Cheesy, creamy, tangy, and jam packed with tender broccoli, this Broccoli Cheese Casserole is the side dish of your dreams! This recipe is loaded with onion, garlic, two different kinds of cheeses, then topped with buttery crackers! It doesn’t get any better than this! If you love this, you will also love this Green Bean Casserole, these Southern Green Beans, Cauliflower Mac and Cheese and Scalloped Potatoes.
By Leidi Rodriguez
Boy oh boy do I have a doozy of a recipe for ya today! I don’t know about you guys but I grew up in the era of freezer food. Hot Pockets, Kid Cuisines, and Red Baron Pizza were all staples in my diet up until, well, college probably. The ease of popping something in the microwave or oven and having a meal in just a few minutes was something too good (and cheap) to pass up.
One of my top freezer aisle picks was Green Giant’s Broccoli with Cheese Sauce! Kinda tender, kinda mushy broccoli coated in way too hot, definitely not good for you cheese sauce, what’s not to love?
But alas, my adult body just can’t handle the preservatives the way it used to. So, I’ve opted to recreate a favorite in my own kitchen!
Today’s Broccoli Cheese Casserole is an homage to the Green Giant himself: it’s large, in charge, and hearty enough to feed an actual giant. I can only hope that he’d be proud!
BROCCOLI CHEESE CASSEROLE INGREDIENTS
I’ve mentioned this before but I prefer recipes that use simple, easy to find ingredients. Having to go to the store one more time than I need to doesn’t particularly interest me.
So, when it came to this recipe, I stuck to common household ingredients that work together to create something extraordinary.
Here’s what I used:
FROZEN BROCCOLI- Fresh or frozen broccoli will work here! If using fresh, I’d recommend steaming the broccoli first to ensure they cook all the way through. It’s not necessary to defrost the frozen variety but you can if you’d like. I’ve tried this recipe both ways and I find that the result is just about identical, so it’s totally up to you!
SWEET ONION- Onions just add a little extra bite. Sweet, yellow, or white onions are all great options.
GARLIC- Feel free to add as much or as little garlic as you’d like! I prefer things to be on the heavy garlic side but this is your party people.
ALL PURPOSE FLOUR- Flour helps to thicken the cheese sauce. If gluten free, you can replace AP Flour with a cup for cup variety.
WHOLE MILK- Full fat milk is best for getting that smooth, creamy, and rich sauce. I have not attempted this recipe with low fat milk but if you’d like to give it a shot, go ahead. Definitely let me know how it goes in the comments!
SHARP CHEDDAR + SWISS- I didn’t want the casserole to be overwhelmingly sharp, so I opted to split the cheese into two varieties. Cheddar is powerful and vibrant while Swiss is calm and fragrant. You can create a mix of your very own! Get creative and throw in some Gouda, Pepperjack, or even Goat Cheese.
SOUR CREAM- Is there anything sour cream can’t make better? Trick question. Of course that tangy cream is necessary! You can also replace it with cream cheese or omit it completely.
RITZ CRACKERS- This is not a green giant approved addition but I sure do love it. Those buttery, crunchy bits are God’s work!
SALT, PEPPER, + GROUND MUSTARD- There will never be a recipe on this site that doesn’t require seasoning. I added a bit of ground mustard for a bit of extra tangy heat. Feel free to add in some spice of your own!
HOW TO MAKE A HOMEMADE BROCCOLI CHEESE CASSEROLE
Any recipe that can be made in one pot in under an hour is a winner in my book! With the use of frozen broccoli and a few other pantry staples, this Broccoli Cheese Casserole comes together in no time.
The recipe begins by making a simple roux with just butter, onions, and flour. Once the onions are tender and the flour has been cooked down, we add garlic for flavor and stir it all together with creamy whole milk. Cheese and sour cream is then added to create liquid gold, aka cheese sauce.
Be sure to taste your sauce and season it up! We don’t need a bland casserole around here folks. Next, you’ll want to carefully stir in the broccoli, making sure every floret is coated in that glorious sauce.
Transfer your dripping, ooey gooey broccoli to a prepared casserole dish (or not if you’re using an oven-safe sauté pan) and cover it with the remaining cheese. Don’t forget that extra salty sprinkle of parm!
Watch that bad boy bake for about 15 minutes, then sprinkle on your ritz crackers and continue to bake until golden brown and bubbly.
Wait for a few minutes to serve or do like me, grab a fork, and dig right in! Don’t worry the burns will heal tomorrow.
WHAT ELSE CAN I TOP THIS CASSEROLE WITH?
My favorite part about this casserole is the crunchy, salty ritz cracker topping. But, if you’re not a ritz fiend like me, or you’d just like to try something else on for size, here are few other options:
- Potato Chips (Classic Ruffles or Lays)
- Breadcrumbs (Seasoned, Panko, or even Italian)
- Crushed Pretzels
- Crushed Butter or Saltine Crackers
- Cheeze-Its (of any flavor!)
Try one or try ‘em all, and let me know what you liked best in the comments below!
CAN I MAKE A BROCCOLI CHEESE CASSEROLE AHEAD OF TIME?
Totally! All you gotta do is prepare the casserole as directed, then top it with foil and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. When ready to eat, bake as instructed. You might need to add about 10 minutes of baking to account for the refrigeration. Do not top the casserole with crackers before storing, they’ll get soggy.
If you’d like to prep your casserole further ahead of time, cover it with two layers of heavy duty foil and freeze (unbaked) for up to 3 months. Thaw the casserole in the refrigerator for 24 hours, then bake fully according to instructions.
WHAT DO I SERVE IT WITH?
Another option: you can add cooked rice, shredded chicken, or ham pieces to the casserole before baking to make it a full meal!
HOW LONG WILL THE LEFTOVERS KEEP?
Once fully baked, cheesy broccoli casserole will keep for 3-4 days. I like to portion out the casserole into small airtight containers, then tuck them away in the fridge or freezer for later.
This casserole can be reheated in the oven at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or in a microwave on high in 1-2 minute increments.
MORE GRANDBABY CAKES SIDE DISH RECIPES
I’m a side dish kind girl! So, go ahead and pile my plate high with mashed potatoes, greens, and pastas galore.
If you hear what I’m saying, try out a few more of GBC’s signature side dishes:
Broccoli Cheese Casserole
- 6 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 small sweet onion diced
- 4 garlic cloves finely chopped
- 4 tbsp all purpose flour
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese shredded
- 1 cup swiss cheese shredded
- 1 tsp ground mustard
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 3 1/2 cups frozen broccoli florets up to 4 cups
- grated parmesan cheese
- 1 1/2 cups crushed ritz crackers
- kosher salt
- fresh black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and grease a shallow baking dish.*
- Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the diced onion, sprinkle in a pinch of salt, and stir to combine. Cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium low if the onions start to brown too quickly.
- Add garlic and cook, stirring frequently for 1 minute.
- Add flour and cook, continuing to stir for 1 more minute.
- Slowly pour in the milk, whisking constantly. Once all the milk has been added, cook for 3 minutes or until the milk just begins to simmer.
- Add half of the shredded cheese, ground mustard, and sour cream, then reduce the heat to low and stir until the sauce begins to thicken. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat.
- Stir in the frozen broccoli. Transfer the broccoli and cheese mixture to the greased baking dish. Cover the casserole with the remaining cheese.
- Bake the casserole for 15 minutes. Top with crushed ritz crackers and a heavy sprinkle of grated parmesan, then bake for an additional 5-8 minutes, or until heated through and bubbly.
- Let cool for 5 minutes and enjoy!
Once fully baked, cheesy broccoli casserole will keep for 3-4 days. I like to portion out the casserole into small airtight containers, then tuck them away in the fridge or freezer for later. This casserole can be reheated in the oven at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or in a microwave on high in 1-2 minute increments. CAN I MAKE A BROCCOLI CHEESE CASSEROLE AHEAD OF TIME?
Totally! All you gotta do is prepare the casserole as directed, then top it with foil and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. When ready to eat, bake as instructed. You might need to add about 10 minutes of baking to account for the refrigeration. Do not top the casserole with crackers before storing, they’ll get soggy. If you’d like to prep your casserole further ahead of time, cover it with two layers of heavy duty foil and freeze (unbaked) for up to 3 months. Thaw the casserole in the refrigerator for 24 hours, then bake fully according to instructions.