Okay, I have something to discuss today. A broccoli recipe for picky eaters. Well, at least the picky eaters that I know.

Growing up, Mama would prepare a full meal most nights of the week that included a meat and a few vegetable dishes. Even though I was a picky eater at a young age, or at least Mama thought I was at the time, each evening we’d have a battle of the wills as we sat down to eat. I remember it well. I was determined that I wouldn’t like what was on my plate and Mama was determined that I would.

She had one rule about supper that she never budged on – you have to try everything.

There was one dish that seemed to return to my plate more often than not. It just seemed to glare at me – broccoli.

Ugh! How I just hated looking at it.

Unlike circle green beans (English Peas), I couldn’t very well mash it with the back of my fork and push it underneath something else and get away with it. Believe me, I tried.

Night after night I would sit down to the table most certain that it would be my night to not have to even attempt to eat the vegetables she’d prepared. Finally, one fateful night as she served Meatloaf and mashed potatoes – favorites of mine – she also put a bowl of broccoli on the table. But this time, it looked a little different.

Prepared to gag down a bite of the rough, tough floret, I tentatively put a bite into my mouth and immediately was surprised at how much I actually liked it. Soft and tender, I ended up asking for seconds.

I remember the night specifically because Mama sat back in her seat and laughed at how I’d eaten my broccoli. She made it the same way from that point forward – cooking it just a bit past what any cookbook would instruct and well past blanching. Her term was that she’d “cooked it to death.” All I knew was that I liked it.

Now that I’m older and have a family of my own, I enjoy broccoli cooked various ways, but one of my favorites is still broccoli that has been cooked to death by any culinary standards, I’m sure. I make it just slightly different from my Mama’s and love it just as much.

Here’s my broccoli recipe for picky eaters. Let me know if it works around your table!

Broccoli Recipe

5 from 2 votes
A broccoli recipe perfect for picky eaters.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 6


  • 2 bunches broccoli, cleaned
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • water
  • butter, optional
  • salt and pepper


  • Cut florets off each bunch of broccoli, taking care to cut florets into similar sizes as much as possible for even cooking. Clean stalks with a vegetable peeler to remove any stems or leaves. Cut upper part of stalk closet to florets into 1-inch thick slices.
  • Add broccoli to a heavy-bottomed pot. Cover with water and drizzle in about 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
  • Cook over medium-low heat for 20-30 minutes or until the stalk of a floret can be easily pierced with a fork.
  • Remove broccoli with a slotted spoon into a serving bowl. Serve warm with butter and salt and pepper to taste.


Calories: 110kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 67mg | Potassium: 640mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 1263IU | Vitamin C: 181mg | Calcium: 95mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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About Robyn

Robyn Stone is a cookbook author, wife, mom, and passionate home cook. Her tested and trusted recipes give readers the confidence to cook recipes the whole family will love. Robyn has been featured on Food Network, People, Southern Living, and more.

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Recipe Review


  1. I personally like my broccoli cooked to death. But I will also eat it raw if need be. When I tried roasting broccoli, my boys wanted to know why I “burned” it! Broccoli is definitely their least favorite veggie. Cucumber and peas are their top green veg fave. While carrots (with brown sugar and butter) fall almost into the treat category for them.

  2. My husband and I always loved broccoli … and our son loved it … much to our surprise when our daughter came along and she questioned, and still questions EVERYTHING I wanted to put into her mouth .. to this day she isn’t a fan of broccoli. Fortunately, however, her daughters 3 of our 4 granddaughter (7 grandchildren in all) absolutely love it and whenever Grandma announces she is making it or asparagus … I get a “Yeah, my favorite” from them … ages 2, 3.5 and just 5! Absolutely warms this Grandma’s heart. They seem to prefer it more towards the ale dente then cooked to death… I’m just glad they like it!

  3. My kids have always claimed broccoli to be a favorite food, so fortunately I haven’t had to do much convincing in that department. Your recipe looks spot on to how I would make it as a quick and easy vegetable side. Perfect for cold winter nights and comfort food.