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ATK Kids

A Broccoli Recipe for Kids Who Don’t Like Broccoli

Meet the recipe that will turn your kid from broccoli hater to lover.
By Published Oct. 13, 2022

When I was a kid, the only way my parents could get me to eat broccoli was in the chicken and broccoli from our go-to Chinese restaurant.

Enveloped as it was in that slightly sweet, deeply savory brown sauce, I could almost forget I was eating broccoli in the first place.

But back in my parents’ kitchen, they could not get me to touch a broccoli floret with a 10-foot pole. Parents and caregivers: Sound familiar? ATK Kids has just the recipe for you.

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Our recipe for Pan-Steamed Broccoli with Lemon from The Complete Cookbook for Young Scientists is not just kid-approved, it’s also ridiculously easy, speedy, and calls for just a handful of ingredients. If you’re like me and always keep butter and lemons on hand, you’ll probably just have to buy broccoli to make this super side dish.

When we sent this recipe out to our community of kid recipe testers, we were blown away by the positive reviews. Grown-ups and kids alike raved—one kid said, “I liked it better than the way we usually make broccoli.” Another young chef said it “was one of the most delicious things we have ever eaten.” 

The 5-star reviews go on. One broccoli skeptic asked for seconds and thirds . . . and then asked to make it again. A grown-up said, “Unlike a lot of broccoli recipes, there were no leftovers.” Yet another adult added, “My son never eats cooked vegetables because he doesnt like the texture—but this broccoli he loved.” I mean, c’mon!

“It was so good! I don’t like broccoli too, and I got several servings!”
—Kendall, ATK Kids recipe tester, age 10

Why do we think even the staunchest broccoli haters enjoyed this dish? For one, we don’t cook the veg to death—we gently steam it until it’s crisp-tender. Then, we toss it with butter and a sprinkle of lemon zest for just a hint of lemony flavor (lemon juice can be overpowering for kids).

Parents and caregivers: Make this broccoli for your kid today and celebrate the first time they actually enjoyed eating it.

Kid-Approved Broccoli with Lemon

Serves 4

  • ⅓ cup water
  • 1 pound (6 cups) broccoli florets, large florets cut in half
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
  • ½ teaspoon grated lemon zest, zested from ½ lemon
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper


  1. In 12-inch skillet, bring water to boil over high heat. Add broccoli to skillet and sprinkle with salt. Cover skillet and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook broccoli for 4 minutes. 
  2. Use oven mitts to carefully remove lid from skillet. Use wooden spoon to gently toss broccoli. Cover skillet and cook until broccoli is bright green and crisp‑tender, 3 to 5 minutes. 
  3. Use oven mitts to carefully remove lid. Cook until remaining liquid evaporates, about 1 minute. Turn off heat and slide skillet to cool burner.
  4. Use wooden spoon to push broccoli to 1 side of skillet. Add butter, lemon zest, and pepper to now-empty side of skillet and stir until butter melts.
  5. Toss broccoli with butter mixture until evenly coated. Serve.

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