broccoli rice casserole in a white pan

Broccoli Cheese Casserole with Rice

Broccoli cheese casserole with rice is a hearty side dish that’s always served during the holidays. But it’s not just for the holiday table, serve this creamy cheesy soul-warming side dish any night of the week!

Broccoli rice casserole on black plate.

My aunt makes a tasty broccoli rice casserole that we always look forward to every year at Christmas and Thanksgiving. But I wanted to make one that doesn’t require Cheez Whiz or Velveeta (processed cheese).

So we created a rich cheese sauce that works perfectly for this side dish. You know, a bechamel sauce with real cheese. Easy peasy!

Recipe Ingredients

  • Fresh broccoli florets
  • Cooked rice (white rice) – This is one of those recipes that’s great to use leftover rice.
  • Unsalted butter, all-purpose flour, whole milk – These are to make a thick sauce (roux).
  • Onion, garlic, dry mustard, kosher salt, and black pepper – These simple seasonings add big a punch of flavor.
  • Cream cheese, sharp cheddar cheese – For that rich and creamy cheese sauce.

Variations

  • You can make it a meal by adding diced cooked ham or chicken.
  • Swap out the cheese for a little different flavor profile, such as Monterey Jack, Pepper Jack, or even swiss cheese.
  • You can also lighten it up by subbing light cheese and low-fat milk. Just note that it won’t be as thick and creamy as using full-fat dairy.
  • You can swap brown rice for white rice, or even use quinoa or cauliflower rice.
  • We prefer fresh broccoli in this casserole. If using frozen broccoli, cook according to package directions and drain.

How to Make Broccoli Rice and Cheese Casserole

Fresh broccoli in a glass bowl with a plate on top as a lid.
Cheese sauce in a sauce pan.
Unbaked casserole topped with shredded cheddar cheese.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 2-quart casserole dish.

Cut fresh broccoli florets into 1-inch pieces. Place the florets in a large microwave-safe bowl and add 3 tablespoons of water. Cover and microwave for 2 minutes. Drain thoroughly. This blanching process is helpful in this cheddar broccoli rice to keep the broccoli bite-through but not mushy after baking.

Conversely, you can place the broccoli in boiling water and boil for 2 minutes and drain thoroughly.

In a large pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until translucent. Add the minced garlic and cook another minute.

Whisk in the flour, dry mustard, salt, and pepper. Cook another 1 to 2 minutes.

While whisking constantly, gradually pour in the milk. Continue whisking until thick and bubbly. It should be the consistency of cream soup.

Remove from the heat and add the cream cheese and 1 1/2 cups of shredded sharp cheddar cheese. Stir until the cheese is melted.

In the same large bowl stir the broccoli, 2 cups cooked rice, and cheese sauce together until completely combined. Pour into the prepared baking dish.

Sprinkle the remaining 1 cup of cheese over the top evenly.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until bubbly and golden brown.

Broccoli rice casserole scooped on a spoon.

Serve this cheesy broccoli rice casserole with any protein and a salad or as a main for vegetarians.

Can this be made ahead?

Yes, this broccoli and rice casserole is great for making ahead. Which makes it great during the holidays. Make the recipe as directed, and store it unbaked covered tightly in the refrigerator until you are ready to bake. Transfer to the counter, and let it come to room temperature while you preheat the oven. Then bake as directed.

Storing

Let the broccoli cheese rice casserole cool to room temperature, and cover or store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Freezing

Place the cooled casserole in a freezer-safe container or plastic bag and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight.

Reheating

Reheat this casserole with a little water or chicken broth in the microwave for 3-5 minutes or in the oven until warmed through.

More Side Dish Recipes

broccoli rice casserole in a white pan

Broccoli Cheese Casserole with Rice

A hearty, creamy, cheesy, soul-warming side dish for any night of the week! No processed cheese!
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: broccoli, casserole, cheese, rice
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 326kcal
Author: DSTR

Ingredients
 

Casserole

  • 6 cups Fresh broccoli florets cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 cups Cooked white rice

Cheese Sauce

  • 3 tbsp Unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup Onion diced
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic minced
  • 3 tbsp All-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp Dry mustard
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp Black pepper ground
  • 2 cups Whole milk
  • 3 tbsp Cream cheese
  • 2 1/2 cups Sharp cheddar cheese shredded, divided

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 2-quart casserole dish.
  • Cut fresh broccoli florets into 1-inch pieces. Place the florets in a large microwave-safe bowl and add 3 tablespoons of water Cover and microwave for 2 minutes. Drain thoroughly.
  • In a large pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until translucent. Add the minced garlic and cook another minute.
  • Whisk in the flour, dry mustard, salt, and pepper. Cook another 1 to 2 minutes.
  • While whisking constantly, gradually pour in the milk. Continue whisking until thick and bubbly. It should be the consistency of cream soup.
  • Remove from the heat add the cream cheese and 1 1/2 cups of shredded sharp cheddar cheese. Stir until the cheese is melted.
  • Taste for seasoning. Add more salt and pepper if desired.
  • In the same large bowl stir the broccoli, 2 cups cooked rice, and cheese sauce together until completely combined. Pour into the prepared baking dish.
  • Sprinkle the remaining 1 cup of cheese over the top evenly.
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until bubbly and golden brown.
  • Let rest for about 10 minutes before serving.

Nutrition

Calories: 326kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 60mg | Sodium: 578mg | Potassium: 374mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 1083IU | Vitamin C: 62mg | Calcium: 370mg | Iron: 1mg

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