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Broccoli with cheese sauce is the best way to serve this vitamin-packed veggie. Fresh steamed broccoli is smothered in a rich and creamy homemade cheese sauce for a classic, kid-friendly side dish.

broccoli with cheese sauce in a bowl with a fork

This jazzed up vegetable side dish will please everyone around your dinner table. Serve it with other kid-approved favorites like Chicken NuggetsGrilled Steak, or Crockpot Ribs.

Cheese Sauce for Broccoli

When I was a kid, the only way my mom could get me to eat broccoli or cauliflower was if it was smothered in her famous homemade cheese sauce. I’m not ashamed to say it’s a tactic I’ve used quite often on my own kids. This classic is loved by nearly everyone and never gets old!

It’s super easy, made with freshly grated cheddar, and it’s so much better than anything you can make with processed cheese. Want to know how to get your kids interested in something that’s good for them? Smother in ketchup of cheese!

How do you make cheese sauce smooth?

  • Always use freshly grated cheese from the block when you can. While it will work in a pinch, pre-shredded cheese is coated with additives and won’t melt as smoothly. Plus, fresh just tastes better.
  • Remove the pan from the heat before adding the cheese sauce, and let it cool for a few minutes. Boiling hot white sauce will cause the cheese to separate and become grainy.
  • Toss the cheese in a little cornstarch to reduce clumping.
  • Add the cheese in a smaller batch and stir well with each addition.
  • Add cream cheese to your sauce – this is how I have been making cheese sauce for years and it’s smooth and creamy every time.
  • Whisk, whisk, whisk! Keeping your sauce moving helps with consistency.

skillet with cheese sauce, whisk, broccoli, green towel

Tips for Making Broccoli with Cheese Sauce

  • Try to cut the broccoli all the same size for even cooking.
  • Steam or boil the broccoli until tender-crisp so it still has a bit of bit to it.
  • To make the cheese sauce, start with a roux of melted butter and flour, then add milk. I prefer full-fat milk over nonfat for a richer sauce. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat, taking care not to overheat and scald the milk. The key to a great sauce is to constantly stir so it won’t burn.
  • The sauce is thick is enough is when it coats the back of a spoon. Time to add the cheese!
  • Remove the sauce from the heat before adding the cheese and whisk it really well.
  • Adding cream cheese has been a game changer for me. It helps to slightly cool the sauce and makes it more creamy and rich.
  • Substitute other cheeses, like Monterey Jack or even Pepper Jack.

ckillet with cheese sauce, broccoli with cheese on plates, forks,

How to Serve Cheese Sauce

This sauce is of course delicious over broccoli or cauliflower, even carrots. You can also use it as a dip for tortilla chips or bread, drizzle it over Homemade French Fries or Loaded Chicken Nachos.

What to do with leftover Cheese Sauce

Storage: Broccoli with cheese sauce is best served immediately. While you can refrigerate and reheat this recipe, the sauce may be grainy and not as delicious. If the cheese sauce is stored in a separate container, it will last in the refrigerator for a few days.

How to Reheat Cheese Sauce: Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop, gradually and stirring often, adding a splash of milk or cream to help keep it from separating.

Freezing: I would not recommend freezing this cheese sauce.

skillet with cheese sauce, broccoli, wood spoon

More Broccoli recipes to try


Broccoli with Cheese Sauce

Broccoli with cheese sauce is the best way to serve fresh broccoli - smothered in a creamy homemade cheese sauce. It's totally kid approved!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4 servings


  • 5 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 cup water

Cheese sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole milk nonfat will work, but whole is best
  • 1 ½ cups freshly shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 ounces cream cheese
  • ½ teaspoon ground mustard
  • Kosher Salt to taste
  • Freshly cracked black pepper/ to taste
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  • Heat water to boiling in a deep skillet or saute pan with a lid over medium heat. Add broccoli florets and cover to steam for 3-5 minutes. Transfer to a serving dish and cover to keep warm.
  • Melt butter in a medium saucepan or skillet over medium heat. Add flour and whisk constantly until completely combined, then cook, whisking often, until golden; 2-3 minutes.
  • Pour in milk and bring to a simmer. Let simmer for 3-5 minutes or until mixture is thickened. Stir in cream cheese and ground mustard.
  • Remove from heat and cool for a few minutes before stirring in shredded cheddar. Taste and add salt and pepper as desired. If the sauce is too thick, stir in a little bit of warm milk until the right consistency is reached.
  • Pour over steamed broccoli and serve.
Keyword broccoli with cheese sauce, cheese sauce for broccoli


Calories: 363kcalCarbohydrates: 15gProtein: 16gFat: 27gSaturated Fat: 16gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 79mgSodium: 430mgPotassium: 510mgFiber: 3gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 1597IUVitamin C: 101mgCalcium: 447mgIron: 1mg

Nutritional Disclaimer Kristin Maxwell of "Yellow Bliss Road" is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. For accurate calorie counts and other nutritional values, we recommend running the ingredients through your preferred online nutritional calculator. Calories and other nutritional values can vary depending on which brands were used.


Kristin Maxwell

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.

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