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Sauteed Broccoli is a healthy side dish made with crisp-tender broccoli flavored with garlic, lemon and red pepper flakes. Plus it’s ready in only 10 minutes!

The broccoli is caramelized in a pan for deep flavor and then steamed until it’s tender-crisp for maximum flavor, color and nutrients. It’s an amazing side to any entree like Roast Chicken, Baked Chicken Drumsticks, or Baked Salmon.

Sauteed broccoli with red pepper flakes in a white serving platter with a gold serving spoon.
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Why We Love This Recipe

Broccoli is one of those veggies I can eat any time. Luckily my kids love it just as much and I can get them to eat it a variety of ways. Some of their favorite broccoli recipes are Broccoli Rice Casserole and Broccoli with Cheese Sauce.

But the easiest and healthiest way we cook broccoli is this easy saute method.

This sauteed broccoli recipe is:

  • Ready in 10 Minutes – Such a fast side dish!
  • Made with Simple Ingredients – Pick up some fresh broccoli and you might have everything else on hand.
  • Caramelized and Flavorful – Sauteing broccoli adds so much flavor and texture vs simple steaming.

Ingredients For Sauteed Broccoli

You only need 6 simple ingredients to make super flavorful broccoli.

  • Broccoli Florets – I like to cut them in half lengthwise
  • Olive Oil – You can swap in another cooking oil like canola oil or avocado oil
  • Garlic Cloves – Thinly sliced. This helps to flavor the butter.
  • Lemon Zest – This is optional but adds great flavor
  • Spices – Kosher Salt and Red Pepper Flakes (optional for spice)
  • Butter – You can use salted or unsalted butter and just adjust the added salt accordingly.

How To Saute Broccoli

You cannot go wrong with this easy method for sauteeing broccoli. It takes less than 15 minutes from start to finish.

See the recipe card below for full, detailed instructions

Broccoli in a skillet.

Cook Broccoli – Start by heating a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat and add the oil to the pan. Place the broccoli halves cut side down and cook, undisturbed, until the bottoms are golden brown.

Broccoli in a skillet with sliced garlic and lemon zest.

Add Flavor – Add the sliced garlic, lemon zest, and a pinch of salt to the broccoli and toss and cook for just 30 seconds. 

Sauteed broccoli in a skillet with butter.

Finish Cooking – Lean the skillet to the side so you can blot up the excess oil with a paper towel. Add the butter, red pepper flakes (if using), and water. Cover the skillet and cook for a couple of minutes to desired doneness.

Serve Immediately and Enjoy!

Recipe FAQs

Is sauteed broccoli still healthy?

Broccoli can be eaten cooked or raw and both are loaded with nutrients! While cooking the broccoli can reduce some of the Vitamin C, sauteed broccoli is still packed with nutrients.

Do you have to boil broccoli before stir frying?

You do not need to boil broccoli before stir frying or sauteing. Raw broccoli can be added straight to the hot pan. To finish cooking, you can add a little water to the pan and cover with a lid.

What can I add to broccoli to make it taste better?

In addition to adding a little fat from oil and salt to season broccoli, you can add other simple ingredients to make it even more flavorful. Some favorites are lemon zest or juice, garlic, and red pepper flakes.

How do you store leftovers?

Broccoli is best served same day, but can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Reheat in the microwave or in a skillet on the stovetop.

Helpful Tips

  • Cutting Broccoli Florets – Cutting the florets in half lengthwise through the stem gives more flat surface area for better caramelization. Make sure to leave a good amount of the stem attached, and not just the top part of the floret. 
  • Garlic Flavor – Slicing the garlic as opposed to mincing or pressing it, will give a milder garlic flavor.
  • Cook Time – The darker your broccoli gets, the more bitter it will become.
  • Fresh vs Frozen Broccoli – This recipe was developed using fresh broccoli. Frozen broccoli can be used if thawed and blotted dry, but frozen broccoli is very soft and will not sear as well as fresh broccoli. 
Sauteed broccoli with red pepper flakes and garlic on a plate with a fork.

More Broccoli Recipes

sauteed broccoli square image for social media.

Sauteed Broccoli

Sauteed Broccoli is a healthy side dish with crisp-tender broccoli, garlic, lemon and red pepper flakes that cooks in just 10 minutes!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 4


  • 1 pound broccoli florets halved lengthwise
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil or other neutral oil
  • 3 cloves garlic sliced thin
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes optional
  • 1/4 cup water
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  • Heat a large heavy non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Add oil to the hot pan and place broccoli cut side down, leaving undisturbed for about 3 minutes until golden brown.
  • Add garlic, lemon zest and a pinch of salt, toss and cook for 30 seconds. Lean pan to the side and carefully blot any excess oil with a clean paper towel, held with tongs. To the pan add butter, red pepper flakes and water. Cover and cook about 1 min for crisp, 2 min for crisp tender or 3 min for very tender. Serve immediately.


Cutting the florets in half lengthwise through the stem gives more flat surface area for better caramelization. Make sure to leave a good amount of the stem attached, and not just the top part of the floret. 


Calories: 155kcalCarbohydrates: 8gProtein: 3gFat: 13gSaturated Fat: 5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0.2gCholesterol: 15mgSodium: 88mgPotassium: 375mgFiber: 3gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 956IUVitamin C: 103mgCalcium: 61mgIron: 1mg

Nutritional Disclaimer Kristin Maxwell of “Yellow Bliss Road” is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. For accurate calorie counts and other nutritional values, we recommend running the ingredients through your preferred online nutritional calculator. Calories and other nutritional values can vary depending on which brands were used.

Kristin Maxwell

Kristin Maxwell is the creator and main recipe developer, writer, and photographer of Yellow Bliss Road. A self-taught cook and self-appointed foodie, she specializes in easy, flavorful and approachable recipes for any home cook.

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