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.
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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.
Question can i use half n half instead of milk. And if i can.would i use the same amount of half n half as to milk?
Yes that will work!
Ii would like to omit the rice. Should I reduce the liquid? I do not want the added starch. Thank you in advance for you response
This is a similar recipe but does not have rice in it! https://www.dinneratthezoo.com/broccoli-casserole/
Ps… I had to make this two days before thanksgiving, it should be fine right? Also I only bake it the day “of”correct?
I would bake the day of. Did you already add the topping too? If not I’d add that later right before baking.
I followed the recipe almost the same.. used one 10 oz can of condensed broccoli cheese soup and added 2/3 cup of half and half.. do I need to adjust the baking time?
The bake time should be the same!
Has anyone put water chestnuts in it. I think that’s what grandma used to put in her.
I think that would work fine!
I add shredded chicken to make it into a casserole
Slivered almonds on top add an extra touch!
I add curry powder to my casserole . Adds a little something extra. My family really enjoys it.
Yum! Easy to make and the kids and I loved it!!!!
This was very enjoyable. Better than the other recipe I used.
I agree wholeheartedly
How can I add more cheesy liquid to the recipe? I’m afraid to add more milk and not enough flavor.
This was delicious! My whole family loved it and has had me make it for them for parties they have had..
You could try making 1 1/2 times the sauce, that way the cheese to milk ratio would stay the same!
Nothing quite like the combination of cheese and broccoli! This was so delicious and my picky eaters even gobbled it up!
Big fan of low-carb recipes. Now that I eat vegan, Miss broccoli and cheddar so much. Thanks for the inspiration.
I agree broccoli and cheese is a classic combo. Love the idea of turning it into a casserole with rice. Going to try this very soon!
This is one of my favourite comfort meals ever, and your version looks excellent, thank you!
This dish was sooooo cheesy and delicious! I made it for dinner last night and everyone loved it!
My kids ate this up! Thank you for giving me another veggie dish that I know everyone loves and will eat.
Made a few substitutes like Sour cream instead of Cream cheese, Half shredded Parmesan/Mexican blend, green onions for a white onion and sautéed with 1 Clove fresh Garlic pressed, cut the amount of rice in half and made the difference up in chopped blanched broccoli, fabulous!
I tried it with brown rice and fresh broccoli. We loved it!
I love broccoli and cheddar! This is a great casserole!
Love these make ahead comfort food recipes!