How to Floret Broccoli and Cauliflower, the Un-Messy Way

March  6, 2013

Inspired by conversations on the FOOD52 Hotline, we're sharing tips and tricks that make navigating all of our kitchens easier and more fun. 

Today: Get beautiful, evenly-sized broccoli and cauliflower florets -- every time.

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Broccoli and cauliflower are delicious in all of their forms: steamed, roasted, and sautéed. But tackling a whole head to attain evenly-shaped florets can be daunting.

This week, Kristen shows us how to kill two birds with one stone by effortlessly slicing florets off of a head of broccoli, as well as eliminating waste by portioning out the stem. Whether you're simply roasting broccoli florets or tossing them into a lemon parmesan soup, rest assured that you can now attack a head of broccoli without any hesitation. 

This video was shot and edited by Kyle Orosz.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Ed
  • SeaJambon
  • msmely
  • Stacey Snacks
    Stacey Snacks
  • Michael Hoffman
    Michael Hoffman

Written by: gheanna

My two (current) favorite foods start with the letter D: doughnuts, and dumplings. If a dish has bacon in it, I will most likely eat it. If I could marry honey butter, I would.


Ed February 24, 2014
I've been cooking broccoli for 30 or 40 years and eating it even longer. My favorite method is pot sticker style. I cut up some fresh broccoli into florets, including the stems, and heat up a large frying pan. When a drop of water dances I spray with canola and throw in the broccoli. I leave it untouched for, at least, 5 minutes. In the meantime I mix about a half teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper and a teaspoon of kosher salt into a third cup of very hot water. After 5 minutes I dump in the seasoned water and cover tightly. In about another 5 minutes the water will be gone and the broccoli will be done.
SeaJambon March 7, 2013
We usually use a veg peeler to remove the outer skin of the stalk. The stalk is wonderful in a number of applications. They can be roasted as is (w/olive oil, S&P) or sliced in disks and then used in a cream of broccoli soup (ultimately pureeing the cooked broccoli). I'm old enough that whenever broccoli was served (usually boiled -- we can be glad that is part of the past) it included the stalks. As a child, you were expected to eat the entire broccoli, not just the heads.
msmely March 6, 2013
There's a less wasteful way of peeling the bark off. If you wedge a small paring knife between the bark and the meat, you can press the bark against the flat of the knife with your thumb and peel it off in strips. It comes off quite easily and you don't waste as much meat.
Kristen M. March 7, 2013
Thanks for the tip -- I'm trying that next time!
Stacey S. March 6, 2013
Great video! I love the broccoli stalks the best.
Michael H. March 6, 2013
This rules.
Soliloquy O. March 6, 2013
I love the stem, THE best part, imo...very few stem pieces actually make it to the pan, I always end up snacking them while making dinner.
BlueKaleRoad March 6, 2013
Love this, thanks for sharing, Kristen! I wish I'd seen it last night before chopping a huge amount of broccoli and making a rather large mess. Next time it'll all look beautiful!
Kenzi W. March 6, 2013
Broccoli has never looked so glamorous. (That shot at the end? Oof.)
foxeslovelemons March 6, 2013
I just made the BEST broccoli EVER yesterday, and I used a method very similar to this!