Broccoli is a nutritious vegetable that is low in calories and carbs. When broccoli is cooked, the total carb content changes slightly due to the cooking process. In this article, we will take an in-depth look at the carb content of cooked broccoli and provide a detailed answer to the question “How many carbs are in cooked broccoli?”.
The Basics of Broccoli
Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable that is closely related to cabbage, kale, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts. It has a green color and is composed of a dense cluster of flower buds on a thick stalk. Some key facts about broccoli:
- Broccoli is high in vitamin C, providing 148% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) in just half a cup (78 grams) cooked.
- It is also high in vitamin K, folate and potassium.
- Broccoli contains various plant compounds like sulforaphane and indoles, which may have cancer-fighting and heart health benefits.
- Half a cup (78 grams) of cooked broccoli contains approximately 27 calories and 6 grams of carbs.
- The majority of carbs in broccoli come from fiber. Broccoli is high in insoluble fiber.
Now that we have covered some basics on broccoli nutrition, let’s take a closer look at the carb content.
Carb Content in Raw Broccoli
Most of the carbs in raw broccoli come from fiber. Here is an overview of the carb makeup:
- Total carbs: 6 grams per 100 grams
- Fiber: 2.6 grams per 100 grams
- Sugar: 1.7 grams per 100 grams
- Net carbs: 3.4 grams per 100 grams (total carbs minus fiber)
As you can see the total carb count is very low, with over half coming from fiber. The net digestible carbs are only 3.4 grams per 100 grams.
Does Cooking Alter the Carb Content?
Cooking broccoli does lead to some changes in the carbohydrate content. Here is an overview of the changes:
- Cooking reduces the total carb content slightly.
- The majority of the carbohydrates remain as insoluble fiber.
- Cooking decreases insoluble fiber slightly and increases soluble fiber.
- Sugars can increase slightly with cooking.
- Digestible net carbs decrease slightly with cooking.
The cooking process breaks down some of the insoluble fiber, decreasing it a small amount. However, soluble fiber may increase. Sugars can also increase as starches are broken down into simple sugars. However, the total impact is minimal.
Carb Content in Cooked Broccoli
Here is an overview of the carb content in cooked broccoli compared to raw:
|Type||Raw (100 grams)||Cooked (100 grams)|
|Total carbs||6 grams||4.6 grams|
|Fiber||2.6 grams||2.4 grams|
|Sugars||1.7 grams||1.9 grams|
|Net carbs||3.4 grams||2.2 grams|
As you can see, cooking leads to a small reduction in total carbs, fiber and net carbs. The amount of digestible net carbs decreases from 3.4 grams to 2.2 grams per 100 grams.
Nutrition Info Per Serving
To determine the number of net carbs in a typical serving of cooked broccoli, we need to look at the serving size. A common serving size of cooked broccoli is 1/2 cup, which weighs approximately 78 grams.
Using the nutritional data per 100 grams cooked, we can calculate the nutritional content per 78 gram serving:
- Total carbs: 3.6 grams
- Fiber: 1.9 grams
- Sugars: 1.5 grams
- Net carbs: 1.7 grams
Therefore, the total net carbs in a typical 1/2 cup serving of cooked broccoli is just 1.7 grams.
Net Carbs on a Low-Carb Diet
Due to its very low impact on blood sugar and net carb count, broccoli is considered an excellent choice on a low-carb diet like the ketogenic diet. Even when cooked, a serving of broccoli provides less than 2 grams of digestible carbs.
Some key points on broccoli and low-carb diets:
- Cooked broccoli can easily be incorporated into a diet providing less than 50 grams daily net carbs.
- A serving of broccoli provides bulk and variety for only ~2 grams net carbs.
- The fiber content helps meet daily fiber needs on low-carb diets.
- It is packed with nutrients, vitamins and minerals on very few carbs.
- Broccoli can help keep carb intake low while still providing a nutritious vegetable choice.
Effect of Cooking Method
Different cooking methods can slightly alter the nutrition profile of broccoli. However, the changes are minimal in terms of carb content.
Here is an overview of how common cooking methods impact carbs in broccoli:
- Raw: Highest carb content but still very low in net carbs.
- Steaming: Retains carb content very similar to raw. May slightly reduce insoluble fiber.
- Boiling: Can leach out some vitamins and minerals but minimal impact on carbs.
- Roasting: Enhances flavor. Similar carb profile to other cooking methods.
- Microwaving: Quick cooking method. Leads to a similar carb count as other cooking methods.
The cooking duration can have a small impact, with longer cooking times reducing insoluble fiber content slightly more. However, the differences are very small.
Comparing Carbs in Broccoli vs. Other Vegetables
Broccoli is one of the lowest carb vegetables per serving compared to other common choices. Here is a quick carb comparison with some other cooked vegetables:
|Vegetable||Net Carbs per 1/2 Cup|
|Green Beans||3.1 grams|
As you can see, broccoli is one of lowest carb options compared to other common vegetables.
Effect of Stalks vs. Florets
Broccoli florets refer to the clusters of flower buds at the top of the stalk. The stalk is the thick stem that connects the florets.
There are some slight differences in nutrition between the stalks and florets:
- The stalks are slightly lower in calories and carbs than the florets.
- However, the stalks are also lower in some nutrients like vitamin C and vitamin K.
- The stalks contain more insoluble fiber, whereas the florets contain more soluble fiber.
- Overall the differences are minor in terms of carbs. Both can be enjoyed as part of cooked broccoli.
Tips for Cooking Broccoli
Here are some tips for cooking fresh broccoli while maintaining low carb content:
- Avoid overcooking. Broccoli tastes best crisp-tender.
- Steaming, microwaving, roasting and sautéing are great cooking methods.
- Don’t discard the stems. The whole head can be used.
- Roasting adds great flavor. Toss florets with 1 Tbsp olive oil, spread on a baking sheet and roast at 400°F for 15-20 minutes.
- Add herbs, spices, garlic or lemon to boost flavor.
- Stir-fry chopped broccoli for a quick option.
Health Benefits of Broccoli
In addition to being low in carbs, broccoli provides an array of important nutrients and health benefits. Some top benefits of adding broccoli to your low-carb diet include:
- Antioxidants: Broccoli contains flavonoids kaempferol and quercetin which act as antioxidants and may reduce inflammation.
- Vitamin C: Provides more than an entire day’s vitamin C in just 1/2 cup cooked; supports immune function.
- Cancer prevention: Sulforaphane and indoles may help inhibit cancer cell growth.
- Heart health: The anti-inflammatory effects help keep arteries clear.
- Digestion: The insoluble fiber promotes regularity and healthy gut bacteria.
- Eye health: Lutein and zeaxanthin support eye function and prevent macular degeneration.
Simple Low-Carb Broccoli Recipes
Here are a few simple low-carb recipe ideas to enjoy broccoli as a side or make it the star of your low-carb meal:
Broccoli Cheese Casserole
Combine chopped broccoli with cream cheese, cheddar cheese and eggs. Top with cheese and bake until bubbly.
Broccoli Cheddar Soup
Purée broccoli with chicken broth, cream cheese, cheddar and seasonings for a comforting low-carb soup.
Garlic Parmesan Roasted Broccoli
Toss broccoli florets with olive oil, garlic and parmesan then roast until crisp-tender.
Steak Stir Fry with Broccoli
Cook sliced flank steak in a skillet then add broccoli, soy sauce, garlic, and cook until tender.
Broccoli Fried “Rice”
Sauté riced cauliflower then add broccoli florets, eggs, soy sauce and sesame oil for an easy low-carb fried “rice”.
Does blanching reduce carbs in broccoli?
Blanching broccoli briefly in boiling water can help retain color and reduce preparation time. However, it causes minimal changes in total carb content. It can slightly reduce insoluble fiber but the impact is very small.
Is frozen broccoli lower in carbs than fresh?
No, frozen and fresh broccoli have an almost identical carb count. Fresh broccoli is simply quick frozen to lock in nutrients. Cook from frozen for a quick and easy low-carb side dish.
What about carbs in broccoli rice?
Using a food processor to finely chop or “rice” raw broccoli florets does not significantly alter the carb count. Broccoli rice provides a few grams of net carbs per serving just like normal broccoli.
Does cooking broccoli reduce net carbs?
Cooking has a minimal effect on the total carbohydrate content of broccoli. However, it does slightly reduce net digestible carbs. The insoluble fiber content decreases slightly with cooking, lowering net carbs a small amount.
The Bottom Line
At the end of the day, broccoli is an extremely low-carb vegetable. A typical serving of cooked broccoli contains only ~2 grams of digestible net carbohydrates.
Both raw and cooked broccoli can fit into almost any low-carb lifestyle. Broccoli provides bulk and nutrients for minimal carbs. It is one of the best options for adding variety while still keeping carb intake very low.
For most of its carbs, broccoli packs an array of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and health-promoting compounds. It is delicious cooked briefly until crisp-tender yet still crunchy.
Overall, broccoli is the perfect low-carb vegetable. Both raw and cooked broccoli provides plenty of nutrition benefits and health perks for only 1-2 grams of net carbs per serving.