Microwave cauliflower is so easy to make. It comes out perfectly cooked, tender-crisp, and buttery.
The leftovers keep well in the fridge for several days, so sometimes I double the recipe to ensure I have extra.
A microwave is a wonderful tool. Granted, it can't roast and crisp up food. But when it comes to reheating, boiling, and steaming, it's so convenient.
I love cooking veggies in the microwave. You simply cut them into pieces, add a bit of water, cover them, and cook for a few minutes. This method works with microwave broccoli and microwave asparagus, and it works with cauliflower too.
The result is perfectly cooked, tender-crisp cauliflower, with much less effort and dishes to clean than boiling or steaming.
You'll only need a few simple ingredients to make this tasty side dish. The exact measurements are included in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of what you'll need:
- Fresh cauliflower: You'll need one medium head. Look for a white, firm, and blemish-free cauliflower.
- Olive oil: Melted butter is also very good.
- Lemon juice: Freshly squeezed tastes best.
- Kosher salt and black pepper: If using fine salt, you should reduce the amount you use by half, or the dish could become too salty.
I like to season this cauliflower simply, with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
A nice variation is to top it with melted butter and a sprinkle of garlic powder in addition to salt and pepper.
Microwave Cauliflower Instructions
The detailed instructions for making this recipe are listed in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of the steps:
- Your first step is to wash and trim the cauliflower. Then cut it into florets. Aim for large bite-size pieces. Not too big, not too small.
- Place the florets in a large microwave-safe bowl. Add ¼ cup of cold water. (Photo 1).
- Cover the bowl tightly. You can use plastic wrap (as long as it doesn't touch the florets) or a microwave-safe plate. (Photo 2).
- Microwave on high until the cauliflower is tender-crisp. Start checking it after 5 minutes and add more microwave time if needed. (Photo 3).
- Use oven mitts when removing the bowl from the microwave. Place it on a trivet, and be careful when removing the plate or cling wrap. The bowl will be hot, and steam will escape. (Photo 4).
- Season and serve. (Photos 5,6).
Try not to overcook the cauliflower. You want it to have a bite when it's done. It's better to slightly undercook it and add an extra minute or two in the microwave if needed than to overcook it.
How long you'll need to microwave the cauliflower depends on the size of the florets and how powerful your microwave is.
Roasted cauliflower is better, but this recipe is excellent too. While admittedly less sophisticated than other cauliflower recipes (such as sauteed cauliflower or buffalo cauliflower), it's delicious and buttery.
You can use it as the basis for other recipes such as loaded mashed cauliflower. But it's very good on its own, especially when drizzled with olive oil or butter.
While steamed cauliflower is excellent, roasting cauliflower in the oven produces the tastiest results. Did you know that you can even roast frozen cauliflower? It comes out wonderfully caramelized.
It's so fast that you don't need to make it ahead of time. But if you want to, you can make it in advance. Refrigerate the cooked florets, then either enjoy them cold or briefly reheat them in the microwave.
Anything goes with microwave cauliflower! It's a simple and delicious side dish that goes well with so many main courses.
I often serve it with one of the following main courses:
You can keep the leftovers in the fridge, in an airtight container, for 3-4 days. They are delicious when eaten cold - try adding the florets to a salad. Or gently reheat them in the microwave at 50% power.
More Cauliflower Recipes
- 1 medium head cauliflower (1 ½ lb. whole, 1 lb. without refuse)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice freshly squeezed
- ½ teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper freshly ground
- Wash and trim the cauliflower. Cut it into florets.
- Place the cauliflower florets in a large microwave-safe bowl. Add ¼ cup of cold water to the bowl.
- Cover the bowl tightly with a microwave-safe plate or plastic wrap (not touching the cauliflower).
- Microwave on high until the cauliflower is tender-crisp. Start checking it after 5 minutes and add more microwave time if needed. Use oven mitts when removing the bowl from the microwave. Place it on a trivet, and be careful when removing the plate or cling wrap. The bowl will be hot, and steam will escape.
- If desired, season the cauliflower with salt, pepper, lemon juice, and olive oil. Serve immediately.