How Do You Parboil Broccoli?

Amber Bracegirdle | Bluebonnet Baker

Parboiling broccoli takes it from fresh to perfect for roasting, frying, or even freezing. It cooks up easily after that, making it the perfect weeknight veg for everything from stir fry to sheet pan dinners.

Parboiled broccoli might not be the first thing you think of when you're trying to meal plan, but it can be pretty clutch to a great meal. Especially if you're thinking stir fry or a sheet pan dinner.

Broccoli was not always my favorite vegetable, but as I’ve gotten older, those little trees have really grown on me. Ha!  

But they’ve long been my nephew’s favorite vegetable, so we eat a lot of it whenever he’s over. If that kid is willing to eat green things on my watch? I’ll do whatever it takes to make it happen.

My grandmother used to steam broccoli with a bit of soy sauce and parmesan. Believe it or not, it’s amazing.

Roasted Broccoli and Cauliflower is one of the most popular recipes here on Food Fanatic, but we have plenty of other recipes featuring this famous member of the cabbage family.

Roasted Broccoli & Cauliflower Photo

Just a quick look at the archives here on Food Fanatic will prove to you just many ways you can enjoy broccoli in everything from sides to stews.

What is parboiling?

What is parboiling, anyway? It’s quite simple, really. Parboiling is the act of partially boiling, or precooking, some type of food.

You can parboil most any vegetable or grain, be it rice, sweet potatoes, potatoes, carrots, mixed vegetables, Brussels sproutsgreen beans or peppers.

Can you parboil meat? You sure can! It's fairly common to parboil chickenchicken wingsribsbrats or sausage before finishing in the oven or on the grill.

Why do I need to parboil my broccoli?

We parboil for a few simple reasons:

  • We want to freeze a large portion of produce, but make it easy to cook from frozen.
  • We’re planning ahead, for meal prep purposes.
  • Some starches may take too long to cook if only cooked using another method, such as roasting.

How is parboiling different from blanching?

When you parboil, you boil the broccoli in salted water for a few minutes. Blanching is different in that you’d then submerge the broccoli in ice water to immediately stop the cooking process.

How to Parboil Broccoli Picture

How to Parboil Broccoli:

  1. Wash and chop the head of broccoli into small florets (or purchase pre-cut).
  2. Bring a saucepan 3/4 of the way full of clean, cold water to a boil.
  3. Add a pinch of salt to the water.
  4. Add broccoli to the water and boil for 3 minutes.
  5. Drain and cool.

How do I use my parboiled broccoli?

You can do lots of things with parboiled broccoli, which makes this fantastic for meal planning. Days, weeks, or even months ahead of time you can plan out a week’s worth of meals involving this earthy vegetable, and it takes only a few minutes to prep.

How to Freeze Parboiled Broccoli:

  1. Pat drained broccoli dry.
  2. Line a jelly roll pan lined with parchment paper or a Silpat liner.
  3. Spread the florets of broccoli out on the pan, making sure they are evenly spread and not touching.
  4. Freeze for 2-4 hours.
  5. Remove from the freezer and place in ziptop bags. Make sure to label and use within 2-3 months.

How to Cook with Parboiled Broccoli:

Roasted Broccoli with Buttery Bread Crumbs Pic
  1. Season, then roast with other vegetables or meats at 400°F for 10 minutes.
  2. Stir-fry with soy sauce, oyster sauce, or white wine sauce and other vegetables and meats.
  3. Sauté with chunks of chicken and sweet potatoes for an easy one-pan supper.
  4. Enjoy in a chicken stew with lots of other vegetables.

Parboil Recipes

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Amber Bracegirdle

About Amber

Amber is a native Texan, born to a family of fabulous cooks. She shares her love of all things Tex-Mex and Southern both on her blog, Bluebonnet Baker, and here on Food Fanatic. She heavily endorses the use of the contraction "y'all".