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Broccoli Rice Casserole


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This Broccoli Rice Casserole is the best cheesy comfort food! Serve it as a side dish or main dish. It’s satisfying as is, or add cooked chicken for more protein.

Broccoli rice casserole in baking dish.

I love making casseroles for dinner. They’re comforting and satisfying, and the best part is that once you pop a casserole in the oven, you have a few minutes to relax or clean up the kitchen while the casserole bakes.

This broccoli rice casserole is deliciously creamy and cheesy, with tender rice and broccoli baked in a homemade cheese sauce. The sauce is quick and easy to make from scratch, and tastes so much better than sauce made with canned cream of mushroom or chicken soup. The casserole is topped with cheddar cheese and then baked until bubbling and golden brown. This crowd-pleasing dish is make-ahead friendly and easy enough for a weeknight.

Broccoli Rice Casserole Recipe Ingredients

Ingredients for broccoli rice casserole recipe.

Here’s what you’ll need for this broccoli cheese rice casserole recipe.

  • Broccoli: Chop the broccoli into bite-size pieces. You’ll need about 6 cups of chopped broccoli florets.
  • Butter & Flour: Together the butter and flour create a roux, which thickens the creamy sauce. The butter also adds richness and flavor to the dish.
  • Onion & Garlic: For flavor.
  • Milk & Vegetable Broth: I use both whole milk and vegetable broth to make the sauce. The milk brings richness while the broth keeps the sauce from being too heavy. If not using low sodium broth, you may want to reduce the amount of added salt in the recipe.
  • Seasonings: Dried oregano, garlic powder, salt and pepper ensure that the broccoli and rice casserole is perfectly seasoned.
  • Cheddar Cheese: Shredded cheddar cheese is added both to the filling and the top of the casserole. I like using sharp cheddar because it’s more flavorful.
  • Parmesan Cheese: The Parmesan is stirred into the cheese sauce for an extra dose of cheesy, salty flavor.
  • Rice: Both white rice and brown rice work well here. See this How to Cook Rice Recipe or How to Cook Brown Rice.

How to Make Broccoli Rice Casserole

This easy recipe has a few simple steps: cook the broccoli and rice, make the easy homemade cheese sauce, toss it all together, top with more cheese and bake! Find the full recipe with ingredient amounts and instructions in the recipe card below.

  1. Cook the broccoli in a pot of boiling water until crisp-tender. Then drain it well (you don’t want extra moisture to water down the casserole).
  2. To make the cheese sauce, start by melting butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Then add the onion and cook until softened.
  3. Next whisk in the garlic and flour and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds, to cook off the raw flour and garlic taste. Flour and garlic added to pan with sauteed onion.
  4. Whisk in the milk, broth and seasonings. Milk, broth and seasonings added to pan.
  5. Cook for 3-4 minutes, until the sauce starts to bubble and thicken. Remove the pan from the heat.
  6. Stir in a little over half of the shredded cheddar cheese and all of the grated Parmesan cheese. Shredded cheddar and Parmesan cheese added to sauce.
  7. Place the broccoli and cooked rice in a large bowl. Pour the cheese sauce over and stir to combine. Cheese sauce poured over broccoli and rice in bowl.
  8. Transfer to a baking dish and sprinkle the rest of the cheddar cheese over the top of the casserole. Unbaked casserole in dish, topped with cheese.
  9. Bake until the casserole is hot and bubbly and the cheese is melted and golden brown on the edges.

Recipe Variations

  • Add chicken: You can make this casserole a more satisfying main dish by adding cooked chicken. Rotisserie chicken works well, or use Instant Pot Shredded Chicken, Baked Chicken Breast or Poached Chicken.
  • Use frozen broccoli: To use frozen broccoli, cook it according to the package directions and then drain well before adding to the casserole.
  • Make it with brown rice: Yes! Either cooked white rice or cooked brown rice can be used in this recipe.
  • Add a crunchy topping: To add a crispy breadcrumb topping, stir together 1 cup of Panko breadcrumbs or regular breadcrumbs and 2 tablespoons of melted butter. Then stir in 1/2 teaspoon paprika and 1/3 cup of grated Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle the topping over the casserole before baking.
Serving of cheesy broccoli rice casserole on a small plate.

What to Serve with Broccoli Rice Casserole

Make Ahead and Storage Instructions

  • Make Ahead: You can prepare the casserole up to one day ahead and refrigerate it before baking. When baking the casserole cold from the refrigerator, first cover it with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Then uncover and bake for 30-35 more minutes, until hot throughout and bubbly.
  • To Store: Leftover casserole can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. If frozen, thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
  • To Reheat: Reheat leftover casserole in the microwave or in a covered dish in a 350° F oven until steaming hot.
Broccoli rice casserole on serving spoon set in baking dish.

More Casserole Recipes You Might Enjoy

Broccoli Rice Casserole

Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword broccoli cheese rice casserole, broccoli rice casserole
Prep Time25 mins
Cook Time35 mins
Total Time1 hr
Servings 8 servings
Calories 349kcal
This Broccoli Rice Casserole has broccoli, rice and a homemade cheese sauce, baked until hot and bubbling. Serve it as a side dish or main dish. It's satisfying as is, or add cooked chicken for more protein.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds fresh broccoli crowns (chopped into bite-size pieces, about 6 cups)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ cups whole milk
  • 1 cup low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese (8 ounces, divided)
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 cups cooked white rice (or cooked brown rice)

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 350° F. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking dish.
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add broccoli and boil for 3-4 minutes, or until crisp-tender (it will cook more in the oven). Transfer broccoli to a colander, rinse with cold water, and drain very well. Set aside.
  • In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 4 minutes. Whisk in the minced garlic and flour and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds.
  • Whisk in the milk and broth, followed by the oregano, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture starts to bubble and thickens, about 3-4 minutes. Remove pan from the heat and stir in 1 ¼ cups of the shredded cheddar cheese, a little at a time, and the Parmesan cheese until the cheese melts into the sauce.
  • In a large bowl, combine the broccoli and cooked rice. Pour the cheese sauce over and stir gently to combine.
  • Transfer the mixture to the baking dish. Sprinkle the remaining shredded cheddar over the top. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until hot and bubbly and cheese is lightly browned on top. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Notes

  • I cup uncooked rice will make 3 cups of cooked rice. See How to Cook Rice.
  • You can add shredded or chopped cooked chicken to this casserole, if desired. Add it in step 5 of the recipe, when you combine the broccoli and rice.
  • Make Ahead: You can prepare the casserole up to one day ahead and refrigerate it before baking. When baking the casserole cold from the refrigerator, first cover it with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Then uncover and bake for 30-35 more minutes, until hot throughout and bubbly.
  • To Store Leftovers: Leftover casserole can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. If frozen, thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

Nutrition

Calories: 349kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 50mg | Sodium: 760mg | Potassium: 527mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 1317IU | Vitamin C: 103mg | Calcium: 384mg | Iron: 1mg
Nutrition information is an estimate.
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