Garlic butter broccoli is a simple yet mouthwatering side dish that turns everyday veggies into a feast. This recipe is all about turning basic ingredients into something special that everyone will love and it pairs well with everything.

For more variety, give my Broccoli with garlic sauce and Frozen broccoli in air fryer a try. Both of them are super simple, flavorful, and nutritious!

Image shows garlic butter ed broccoli served in a plate with lemon wedges on the side.
Crisp tender broccoli tossed with extra garlicky lemon butter sauce…YUM!


Let’s make a tasty buttered broccoli dish with things you probably already have in your kitchen! We’ll use simple, easy-to-find ingredients to cook up something really yummy. Here’s what you’ll need:

Ingredients used for buttered garlic broccoli.
  • Fresh Broccoli Florets: The star of the dish, providing a hearty texture and a canvas for the flavors of the sauce.
  • Coarse Sea Salt: Enhances the natural flavor of the broccoli and the sauce, bringing out the depth in each bite.
  • Sliced Almonds: Add a delightful crunch and nutty contrast to the tender broccoli.
  • Olive Oil: Serves as the base for the sauce, adding richness and helping to evenly distribute the garlic flavor.
  • Butter or Ghee: Introduces a creamy texture and a luxurious, buttery taste that coats the broccoli beautifully.
  • Garlic Cloves: The key flavor component, offering a pungent, aromatic depth that makes the sauce irresistible.
  • Lemon Juice: Provides a bright, acidic balance to the rich butter and bold garlic, enhancing the overall freshness of the dish.
  • Ground Black Pepper: Adds a slight heat and complexity, rounding out the sauce’s flavor profile.

Substitutions and variations

  • Broccolini: A great choice if you’re looking for a twist. Dice and blanch the stems first, then move on to the florets. You can stick to the recipe from there.
  • Frozen Broccoli: Not the top pick because it’s not as crisp, but it’s a decent backup option. Use it straight from the freezer. Check out more info below.
  • Parmesan Cheese: For an extra cheesy kick, sprinkle over the top before serving. If you’re avoiding dairy, try my Paleo parmesan cheese made with cashews.
  • Herbs for Broccoli: Give your broccoli a flavor boost with a sprinkle of onion powder, ground parsley, chives, basil, sage, tarragon, or thyme after blanching.
  • Little Spicy: Add some heat with red pepper flakes or Korean gochugaru flakes for a smoky, less spicy touch. Or, pair it with my Garlic chili sauce for dipping.
  • Topping: Almonds provide a crunchy texture, but feel free to leave them out or swap for toasted pine nuts or sesame seeds if you need a nut-free option.

How to make garlic butter broccoli

Let me guide you through the steps to bring our Garlic and Butter Broccoli to life. It’s super simple, I promise, and the results? Delicious.

Person demos how to trim, blanch broccoli and make garlic butter sauce.
  1. Prep the Broccoli: If you’ve got pre-cut florets, give them a rinse and let them drain. If you’re starting with a whole head, check the recipe notes section for prep tips.
  2. Butter sauce for broccoli: In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, melted butter or ghee, grated garlic, lemon juice, sea salt, and black pepper. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed.
  3. Blanch the Broccoli: Bring a big pot of salted water to a boil. Toss in the broccoli florets (and stems, if you’ve got them) and blanch for 1.5 to 2 minutes—just until they’re bright green and tender but still crisp.
  4. Cool the Broccoli: Use a slotted spoon to fish out the broccoli and rinse it quickly under room temperature water. This stops the cooking process. Shake off the extra water and pop the broccoli into a large bowl.
  5. Add the Sauce: While the broccoli’s still warm, drizzle the garlic butter sauce over it. Toss everything together so the broccoli’s well coated. Let it sit for a couple of minutes to soak up all that flavor, then give it another toss.
  6. Finish and Serve: Season with a bit more salt if you like and sprinkle sliced almonds on top for crunch. Serve it up warm!

Other ways to cook broccoli

Let’s explore some alternative ways to cook broccoli, ensuring it’s flavorful and perfectly cooked every time. These methods are great for adapting the Garlic Butter Broccoli recipe based on what you have at home or your cooking preferences.

I. Use frozen broccoli

There are two methods to cook frozen broccoli with butter:

  • Microwave Method: Cook the frozen broccoli as per the package’s instructions, then drain well. Mix it with the lemon garlic butter sauce and add salt to your liking.
  • Air Fryer Method: Check out the Air Fryer Frozen Broccoli recipe. Cook the broccoli straight from the freezer—no thawing. Coat with butter sauce, then air fry at 400°F (204 °C) for 8 minutes, shake and continue for 6 more minutes.

II. Roasting the broccoli

Perfect for a big group. Coat the broccoli in olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread on a lined baking sheet without crowding. Roast in the oven at 400°F (204 °C) for 15-20 minutes, stirring halfway. Toss the roasted broccoli in lemon butter sauce, and if you like, mix the roasted broccoli with pasta and Parmesan for a hearty dish.

III. Sautee the broccoli (on the stove with butter)

Butter sauteed broccoli is also a good way to cook broccoli. Similar to my Chinese Garlic broccoli stir fry dish, start by heating butter and olive oil. Add minced garlic, then broccoli, and cook for 2 minutes. Pour in ¼ cup of chicken stock, cover, and steam over medium heat for 2 minutes to perfectly cook the inside without burning the outside.

IV. Steam the broccoli

Buttery steamed broccoli yields tender broccoli. Boil an inch of water in a large pan, season with salt, and place broccoli stems in the water, florets above. Cover and simmer for about 5 minutes. Drain then toss the steamed broccoli with butter sauce.

How to make ahead, store, and reheat

Getting your buttery garlic broccoli ready ahead of time, keeping it fresh, and warming it up just right are key to enjoying this dish whenever you want. Here’s how to do it:

  • Make-ahead: The lemon garlic butter sauce can stay fresh in the fridge for a whole week. Just warm it up gently in the microwave for a minute on low when you’re ready to use it. This way, it’ll mix perfectly with your broccoli. If you’re using a whole head of broccoli, you can get it prepped ahead of time too.
  • Storage: Got leftovers? No problem. Pack them up in an airtight container and pop them in the fridge. They’ll stay nice and tasty for up to 3 days.
  • Reheat: When it’s time to reheat, do it slowly in a pan on low heat with the lid on, or in the microwave. You just want to warm it up without cooking it more, so it keeps its yummy taste and crunchy texture.

What to serve with buttered garlic broccoli

Finding the perfect partners for our Garlic Butter Broccoli is easy and can turn a simple side into a feast. Here’s how you can pair it with other dishes to create a meal that’s sure to impress:

Expert tips

  • Choose Fresh Broccoli: Fresh broccoli florets are key for the best texture and flavor. Look for vibrant green and firm heads.
  • Don’t Overcook: Blanch the broccoli just until it’s tender but still crisp-tender, about 1.5 to 2 minutes.. Overcooking will result in mushy florets that won’t hold up well to the sauce.
  • Cold Water Stop: After blanching, quickly rinse the broccoli in room temperature water. This stops the cooking process and preserves the perfect texture.
  • Let the Broccoli Marinate: After tossing with the sauce, let the broccoli sit for a couple of minutes. This allows the florets to absorb the flavors more deeply.
  • Warm Serving: Serve the broccoli warm to maximize the melding of flavors, especially the aromatic garlic and butter.
  • Versatile butter sauce: The lemon garlic butter sauce is a standout, offering a rich flavor that’s perfect not just for broccoli, but also as a dipping sauce for shrimp, fish fillets, and chicken. It’s a versatile sauce you’ll want to keep within reach for a variety of dishes.


Is it better to saute or boil broccoli?

Sauteing broccoli preserves more flavor and nutrients compared to boiling. It also adds a nice texture, making it a preferred method for a tastier and healthier side dish.

What spices enhance broccoli?

Garlic, lemon zest, red pepper flakes, and Parmesan cheese enhance broccoli’s flavor. Herbs like thyme, basil, and oregano also add depth and aromatic notes to this versatile vegetable.

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

Steaming is the best way to cook broccoli without losing nutrients. It minimizes contact with water and heat exposure, preserving its vitamins and minerals effectively.

How do restaurants make broccoli so good?

Restaurants often blanch broccoli in salted water, then sauté it with garlic and butter or olive oil, adding seasonings like salt, pepper, and lemon juice for enhanced flavor.

More recipes using broccoli

If you loved our buttered garlic broccoli, your taste buds are in for a treat with these related dishes.

A side close shot shows perfectly cooked broccoli with garlic butter sauce and lemon juice squeezed on top.
Recipe image shows broccoli florets tossed with garlic butter sauce served in a plate.
4.88 from 8 votes

Garlic butter broccoli recipe

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 3 servings
Author: ChihYu Smith
Garlic butter broccoli is a simple healthy side dish with perfectly blanched broccoli tossed in a garlicky and buttery lemon butter sauce.
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  • 12 oz broccoli florets
  • 2 pinches coarse sea salt, plus more to taste
  • Sprinkle sliced almonds

Garlic butter sauce:

  • 1.5 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp melted butter, or ghee
  • 0.3 oz garlic cloves, grated, 2 large
  • ¾ one whole juiced lemon, or to taste
  • 1 to 1.5 tsp coarse sea salt, or to taste
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper


  • Bring a large pot of water to boil and salt the water with 2 pinches of salt.
  • If using pre-cut broccoli florets, rinse them and set aside to drain. If using a whole head of broccoli, please see the notes section for details.
  • In a bowl or measuring cup, combine the sauce ingredients from olive oil to black pepper. Stir well and taste and adjust.
  • Once the water is boiling, add the broccoli florets and blanch for 1.5 to 2 minutes. If also blanching broccoli stems, add 30 seconds additional.
  • The florets will turn a deeper color green. When biting into it, it should taste tender and crisp.
  • Use a slotted spoon to remove the florets and briefly rinse them under room temperature water to stop the cooking. After rinsing, the florets should feel warm to the touch.
  • Set them aside to drain, shake off the access water, then transfer to a large serving bowl.
  • While the broccoli is still warm, pour the butter sauce into the bowl. Gently toss and combine well.
  • Let the broccoli sit and soak up the sauce for about 2 minutes. Toss again to incorporate and season with more salt to taste. Garnish with almond slices before serving.


  • The lemon garlic butter sauce is absolutely delicious. You can use the same sauce as a dipping sauce for shrimp, fish fillets, and chicken. It’s a wonderful sauce to have it handy.
  • Don’t over-blanch the florets. They should still be crisp and tender, and not mushy.
  • Briefly rinse the blanched florets in room temperature water to stop the cooking but don’t over rinse them. Keep the florets on the warmer side so the butter sauce can melt and incorporate with the broccoli.
  • If using a whole head of broccoli, make a cut to separate the stem from the florets. To trim the stem, cut away the bottom end until you see the majority of the center in light pale green and it looks moist. Trim away the outer tough skin then dice the stem to bite sizes.
  • To trim the florets, make another cut that’s closer to the crown. This will separate the florets further. For large floret, halve it. Keep them in similar sizes so the cooking time is the same.


Serving: 1serving, Calories: 149kcal, Carbohydrates: 9g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 12g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 7g, Cholesterol: 13mg, Sodium: 1072mg, Potassium: 373mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 708IU, Vitamin C: 102mg, Calcium: 60mg, Iron: 1mg
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: buttered garlic broccoli, Garlic butter broccoli
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