Cheesy Broccoli Rice Casserole


Indulge in the creamy goodness of a classic comfort food favorite with our Cheesy Broccoli Rice Casserole recipe. Bursting with flavor and loaded with wholesome ingredients, this hearty casserole is perfect for cozy family dinners or potluck gatherings. In this article, we’ll explore the irresistible appeal of cheesy broccoli rice casserole and share a simple yet satisfying recipe that will have everyone coming back for seconds.

The Allure of Cheesy Broccoli Rice Casserole: Cheesy broccoli rice casserole is a beloved dish that combines tender broccoli florets, fluffy rice, and creamy cheese sauce into a delectable one-dish meal. With its rich and comforting flavors, this casserole is a crowd-pleaser that appeals to both kids and adults alike. Whether served as a side dish or as the main attraction, cheesy broccoli rice casserole is sure to become a family favorite.


  • 2 cups broccoli florets, fresh or frozen
  • 1 cup long-grain white rice
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs (optional)


  1. Preheat the Oven:
    • Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish with butter or cooking spray.
  2. Cook the Rice:
    • In a medium saucepan, combine the rice and chicken or vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the rice is tender and the liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and fluff the rice with a fork.
  3. Prepare the Broccoli:
    • If using fresh broccoli, steam or blanch the broccoli florets until tender-crisp, then drain well. If using frozen broccoli, thaw and drain any excess moisture.
  4. Make the Cheese Sauce:
    • In a separate saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the flour and cook for 1-2 minutes, until lightly golden. Gradually whisk in the milk until smooth and thickened. Remove from heat and stir in 1 1/2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese until melted and smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Assemble the Casserole:
    • In the prepared baking dish, layer the cooked rice, broccoli florets, and cheese sauce, spreading each layer evenly. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of shredded cheddar cheese on top. If desired, sprinkle breadcrumbs over the cheese for added texture.
  6. Bake the Casserole:
    • Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and golden brown. Remove the foil during the last 5 minutes of baking for a crispy top.
  7. Serve and Enjoy:
    • Remove the casserole from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes before serving. Garnish with chopped parsley or additional shredded cheese if desired. Serve hot and enjoy the creamy, cheesy goodness of broccoli rice casserole!

Serving and Storage Tips for Cheesy Broccoli Rice Casserole:

Serving Tips:

  1. Garnish for Presentation: Before serving, garnish the cheesy broccoli rice casserole with chopped fresh parsley or a sprinkle of paprika for added color and flavor. This enhances the visual appeal of the dish and makes it even more enticing.
  2. Pair with Protein: Serve the casserole as a main dish accompanied by grilled chicken, roasted turkey, or baked fish for a well-rounded and satisfying meal. The protein will complement the cheesy flavors of the casserole perfectly.
  3. Complete the Meal: Round out the meal with a side salad, steamed vegetables, or garlic breadsticks to add variety and balance to the plate. These accompaniments provide additional texture and nutrition to the meal.
  4. Individual Portions: Consider portioning the cheesy broccoli rice casserole into individual ramekins or serving dishes for a personalized touch. This allows guests to enjoy their own serving without the need for additional serving utensils.
  5. Serve Hot: Cheesy broccoli rice casserole is best served hot, straight from the oven, when the cheese is bubbly and golden brown. Serve it immediately to ensure maximum enjoyment of its creamy texture and cheesy goodness.

Storage Tips:

  1. Refrigeration: Allow any leftover cheesy broccoli rice casserole to cool to room temperature before transferring it to an airtight container. Store it in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
  2. Freezing: Cheesy broccoli rice casserole can be frozen for longer-term storage. Wrap the cooled casserole tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil, or transfer it to a freezer-safe container. Label with the date and freeze for up to 2-3 months.
  3. Thawing: When ready to enjoy frozen casserole, thaw it overnight in the refrigerator. Reheat it in the oven at a low temperature until warmed through, or microwave individual portions until heated to your liking.
  4. Reheating: Reheat refrigerated or frozen cheesy broccoli rice casserole in the oven at 350°F (175°C) until heated through, covering with aluminum foil to prevent drying out. Alternatively, microwave individual portions for a quick and convenient meal option.
  5. Add Moisture if Needed: If reheating leftovers, add a splash of chicken broth or milk to the casserole before reheating to restore moisture and prevent it from becoming too dry. Stir well to incorporate the added liquid evenly throughout the casserole.

Variations of Cheesy Broccoli Rice Casserole:

  1. Chicken and Broccoli Casserole:
    • Add diced cooked chicken breast or rotisserie chicken to the casserole for added protein and heartiness. Mix the chicken with the broccoli and rice before adding the cheese sauce for a delicious twist on the classic recipe.
  2. Broccoli Cheddar Quinoa Casserole:
    • Substitute quinoa for the rice in the casserole for a nutritious and gluten-free alternative. Cook the quinoa according to package instructions before layering it with the broccoli and cheese sauce. Garnish with extra shredded cheddar cheese for an extra cheesy finish.
  3. Vegetarian Broccoli Rice Casserole:
    • Create a vegetarian version of the casserole by omitting the chicken and adding extra vegetables such as diced bell peppers, mushrooms, or spinach. You can also add cooked chickpeas or white beans for added protein and fiber.
  4. Spicy Broccoli Rice Casserole:
    • Add a kick of heat to the casserole by mixing in diced jalapeños or green chilies to the broccoli and rice mixture. You can also sprinkle crushed red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper into the cheese sauce for added spice. Serve with a dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt to cool down the heat.
  5. Broccoli Cauliflower Rice Casserole:
    • Replace some or all of the rice with cauliflower rice for a lower-carb alternative. Simply pulse cauliflower florets in a food processor until they resemble rice grains and use them in place of rice in the casserole. The combination of broccoli and cauliflower adds extra vegetables and nutrition to the dish.


  1. Can I use frozen broccoli for this casserole?
    • Yes, frozen broccoli can be used in this recipe. Thaw the broccoli before adding it to the casserole, and be sure to drain any excess moisture to prevent the casserole from becoming too watery.
  2. Can I make this casserole ahead of time?
    • Yes, you can assemble the casserole ahead of time and refrigerate it until ready to bake. Simply cover the unbaked casserole with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. Bake as directed when ready to serve.
  3. Can I use a different type of cheese?
    • Absolutely! While cheddar cheese is traditional for this recipe, you can experiment with other cheeses such as mozzarella, Swiss, or Monterey Jack for different flavor profiles. Feel free to mix and match cheeses to suit your taste preferences.
  4. How do I prevent the rice from becoming mushy?
    • To prevent the rice from becoming mushy, be sure to cook it until it is just tender before adding it to the casserole. Avoid overcooking the rice, as it will continue to cook in the oven.
  5. Can I add other vegetables to the casserole?
    • Yes, you can customize the casserole by adding additional vegetables such as bell peppers, mushrooms, or carrots. Just be sure to cook any hard vegetables before adding them to the casserole.
  6. Can I make this casserole gluten-free?
    • Yes, you can make this casserole gluten-free by using a gluten-free flour to thicken the cheese sauce and ensuring that all other ingredients are gluten-free. You can also use gluten-free breadcrumbs or omit them entirely.
  7. Can I freeze leftovers of this casserole?
    • Yes, leftovers of this casserole can be frozen for future meals. Allow the casserole to cool completely, then transfer individual portions to freezer-safe containers or wrap them tightly in aluminum foil. Freeze for up to 3 months and thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
  8. How do I reheat leftovers of this casserole?
    • To reheat leftovers of this casserole, preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C) and cover the casserole dish with aluminum foil. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until heated through. Alternatively, you can microwave individual portions until hot.
  9. Can I add protein to this casserole?
    • Yes, you can add protein to this casserole by incorporating cooked chicken, turkey, ham, or bacon. Simply mix the cooked protein with the broccoli and rice mixture before adding the cheese sauce.
  10. Is this casserole suitable for vegetarians?
    • While this recipe contains cheese, which is often not considered vegetarian-friendly due to rennet, you can use vegetarian-friendly cheese to make it suitable for vegetarians. Additionally, omitting any meat-based ingredients will make the casserole vegetarian-friendly.


Cheesy broccoli rice casserole is a comforting and satisfying dish that brings warmth and flavor to any meal. With its creamy cheese sauce, tender broccoli, and fluffy rice, it’s a timeless classic that never fails to please. Whether served as a side dish or as the main event, this casserole is sure to become a staple in your family’s recipe repertoire. Try making it at home and experience the irresistible comfort of cheesy broccoli rice casserole for yourself!

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