Do I Have To Boil Broccoli For Stir Fry?


Stir frying is amazing having a meal ready to go in 5 minutes of cooking you just can’t beat it. It can be very healthy and you can get a well balanced meal with meat (or protein) and your vegetables.

Broccoli is one of those amazing vegetables that has unlimited health benefits, but it does need to be prepared right in order to be tasty.

So do you have to boil broccoli before stir frying?

No you do not need to boil stir fry before stir frying. All you need is a wok and some oil (preferably olive) to get the job done for tender delicious broccoli. 

  • Chop Florets 
  • Warm up oil in Wok
  • Toss In Broccoli 
  • Optional – Cover with lid to make extra tender and more quickly (3-5 minutes)

That really is all there is to it. You might not get it right the first time but all you need to do is taste test and see if it is soft enough for you before you stop cooking the stir fry.

Sometimes you don’t have fresh broccoli available so how about using frozen broccoli?

What Do I Do With Frozen Broccoli To Use In Stir Fry?

If you are going to go with frozen broccoli you should definitely go with the easy steamer kind. This way you can take the bag throw it in the microwave for 3-5 minutes then immediately go right into your wok to fry up a couple minutes and simmer in the sauce.

It is never a bad thing to use frozen as we always do so as a backup if fresh isn’t available. Fresh is always best then frozen then canned.

Frozen Broccoli Steps

  • Take bag out from freezer toss into microwave (right side up) for 4-6 minutes depending on size
  • After microwave timer get wok going with oil to get it heated
  • After a couple minutes toss broccoli into wok
  • Immediately put in sauce

*for certain steamers you may need to drain the extra moisture off the broccoli with a strainer so take this into consideration with the time. You can also wrap in paper towels if no access to strainer.

Real Answers From Actual Stir Fry Veterans

We also don’t only take our own opinions we have put the research in and scoured forums to find real answers from real people from places like Reddit, Discuss Cooking and Cooking Bites.

  1. Sunchine_Bear – What my Chinese mom does and that I copy is to sort of steam the stir-fry while cooking. Bit of oil, aromatics, spices. Hardy veg like broccoli – stir it around a bit, salt. The bottom of the pan should be dry now. Splash in a bit of water, a bit of soy sauce, scrape it around, put on lid. Cook with lid on for a couple min until veg is tender, but not too much…Remove lid, and let water cook off. Or I add a cornstarch slurry here if I want saucy veg. Makes flavourful tender broccoli.
  2. LateNightPhilosopher – HIS! I recently discovered this method while endeavoring to replace a lot of the carbs in my diet with healthier grilled veggies, but was also too lazy to steam the broccoli before stir frying lol This works perfectly for people like me who like it cooked but still crisp and that perfect bright green color
  3. _9a_ – Throw it in raw. Add it in when you do your more hardy veggies, like carrots, but before you add your more delicate ingredients, like any greens or bean sprouts
  4. Chunkyice – in chinese style cooking if you want to have the broccoli floret in a stir fry, we usually run the broccoli in boiling water for 30 secs to 1 min then go through ice bath and let dry to throw in the last 2 min of cooking before you add sauce.
  5. Marshmallowwisdom – Zap it in the microwave for a bit till it’s nearly completely tender, followed by an ice bath.
  6. Dontakethebait111 (also microwaves before) – This is my method, pretty sure it’s not optimal but it works, keen to try the other methods mentioned in this thread. Usually I buy frozen broccolis that are very small, I don’t know the strain or whatever, they’re called “stir fry broccoli”. It says on the package you can just throw it in frozen but that doesn’t work so great, hence the microwave.
  7. JoeKHunn – Boiling water for 2-3mins. Drop immediately into cold/ice water to stop the cooking. Remove and add to pan to stir-fry. I’ve done it both ways but I’ve honestly found this the best in achieving tender broccoli that absorbs some of the flavors around it.
  8. Laez – Blanched is better. Steamed is fine but the important part is the ice bath after. You want to stop the cooking.
  9. Littobubbo – Im Chinese and I would recommend you steam (if not using right away ice bath it to stop the cooking process to keep the color and texture) it until it’s crunchy and add it in last minute. This prevents you from overcooking everything else. Line cooks will have things precooked and add it in so they can cook it up quick. I doubt your wok is as hot as Chinese restaurants so don’t take the risk. It takes 4 minutes to cook broccoli, so if your other ingredients don’t need that much time you’re going to be overcooking things.
  10. Beachnut1234 – What kind of consistency did you want for your broccoli? There’s no harm in throwing it in raw as long as it gets cooked properly.
  11. Apocalypse-Cow – I do raw. If the pieces aren’t too big, they should cook just right during the stir fry.

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Related Questions

Do You Boil Vegetables Before Stir Fry?

Boiling vegetables before stir frying can be more of a consumer preference. I would try both ways to see what you like. More most vegetables cooking in a wok with oil for 4 or 5 minutes should be enough. However if you are a perfectionist blanching (quick boiling) your vegetables may be something you want to do ahead of time. Quick boiling will take the water out that dilutes the sauce used in a stir fry as well.

How Do You Cut Broccoli For Stir Fry?

For stir fry cutting up broccoli is pretty simple especially after you have done it several times. Cut the florets off (flower looking part) and cut into around 1 inch pieces. From there peel the outer layer of the stalk with a vegetable or potato peeler to get to the softer section. Then cut this into 1/4 inch thick sections by 1-2 inches long.

What Vegetables Do You Stir Fry First?

Vegetables that call for blanching like broccoli in your recipe can be cooked first along with any meats. Vegetables like onions you also want to cook first.

Final Thoughts

Don’t make too big a deal on this with broccoli as it is going to come down to what you like.

You can take the additional steps like steaming or blanching (quick boil) to make the broccoli more crispy or you can just try throwing them into the wok raw.

We like to put a lid on the wok and throw in raw most of the time since our stir fry’s are meant to be quick and easy with fewest amount of steps.

Others may not like this and we also learned a lot from the cooking forums.

Tab Winner

We are fun loving family that lives on a small farm and tries to be healthy. We are not fitness fanatics we are just trying to keep things simple especially with how busy our lives are. We have a few horses, a few dogs, and a young daughter along with a big extended family. Follow us on our journey. I hope you enjoy the website. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. Please check back for updates!

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