How to Blanch Broccoli

Have you ever wondered why frozen vegetables are so bright and vibrant? It’s because they are blanched before being frozen! So what is blanching and why should you learn how to blanch broccoli?

The blanch cooking method is a process in which a food is submerged in boiling water for a short amount of time, and then immediately submerged in an ice bath to stop the cooking process. The short cooking time brings out the natural colors in the fruit or vegetable before they can turn a displeasing color (because no one wants to eat ugly broccoli!). By stopping the cooking process, the color-changing enzymes are deactivated and the vegetable maintains its vibrant color. 

Step-by-Step Instructions for Blanching Broccoli

To blanch broccoli, start by bringing a large pot of water to a boil. Once boiling, submerge chopped broccoli florets into the pot.

It does not take long to blanch broccoli – only about 30-60 seconds, so keep an eye out for when the color changes from dull green to bright green.

Use a spider tool or a small strainer to remove the florets from the water. Immediately place in an ice bath. 

The texture of blanched broccoli should be hard and crisp; because you are not fully cooking the broccoli, it will not be very soft. If you prefer a softer broccoli texture, steam it in a small amount of water for 5 minutes. 

You can also freeze broccoli after blanching for an easy veggie side dish ready to use at anytime! Drain the broccoli, spread it out on a sheet pan and allow to cool completely. Freeze on the sheet tray. Once frozen, place florets in a bag together. 

Now that you know how to blanch broccoli florets, use it in a stir fry, add it to grain salad, or serve it alongside a veggie dip!

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This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. Jan

    Can I blanch a day ahead of time if grilling it the next day?

    1. Sorry for the late reply! Yes, you can! Just make sure you get the broccoli nice and dry before storing it in the refrigerator overnight.

  2. Dorene

    82 years old and learned something today! I thought blanching broccoli was only to preserve it. . Didn’t realize it brightens the color!

  3. Juanita

    my supermarket was out of many frozen veges after flooding in growing areas. I was out of broccoli and cauliflower, so I found fresh, took them home and used the method above – great result

  4. Todd

    How does using blanched broccoli benefit a stir fry?

    1. Lexi Cole, RD, CCMS

      Blanched broccoli is slightly less bitter and is a bit less crunchy than raw broccoli, which can make the eating experience of a stir fry more pleasant.

  5. Margie

    Blanched the broccoli according to the directions , turned out beautifully.. The instructions were very thorough.

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