Potato Cheddar Soup ~
~ more broccoli recipes ~
from A Veggie Venture

~ Power Food Broccoli Salad ~
~ Quick Broccoli Soup ~
~ Smashed Potatoes & Broccoli ~
~ more broccoli recipes ~
from Kitchen Parade, my food column

Looking for healthy new ways to cook vegetables? A Veggie Venture is home to hundreds of super-organized quick, easy and healthful vegetable recipes and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables. Join "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg to explore the exciting world of common and not-so-common vegetables, seasonal to staples, savory to sweet, salads to sides, soups to supper, simple to special.

© Copyright Kitchen Parade
2007, 2013, 2020 (repub) & 2022

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. Happy new year, Alanna! Love the new look of your blog, and looking forward to a month of recipes to help get that holiday indulgence out of my system!

  2. I am so ready for some "real" food, and this sounds perfect!

  3. The blog looks just fantastic. I am so jealous of the tabs, and I'm going to try them all to see how they work. This recipe sounds just perfect to get started in the new year.

  4. I don't know...never been a fan of the green flowery stuff...but fried...I'd totally try :D

  5. This looks fantastic, Alanna! And a very happy new year to you, too. The blog looks great, btw.

  6. This looks tasty...though I am not saying goodbye to my holiday treats :)

  7. I love this. There is nothing like the sweetness of caramelized vegetables. Happy New Year, Alana!

  8. I've really overindulged this time as well, so your kind-to-my-waistline veggie recipes are much appreciated now..
    Happy New Year, Alanna!!

  9. Happy New Year! Will try this tonight. We love the little green "trees".

  10. Lydia ~ Think slim!

    Sally ~ Think real!

    Kalyn ~ Think low carb!

    Jeff ~ Think open mind! ;-)

    Lady A ~ Think 'thanks'!

    Peabody ~ Think tasty!

    Christine ~ Think caramelization!

    Pille ~ Think 'hello' waistline (though you have to visit Kalyn who gets credit for THAT line)

    Fran ~ Think felled 'trees'!

    Sher ~ Think 'absolutely'!

    Me ~ Be quiet now.

  11. Just back to let you know I'm featuring this recipe for South Beach Recipes of the Week where I spotlight SB Diet friendly recipes from other blogs. This week I'm doing phase one recipes, and this is perfect!

  12. I made this recipe for dinner guests this past weekend. It was a hit!

  13. Ah, just lovely Sarabeth, so glad it works for you!

  14. We make this alot, ironically we are having in tonight. I also fry up pieces of onion, and mushrooms, and my secret is to dip it in A1 sauce..It is SOOO delish!

  15. Juliane ~ Great additions. And I'm intrigued by the A-1, I just happen to have a bottle in the frig! Thanks for your note.

  16. This broccoli is amazing, thanks for the recipe! I added garlic to the pan when I made it and it was very good.

  17. One of the worst recipes for cooking Broccoli I have ever come across!
    The cooking times are all out of wack.

    Firstly though it is nice to see a recipe that uses the stalks, but one must cook them for far less time than recommended and MOST DEFINITELY give them a periodic toss otherwise they will burn.

    The other thins is to include more water than required...if you put the amount in mentioned is evaporates pretty much the end I more than doubled it.

    The end result..well a pretty bland tasting dish, albeit nice and crisp .
    Try adding a little bit of lemon juice and substituing salt for just a tad of sugar, and the water with white, that makes a HUGE difference.

  18. Alexis ~ It's too bad the recipe didn't work for you, as you can see from the comments, it is working for others. The 'burn' that you try to avoid is actually one of this recipe's objectives -- the sweetness in the stalks caramelizes, adding flavor -- so isn't bland in the least. Now maybe this style/flavor profile isn't to your taste - but it sure works for me!

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  20. This is the most delicious way I have ever prepared broccoli! It is absolutely perfect as is. Sometimes I like to drizzle a little Worcestershire sauce for a kick. Thank you so much for posting!!

  21. All I can say is OMG!! I have hated broccoli all my life (and I'm no spring chicken) until I made your pan-fried broccoli…absolutely delicious. I was wondering if you have a recipe for a flash fried spinach. I ate this at a restaurant and it was not soggy but crispy.


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. ~ Alanna