The most glorious casserole in all the land is a classic Broccoli Rice and Cheese Casserole. Our signature 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!
Broccoli Rice and Cheese Casserole = Favorite Vegetarian Casserole
Broccoli and cheese anything is a fan favorite and that is why we decided to turn it into a delicious, super-simple, ooey-gooey casserole!
Broccoli Rice and Cheese Casserole is made with the base of broccoli and white rice and then mixes in an epic cheese sauce typically made with butter, flour, milk, and cheese.
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!
Why you’ll love it!
Made from scratch: you won’t find a pre-made cheese sauce (like Velveeta) or any creamy soups involved in this recipe. Everything is 100% made from scratch.
No cream of mushroom soup: that is right! There is no cream of mushroom soup OR cream of chicken soup involved in this popular casserole.
Serves a crowd: looking to serve a crowd or a big family. This is your meal!
What You Need
Keep scrolling to get the full broccoli and cheese recipe in our recipe card below!
Every creamy cheese sauce should begin with a roux and that’s exactly how this one is made! Here’s what you need to get started:
- butter and flour: these two things are the heart and soul of a roux.
- milk: 2% milk is used to add volume to the cheese sauce. Feel free to use ant %. But don’t go non-dairy!
- cheddar cheese: we recommend shredding your own cheese because freshly shredded cheddar cheese always melts best.
- salt: make sure to salt to taste.
A roux might seem intimidating, but they’re actually really easy to make and that’s what makes your cheese sauce nice and thick.
Cheesy broccoli rice casserole is super basic, meaning you can find all of these ingredients at most grocery stores. Here’s what you need:
- veggies: we made our recipe with broccoli florets, onion, and garlic. We kept things really simple.
- instant white rice: we love making casseroles with instant white rice because it cooks quickly and you don’t need as much liquid.
- broth: any kind of broth will work for this recipe. We used beef broth, but you can use chicken broth or even vegetable broth.
- spices: all you need is garlic powder and ground black pepper.
- hot sauce: a little hot sauce or vinegar is going to bring out all of the yummy flavors.
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
- shredded parmesan cheese: parmesan is salty goodness that is the cherry on top of this cheesy broccoli rice casserole.
- Italian breadcrumbs: we love using Italian breadcrumbs because they are already seasoned and add so much flavor.
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
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
How to Make Broccoli and Cheese Casserole (step by step)
- Prepare casserole: Spray a baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and then place white rice, broccoli, onion, garlic, broth, spices, and hot sauce in the casserole dish and mix.
- Prepare cheese sauce: Melt butter in a saucepan and then add flour and mix to form a paste. Slow add milk and whisk to combine. Whisk for 4-5 minutes until the mixture thickens and then remove from heat. Add shredded cheese and continue whisking until melted.
- Mix: Add cheese sauce to the casserole dish and mix to combine everything. Submerge as much broccoli as possible.
- Bake & Top: Cover casserole dish with tin foil and bake broccoli and cheese casserole at 375ºF for 30 minutes. While the casserole is baking, mix together the breadcrumb topping. Remove casserole dish after 30 minutes, mix, and top with breadcrumbs and then bake for 15 more minutes at 375ºF, uncovered.
- Let rest: Let casserole rest for 5-10 minutes to continue thickening and then enjoy!
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!
Can you freeze broccoli 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 9x13-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!