Broccoli is awesome—it’s the unsung hero of weeknight meals. Never have I written a sentence so boring, but there you have it. Now, I’m going to tell you about a crispy broccoli recipe that I make at least once a week for my family—and there is nothing boring about it. My kids can identify this dish by how it smells. The moment they get a whiff of it, they scream “Broccoleee!” It’s that good.
Plus, I can make it in 10 minutes flat. I cook broccoli florets in a skillet with a little oil. Halfway through cooking, I sprinkle shredded cheese on top. Some cheese will cling to the broccoli and melt while the rest will fall onto the hot skillet and get crispy. Charred broccoli with melty and crispy cheese? If you’re here for the best broccoli recipe, this is it.
(I got the idea for this recipe online years ago and I cannot remember where. If this is your recipe or if you know whose it is, please do let me know so that I can send all my gratitude and credit.)
How To Pick the Best Broccoli at the Grocery Store
Broccoli is a vegetable that can be cooked in under 10 minutes every which way—roasted, steamed, microwaved, dunked in boiling water, and charred on the grill—and for that, it should be celebrated. That’s why my family eats it often.
When I go to the grocery store with my kids, I let them pick out the broccoli. You would think they won the candy lottery the way they grin when I ask. Here’s what I tell them to look for:
- Avoid broccoli that’s brown, yellow, or light green. The crown should be uniformly dark green.
- The crown should be tightly packed and the stem should feel firm. Avoid a wimpy-looking crown or stems that are dry, bruised, or limp.
- Never ever, ever, ever cut off the stem! Buy the whole stalk. (I’m a grocer’s daughter and my dad used to kick customers out of the store for doing this.) However, do avoid broccoli with a stem that’s too thick or woody.
How To Make Crispy Broccoli with Cheese
- 1 large head broccoli
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Pinch of kosher salt and black pepper
- 3 ounces (about 1/2 cup) shredded cheddar cheese
Cut the broccoli into bite-sized florets, including the stem. If any part of the stem looks woody, cut it off and discard it.
Set a large cast iron or regular skillet over medium-high heat and add the oil. Scatter the florets in the skillet so that they aren’t lying on top of each other as much as possible. You don’t have to wait for the oil to heat up. Let them cook for about 5 minutes—don’t stir to give the bottoms a chance to brown.
Flip over one or two florets. If they’re golden brown, sprinkle a pinch of salt and black pepper all over the broccoli. Give it a good stir to give the other side a chance to brown, and scatter the shredded cheese all over. It’s okay if some of the cheese falls onto the skillet—you want that.
Cook it for about 5 minutes without stirring. The cheese on top will melt immediately and the pieces that fall to the bottom will brown and get crispy. Some of the crispy bits may stick to the skillet, so use a metal spatula to gently nudge them off. We fight over who gets those crispy bits.
And just like that, I have a side dish that goes with pretty much anything else I’m serving for dinner, whether it’s chicken or delivery pizza.