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Vegetable Steaming Times (Chart)

Steaming times for vegetables

If you're always short of time when it comes to cooking a dinner, consider steaming food. Steaming is an easy and relatively quick way to prepare vegetables such as carrots, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, asparagus, beans, beets, cauliflower, celery, and radishes. Steaming veggies, whether fresh or frozen, in a stainless steel steamer basket or a bamboo steamer is also one of the healthiest cooking methods. If you steam your vegetables correctly (i.e. don't allow them to touch the boiling water under the steamer basket), you will be rewarded with delicious steamed food that is full of flavor and nutrients. If you are new to steaming as a cooking method, the chart below showing the approximate steaming times for different vegetables should help you get started.

Please note that the steaming time chart provided below is only intended as a guide – the actual cooking times may differ considerably due to personal tastes (some people like their veggies harder and crisper) and due to differences in the water content of foods (generally, the fresher the food, the faster it will cook). In addition, the preparation method and size have a great impact on how long it takes to steam a vegetable. For example, whole vegetables take longer to cook than diced or sliced vegetables. The steaming time table included on this page lists the preparation method/size of the vegetable that corresponds to the shown steaming time.

Furthermore, the last column in the table below provides ideas on how you can add flavor to your steamed vegetables without using salt or dairy products. You will learn that steamed cauliflower is amazing with lemon or lime juice, while fennel is tasty when served with extra virgin olive oil and basil. Shelled peas, which can be put into the steamer basker either fresh or frozen, get a nice kick from lemon juice and fresh herbs such as mint.

Approximate Steaming Times for Vegetables:

VegetableSize/PrepTimeHow to season
ArtichokesSteam whole artichokes25-40 minSeason with extra virgin olive oil and lemon zest
AsparagusWhole spears, thick spears peeled lightly7-13 minServe with quince jam, cranberry jam, olive oil combined with lemon zest, or olive oil combined with sesame seeds
AsparagusCut into 2-inch pieces4-7 minSeason with olive oil combined with lemon zest or sesame seeds
Beans, greenWhole beans6-10 minSeason with garlic
Beans, waxWhole beans6-10 minSeason with garlic
Beets, small or medium-sizedWhole, unpeeled beets scrubbed clean; peel off the skins after steaming35-50 minSeason with fresh thyme
Beet greensCleaned and coarsely chopped7-9 minDrizzle with olive oil
BroccoliTrimmed stalks8-12 minSeason with olive oil, pumpkin seed oil, lemon juice, lime juice, or balsamic vinegar
BroccoliTrimmed stalks split in half or florets5-7 minExtra-virgin olive oil, pumpkin seed oil, lemon juice, lime juice, or balsamic vinegar
Brussels sproutsWhole, trimmed8-15 minSeason with fresh thyme
Brussels sproutsTrimmed and halved6-8 minSeason with fresh thyme
CabbageCut in wedges6-10 minLemon or lime juice
CarrotsCut into ¼-inch thick slices7-10 minSeason with honey combined with cinnamon or ginger
Carrots, babyWhole baby carrots10-12 minSeason with honey combined with cinnamon or ginger
CauliflowerFlorets5-10 minLemon or lime juice
Celery root
Cut into ¼-inch thick matchsticks5-7 min
Celery stalksCut into ½-inch thick slices4-9 minSeason with seeds
Corn on the cobWhole, husks removed7-10 minHomemade chicken or vegetable stock
Daikon radishesPeeled and cut into chunks8-12 minSeason with fresh herbs
Chicory (endives)Cut in half lengthwise5-10 minDrizzle with olive oil and lemon juice
Fennel bulbsCut crosswise into ½-inch slices8-10 minSeason with olive oil and basil (or lemon)
Jerusalem artichokes
Peeled or scrubbed; sliced5-8 minServe with arugula or fresh herbs such as chives or parsley
Jerusalem artichokes
Whole tubers, peeled or scrubbed20-25 minServe with arugula or fresh herbs such as chives or parsley
KaleTrimmed4-7 minDrizzle with olive oil and crushed garlic
KohlrabiPeeled and cut into ½-inch cubes5-8 minToss with parsley and olive oil
LeeksTrimmed, cut in half5-8 minSeason with your favorite vinaigrette
OkraFresh whole okra, trimmed6-8 minSeason with lemon/lime juice and parsley, or with sauteed scallions
Onions, pearlWhole onions, peeled8-12 min
ParsnipsPeeled and cut into ½-inch slices7-10 minSeason with fresh herbs such as oregano or parsley
Peas, greenFresh, shelled peas2-4 minSeason with fresh herbs (such as mint) or lemon juice
Peas, sugar snapWhole pea pods, trimmed5-6 minSeason with fresh herbs (such as mint) or lemon juice
Potatoes, allPeeled or scrubbed clean, cut into ½-inch slices8-12 minToss with fresh parsley, rosemary or dill
Potatoes, newWhole, scrubbed clean15-20 minToss with fresh parsley, rosemary or dill, or with chopped red onions
RadishesWhole radishes, trimmed7-14 minSeason with chopped scallions or chives
ScallionsCut into ½-inch slices3-5 min
SpinachCleaned, whole leaves3-5 minSeason with olive oil and garlic, or sesame seeds
Squash, butternutPeeled and cut into 1-inch cubes7-10 minSeason with honey, lemon juice, and rosemary
TurnipsCut into 1/2-inch cubes8-12 minSeason with olive oil and fresh herbs
Turnip greensCleaned and coarsely chopped4-6 minSeason with olive oil and garlic
Sweet potatoesCut into large chunks8-12 minSeason with honey and lemon juice
Swiss chardCoarsely chopped leaves3-5 minServe with chopped fresh tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, olive oil and pepper
ZucchiniCut into 1-inch slices5-8 minSeason with olive oil, lemon/lime juice, and fresh herbs (such as thyme or rosemary)

It is also possible to steam bell peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, tomatillos, and garlic; however, other cooking methods, such as roasting, may be better suited to retain their texture and/or bring out their flavor. If you are interested in roasting as a cooking method, be sure to check out our Oven Roasting Times for 60 Different Vegetables.

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