The Countertop Hack That Splits Broccoli Into Florets In An Instant

Prepping vegetables can be one of the most time-consuming and laborious parts of cooking a meal. And some veggies, like broccoli and cauliflower, are especially tedious to chop — separating individual florets into evenly sized pieces takes time and attention. There is, however, an easier way to break your broccoli into bits: Brute force.

No, seriously — for quickly separated broccoli or cauliflower florets, put down the knives and put your biceps to work. It might sound silly, but whacking a cruciferous veggie against a hard surface like a table or countertop is a quick and easy way to break it into little pieces. It's ideal if you're making the kind of dish that the florets are mixed into, like a salad or a broccoli cheddar soup, or if you're going to purée the vegetables but don't have a food processor powerful enough to pulverize big chunks of plant.

It's probably not a technique you'll likely see in many professional kitchens, and it won't work for recipes that need larger or more specific cuts. But on weeknights when you can hardly motivate yourself to cook at all, it'll get the job done and save you some time while you're at it.

Bag your broccoli, then bang it

Start off by placing a bag around the head of the stalk with the stem sticking out. You can probably get away with just holding the bag in place, but if you want to be careful not to lose any bits of veggie, it's not a bad idea to secure the bag around the stem with a rubber band. Broccoli and cauliflower often come in their own plastic wrappings, but these typically have aeration holes through which little pieces can slip out. You'll have better results using a fully intact plastic bag.

Once bagged, grab your broccoli or cauliflower by the stem and whack it against a sturdy table or countertop. Keep going until you've broken off enough florets for whatever you're making. The pieces will likely be bite-sized or smaller, so this isn't the right technique to employ when you want shapely pieces for roasting and/or gracefully topping dishes.

Normally, it's bad practice to mishandle fresh produce. But being on the hardier side, broccoli, and cauliflower aren't particularly prone to bruising and can take some roughing up without becoming discolored and mushy.

Prep meals in record time

There are some other plant-based ingredients in your kitchen that can stand some necessary roughness as well — like garlic, for instance. Some professional chefs will put cloves of garlic in a mason jar and shake hard or squish them between two same-sized metal bowls in order to help separate the peels from the flesh.

And if beating up your broccoli isn't going to do the trick (say, you need larger pieces, or the florets just aren't giving in to your brutal swings), try the viral TikTok hack for chopping broccoli easily: boil the stalk whole, floret side down in the water, and then chop it into pieces. The vegetable will slice easily and hold together rather than turning to floret dust and making a mess, as often happens when you try to cut broccoli raw.

Some might consider it lazy to whack your broccoli or cauliflower into pieces rather than chopping it the "right" way, but at the end of the day, anything that makes it easier to cook vegetables will make you more likely to get your greens. And when you're done, don't throw out your broccoli stalks – they're packed with nutrients and can add some bulk and a toothsome texture to mixed veggie dishes like stir fry.