How to Steam Cauliflower in the Microwave [7 Easy Steps]

How to Steam Cauliflower in the MicrowaveNo one likes cooking cauliflower. The flavor isn’t anything to write home about; the texture is strange and sometimes stringy.

Worse yet, those pesky water droplets on the bottom of the pot never seem to come off without scrubbing.

Well, if you need a healthy side dish that’s fast and convenient, try steaming it in your microwave. It takes minutes and tastes great with any meal. Here’s how to steam cauliflower in the microwave.

Clean and trim your cauliflower into bite-sized portions. Put them in a microwavable bowl with about 1/4 cup of water for every head of cauliflower. Cover with plastic wrap or a plate, leaving a vent for steam to escape. Nuke on high for 5 minutes, piercing periodically to check for doneness. The florets should be tender but not mushy.

And that’s just about it! It’s fast, easy, and healthy – everything you could want from a side dish.

This article will go over these steps and provide some helpful hints for perfecting your steamed cauliflower. We’ll also address a few common concerns regarding steaming cauliflowers using microwaves.

Let’s get started.

Can You Microwave Cauliflower?

How to Steam Cauliflower in the MicrowaveIf you have ever been skeptical about the idea of microwaving cauliflower, you are likely not alone. There is much discourse about whether it is safe to microwave vegetables such as cauliflower. The short answer is yes; it’s perfectly safe.

Microwaving your cauliflower is much more convenient than steaming it on the stove, not to mention just as healthy. If you’re in a hurry or don’t have a way to steam food on your stovetop, using the microwave is a viable option. The result; is tender, delicious cauliflower that’s ready for your next meal.

Cauliflower is a vegetable low in calories and high in nutrients. It’s also easy to digest, making it great for people who have trouble with certain foods. While steaming cauliflower on your stovetop is an option, using your microwave is even more convenient.

Tips on How to Steam Cauliflower in the Microwave

How to Steam Cauliflower in the MicrowaveAs the old saying goes, there’s more than one way to skin a cat. And when it comes to cooking vegetables that holds as well. While other methods of steaming cauliflower exist (e.g., using a stovetop or pressure cooker), using your microwave is super easy and fast.

Here are some tips and precautions to help you get started.


  • Before steaming your cauliflower, clean it thoroughly (i.e., remove any dirt, leaves, or other debris). You can also cut off any brown spots or stems that might be present. Just make sure you don’t cut too much off. Doing so will result in a less-than-appetizing appearance and texture.
  • Cut your cauliflower into roughly equal-sized florets. The smaller they are, the faster they steam through and become tender enough to eat. However, be careful not to cut them too small, or you’ll have mushy results.
  • Add one tablespoon of water for every two cups of cauliflower florets (or one cup for every four cups). This is only a general guideline, though. Depending on how many pieces you have and how large they are, you may need more or less.
  • Covering your bowl/container with plastic wrap or a lid will help trap heat inside and speed up steaming time. Be sure to leave room for steam to escape, so it doesn’t build up pressure inside your container and cause it to explode.
  • Steam your cauliflower until it reaches your desired level of tenderness. This should take anywhere from 3 to 5 minutes, depending on how big and thick your florets are. The smaller they are, the faster they will cook through.
  • Don’t forget to check your cauliflower after 3 minutes by taking off its cover and gently poking at it with a fork. It should pierce easily. If it doesn’t, put it back in for another minute or two before checking again.
  • A microwave steamer basket makes things easier, but feel free to use a microwave-safe dish or bowl if you don’t have one. Just keep an eye on it and regularly check to avoid overcooking.
  • For best results, use fresh cauliflower with no wilt or bruising signs. You don’t want it too old because it will not be as tasty and tender. If you use frozen cauliflower florets, thaw them before steaming them in your microwave.

How Long To Steam Cauliflower

How to Steam Cauliflower in the MicrowaveSteaming is one of the fastest cooking methods for vegetables, making it a convenient way to prepare healthy side dishes. While steaming is also possible on stovetops and other appliances, microwaving offers an easy alternative when you’re short on time.

Generally, it will take between 4 and 5 minutes to steam a cauliflower head in your microwave.

However, the time required will vary depending on how much cauliflower you’re preparing and your microwave model. Also, whether your vegetable is frozen or defrosted can make a difference in steaming times.

Let’s look at these factors closely to know exactly what to expect when steaming cauliflower in your microwave.

1. How Much Cauliflower Are You Steaming?

When it comes to microwaving vegetables, it’s all about the quantity. The more food you prepare, the longer it will take for your microwave to steam.

2. Is Your Cauliflower Frozen Or Defrosted?

If you’re starting with a frozen vegetable, expect to add time to your cooking time. It takes longer for steam to penetrate frozen foods than those thawed first.

3. What Kind of Microwave Do You Have?

Because different models have different features, some might be better for steaming than others. The difference is most notable in wattage: Higher-wattage microwaves cook faster than lower-wattage ones.

How to Steam Cauliflower in Microwave (Step by Step)

Now that we’ve established that it’s possible and safe to steam cauliflower in a microwave let’s talk about how to do it. The process is pretty simple, and the result is tender-crisp florets with almost no effort on your part.

So, here is a simple guide on how to steam cauliflower in a microwave:

Step 1: Thoroughly Clean Your Vegetable

You’ll want to rinse your cauliflower under cool water and cut away any leaves or stems that are starting to look a little rough. This will ensure even steaming. Then, before moving on to step two, pat it dry with a kitchen towel.

Step 2: Cut into Smaller Pieces

For your cauliflower to cook evenly, you’ll want to cut it into smaller pieces. Use a sharp knife and carefully trim away any leaves or stems that are still attached.

Then, cut it up into small florets about 1/2-inch wide. However, you don’t have to be super precise with your cuts; just do your best.

Step 3: Put Your Cauliflower in a Microwavable Bowl

You’ll want to put your cauliflower florets into a microwave-safe bowl or dish that is big enough for them all to fit without being too crowded. If your microwave comes with a steaming tray, you can use that instead but make sure it’s clean and dry.

Step 4: Add a Little Water

Now, you’ll want to add just enough water to your bowl or tray to come up about 1/2-inch on all sides. Water helps create steam and keeps your cauliflower from sticking to its container.

Step 5: Cover Your Bowl or Steaming Tray

To keep your cauliflower from drying out, you’ll want to cover it with a microwave-safe lid or plastic wrap. However, leave enough room for steam to escape so that it doesn’t build up inside and cause an explosion. If you’re using a steaming tray, make sure there are holes in it for steam to escape.

Step 6: Steam Your Cauliflower

Put your bowl or tray into your microwave and set a timer for about 4-5 minutes. Check on it after 3 minutes and then every minute until you can easily insert a fork into one of your florets. If they’re not done yet, continue checking at 1-minute intervals until they are.

Final Step: Remove Your Cauliflower from the Microwave

Once your cauliflower is done, remove it from your microwave and let it cool for a few minutes before serving. If you like, you can season it with salt or pepper, but that’s entirely optional. Enjoy!

Faqs on How to Steam Cauliflower in the Microwave

1. How do you steam cauliflower without a steamer?

How to Steam Cauliflower in the MicrowaveIf you don’t have a vegetable steamer, you can use your microwave instead. All you need is one small head of cauliflower, a microwave-safe bowl or plate, and some water.

Other methods for steaming include using a colander over boiling water on the stovetop or an electric skillet. However, a microwave is the easiest and quickest way to steam vegetables.


2. Is it better to steam or boil cauliflower?

Steaming cauliflower is an easy and healthy way to prepare it. You don’t need much more than a microwave-safe dish, water, and a steamer rack for added convenience. Unlike boiling, steaming preserves the cauliflower’s nutrients and reduces bitterness by preventing overcooking.

3. How long does it take to steam raw cauliflower?

It will take about 4-5 minutes to steam a raw cauliflower head. The time, however, can vary depending on how much cauliflower you are steaming and your microwave’s wattage. Check the owner’s manual for instructions specific to your model.

4. Can you eat cauliflower raw?

Yes, you can eat cauliflower raw. It is worth noting that cooking will make it more palatable and easier to digest. If you want to consume raw cauliflower, consider lightly steaming or stir-frying it before eating.

5. What can you cook in a microwave steamer?

You can steam various food items in your microwave steamer. Vegetables, such as broccoli and cauliflower, cook exceptionally well. Shrimp, salmon, seafood also tastes great when cooked with your microwave steamer.

You can make almost any type of food using a microwave steamer; it just takes some creativity and ingenuity.

6. How do you improvise a steamer?

How to Steam Cauliflower in the MicrowaveIf you don’t have a steamer, you can improvise by putting a lid on top of a pot and poking holes. Alternatively, you could use a colander and set it over a pot.

In both cases, make sure your pot has enough water in it so that when you cook your cauliflower, steam is produced.


7. How do you steam cauliflower on the stove?

Clean and trim cauliflower into florets. Fill a pot with an inch of water, put a steamer basket or colander inside, and bring water to a simmer over high heat. Place cauliflower in the steamer basket, wrap, and steam for about 10-15 minutes until tender.

Remove from heat and season with salt, pepper, or butter if desired.

Final Thoughts

Steaming cauliflower using a microwave is a great way to preserve flavor and nutrients. The trick is making sure you don’t over-steam, which can cause waterlogged florets that fall apart when you try to add them to a dish.

Also, clean your cauliflower before steaming; dirt or grit, once cooked, will make for an unpleasant mouthfeel. When steamed correctly, cauliflower does have a mild, slightly sweet taste that goes well with many dishes.

We recommend using some spices to kick up its flavor even more. After all, no one likes bland food.

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