This Broccoli Rice Casserole recipe is an easy to make side dish with a creamy, cheesy sauce. Make it a delicious part of your holiday meal or weeknight dinner.
Looking for a simple holiday side dish that everyone will love? This cheesy Broccoli Rice Casserole is a family favorite and a hearty side that pairs just as well with your Thanksgiving turkey or holiday ham as it does with your busy weeknight chicken thighs or pork chops.
The best part about this broccoli rice casserole recipe is that it’s made completely from scratch – no Velveeta, no cream of chicken soup, just wholesome ingredients turned into a simple, delicious side dish.
Broccoli florets – stems removed; you can usually find a bag of florets in the produce department.
Cooked rice – 3 cups of steam rice, which is 1 cup of uncooked rice. Having a rice cooker on hand makes this easy.
Flour + butter – melted butter and all-purpose flour make the roux for the cheese sauce.
Milk – Preferably whole milk, but any kind will creates a thick, creamy sauce when added to the roux.
Cream cheese – full fat, brick style cream cheese.
Sharp cheddar cheese – freshly grated off the block for the best texture.
Parmesan cheese – freshly grated off the block is best.
Spices – garlic powder, paprika, ground mustard, salt and black pepper.
Step by Step Instructions
Blanch the broccoli. Boil some water and cook the broccoli for 2-3 minutes. You just want to partially cook it; it will continue to soften when you bake the casserole.
Make the cheese sauce. In a medium saucepan, melt butter and make a roux with flour and spices. Add some milk and bring to a simmer until the sauce is thickened, then add cream cheese, shredded cheddar, and Parmesan.
Assemble the casserole. Stir the rice and broccoli into the cheese sauce and pour into a baking dish. You could also mix the rice and broccoli together in the baking dish and pour the cheese sauce over the top, stirring the mixture together as you go. Top with more shredded cheese.
Bake uncovered at 350 degrees F for about 25-35 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the top is golden. Give it several minutes to cool before serving.
Add fresh herbs like parsley or thyme.
Lighten it up by using light or low-fat cheeses, brown rice, or even quinoa.
Instead of cheddar, use your favorite cheese or blend of cheeses.
Add more veggies, like cauliflower or mushrooms.
When making the cheese sauce, it’s important to let the flour cook for several minutes or the sauce with have a flour taste.
Chop broccoli into even, bite sized pieces for even cooking.
Storage: Cover and keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. You can also freeze for up to 3 months.
Reheating: Small portions can be heated in the microwave. For a family sized portion, reheat the whole pan in a 350 degree oven until warmed through.
Freeze before baking: Assemble the casserole but don’t bake it. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and foil, then freeze for 3 months. To bake from frozen, heat oven to 350 degrees F and bake for 1 hour. If thawed overnight in the fridge, bake for 30 minutes.
Make Ahead: This casserole can be prepared up to 2 days in advance. Assemble, then cover and refrigerate. Remove from the fridge while the oven is preheating or you will need to add 10 minutes to the baking time.
Can I use frozen broccoli?
Yes, you can use 4-5 cups of frozen broccoli. It will already be blanched so you can skip the boiling step.
Can I use Minute Rice?
I don’t recommend using minute rice. Regular long grain rice will have a better consistency; the quick-cooking rice tends to get mushy in the casserole.
Can I cut this recipe in half?
This recipe makes 8 large portions and 10 smaller portions. If you want to cut it in half, hover over the serving amount in the recipe card and switch to the desired amount of servings. Cook in a 2-quart casserole dish instead of a 9×12-inch.
Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add broccoli and boil for 2-3 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour, garlic powder, dry mustard and paprika and cook for several minutes until golden. Add milk and bring to a simmer until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in cream cheese, 1 ½ cups of cheddar cheese and ½ cup Parmesan cheese. Stir in salt and black pepper; taste and adjust seasoning as desired.
Stir rice, broccoli and cheese sauce together. Pour into a greased 2 quart baking dish and top with remaining cheddar cheese.
Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for about 25-35 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the top is golden. Let cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.
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Kristin Maxwell is the creator and main recipe developer, writer, and photographer of Yellow Bliss Road. A self-taught cook and self-appointed foodie, she specializes in easy, flavorful and approachable recipes for any home cook.