This broccoli and cheese casserole is loaded with broccoli and rice in a creamy cheddar cheese sauce, all finished off with a crunchy topping. The ultimate make-ahead side dish!
This casserole is an instant classic which has the right amount of creamy cheese sauce and crunchy topping. For a complete meal you can serve the casserole with roasted turkey breast with garlic and herbs or smoked prime rib.
There’s just something about broccoli with cheese, it’s a classic flavor combination that even the most staunch veggie haters can’t resist. This broccoli and cheese casserole may be my favorite casserole of all time, what’s not to love about broccoli and rice in a creamy cheese sauce?
How Do You Make Broccoli And Cheese Casserole?
This recipe starts with cooked rice and broccoli florets that have been lightly steamed or blanched. You don’t want to overcook the broccoli because it will continue to cook in the casserole. You can use frozen broccoli here, just be aware that it will be on the mushier side in the casserole. You can use any type of cooked rice you want here, I typically use a long grain white rice, but brown rice would work well, or you could even try quinoa!
The broccoli and rice are mixed with a homemade cheese sauce, similar to what you might make for macaroni and cheese. After the broccoli and rice are coated in the sauce, they go into the casserole dish and are topped with more shredded cheese and a sprinkling of crushed buttery crackers. Bake till melty and golden brown and you’ve got an amazing broccoli rice casserole that will get rave reviews!
I love that this broccoli and cheese casserole can be assembled in advice, then popped into the oven right before you’re ready to serve it. If you plan to assemble in advance, leave the cracker crumbs off until right before you plan to bake it. I often serve this casserole as a side dish to grilled or baked chicken, but honestly it’s hearty enough that you could even serve it for a main course if you prefer.
Kids and adults alike will adore this broccoli rice and cheese casserole, sometimes we’ve even been known to eat it twice in one week! It’s just that good.
Other Recipes You’ll Love
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Broccoli and Cheese Casserole Video
Broccoli and Cheese Casserole
- 4 cups broccoli florets lightly steamed or blanched
- 3 1/2 cups cooked rice any variety
- 1/2 cup onion diced
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 cups milk I use whole milk here
- 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese divided use
- 2 ounces cream cheese cut into small cubes
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika regular paprika can be substituted
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 cup crushed buttery cracker crumbs such as Ritz crackers
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- cooking spray
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Coat a 9"x13" pan with cooking spray.
- Melt the butter in a medium pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 3-4 minutes until translucent. Add the flour to the pot and stir to coat the onions; cook for 1 minute.
- Slowly whisk the milk into the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 4-5 minutes or until sauce has thickened (coats the back of a spoon).
- Add the cream cheese, 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese and the salt, pepper, smoked paprika and garlic to the sauce. Stir until smooth.
- Place the broccoli and rice in a large bowl and stir to combine. Pour the sauce over the top and toss to coat evenly.
- Pour the broccoli mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Sprinkle the remaining cup of cheese over the top, along with the crushed crackers.
- Bake for 20-30 minutes or until casserole is bubbly and cheese is melted. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.
Made this for our Mother’s Day luncheon and it was a huge hit. Takes some preplanning with the rice (used Uncle Ben’s long grain rice and made it the night before) and takes some time to throw together, but it is worth every second. Incredibly delicious.
Can I use frozen broccoli
Yes that’s fine!
Would minute rice be ok to use in this recipe?
That should be fine!
I want to make it without the rice. What changes would you suggest.
You could dry a different grain such as quinoa or farro, but I haven’t tested the recipe this way.
I’m wondering if this recipe can be baked in a crock pot. I’m traveling 2 hours and need it hit/warm on arrival. Any suggestions?
You could prepare it until step 6, then put it in a crock pot with the cheese on top. You’d want to add the crackers right before serving as they’ll get soft in a crock pot.
I am thinking of bringing this to an event but might not be able to warm it or bring it hot. Does it taste ok cold or would you say skip it in that case?
It would be best when hot!
This looks amazing like all of your other recipes, can you add chicken to it?
Best Broccoli and Cheese Casserole ever! I am going to add smoked chicken when I make it again. Great step by step directions. Thank you for sharing your recipes.
What about freezing after baked?
I should have made 1/2 the recipe for two.
It should be fine to freeze baked