Pan Fried Broccoli

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Make this delicious Pan Fried Broccoli in just 10 minutes for a tasty and healthy side dish. It's crispy, perfectly cooked, and easy enough to serve with any main dish.

120 CAL 12g CARBS 8g FAT 5g PROTEIN 2
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We are always on the lookout for new and delicious vegetable side dishes and lately, this crispy Pan Fried Broccoli has been in constant rotation. It couldn't be easier to make and it's seriously such a delicious way to make broccoli.

Broccoli is one of my favorite veggie side dishes to make, my only requirement is that it isn't mushy or soggy. We love roasted broccoli, sauteed broccoli, and lately are obsessed with pan-frying broccoli. It's almost a combination of steaming and frying. The result is broccoli that is perfectly cooked with delicious browned edges. 

It's delicious served with baked chicken or salmon. It tastes delicious with pasta or grain bowls. It's even good cold tossed in green salads or wraps. 

Why We Love Pan Fried Broccoli

  • No soggy broccoli: There is nothing worse than soggy broccoli. This recipe guarantees tender-crisp broccoli with lots of texture and flavor every time.
  • Crispy browned edges: Just like roasting, pan-frying vegetables will give you all those delicious, browned edges.
  • Quick and easy: Make this tasty side dish in less than 10 minutes! Perfect for busy weeknights.

Broccoli that has been pan fried with garlic in a white bowl with olive oil on the side.

Ingredients and Substitutions

Here is everything you need to make this tasty broccoli side dish.

  • Broccoli: Use fresh broccoli florets for this recipe and make sure the florets are similar in size. For faster prep, buy pre-cut broccoli florets and simply cut any large florets in half. If using fresh broccoli heads, you can slice up the stalks and include them as well.
  • Olive oil: Olve oil is heart-healthy and has a nice flavor, but any oil will work. Butter will burn too quickly, so if you want a buttery flavor, add it before serving.
  • Garlic: The combination of garlic and broccoli is really tasty, but you can leave it out if you prefer.
  • Spices or herbs: We love adding a little spice to broccoli with red pepper flakes, but you can add any seasoning, spices, or herbs you like.
  • Water: Broccoli cooks best when you add a small amount of water or broth to the pan to help it cook all the way through. Water, chicken broth, and vegetable broth are all good options.
  • Salt and pepper: If your broccoli tastes bland, it probably needs more salt and pepper. Vegetables should be liberally salted.

How to Pan Fry Broccoli

Unlike many quick-cooking vegetables that can simply be pan-fried or sauteed, broccoli needs a little extra love. Fresh broccoli turns out best if you quickly steam it to make sure it's cooked through and then fry it to get the crispy edges. Here’s what to do.

  1. Prep the broccoli: Wash the broccoli and then make sure to dry it thoroughly. Cut the broccoli into small to medium sized florets. The most important thing is that they are uniform in size. If you want to use the stem, cut iit into ½ inch slices.
  2. Bloom the garlic and spices: Get the olive oil warm over medium-high heat. Once it’s warm. Add the garlic and any spices or herbs. Cooking the garlic and herbs/spices in the oil brings out the flavor and also flavors the oil.
  3. Flash steamed broccoli: Add the broccoli to the pan, and give everything a quick stir to coat the broccoli in the oil. Then add the broth or water. Cover the pan and steam the broccoli for 3-4 minutes until it is bright green and tender-crisp. Shake the pan a couple of times while it steams, but don’t open the cover.
  4. Crisp up the edges: Open up the lid. At this point, the liquid should be completely evaporated or close to evaporated. Then cook the broccoli until the edges get lightly browned and crisp. Turn up the heat slightly if needed.

Spice Things Up! Recipe Ideas

Like any easy vegetable recipe, you can customize this recipe with all the different herbs, seasoning mixes, and toppings. Here are some favorites:

  • Garlic Parmesan: When the broccoli is finished cooking, add some freshly grated Parmesan cheese and lots of black pepper.
  • Lemon and herbs: Add some dried Italian seasoning to the broccoli while it cooks. When it’s finished, squeeze fresh lemon on top. Add Parmesan, feta cheese, and goat cheese on top.
  • Ginger and soy: Add some minced ginger along with the garlic in the recipe. Then season the broccoli with soy sauce before serving.
  • Ranch: Sprinkle ranch seasoning over the broccoli after it flashes steams. Then finish the dish with lemon juice.
Garlic pan fried broccoli florets in a bowl wit salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.

Main Dish Ideas

This easy pan-fried broccoli is a great vegetable side dish for just about any dish. It’s a stap[le ion our house and we eat it with almost everything. Here are some of our favorite main dishes to pair with this yummy broccoli.

Do you have to boil the broccoli before pan-frying?

You do not have to boil broccoli before cooking it in a pan, but you will want to quickly steam it in the skillet. Adding just ½ cup of water to the pan for 3-4 minutes ensures the broccoli is cooked through and tender-crisp.

If you prefer boiling the broccoli first, you can blanch it in boiling water for 2 minutes and then place it in an ice bath before frying. Make sure to dry it well.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the most commonly asked questions about pan-frying broccoli.

Generally speaking, when you are pan frying something it involves more fat and medium to medium high temperatures. The goal is to get browned and crispy edges. Sauteing, usually refers to cooking at a high temperature and cooking quickly.

Broccoli is a very nutritous vegetable packed with fiber, Vitamin C, Vitmina K, folate, and antioxidants. It also has just 25 calories per cup and almost 3 grams of protein.

Crispy pan fried broccoli in a white bowl with a white napkin and two serving spoons.
The Recipe
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Pan Fried Broccoli

120 CAL 12g CARBS 8g FAT 5g PROTEIN 2
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  • 1.5 lbs broccoli florets (medium-sized florets)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1/3 cup water (or chicken broth)
  • 1 Salt and pepper (kosher or sea salt)

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Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a skillet. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook for 30-60 seconds until fragrant.


Add the broccoli to the pan and season with salt and pepper. Add the water. Cover and cook for 3 minutes.


Remove the cover and cook for 2-3 minutes until the water has evaporated entirely and the broccoli begins to brown on the edges. Turn up the heat if needed. Cook a few extra minutes if needed for this to happen. The broccoli should get light brown and caramelized on the edges.

Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 1 cup
Amount Per Serving
Calories 120
Calories from Fat 67
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 8g
Saturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 58mg
Total Carbohydrate 12g
Dietary Fiber 5g
Sugars 3g
Protein 5g

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.

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About the author Meet Kristen McCaffrey
Hi, I’m the cookbook author, recipe developer, and food enthusiast behind Slender Kitchen. I am obsessed with making healthy food that is easy to prepare and absolutely delicious. Meal planning is my secret weapon and I hope I can make meal time easier for you with our tried and tested recipes and foolproof meal plans. Learn More
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