This broccoli casserole is tender broccoli florets coated in a homemade cheese sauce, then finished off with a buttery cracker topping. An easy make-ahead dish that’s perfect for an everyday dinner or a holiday meal.

My family loves broccoli, I often find myself making roasted parmesan broccoli, broccoli with cheese sauce, and this simple, yet satisfying casserole. If you’ve got a broccoli fan in your house, this recipe is a must try!

A pan of broccoli casserole with a serving spoon in it.

There’s nothing better than a hot cheesy casserole, especially on a cold day. Casseroles are comforting, hearty and quick to assemble. I make this broccoli casserole on a regular basis, it’s one of my all time favorite ways to eat broccoli.

This casserole is perfect side dish to serve with dinner entrees and holiday favorites like crock pot ham, spatchcock turkey and slow cooker whole chicken.

Broccoli Casserole Ingredients

To make broccoli casserole you will need broccoli, onion, butter, flour, milk, cheddar cheese, cream cheese, salt, black pepper, smoked paprika, garlic powder, buttery crackers and chopped parsley.

Cooked florets and cheese sauce in a mixing bowl.

How Do You Make Broccoli Casserole?

This broccoli casserole recipe starts with fresh broccoli florets. Cook them in a boiling pot of salted water for a couple of minutes until they turn bright green. Transfer the broccoli to a bowl of cold water to cool them. Remove them from the water and pat them dry. In a medium pot melt a little butter and cook your onion until translucent. Add all purpose flour to the pot and stir until you coat the onions. Whisk milk into the pan and let it thicken. Add cream cheese, cheddar cheese and seasonings to the pot. Stir everything together until it turns into a smooth sauce.

Place your blanched broccoli in a bowl and pour the cheese sauce over the broccoli. Transfer everything into a prepared dish and sprinkle shredded cheddar cheese and crushed crackers over the top. Bake the casserole until it gets bubbly. Sprinkle a little parsley on top and enjoy. The end result is a crunchy and creamy casserole that’s totally irresistible!

Florets in a baking dish coated with cheese sauce.

Tips For Broccoli Casserole

  • This broccoli cheese casserole works best with fresh broccoli that’s been lightly cooked.
  • Frozen broccoli will do in a pinch, but you need to make sure it’s thawed and dried before it goes into the recipe or you could end up with a watery casserole.
  • I typically use Ritz cracker crumbs; however, you can use other similar buttery crackers.
  • This recipe makes a luscious cheese sauce starting with a butter and flour roux. So you don’t need cream of mushroom soup or cream of chicken soup.

Quick Tip

Cut your broccoli into bite sized pieces so your casserole is easy to eat.

Broccoli in cheese sauce topped with crushed crackers and shredded cheese.

Recipe FAQs

How do you blanche broccoli?

Blanched broccoli is simply broccoli that’s been quickly boiled, then goes into a bath of cold water to stop the cooking process. You’ll need to cook your broccoli for 2-3 minutes in boiling water until it turns bright green, then transfer the broccoli to a bowl of ice water. After the broccoli cools, drain the water and pat the broccoli dry with a paper towel.

Can you make this casserole ahead of time?

You can make this casserole ahead of time. Simply make the casserole through sprinkling the cheese on top. Cover with foil and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. Add the crackers right before you bake the casserole. Add an additional 10 minutes to the bake time.

Is it better to use fresh or frozen broccoli in a casserole?

The best broccoli casserole has lightly cooked or blanched broccoli. Frozen broccoli will work, but you should thaw it and pat it dry before it goes into the casserole. Wet broccoli may result in a watery casserole.

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A pan of broccoli casserole topped with crackers, melted cheese and parsley.

Flavor Variations

I typically serve this broccoli casserole as a side dish, but you can add an assortment of other ingredients to turn it into more of a main course offering. You can also modify the flavor to suit your taste.

  • Grains: Use 3 cups of broccoli and 3 cups of cooked grains such as rice, quinoa or farro.
  • Protein: Use 3 cups of broccoli and 3 cups of cooked chicken or ground beef.
  • Bacon: Sprinkle 1/2 cup of cooked crumbled bacon over the finished dish.
  • Potatoes: Use 3 cups of broccoli and 3 cups of cubed cooked potatoes.
  • Veggies: You can sauté sliced mushrooms, zucchini, bell peppers and other veggies with your onion.
  • Spicy: Add cayenne pepper, crushed red pepper flakes or a little hot sauce to bring the heat.
  • Creamy: Add a little sour cream to finish your cheese sauce for an extra creamy sauce.
  • Cheese: You can really use any cheese you like in this casserole. I typically use a sharp cheddar cheese, but other great options are fontina, Monterey Jack or provolone cheese.

This broccoli casserole is everything you’d want in a side dish – it’s the best way to get your kids to eat their veggies! Serve this casserole at your next gatherings and watch the rave reviews pour in.

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5 from 40 votes

Broccoli Casserole

AuthorSara Welch
A pan of broccoli casserole with a serving spoon in it.
This broccoli casserole is tender broccoli florets coated in a homemade cheese sauce, then finished off with a buttery cracker topping. An easy make-ahead dish that’s perfect for an everyday dinner or a holiday meal.
Time
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time40 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Serves 8

Ingredients 

  • 6 cups broccoli florets
  • 1/2 cup onion finely diced
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups milk I use whole milk
  • 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
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 cup crushed crackers such as Ritz
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • cooking spray

Instructions 

  • Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the broccoli and cook for 2-3 minutes or until bright green.
  • Transfer the broccoli to a bowl of ice water. Let cool, then drain the water and pat the broccoli dry.
  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Coat a 2 quart baking dish 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 powder to the sauce. Stir until smooth.
  • Place the broccoli in a large bowl.  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.

Notes

  1. This broccoli cheese casserole works best with fresh broccoli that’s been lightly cooked.
  2. Frozen broccoli will do in a pinch, but you need to make sure it’s thawed and dried before it goes into the recipe or you could end up with a watery casserole.
  3. Cut your broccoli into bite sized pieces so your casserole is easy to eat.

Nutrition

Calories: 325kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Cholesterol: 73mg | Sodium: 676mg | Potassium: 367mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 1345IU | Vitamin C: 61.6mg | Calcium: 417mg | Iron: 1mg

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Comments

  1. that looks fantastic! I’ll have to switch things up and try it one night! I think my kids would really like it! yum!

  2. im sure my kids will like this if i cook it at home, thank you for sharing this recipe, i have something new to cook for my family

  3. 5 stars
    Oh your casserole looks absolutely marvelous! This would get even the pickiest of eaters to love their broccoli!

    1. 5 stars
      I added some shredded rotisserie chicken to this and made it a main dish. Also, I love the smoked paprika. I’m going to keep this recipe for one of my regulars. Thanks!

  4. 5 stars
    I love broccoli and add cheese and bits of bacon, yummy!! I have never baked broccoli before I usually cook on stove top. Your recipe looks fabulous and bit of healthy with some flavors!!

  5. Ok, I need to go make this ASAP! My family eats a variation of this dish on holidays, and I love to try other recipes for it. Just seeing the pics make me happy. Printing for later!

  6. I’ve heard of blanched broccoli before, but I’ve never quite understood what it is. How does boiling it quickly and then stopping the cooking process affect it? Does it make it crunchier?

    1. It just lightly cooks the broccoli, the broccoli is tender but not mushy and it helps to retain the bright green color.

  7. Hands up! it looks very delicious! and it actually is. My husbands often broccoli casserole is a very similar manner (slight spices change and no butter). I love this so much!

  8. 5 stars
    This is one of my favorite casseroles to make for my family! I love the crunchy topping of the crackers too! Reminds me of how I prepare green bean casserole with crunchy fried onions on top; delicious!

  9. 5 stars
    I love broccoli and this recipe sounds delicious! I think even my kids might eat this. They are not big fans of most vegetables but I think our whole family would love this.

  10. 5 stars
    When your kids do not like broccoli and this is the way to make them like it with broccoli casserole. With the accompany of cheese, I think they will start to fall in love with broccoli.

  11. We love broccoli in my house too, and of course, we love cheese! I’ll have to try your make-ahead instructions. Some nights it’s just way too tough to come home from work and then start in on making dinner from scratch.

  12. That has me so hungry! I make broccoli casserole all the time. My family loves it. I usually put cubed chicken breast in it when I make it.

  13. 5 stars
    This recipe looks delicious, definitely will encourage the kids to eat more vegetables. Thank you for sharing.