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How to Make the Perfect Boiled Cauliflower Every Time

Boiled cauliflower recipe is a simple and light side dish, ideal for the winter period: a quick preparation, which allows you to make a healthy and easy side dish in a short time.

boiled cauliflower recipe


What You Need For This Cauliflower Recipe

Cauliflower head: Choose a whole cauliflower that is free of blemishes and has a flower that should feel firm and uniform in color with green leaves and a firm stem, and perfectly closed tops.

You can also use frozen cauliflower for this recipe, but I always prefer fresh vegetables.

Salt & black pepper: To give flavor to the dish.

Olive oil: I make a healthy salad with this cooked cauliflower, but below you can find many options for using boiled cauliflower for other recipes.

Garlic & Fresh Herb: As fresh herbs I chose parsley, a great pairing with cauliflower.

You can choose the herbs you like best, Italian seasoning or curry powder is perfect for flavoring cauliflower with a touch of spice.

How To Cook Cauliflower

  • How to boil cauliflower: Clean the cauliflower by removing the outer leaves and core.

Cut it into florets, wash it and boil it in salted boiling water for about 10 to 15 minutes at medium-high heat (The cooking time of the cauliflower varies depending on the size of the florets, large florets take more long to cook).

Check the cooking of the cauliflower with a fork.

When the cauliflower is tender, drain the cook cauliflower florets in a colander and let it cool at room temperature.

drain the boiled cauliflower

Season it with an emulsion of oil, salt, garlic, parsley and balsamic vinegar, or just a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of salt.

  • Simple steamed cauliflower recipe: Steaming allows you to keep the properties of cauliflower almost unchanged.

Place a pot with 3 cups of water on the stove; you can also flavor it with bay leaves or lemon.

Place the steamer basket on top, then spread the cauliflower.

Cover the pot and let it come to a boil.

From there count 6 to 8 minutes and start checking by poking the cauliflower with the tip of a knife.

steamed cauliflower recipe
  • Easy Microwave Cauliflower: Microwaving is the easy way to cook and retains all the properties of cauliflower.

In a large microwave-safe bowl, put the cauliflower and add 1 cup of water.

Cover the bowl with  parchment paper and then with cling film to create a tight fitting lid.

Cook on highest power for 3 minutes.

Take the bowl out, shake it to mix the cauliflower inside and cook 1 to 2 minutes more.


  • To cook cauliflower without it giving off that typical, often unwelcome smell, you can resort to a number of tricks and strategies, such as adding a few drops of juice or some lemon zest or some bay leaves to the cooking water. 
  • Cut the florets the same size for even cooking
  • Do not overcook cauliflower. In fact, if enjoyed al dente, it retains all its beneficial properties and is even more digestible.

Variation – Boiled Cauliflower Recipes

With boiled cauliflower, many simple and very tasty recipes can be made.

Recipes such as these delicious and crunchy bread crumbs cauliflower bites, which are perfect for an appetizer or as a side dish for the picky eaters who don’t want to eat their vegetables. 

Another way to use cooked cauliflower is to use it to season pasta; this is a Sicilian recipe my grandmother used to make for me, enriched with garlic and bacon for a delicious pasta and cauliflower main dish.

My favorite way is to add some cheese sauce and parmesan cheese on top and then bake them for about 10 minutes in the oven for a delicious side dish.

What To Serve With Cauliflower

This boiled cauliflower is a great healthy side dish, for a more colorful side dish, you can add boiled carrots, which pair well with cauliflower.

It is a great choice as a side dish to accompany meat or fish dishes.

This recipe is fantastic with classic BBQ dish like this smoked baby back ribs.

I find it a great pairing with these pork chops that you can cook three ways or this chicken cordon bleu air fryer, but I also find it perfect to accompany these eggplant rolls for a vegetarian dinner.


Why does cauliflower smell when it is cooked?

Cauliflower, as well as all cabbage, stinks when cooked because it contains sulfur compounds: during cooking, these compounds are released, causing the typical and equally unpleasant odor.

Can you steam frozen cauliflower?

Yes, perfect for preparing a delicious last-minute side dish. No need to defrost, you can cook it straight from the freezer.

What is the best way to cook cauliflower without losing nutrients?

Of the three ways listed, the best way not to lose the nutrients is to steam cauliflower. Steaming, due to the fact that the vegetable is not submerged in water, does not lose the minerals and antioxidant compounds in cauliflower, which if boiled would be lost in the water.

Storing and freezing

Cooked cauliflower will keep in the refrigerator, tightly covered with foil or in an airtight container, for 2-3 days.

If we want to freeze it, however, only need to blanch it, without adding salt to the cooking water, for 3-4 minutes. Once cooled, we can store in the freezer it for several months.

Easy Recipe: How to Boil Cauliflower


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Yield: 4

Boiled Cauliflower

boiled cauliflower recipe with herbs close photo

If you want to learn how to make boiled cauliflower, then this simple recipe will show you. Quick, easy and tastes delicious!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes


  • 1 Fresh head of cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 4 Tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt & Black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped Parsley
  • 1 Garlic cloves


  1. Clean the whole head of cauliflower by removing all the green leaves and the core,
  2. Chop the cauliflower florets and place in a colander and rinse well under running water.
  3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, adding a few drops of lemon juice (this will help reduce the cooking odor of the cauliflower).
  4. Add the cauliflower and cook for 10 to 15 minutes (depending on the size of the florets) or until tender if pierced with a fork. It is important not to overcook the cauliflower or it will lose its nutritional value.
  5. Prepare the dressing with olive oil, minced garlic, chopped parsley and balsamic vinegar.
  1. Drain and nd give it a quick rinse under cool water to stop the cooking process, leave to cool.
  2. The cooked cauliflower is ready to be seasoned and eaten.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 155Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 168mgCarbohydrates: 6gFiber: 3gSugar: 3gProtein: 3g

Nutrition is automatically calculated by Nutritionix - please verify all nutrition information independently and consult with a doctor or nutritionist for any and all medical and diet advice.

Did you make this recipe?

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Sunday 19th of March 2023

Perfect directions. Nothing worse than mushy cauliflower!


Saturday 18th of March 2023

This came out super tender and delicious - definitely bookmarking this recipe.


Sunday 19th of March 2023

Thank you :)


Saturday 18th of March 2023

I am always looking to eat more veggies, so this cauliflower recipe was great! I loved how quick, easy and convenient it was!


Saturday 18th of March 2023

Thank you :)

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