Do you typically make a mess when cutting broccoli or end up throwing half the vegetable out? Learn how to cut broccoli the right way with this easy guide and step by step tutorial.
I’ve never quite understood why broccoli gets such a bad reputation. I absolutely adore the vegetable.
Seldom does a week go by where I’m not buying a fresh head from the grocery store or farmer’s market whether it’s traditional broccoli or my husband’s favorite, broccoli rabe.
And for the rare weeks it doesn’t make it into my cart, I always have a huge BJ’s sized bag of frozen broccoli florets on hand.
While not as messy as cauliflower, broccoli can still be a pain to cut if you don’t know what you’re doing. It’s also easy to waste a good part of the vegetable thinking the stem isn’t edible.
This guide will walk you through how to cut broccoli properly and waste as little as possible so you get your money’s worth with this delicious crucifer.
The easiest way to cut broccoli
While everyone loves florets for cooking easy meals like this shaved beef stir fry, the broccoli stalk is also edible and worth saving. We’ll cover how to cut both in the easiest way possible.
Step 1 — Cut off the stalk
Using a sharp knife, cut off the stalk from the bottom of the florets about 1 inch below the base of the florets. Leaving that inch or so of space allows for longer floret stems if desired. If you prefer just the tops of the broccoli florets, cut the stalk up a little higher.
Trim the stalk to cut off a bit at the end that will likely be browned or old and use a paring knife or vegetable peeler to trim the outside edges.
Set aside for later use.
Step 2 — Cut the head into florets
Slice through the larger stems of the head of broccoli to create smaller florets.
You can leave the florets larger or continue slicing the stems off to create smaller pieces of broccoli depending on your desired use.
If making broccoli soup, bigger florets will take longer to soften for pureeing whereas using smaller florets will speed up the recipe.
Step 3 — Chop the stalk
Once the broccoli stalk has been trimmed, you can now cut it into pieces for use in any recipe just as you would the florets. The stalk can be sliced lengthwise into strips, chopped or diced.
Broccoli stalks have tons of uses:
- Use them in stir fries or skillet meals.
- Spiralize the entire stalk into broccoli noodles.
- Make a chopped broccoli salad by shredding in a food processor or try this broccoli shrimp fried rice.
- Add them to fillings for stuffed peppers, stuffed mushrooms or buffalo chicken broccoli cheddar bites.
- Use raw broccoli stalk slices as a veggie dip served with 3-herb creamy dressing.
*Pro tip — One thing to avoid doing with broccoli stalks is simmering for long periods of time in soups, stews or stocks as they can turn bitter.
How to buy fresh broccoli
Look for a bright green head that’s tightly packed when buying broccoli at the store. The broccoli should feel heavy for its size and not have any yellowing or brown spots on the stalk or head.
Because broccoli can mold easily, it’s best to wash right before using instead of prepping ahead of time like you might do with peppers.
How to store broccoli
Store the entire head of broccoli in the refrigerator in an open paper or plastic bag. Once broccoli has been cut, it’s best to store in an air-tight container or sealable bag in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
To freeze broccoli, much like freezing corn on the cob, it’s best to blanch the broccoli first. Store blanched broccoli in an air-tight container or freezer bag for up to 9 months.
A large head of broccoli will break down into about 12 cups of chopped florets and stalks which will approximately feed a family of four.
Learn more with these other cutting tutorials:
Learning how to cut dragonfruit is a great skillet for garnishing smoothie bowls.
Cutting potatoes into wedges is an easy way to enjoy steak fries with any meal.
How to cut an onion is a skill every home cook should master since it’s such a common starter ingredients for so many recipes. And while you’re at it, check out how to cut leeks, another allium with a similar taste but tricky shape!
How to Cut Broccoli
- 1 large head of fresh broccoli
- sharp chef’s knife
- Place the head of broccoli on a cutting board. Using a sharp chef's knife, slice through the stalk to separate it from the head about 1 inch below the base of the head.
- Trim the stalk to cut off the brown/old end and use a paring knife or vegetable peeler to peel the outer layer of the stalk all the way around. Set aside.
- Cut the head of broccoli into florets by slicing through where the stems meet. Continue cutting into smaller pieces as desired for the specific recipe you have in mind.
- Florets can be chopped further for chopped salads or broccoli "rice".
- The stalk can now be cut into long strips for eating raw or chopped or minced for use in recipes.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.
Gina Matsoukas is the writer, founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients as much as possible. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.