Our signature broccoli rice and cheese casserole recipe is made with white rice, broccoli florets, a delicious cheese sauce, and of course topped with breadcrumbs.
This easy broccoli and cheese casserole recipe is truly the best because there is no pre-cooking the broccoli or rice, first!
This made-from-scratch broccoli rice and cheese casserole is a go-to weeknight meal for my family. There is no cream of mushroom soup involved as our recipe is made with a simple roux-based cheese sauce.
What makes our recipe so special is that there is no need to precook the broccoli or the rice! Everything cooks together right in your casserole dish making this the best broccoli and cheese casserole recipe on the internet!
What You Need for Broccoli Rice and Cheese Casserole
- Broccoli: we used fresh broccoli, but frozen would work too!
- Instant White rice: what makes this casserole so seamless is the instant white rice! There is no need to pre-cook it.
- Onion and garlic: every casserole needs a base of onion and garlic
- Cheese sauce: the cheese sauce we made starts with a roux of butter, flour, and milk. Then, shredded cheddar cheese is added to make it ooey gooey.
- Broth: any kind of broth will work for this recipe. We used beef broth, but you can use chicken broth or even vegetable broth.
- Parmesan: parmesan is used on top to add more cheese and salt.
- Italian breadcrumbs: we love the crunchy Italian breadcrumb topping.
Rice – option to use minute/instant brown rice instead of white. They both cook the same! Do note that we do NOT recommend normal white or brown rice. These cook times do not work for this casserole.
Cheese – we used an orange shredded cheddar cheese, but really 2.5 cups of any kind of shredded cheese works. Here are some suggestions:
- white cheddar
- Colby jack
- Mexican cheddar
Quick tip: add more veggies!
If you have other veggies on hand, you can absolutely use them in your casserole. Here are some other options to add:
- bell pepper
- sweet potato
Make it Gluten Free
To make this broccoli rice and cheese casserole gluten free, use the following ingredients instead:
- gluten-free all-purpose flour
- gluten-free breadcrumbs
Add some protein with shredded chicken. You can add in rotisserie chicken or pre-shredded chicken.
Do you have to cook broccoli before putting it in a casserole?
In many casseroles, you do have to cook the broccoli first, but in this one, you do not because it will bake for 45 minutes!
How to FreezerBroccoli Rice and Cheese Casserole
- To freeze broccoli and cheese casserole, cook as directed, but make sure to use a disposable casserole tin dish.
- Then, let cool completely.
- Cover casserole with a piece of plastic wrap, pressing it into the top of the casserole. Then, cover that with a piece of tin foil.
- Remove as much air as possible and then write the date on the top.
- Will last in the freezer for up to 3 months.
How to reheat a frozen casserole
To reheat, let the casserole thaw completely. Then, bake at 350ºF for 30-60 minutes or until hot in the center.
Broccoli Rice and Cheese Casserole
- 3 tablespoons butter olive oil works too
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour or white whole wheat flour
- 3 cups 2% milk
- 2.5 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 8 cups broccoli florets chopped
- 1.5 cups instant white rice instant brown rice will work, too!
- 1/2 large white onion minced
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 2 cups broth we used beef broth
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1/8 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1 tablespoon Frank’s hot sauce
- 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs
- Preheat the oven to 375ºF and spray a 9×13-inch casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray.
- Next, add broccoli, rice, onion, garlic, broth, garlic powder, ground pepper, and hot sauce to the casserole dish and mix. Set aside.
- Prepare the cheese sauce for the casserole by heating a medium sized saucepan over medium/high heat.
- Add butter. When butter is melted add flour to the saucepan and whisk together. When the butter and flour form a paste or crumble, slowly pour the milk into the saucepan, whisking consistently while pouring. Whisk the mixture over medium heat until the milk mixture begins to thicken (about 4-5 minutes).
- Remove from heat and add the cheese and salt to the saucepan. Whisk until the cheese sauce is thick and creamy.
- Carefully pour the cheese sauce over all of the ingredients in the casserole dish and toss to thoroughly combine all ingredients.
- Cover the casserole dish with tin foil and bake at 375ºF for 30 minutes. While the casserole is baking, prepare the breadcrumb topping. Mix together parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs and set aside.
- Remove from the oven, mix, and sprinkle on the breadcrumb topping. Place the casserole dish back in the oven uncovered for an additional 15 minutes at 375ºF.
- Finally, remove from the oven and let the casserole sit for 5 minutes and enjoy!