How to Microwave Cauliflower

0 from 0 votes

Written By Acacia Crossley


A complex meal is the last thing anyone wants after an arduous 8-hour shift. Unfortunately, with how busy life tends to be, this usually means that most fall back on fast food or microwaveable meals that have more sugar than nutrients. 

Microwaves have often been associated with this kind of food, but there are ways to use your microwave for healthy meals too. 

Take the humble cauliflower, for instance. Fit to burst with vitamins, antioxidants and a whole range of goodness; cauliflower is an effective way to bulk out your meal and have it still taste delicious. Can this enhancer be microwaved as easily as a ready meal?

To microwave cauliflower, pop it into a bowl with a splash of water, cover and them microwave for around 10 minutes.

How to Microwave Cauliflower

As with most fresh vegetables, the best way to microwave cauliflower is to use your microwave as a steamer. This is not as complex as it may sound. Just follow our effective method below: 

  1. Prep The Veg 
    Start by washing the cauliflower thoroughly to remove any excess dirt and then chop the cauliflower into bite-sized florets. 
Preparing a Cauliflower for the Microwave
  1. Bowl It Up
    Place the prepared cauliflower into a microwave-safe dish or bowl. 
  2. Add Water
    Splash 2-4 tablespoons of warm water over the cauliflower.
  3. Cover
    Damp a clean tea towel and cover the bowl or dish entirely. 
  4. Microwave
    Set your microwave to high and cook your cauliflower for 10 minutes. 
  5. Drain 
    Once the cauliflower is tender, you can uncover the bowl. Drain as much excess water as possible. 
  6. Flavour 
    You can now add any seasoning, butter, or anything else you want to flavour your cauliflower. 
  7. Serve
    Transfer the cauliflower to a serving dish if you wish and enjoy immediately. 
Steamed and Microwave Cauliflower

How to Microwave Cauliflower Successfully

Not everyone is a fan of cauliflower. Some find the vegetable to be too bland; others can’t stand the texture.

What is worse, cauliflower is very easy to get wrong even when you are using traditional cooking methods like your stove or the oven. To ensure that you can serve perfect cauliflower even to picky eaters, here are a few tips to keep in mind when microwaving your cauliflower:

  • Undercook Rather Than Overcook – Cauliflower should be crisp, buttery, and not mushy. That is why it is way better to undercook your cauliflower in the microwave rather than overcook it. If you are not sure how long your amount of cauliflower should be cooked, only cook it for a couple of minutes to begin with. 
  • Don’t Boil, Steam – The whole method above relies on using the microwave to steam the cauliflower rather than boil it. That is why only a few tablespoons of water are used. You want to make sure that the water only covers at most halfway up the cauliflower to prevent boiling the cauliflower and overcooking it. 
  • Use Plastic Wrap – If you don’t have a fresh tea towel to hand or don’t have one that can entirely cover the top of your cauliflower bowl, use plastic wrap instead. It will effectively lock in any moisture and help to create enough steam to cook the cauliflower. 

Why You Should Microwave Cauliflower

Some people may be sceptical about microwaving fresh food, and they would be right to be. Most tend to shove their fresh food in the microwave and hope for the best, creating some dubious results.

However, if you follow the method above, you will find plenty of benefits from microwaving your cauliflower: 

Lock In Those Nutrients

Cauliflowers are a very healthy vegetable to load your plate with. Some methods for cooking cauliflower removes a lot of the vegetable’s healthy qualities.

But using your microwave as a steamer helps to lock the nutrients and vitamins into the cauliflower, meaning that you will not lose any of that cauliflower goodness. 

Limitless Flavour Combinations 

Cooking your cauliflower in a microwave may not inject much flavour into the cauliflower itself as it cooks, but this offers a better base to build flavour from.

You can toss the microwaved cauliflower with a whole array of seasonings or microwave the vegetable in a few tablespoons of butter for a little longer with a little cheese. The flavour possibilities are endless! 

Quick And Easy 

Perhaps the most convincing argument for microwaving cauliflower is that it is a rapid and easy method to include one of your 5 a day in your busy life.

All you need is a microwave-safe bowl and some water, and you are good to go. The result? Minimal washing up and dinner-ready cauliflower! 

Why You Shouldn’t Microwave Cauliflower

Of course, there are bound to be some downsides to using a microwave to cook fresh cauliflower. Especially if you are on a time crunch and overlook the tips and tricks we have provided. These downsides include the following: 

Wrong Texture

A microwave can do many things – steam, reheat, cook, and a whole lot more! 

But how a microwave’s heating works limits its uses in other ways. A microwave cannot make your food crispy.

Cauliflower is best enjoyed when its interior is buttery smooth and its exterior crispy. This is why roasting cauliflower is so delicious. You will not be able to experience this crisp because of how the microwave works. 

Overcooking Potential 

The last thing anyone wants when expecting a delicious butter bite of cauliflower is mush.

However, mushy cauliflower is a lot more common than you think, resulting from overcooked cauliflower. It is straightforward to set your microwave timer a few minutes too long and overcook your cauliflower, making a mushy mess. Worse yet that you can’t really rectify mushy cauliflower. 

May Alter Flavour

Microwaves tend to keep hold of flavours and aromas unless cleaned after every use (which no one does, let’s be honest).

If the last thing you microwaved was particularly pungent or flavourful, then any reminiscent smells will stick to your cauliflower, affecting not only the smell but the taste of the cauliflower, too. 

Microwaving Cauliflower FAQs

If you still have questions about using your microwave to cook cauliflower, then check these out:

Can You Cook Cauliflower Steaks in the Microwave?

One of the key components of a good cauliflower steak is the crispy, charred outside. You will not get this with the microwave so cooking a cauliflower steak in the microwave isn’t a great option.

Can You Microwave Cauliflower With Broccoli?

Yes, you can microwave cauliflower with other vegetables, like broccoli, if they’d normally cook in roughly the same time.


We have verified the information on this page using the following resources:

BBC Good Food

Healthy Recipes Blogs

Leave a Comment