This Smashed Broccoli with Parmesan recipe will give you the CRISPIEST florets with the best flavor! Broccoli is first boiled until tender and then smashed thin, brushed with a garlic herb butter sauce and baked in the oven with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. These broccoli “chips” are an easy weeknight side dish for kids or make a great appetizer to dip in your favorite sauces for parties!

A hand holds a piece of broccoli roasted in the oven.

Ever since I could remember, broccoli has been the ONE vegetable I would happily eat as a kid.

(Granted, more than half of that steamed broccoli was covered in Cheez Whiz!)

Recently Justin remembered my childhood obsession, and he made this Smashed Broccoli with Parmesan recipe you see below — a spin-off of these Smashed Brussels Sprouts!

What resulted was the CRISPIEST broccoli with the BEST flavor I had ever tasted. (Yes, even better than my favorite Roasted Broccoli or Air Fryer Broccoli recipes!)

You can serve them as-is for a healthy side dish, or mix up your favorite sauce for dipping (they make the best veggie chips!). This is seriously going to be your new favorite broccoli recipe. Even broccoli haters won’t be able to resist.

Why You’ll Love this Smashed Broccoli

  • Crispy Texture: A 2-part cooking method is needed to get that crunchy bite. First, an entire head of broccoli is boiled (so much easier than boiling individual florets!) Then, a glass jar is used to smash the florets before baking them in the oven.
  • Incredible Flavor: The combo of a garlic butter sauce gives it a delicious umami flavor while the sprinkle of Parmesan cheese adds that perfect, salty bite while also helping the florets crisp up.
Broccoli, lemon, salt, pepper, garlic, butter, and Parmesan cheese are the ingredients for this dish.

Ingredients

  • Broccoli. A large head of broccoli is boiled and cut into pieces for this easy recipe. Look for a fresh broccoli head with no brown or mushy spots.
  • Parmesan cheese. Grated cheese is recommended as it will crisp up even more than shredded. You can always swap the cheese out for another kind, like Cheddar or even Swiss, but won’t get the same texture or flavor. Look for Parmigiano Reggiano for the most flavor.
  • Garlic. I’m almost always going to recommended fresh garlic cloves, but in this case, garlic powder can easily be substituted.
5 Secrets to Healthier Family Dinners
Tips & recipes for getting yummy — and healthy — meals on the table.

How to Make Parmesan Smashed Broccoli

Please see the recipe card below for ingredient amounts and more detailed instructions.

1. Boil the Broccoli

Bring a large pot of water to a boil (you can also use a Dutch oven). Place the entire head of broccoli into the boiling water, florets facing down.

Boil the broccoli for 3 to 5 minutes, just until it’s bright green and tender. Be careful when removing the broccoli head from the boiling water and drain it in a colander. 

You can use a steamer basket if you’d like.

A head of broccoli is boiled in a pot of water.

2. Smash the Broccoli

After the broccoli has cooled enough to touch, cut the florets from the stalk. Aim for 1- to 2-inch pieces. The size of your florets does matter—any bigger, and they won’t crisp up as nicely. 

For maximum crunchiness, you’ll also want the pieces as dry as possible, so use a paper towel to remove any moisture.

Spread the broccoli across a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper in a single layer, leaving at least 1-inch of space between each one. Use the bottom of a glass or jar to smash each piece until they are no more than ¼- to ½-inch thick for the best results. If you go thinner than this, they will break apart.

Boiled broccoli is smashed with the bottom of the glass.

3. Make the Sauce

Whisk the butter, garlic, salt, and black pepper in a small bowl. Brush the butter mixture over each smashed floret. Then, sprinkle each chip with the Parmesan cheese.

A spoon sprinkles cheese over the smashed broccoli.

4. Bake and Serve

Bake the smashed broccoli in a 425℉ preheated oven for 18 to 20 minutes. The broccoli will get crispy and the cheese will turn golden brown. Watch the seasoned broccoli towards the end for your desired level of crispiness.

Top the roasted broccoli with a squeeze of lemon juice and lemon zest for a fresh kick. Adding it after baking ensures it doesn’t get too bitter.

To make them in the air fryer: add the broccoli to a 380℉ air fryer that has been preheated for at least 3 minutes and cook for 9-10 minutes.

What makes broccoli taste better?

For the best tasting broccoli, go for a combination of texture and flavor. Get it crispy by roasting it at high heat in either the oven or air fryer. Butter and garlic are excellent ingredients to balance out the bitterness normally found to be off-putting in broccoli.

FAQs

Is steaming or roasting broccoli better? 

Steaming broccoli is a great way to ensure it retains most of its nutrients, but you can’t beat the flavor of roasted broccoli. Both are a great way to enjoy this vegetable.

Why is my broccoli soggy? 

If roasting in the oven, be sure to use enough oil (but not too much!) and that the oven temperature is high enough. If steaming or boiling, don’t overcook it, or your broccoli will have a mushy consistency.

Recipe Tips

  • Pay attention. Only boil the broccoli until it’s slightly tender and bright green.
  • Save time. Grab a bag of grated Parmesan cheese from the grocery store.
  • Spread out. Roast the broccoli in a single layer for crispy edges.
  • Add a kick. Add a bit of hot sauce or Sriracha or a sprinkle of red pepper flakes to give this roasted broccoli recipe a kick. 
  • Don’t wait. This dish is best served immediately.

What to Serve with Broccoli Chips

These taste incredible on their own as a side with your favorite main course, or can be served with tons of sauces:

More Easy Broccoli Recipes

A broccoli dish is always a family favorite side, and these easy recipes with simple ingredients won’t disappoint.

Tap stars to rate!

5 from 4 votes

Crispy Smashed Broccoli Recipe

This Smashed Broccoli with Parmesan recipe will give you the CRISPIEST florets with the best flavor! Broccoli is first boiled until tender and then smashed thin, brushed with a garlic herb butter sauce and baked in the oven with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.
Yield 4 servings
Prep 20 minutes
Cook 30 minutes
Total 50 minutes
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Ingredients 

  • 1 large head broccoli or 2 medium
  • 2 Tbsp. butter melted
  • 1-2 garlic cloves finely minced
  • ½ tsp. salt to taste
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper
  • 3-4 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese grated
  • Lemon juice optional

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 425℉.
  • Bring a large pot or Dutch oven filled ⅔ of the way with water to a boil. Add head of broccoli to the boiling water, florets facing down, and boil for 3-5 minutes, or until broccoli is bright green and tender. Carefully remove the head of broccoli from the pot and let drain completely in a colander in the sink.
    1 large head broccoli
  • Once broccoli has cooled to the touch, cut off the florets into 1 to 2-inch pieces. Dab thoroughly with a paper towel to remove any excess water.
    Place the florets in a single layer on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Make sure there is at least 1 inch of space between each floret. Smash each broccoli floret with the bottom of a flat glass or jar until they are no more than ¼ to ½-inch thick. (Closer to ¼” will give you crispier sprouts, but thinner than that and you risk them breaking apart into pieces!)
  • Whisk together butter, garlic, salt, and black pepper in a small bowl. Brush garlic butter over the florets and sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese.
    2 Tbsp. butter, 1-2 garlic cloves, ½ tsp. salt, ¼ tsp. black pepper, 3-4 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 18-20 minutes, or until the broccoli begins to get crispy and the cheese has browned slightly. Serve with a squeeze of lemon juice and additional grated Parmesan cheese. Enjoy!
    Lemon juice
Last step! If you make this, please leave a review letting us know how it was!

Tap stars to rate!

5 from 4 votes

Video

Notes

To make Smashed Broccoli in the Air Fryer: Preheat air fryer to 380℉ for at least 3-5 minutes. Add the smashed broccoli to the air fryer basket in a single layer. Brush the garlic herb butter sauce on top and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Cook for 9-10 minutes, or until crispy.

Nutrition

Calories: 99kcal, Carbohydrates: 1g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 9g, Saturated Fat: 6g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 2g, Trans Fat: 0.2g, Cholesterol: 23mg, Sodium: 465mg, Potassium: 28mg, Fiber: 0.2g, Sugar: 0.1g, Vitamin A: 290IU, Vitamin C: 3mg, Calcium: 137mg, Iron: 0.2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Made this recipe?Leave a comment below!
5 Secrets to Healthier Family Dinners
Tips & recipes for getting yummy — and healthy — meals on the table.

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