This Microwave Cauliflower recipe makes a lightning-quick, healthy side dish. And it comes out amazing...I am talking cauliflower that's crisp-tender and buttery. From prep, to microwaving, to eating, this cauliflower is done in under 10 minutes.
Steaming cauliflower in the microwave is a time saver for those busy mid-week family dinners. It bails me out many a night.
It's too bad that many people have misconceptions about steaming vegetables in the microwave. I hear things like...
"Vegetables cooked that quick can't be good."
"Microwaving will ruin the texture."
"You lose flavor by microwaving."
Boy, are these comments wrong!
Steaming cauliflower in the microwave turns out perfectly cooked cauliflower. I would argue that the texture and flavor is better than steaming the old fashioned way.
Look out family, there's a new vegetable in town...and it's called microwave cauliflower.
Here's an overview of what we're going to talk about:
How to trim cauliflower
Trim the stem
First thing we need to do is trim the stem and peel off any remaining leaves.
Next, cut the head in half.
Make sure that your knife passes through the center of the core.
Now, cut the halves in half.
We are quartering the head of cauliflower, always making sure to cut right through the center of the core.
Now, remove the core
Position your knife diagonally, just above the core and slice. Remove the core from all 4 pieces.
Pull apart the florets
Now just use your hands to pick off the florets.
Slice into desired size
Finally, you may want to cut some pieces in half or thirds depending on how small you want your finished pieces.
Cutting all the pieces in roughly the same size will ensure they all cook evenly when we microwave them.
Your cauliflower is now ready to be steamed in the microwave!
How to cook cauliflower in microwave
Follow the simple steps below and you will have crisp-tender cauliflower in under 5 minutes.
First, prep your steamer
Start by adding about an inch of water to the bottom of the container. Then set the colander inside.
Then, add the cauliflower
Let your cauliflower florets randomly scatter around inside your colander. Any extra space that is created from this random positioning is good because it allows for a more uniform cook.
Place steamer into microwave
After you've added the cauliflower, loosely cover the container and place it into the microwave.
How long to steam cauliflower
The exact cook time will vary depending on a few details:
- The size of your florets.
- How soft or crunchy you like it (we prefer ours crisp-tender)
- The power of your microwave.
A good starting point is to microwave for 4 minutes.
After your first batch, you can adjust this time up or down to match the level of doneness you prefer.
To check your cauliflower's doneness, remove a floret and poke it with a fork. There should be very little resistance. Or, do what Phil does and just pop a floret in your mouth! (but watch out: it's hot!)
Your cauliflower is cooked now, but it needs some flavor.
Carefully remove the colander with the hot cauliflower from inside the container and set it aside. Discard the remaining water inside the container.
While the cauliflower is still hot, dump it back into the same container (no need to dry or clean).
Personally, I keep my seasoning simple. I just add butter, salt and pepper.
Then I lid the container and toss the cauliflower around until the butter has melted and all the florets are well coated.
Leave the container covered to keep warm until serving.
There will be times you need to re-microwave your cauliflower after it has been seasoned: maybe the butter didn’t fully melt, or you just want it a bit hotter at dinner time. A quick 15-30 second re-heat (lid on) does the trick.
How to serve cauliflower
I like simplicity. Just serve it in a shallow bowl with a large serving spoon and you are good to go.
How to store leftover microwave cauliflower
You can store any leftover microwave cauliflower in the fridge or in the freezer. But remember to always let your cauliflower fully cool off before storing.
In the fridge
Within two hours of cooking, place any leftover cauliflower in an airtight container or zip lock bag. This will last 3-5 days in your refrigerator.
In the freezer
Microwave cauliflower freezes really well.
Put any leftovers in a freezer bag and squeeze out as much air as you can before sealing.
It will last up to a year in your freezer!
How to store raw cauliflower
If you aren't ready to microwave your cauliflower the same day as purchasing it, no problem.
Follow the points below and your cauliflower will last up to 5 days in your refrigerator.
- Always store your cauliflower with the stem facing up. This eliminates condensation from forming on the head which leads to discoloration and even decay.
- Do not store your cauliflower in a sealed bag or packaging. Cauliflower need to be able to breathe when resting in your refrigerator.
- If you purchased a sealed head of cauliflower, make multiple 3 inch cuts in the packaging.
- If you purchased cauliflower fresh, just add it to a large ziplock or leftover grocery bag and leave it open.
Is cauliflower low-carb?
It sure is!
1 cup of chopped cauliflower (½ inch pieces) has a total of 3.2 net carbs.
Added bonus: The butter, salt and pepper don't have any carbs, so season away.
Is cauliflower good for you?
Some of the main qualities of cauliflower include:
- It’s low in calories & high in nutrients
- Contains a good amount of antioxidants & fiber
Want more nutritional information? Check out Healthline’s article Top 8 health benefits of cauliflower.
Other microwave recipes
- Creamy Chicken Ramen Soup
- Dorm-Room Microwave Queso Spaghetti
- Creamy Microwave Macaroni & Cheese
- Healthy Dorm-Room Microwave Pasta
- 2 lb cauliflower head
- 2 tablespoon butter
- ¼ teaspoon salt (or to taste)
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper (or to taste)
- Trim the head of cauliflower, core, and break down into florets. Cut into 1" pieces (or smaller, if you prefer)
- Add 1 inch of water to the base of your microwavable steamer and add your cauliflower.
- Microwave on high for 4 minutes. Check for doneness according to your preference, microwaving an additional minute, if needed, to reach your desired tenderness.
- Remove steamer from microwave and carefully remove the colander with the hot cauliflower from the steamer.
- Discard the excess water remaining in the container. Re-add the hot cauliflower back to the container (no need to rinse or wipe out).
- Add your butter, salt, and pepper. Lid the container and vigorously shake the cauliflower until the butter, salt, and pepper fully coat all the florettes.
- Serve immediately.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 103Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 15mgSodium: 225mgCarbohydrates: 9gFiber: 5gSugar: 5gProtein: 4g
Nutrition data provided here is only an estimate: if you are tracking this information for medical purposes, please consult a trusted external source. Thanks!