This broccoli mac and cheese is an easy stovetop recipe with tender pasta in a creamy cheddar cheese sauce and plenty of fresh steamed broccoli. An easy and family friendly meal!
Broccoli macaroni and cheese is a hearty main course or side dish that always gets rave reviews. If you’re a mac and cheese fan, you also need to try my slow cooker and jalapeno popper versions of this comfort food classic.
You can never go wrong with macaroni and cheese, am I right? This broccoli mac and cheese is noodles in a creamy cheddar cheese sauce with the addition of broccoli florets. It’s a great way to get the kids to eat their veggies!
How do you make broccoli mac and cheese?
The first step in this recipe is making a white sauce with butter, flour and milk. Pasta goes into the sauce to simmer, then a whole bunch of cheddar cheese is stirred in. The final step is to add your broccoli, then dinner is served!
Can you use any pasta for macaroni and cheese?
The best pasta for macaroni and cheese, aside from the obvious choice of macaroni, is a short pasta with plenty of nooks and crannies for the sauce to cling to. Other pasta options are shell pasta as shown in this recipe, along with rotini, cavatappi or fusilli. Just be aware that different pasta shapes have varying cook times!
What is the best cheese to use for macaroni and cheese?
This recipe calls for cheddar cheese which is the most popular choice. Look for a medium or sharp cheddar cheese, but you don’t want to use an extra sharp cheddar or aged cheddar, because they won’t melt smooth in the sauce. Other great cheese options are mozzarella, Monterey Jack and fontina cheese. I recommend using freshly grated cheese for this recipe. The bags of pre-shredded cheese often contain preservatives and anti-caking agents, and the cheese doesn’t melt nicely.
You’ll need to cook your broccoli before you stir it into your mac and cheese. I simply steam my broccoli in the microwave, but you could also saute or roast it. You can use frozen broccoli in this dish, simply stir it in from frozen and let the whole thing simmer for a few minutes longer to that the broccoli can warm up.
What can you add to mac and cheese?
I think this broccoli mac and cheese is fabulous as is, but you can definitely add other ingredients to customize it to your tastes. Some great options are
- Cooked chicken
- Sun dried tomatoes
- Parmesan cheese
- Hot sauce
- Green onions
- Cream cheese
I serve broccoli macaroni and cheese as a main course or as a side dish for a lean protein like roasted chicken. My kids request this one all the time and I’m happy to oblige, anything to get them to eat their broccoli!
More pasta recipes you’ll love
Broccoli Mac and Cheese
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 2 cups water
- 4 cups milk
- 12 ounces medium shell pasta uncooked
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 4 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- 2 cups steamed broccoli florets
- Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the flour, then whisk until combined, about 30 seconds.
- Pour in the water and whisk until smooth and just thickened.
- Add the milk and whisk until combined.
- Stir in the shell pasta salt, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika and pepper, then bring the mixture to a simmer.
- Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until pasta is done
- Turn the heat to low, then stir in the cheese. Keep stirring until the sauce is smooth. Stir in the broccoli, then serve.