How To Steam Cauliflower (w/ Herb Recipe!)

Steaming cauliflower is a quick and easy process to get nutritious veggies for your next dinner. When you steam cauliflower, it’s a more gentle way of cooking to keep a lot of the healthy antioxidants and vitamins in your veggies. 

plate of steamed cauliflower with herbs

Tips for Perfect Steamed Cauliflower

steamy bamboo steamer

One big tip when steaming cauliflower is to wait until the water is already boiling and the steam is escaping the top of the lid BEFORE adding the florets. This prevents overcooking the cauliflower because you can more precisely gauge your cooking time.

Conversely, if you put the veggies in while the water is cold, the time variance between stoves, steamers etc. could mean that you have your veggies on the steam way longer than how we or others developed the recipe.

If you don’t have a steamer you can create a makeshift steamer with three pieces of aluminum, a large pot with a lid, and a heat-safe plate that fits inside the pot. Roll each piece of aluminum into a ball that’s at least 2 inches wide. Place them inside the pot in the shape of a triangle. Fill the pot with water until it reaches the top of the foil. Put the plate on top and cover it with a lid. Use this as a traditional steamer once the water is boiling.  

How Long to Steam Cauliflower

arranging cauliflower on a steamer

Steaming time for fresh cauliflower typically depends on the size of your cauliflower florets. Try to cut your head of cauliflower into florets that are one to two-inch pieces; This size of cauliflower florets is easier to eat because they’re bite-sized and also only take about 5-7 minutes to steam. You also want to keep the cauliflower in even shaped and sized pieces to help them all finish cooking at the same time.

Is It Better To Boil or Steam Cauliflower?

poking cauliflower with fork for doneness

Boiling vegetables can cause its water-soluble nutrients (like vitamin c) to degrade, but a study found that steaming helped preserve more nutrients at the end of cooking. If you want to keep as many nutrients in your vegetables as cauliflower, then steaming is the way to go because it provides a more gentle way of cooking.

Does Cauliflower Take Longer To Steam Than Broccoli?

If you already have experience steaming broccoli, then you’re in for some luck because it takes about the same time to steam cauliflower. For cauliflower and broccoli florets that are 1 to 2 inches in size, you can steam both of them for about 5-7 minutes until they’re al dente. 

Cauliflower Seasoning Recipe

tray of seasoning for cauliflower

What’s great about steamed cauliflower is that it’s the perfect blank canvas to build on different flavors. To add extra flavor to your cauliflower, sprinkle on some aromatic and tasty herbs and spices to your florets. 

An easy and accessible seasoning mix is a combination of spices and herbs that you most likely can already find in your cupboard: garlic powder, onion powder, dried basil, dried oregano, and salt. Don’t let this mix of spices stop your experimenting, you can also add parmesan cheese, paprika, cayenne, rosemary, thyme, and many more to your cauliflower.

seasoned steamed cauliflower
seasoned steamed cauliflower
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Herby Steamed Cauliflower

Learn how to make steamed cauliflower in under 10 minutes and make it extra flavorful with some seasoning!
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword steamed vegetables
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 40kcal


  • cutting board and knife
  • bowl for submerging florets
  • Mixing bowl
  • steamer & pot


  • 1 head cauliflower
  • water


  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp dried basil
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt


  • Remove and discard the green leaves around the cauliflower by peeling them off or cutting them off the stem. Cut the cauliflower head into florets of the same sizes so they steam evenly, about 1-2 inches.
    chopping up cauliflower
  • Wash the florets under running water then submerge in clean water for 5 minutes to thoroughly get all the crevices clean.
    soaking cauliflower in water
  • In a pot add about 2 inches of water and add the steamer. Bring the water to a boil.
    steamy bamboo steamer
  • Once you see steam coming through the lid, open the steamer and add the cauliflower florets so that none are touching each other or stacked on top of each other. Cover with a lid and steam for 5 minutes.
    arranging cauliflower on a steamer
  • Test doneness by piercing one cauliflower with a fork or knife. It should pierce easily without feeling mushy. If it’s too hard to pierce, continue to cook for another 1-2 minutes and retest. Remove once they’re done.
    poking cauliflower with fork for doneness
  • Mix the seasoning ingredients together and sprinkle onto the florets. Mix until covered with seasoning and serve immediately.
    mixed cauliflower seasoning


Calories: 40kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 189mg | Potassium: 448mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 5IU | Vitamin C: 69mg | Calcium: 40mg | Iron: 1mg