How to cook broccolini

June 11, 2024
by HelloFresh How to cook

    Broccoli, Bellaverde broccoli, broccoli spears, broccolini, baby broccoli, Tenderstem, slender-stem… if you’re into your brassicas, there are a lot of choices out there. Although it’s easy to think they’re all the same, just with a different look, this is far from true. Did you know that broccolini is actually a cross between broccoli and another entirely different vegetable? Read on to find out exactly what broccolini is, the best way to cook it, how long to cook it for and some recipe inspiration.

    What is broccolini?

    Broccolini is sometimes confused with Bellaverde broccoli. In reality, the two are very different things. Bellaverde broccoli is a younger broccoli. After the main broccoli head is harvested, new shoots are encouraged to grow, and it’s these shoots that produce Bellaverde broccoli. On the other hand, Broccolini is a hybrid of two different plants. Developed in Japan, it’s a plant that was bred by crossing broccoli and Chinese kale. The result? A style of broccoli that has far more flavour than its large-headed cousin. 

    Broccolini has a flavour that’s different from regular broccoli, but the texture is different, too: it has far more crunch than the florets that come from a standard broccoli head. 

    How to cook broccolini

    Whether you steam, boil or fry, the best way to cook long-stem broccoli depends on your preference and the recipe you’re creating. Here are three cooking methods to get you started.

    How to steam broccolini

    Steaming is a great way to cook broccolini: it keeps the nutrients locked in and allows you to cook the stems to your desired consistency. 

    1. Bring a saucepan of water to boil.
      2. While the water is coming to a boil, rinse your broccolini well. Place it into a colander or steaming pan on top of the boiling water and cover with a lid.
      3. Steam for 3-4 minutes, until bright green, then remove from the pan. If you prefer a softer texture, simply steam for a few minutes longer.

    How to fry broccolini

    Sauteed broccolini has incredible flavour, and this cooking method allows you to keep its crunchy texture.

    1. Wash your broccolini. You can keep the stems whole or slice them into smaller pieces. 
    2. Place a wok over medium-high heat. Add a drizzle of oil, and when hot, add your broccoli. Stir well to coat the stems in the oil. 
    3. Stir-fry for five minutes. If you wish, you can add soy sauce, chillies or any other seasoning you choose. 
    4. When green and tender, remove from the wok and serve.

    How to boil broccolini

    Cooking broccolini in a pan of boiling water is one of the simplest ways to cook it—just be sure not to overcook it.

    1. Wash the broccolini and add to a pan of boiling water. 
    2. Boil for 3-4 minutes. After this time, poke the broccoli with the pointed end of a knife to check the texture. Cook for a minute or two longer if you prefer it more tender. 
    3. Drain with a colander and add the seasoning of your choice before serving.

    Broccolini in smoothies

    Besides being an excellent accompaniment to lunches and dinners, broccolini is a wonderful, nutrient-packed addition to a smoothie. Mix 4 or 5 florets of broccolini (either cooked or raw), a cored apple, 250ml coconut water and one teaspoon of grated ginger in a blender until smooth.

    Broccolini cooking time

    The time it takes to cook broccolini depends on your cooking method. Boiling or steaming will take 3-4 minutes, while you should allow five minutes for frying. It’s always best to underestimate your cooking time and check the texture regularly to find your preference.


    All cooking appliances vary. These are guidelines only. Ensure the food is piping hot before serving. Do not reheat.

    Broccolini recipes

    Whether you’re a meat eater or are planning a vegetarian meal, there’s a whole host of broccolini and broccoli recipes you’re sure to love. Here’s how to serve it as a simple side dish or a main meal.

    Have these recipes tantalised your taste buds? For more broccolini recipes and others, visit the HelloFresh recipes page.


    All food products vary. The instructions printed on the food packaging always supersedes those printed in this article and must always be followed.
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