This easy Broccoli with Garlic and Lemon is one of my favorite go-to ways to jazz up simple steamed broccoli and my children absolutely love it! It’s naturally gluten-free and low carb too!

overhead closeup of broccoli in a white bowl with a lemon wedge

Last week, I was having one of those dog doo on the shoe days, getting a little too bent out of shape for my own good about dumb stuff like blue #1 in the only wasabi peas that they carried at Hannaford and oh my goodness could this line at UPS be any longer. Hi my name is Katie, I have a furrowed brow and I am from the town of grouch city.


Then my friend told me she had unexpectedly lost her family member to a freak car accident. He had died the night before and she had gotten the call that very morning. She was barely holding it together. I was immediately brought back to earth and reminded to keep all the little things in perspective. To focus more on the positive amazing wonderful things I have in my life and to not sweat the small stuff.


When I got home, I had planned to work on my ever mounting pile of things to do, but all I really wanted to do was cook and take some pictures. So I made my daughter’s favorite broccoli recipe with lemon and broccoli. It is so easy it doesn’t require a lot of patience or brain power or skill for that matter. Perfect for my mood. And the smell of cooking garlic is enough to get even the grouchiest people out of their funks.

Lemon Garlic broccoli in a white bowl from the side

Buying and Storing Broccoli 

When is Broccoli in Season?

Broccoli, while available commercially year round, is actually in season in mid to late summer and into the fall. It is cold hearty and can withstand frost. 

Buying Broccoli at the Grocery Store

  • I recommend that you look for broccoli crowns because they have less stem so you waste less.
  • While I do like broccoli stems for their crunch in certain recipes, in this one I prefer the florets because they soak the lemon garlic sauce up.
  • Make sure the broccoli is not limp. Broccoli comes packed in chipped ice to keep it fresh. If you see droplets of water on it, that’s a good sign that the produce department just put it out, or that it is getting sprayed by the automatic system. Both are good signs.
  • Avoid any bunches or crowns that are black or yellowing- this is a sign that they are over the hill. 

Buying Broccoli at the Farmers’ Market

It is not common to see broccoli crowns at Farmers’ Markets. Instead the broccoli is often bunched with stems attached. You’ll often notice that it has more tender leafy greens along the stems. This is normal. Just keep in mind that you may need to buy two bunches, to get 5 cups of florets, as you’ll end up with stem waste. Save the stems to make slaw. 

sprouting broccoli growing in the field

You may also see Sprouting Broccoli which doesn’t look like a broccoli head or crown, instead it is individual thin stalks with florets. See photo above. This recipe would work just fine with sprouting broccoli or broccolini. Broccolini and Sprouting Broccoli are similar in appearance, but they are not the same thing. Either works, but chop the stems into 1-inch lengths. 

Storing Broccoli

When you bring broccoli home, make sure it is not excessively wet and then store it in plastic in the produce drawer. It should stay fresh up to a week. 

If your broccoli is limp, let it soak in a bowl of cold water for 45 minutes. It will firm up nicely. 

Can I Steam Frozen Broccoli?

The texture of frozen broccoli is too limp to use for steaming. When broccoli is frozen the water in the cells expands, and bursts the cell structure. So when it is thawed out, it is mushy. Frozen broccoli is better used in recipes like my Macaroni and Cheese with Broccoli or Mashed Broccoli with Garlic

How to Make Easy Lemon Garlic Broccoli

Steam The Broccoli

Steam it in a large pot over boiling water with a steamer basket. Make sure the water level is below the line of the broccoli. Cover and steam until it is just tender.

Meanwhile Make the Garlic and Lemon Mixture

  1. Chop the garlic, you’ll need a whole tablespoon full!
  2. Then sizzle it in hot olive oil in a small skillet. Keep an eye on it so it doesn’t get too brown, then transfer it to a big bowl to stop it from cooking any more.
  3. Add in the lemon to cool it down.
  4. Then you can add in the zest, salt and pepper.

Mix and Serve

Once the broccoli is done, add it to the lemon mixture and toss it to coat. Serve it immediately.

Steps To Make Steamed Broccoli with Lemon and Garlic

Make Ahead Instructions

This broccoli can be made ahead, but the lemon will cause the broccoli to turn yellowish. While it will still taste great, it won’t be pretty.

To Meal Prep This Recipe:

Cut the broccoli into florets and seal in a ziplock bag or glass resealable container. The lemon can be zested and juiced. If desired, you can combine the juice and zest in a jar. The garlic is best chopped and cooked at the last minute

More Easy Vegetable Side Dishes

lemon garlic broccoli from the side

If you love broccoli these are a couple of my favorite broccoli recipes:


Thank you for reading. Please come back and leave a review and star rating if you make this recipe. It helps so much and I really appreciate it! If you’re new here you may want to sign up for my email list or follow me on instagram to keep up with the latest posts.

Happy Cooking!


overhead closeup of broccoli in a white bowl with a lemon wedge

lemon garlic broccoli

  • Author: Katie Webster
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 4 cups 1x
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: American


Easy Broccoli with Garlic and Lemon- it’s a simple way to make steamed broccoli taste incredible and the kids will love it too! Naturally gluten-free and paleo.



  • 5 cups raw broccoli, cut into florets
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1 ½ teaspoon lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest
  • rounded ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste


  1. Bring 1 to 2 inches of water to a boil in a large saucepan fitted with a steamer attachment. Add broccoli, cover and steam until crisp tender, 3 ½ to 4 1/2 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil and garlic in a medium skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Cook until the garlic is fragrant and just starting to brown, 30 to 90 seconds. Scrape garlic mixture into a large bowl. Immediately add lemon juice. Add lemon zest, salt and pepper.
  3. Stir broccoli into the lemon mixture and stir to coat. Serve hot.


Watch the garlic closely, and as soon as it starts to brown, scrape it into the bowl to prevent it from continuing to cook and brown more. If it gets too dark it will taste bitter.


  • Serving Size: 1 cup
  • Calories: 70
  • Sugar: 2 g
  • Sodium: 182 mg
  • Fat: 3 g
  • Saturated Fat: 0 g
  • Carbohydrates: 8 g
  • Fiber: 3 g
  • Protein: 3 g

up close broccoli platter