This Sautéed Broccoli Recipe is an easy and healthy side dish for any meal. With very little prep work and a short cook time, this one-pan garlic sautéed broccoli side dish is great for busy weeknights and meal prep! Make this a few times then get adventurous and make it your own!

Ingredients for Sautéed Broccoli

  • Broccoli florets: look for plump head of broccoli without any discoloration. Make sure to wash the florets well to remove any dirt or sand.
  • Extra-virgin olive oil: you can use any oil you like, but we find extra-virgin olive oil adds the best flavor.
  • Garlic: this recipe calls for slicing the garlic which adds mild, soft garlic flavor as opposed to minced or grated which is more potent.
  • White sesame seeds: totally optional but they add a nice nutty flavor and crunch.
  • Kosher salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes (optional): all important to seasoning the dish properly!
sautéed broccoli in a shallow blue bowl with a wooden-handled spoon

How to Cook Sautéed Broccoli Step by Step

One pan, four ingredients, and 15 minutes is all this sautéed broccoli requires! The key to perfect sautéed broccoli is two-fold. First, you’ve got to steam the broccoli briefly before uncovering and letting the water evaporate off.

The second step is to add some oil and sauté the broccoli and garlic until crisp tender. This two-step process results in perfectly tender sautéed broccoli.

  1. Boil Water
  2. Bring ½ cup water to a boil in a large sauté pan (be sure to bring to the water to a boil with a lid on the pan, otherwise the water will evaporate). Using a large sauté pan (with straight sides) is important because more surface area equals more browning on the broccoli. While the water heats up, prep the broccoli. Cut the broccoli into medium-sized florets, keeping some of the stem for visual and textural appeal.

  3. Steam the Broccoli
  4. Add the broccoli, cover and steam for 3 minutes. This steaming step gets the cooking of the broccoli out of the way before you move on to the sautéing which is all about imparting flavor and achieving some nice color on the florets.

    raw broccoli florets in a saute pan
  5. Cook Off the Water
  6. Remove the lid and continue to cook until all of the water has evaporated out. Before you add the oil for sautéing, it’s important to evaporate off any excess water. Make sure the pan is mostly dry before adding the olive oil.

    steamed broccoli florets in a saute pan
  7. Sauté the Broccoli
  8. Add the oil and garlic and cook until the broccoli is crisp-tender and the garlic is golden brown. This will take three to four minutes. It’s important to stir the broccoli occasionally, but not too often. You want the broccoli and garlic to take on some nice color.

  9. Season the Broccoli
  10. Stir in the sesame seeds and season with salt and pepper; cook 1 minute. You can absolutely skip the sesame seeds or swap in your favorite toasted nut or seed like sliced almonds, pepitas or sunflower seeds. In addition to the black pepper, feel free to throw in some red pepper flakes for even more kick.

Reheating Sautéed Broccoli

This sautéed broccoli recipe is a great meal prep recipe. Make a few batches of this broccoli at the beginning of the week then reheat for breakfast with scrambled eggs, toss over a salad for lunch, or serve with broiled salmon for dinner. 

To reheat sautéed broccoli you can either zap it in the microwave for a minute on high or toss in a nonstick skillet and heat over medium-high until warmed through. 

Storing Your Sautéed Broccoli

Store cooked broccoli in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Cooked broccoli cannot be left out overnight, it must be refrigerated. We do not recommend freezing sautéed broccoli.

sautéed broccoli in a shallow blue bowl with a wooden-handled spoon

Serving Your Sautéed Broccoli

We love to serve this sautéed broccoli recipe as a side dish with any kind of grilled or roasted beef or fish. It’s fabulous tossed in pasta with some Parmesan or drizzled with any number of sauces including a chimichurri, pesto, Green Goddess Dressing, and Ginger Scallion Sauce.

Pile this broccoli alongside our Steak and Eggs or cook up a sirloin steak and call dinner done. Or pair this with any number of healthy chicken recipes including our Crispy Baked Chicken Cutlets and Chicken Souvlaki. We also like to enjoy this broccoli side dish with our Salmon Croquettes, Pan-Seared Salmon and Salmon BLT Sandwiches.

Variations of Sautéed Broccoli

  • Substitute some of the broccoli for cauliflower. 
  • Give it an Asian stir-fry flare by adding sliced mushrooms and shredded carrots (add to pan with the oil), and finishing with a splash of soy sauce and toasted sesame oil
  • Give it an Italian flare by adding sun dried tomatoes, oregano and Parmesan. Finish with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil.
  • Replace the garlic with sliced scallions or shallots.
  • Finish the sautéed broccoli with a drizzle of the gochujang sauce from our Korean Meatballs.
sautéed broccoli in a shallow blue bowl with a wooden-handled spoon

Main Dish Suggestions for Sautéed Broccoli

You may also like…

  • This recipe for Easy Roasted Green Beans is a great go-to recipe for perfect green beans. We’ve also got a guide on How to Blanch Green Beans which comes in handy during Thanksgiving.
  • If you like this broccoli recipe, then you’ll also our Roasted Brussels Sprouts recipe. Also garlicky. Also easy to make.
  • Our Cauliflower Potato Salad is a fun take on a classic potato salad with the addition of crisp-tender cauliflower and a savoy caesar dressing.
  • Turn the humble sweet potato into a show-stopping side dish with our Hasselback Sweet Potato Recipe. It’s buttery, savory and so cozy.
  • One of the coziest and cheesiest side dishes is our Cauliflower au Gratin. It’s a must-make if you like broccoli and cauliflower recipes!


What do you use to add flavor to broccoli besides butter?

This recipe uses olive oil instead of butter which adds a totally different flavor (it’s a lighter, fruitier and more spicy). You can also flavor broccoli with toasted sesame oil, sweet chili garlic sauce, scallions, toasted nuts and seeds, grated cheese and crispy bacon bits.

What do you cook with broccoli besides beef?

If you’re looking to make a broccoli stir fry dish but want something other than beef and broccoli, try adding broccoli to our Tofu Fried Rice, Korean Tofu and Pork, Breakfast Fried Rice, and Pork Bulgogi.

How can I make broccoli taste better?

There are so many ways to make tasty broccoli! This recipe for sautéed broccoli is a good start. We also like to add bold, flavorful ingredients like red onion, toasted nuts and cheese (like in our Broccoli Salad). In addition to sautéing, try roasting broccoli and serving in our Bulgogi Bowls. And finally, play around with homemade and store-bought sauces (Asian condiments are great for broccoli), fresh herbs, nuts and seeds, spices (cumin, coriander, za’atar, Dukkah, and sumac are all great), aged cheeses and anchovies.

What other spices should I use for sautéed broccoli?

Some of the best spices for broccoli include: red pepper flakes, Italian seasoning, garlic and onion powder, sumac, cumin, curry powder, caraway seeds, and thyme.

What are some other underrated sauces for using in sautéed broccoli?

Gochujang Sauce, Stir Fry Sauce, Green Goddess Dressing, Dill Ranch Dressing, Ginger Scallion Sauce, and Mustard Vinaigrette are all wonderful options.

Sautéed Broccoli (Recipe)

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Yield 4 servings
Category Side Dish
Cuisine American
Author Lauren Grant


Make perfect sautéed broccoli every time with this one-pan sautéed broccoli recipe that requires just 4 ingredients and 15 minutes! The key lies in the two-part cooking process that starts with steaming the broccoli in the pan, and ends with sautéing the broccoli in oil with sliced garlic.


  • 1 pound broccoli, cut into 1-inch florets
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
  • Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
  • Crushed red pepper flakes, optional


  • Add ½ cup water to a large sauté pan, cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Add 1 pound broccoli florets, cover and steam until nearly crisp-tender, 3 minutes. Uncover and continue to cook until water is evaporated. 
  • Add 2 tablespoons oil and 2 sliced cloves garlic to skillet, decrease heat to medium-high and cook until broccoli is crisp-tender and garlic is starting to brown, 3–4 minutes.
  • Stir in 1 teaspoon sesame seeds and season with salt and black pepper (and red pepper flakes if you prefer); cook 1 minute. 
  • Season with additional salt to taste and serve immediately.



Store broccoli in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. 
We do not recommend making sautéed broccoli with frozen broccoli. 


Serving: 1/4 of recipeCalories: 105kcalCarbohydrates: 8gProtein: 3.5gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 185mgFiber: 3gSugar: 2g
Like this? Leave a comment below!I love hearing from you and I want to hear how it went with this recipe! Leave a comment and rating below, then share on social media @zestfulkitchen and #zestfulkitchen!
sautéed broccoli in a shallow blue bowl with a wooden-handled spoon

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About The Author

Lauren Grant is a professional culinary food scientist, food writer, recipe developer, and food photographer. Lauren is a previous magazine editor and test kitchen developer and has had work published in major national publications including Diabetic Living Magazine, Midwest Living Magazine, Cuisine at Home Magazine,,, and more.

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