Grilled Broccoli with Mayonnaise (Yup) and Cumin

Grilled Broccoli with Cumin

This Grilled Broccoli with Cumin was inspired by a theory I read from Noelle Carter in the LA Times. She says that we should all be grilling with mayonnaise. She makes the argument that there’s something “magical” about mayonnaise. The basic proposition goes like this. We’ve all had flare-ups on the grill. That’s because fat and flame are finicky friends – but mayonnaise can be a less fussy fat. That’s because it’s actually two fats (egg and oil) that are emulsified. This is significant because, in Noelle’s words, “This emulsion allows the oils in the mayonnaise actually to stick to the food, unlike plain oil…”

Fat that sticks to food does not stick to the grill. Those are my words. So if mayonnaise can stick to the food and keep that food from sticking to the grill that’s a good thing. But there’s more. There will also be fewer flareups because fat that sticks isn’t as likely to drip onto the coals. Mayonnaise aids in browning too, and there are some who insist it can keep notoriously dry food like grilled chicken breasts more moist.

Anyway, read for yourself what Noelle has to say on the subject. She spoke with some serious cooks with real cred who explain it better than me. However, to their quotes I’ll add this: I believe this argument and have been brushing mayo on grilled fish for years.

Grilled Broccoli with Cumin

So after reading the article I decided to test the theory on broccoli. I’ve always had trouble with grilled broccoli. It tends to dry out under high heat. So instead I’ve become comfortable with grilled broccolini. Like asparagus the shape really works when laid crosswise on the grates making it quite easy to grill. And though I like grilled broccolini, I still haven’t given up on the idea of perfecting grilled broccoli florets quite yet. So let’s “bring home the Hellman’s” and give mayo a try. GREG

Grilled Broccoli with Cumin Broccoli ready for the grill

Grilled Broccoli with Cumin 

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 2–4Published
Grilled Broccoli with Cumin


  • 1 pound crisp-tender, steamed broccoli florets (can be steamed up to 24 hours ahead)
  • 2–3 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • salt and pepper (as needed for seasoning)
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin (or to taste)
  • lime wedges (for serving, optional)


Brush each broccoli floret wit a thin layer of mayonnaise. Sprinkle lightly with cumin. Season with salt and pepper. Grill over moderately high heat, turning the florets occasionally, until lightly charred, about 8 minutes. Serve with lime wedges on the side, if using.