Microwave cauliflower is so easy to make. It comes out perfectly cooked, tender-crisp and buttery, and there's no pot to wash! Leftovers keep well in the fridge for a few days, so sometimes I make a double batch.
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 super convenient.
I love cooking veggies in the microwave. You simply cut them into pieces, add a bit of water, cover, and cook for a few minutes. This method works with broccoli, 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, or the dish could end up too salty.
Microwaving cauliflower is so easy! The detailed instructions 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 you 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.
Cover the bowl tightly. You can use plastic wrap (as long as it doesn't touch the florets) or a microwave-safe plate.
Microwave on high for about 10 minutes, until the florets are tender-crisp. Season and serve.
Try not to overcook the cauliflower. You want it to still have a bite when it's done. It's better to slightly undercook it and add an extra minute in the microwave if needed, than to overcook it.
Frequently asked questions
It goes without saying that roasted cauliflower is delicious. But don't knock this recipe until you've tried it!
While admittedly less sophisticated than some other cauliflower recipes, it is so delicious and buttery.
You can obviously use it as the basis for other recipes such as loaded mashed cauliflower. But I think it's actually very good on its own, especially when drizzled with olive oil or butter.
While steamed cauliflower is excellent, I do believe that 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 really need to make it ahead of time. But if you want to, sure, 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 like to season it simply, with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. It is also very good with melted butter and a sprinkle of garlic powder.
As for recommended main dishes, I often serve this side dish with skin-on chicken breast. I also like to serve it with bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin. It nicely balances out the richness of this main dish.
If you have leftovers, they keep well in the fridge, in an airtight container, for 3-4 days. They are actually very tasty cold - try adding the florets to a salad. Or you can gently reheat them in the microwave on 50% power.
Easy Microwave Cauliflower
- 1 medium head cauliflower (1 ½ lb. whole, 1 lb. without refuse)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 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 with plastic wrap (not touching the cauliflower).
- Microwave on high for about 10 minutes, until the cauliflower is tender-crisp. Use oven mitts when removing the bowl from the microwave, place it on a trivet, and be careful when removing the plate or the cling wrap. The bowl will be very hot, and hot steam will escape.
- If desired, season the cauliflower with salt, pepper, lemon juice, and olive oil. Serve immediately.