Cheesy broccoli casserole is a great make-ahead side dish. Perfect for everything from a simple weeknight dinner to a Thanksgiving feast.
I’m a big fan of covering vegetables in creamy cheese sauce and baking until golden brown. But something tells me that pretty much no person on Earth would be against that. Right? I mean, even the most hatiest (totally a word) vegetable haters will love this glorious cheesy broccoli casserole or bake.
Not only is it absolutely delicious but it’s also SO easy to make. This isn’t a classic broccoli casserole filled with mayonnaise, sour cream, cream of mushroom soup and topped with ritz crackers. This is the way we had it growing up and it’s not overly rich but completely delectable and allows the broccoli to be the star. Oh, and the cheese. Duh.
I love serving this cheesy broccoli casserole with roast chicken or pan-seared pork chops for an easy weeknight dinner but if you’re thinking about side dishes for Thanksgiving or Christmas, this one is a total winner. Also, well done you planner you! It also helps that you can assemble it up to two days ahead and keep it covered in the fridge until you’re ready to bake it. Winning, all around!
Full easy broccoli casserole recipe with amounts can be found in the recipe card below.
- Broccoli. Frozen broccoli can be used but won’t be as good as fresh.
- Cheese sauce.
- Cheese. I used Parmesan cheese for the topping but you can use any cheese of your choice.
- Panko breadcrumbs (optional).
How to make broccoli casserole?
- Cook the broccoli: Steam, roast or blanch fresh broccoli florets until just tender. Test this by sticking a sharp knife into the stem. If it inserts easily, the broccoli is cooked. Cooking the broccoli before covering in cheese sauce will allow the casserole to bake quickly.
- Make the cheese sauce: To make the cheese sauce, melt butter in a saucepan then whisk in flour to make a roux. Pour in milk while whisking until the sauce is smooth. Add spices of your choice and mix in. Smoked paprika, nutmeg, dried oregano, mustard powder and chilli flakes all work very well in cheese sauce. Turn down the heat and allow to simmer until the sauce has thickened and is cooked through. It should have no floury taste. Remove from the heat and mix in the grated cheddar cheese.
- Bake the casserole: Grease a baking dish (with olive oil, melted butter or cooking spray) then add the par-cooked broccoli. Pour the cheese sauce over the broccoli and top with cheese and bread crumbs. Place in a hot oven and allow to bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown and bubbling. Remove from the oven, allow to rest for 5 minutes then serve.
How do you make cheese sauce for broccoli?
Whisk butter and flour in a medium saucepan over medium heat until a roux forms. Slowly whisk in milk and season with salt, nutmeg, mustard powder and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Remove from the heat then stir in the cheese until completely melted.
What cheese goes with broccoli and cheese?
Using a strong cheese like mature or sharp cheddar cheese, Parmesan, Gruyere is best for broccoli and cheese. The flavor of the cheese needs to be able to stand up to the flavor of the broccoli. Adding a good melting cheese like mozzarella, Raclette or Fontina will add lush creaminess.
Can I freeze broccoli casserole?
Yes, to freeze: assemble the broccoli bake in a foil baking container and top with the shredded mozzarella. Press a sheet of parchment paper onto the surface of the casserole then wrap tightly in foil. Freeze for up to 4 months. To bake, remove the parchment paper and bake from frozen until golden brown and bubbling