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Broccoli Cheese Casserole

Tender broccoli and cream sauce topped with a crispy cheesy crumb coating — is there any wonder that this broccoli cheese casserole is our family’s all-time favorite side dish? If you’re looking for the perfect vegetable side for your next holiday meal, I just know you’ll love this one too!

homemade broccoli and cheese casserole in red serving dish

Our Family Favorite Broccoli Casserole

This broccoli cheese casserole is hands-down the most requested side dish for our holiday meals. (It’s a close race between this and Granny’s cloverleaf rolls!) It is the perfect homemade side dish for any holiday meal because it goes with everything! I can’t even imagine a holiday meal without it.

Here’s the history on this amazing family dish:

My sister was the first one to start making a broccoli casserole for our holiday dinners.  She found the recipe in a cookbook that she received as a wedding present almost 40 years ago and it became her signature dish to bring to family dinners.

Eventually, I had to start making it myself and I’ve adapted the recipe for my family. It is still my favorite holiday meal side dish to this day. Actually it’s just one of my favorite foods period. Making it again for this post; I nailed it. It is the perfect blend of vegetable, cheese, and crunch topping.

I like to make plenty because I love the leftovers so much. It’s just as good the day after; IF there is any left. Since everyone will want to take some home go ahead and double the recipe and make two casseroles!

Related: If you love broccoli, try our Broccoli Cornbread recipe or our Easy Garlic Broccoli recipe too!

broccoli casserole from scratch in red serving dish

What Makes This the BEST Broccoli Casserole?

It could be the creamy sauce that covers the broccoli.

It could be the crunch topping that takes it to the next level.

But it is really the combination of broccoli and two kinds of cheese PLUS the crunchy topping. Take my word for it. It is amazing.

When I have this in my fridge, I usually want to eat it all up. If I bring home leftovers, then it’s the first thing I want to eat the next morning.

I’ll admit it, I’m obsessed!

Broccoli Cheese Casserole Ingredients

  • Broccoli — I look for the frozen florets, but you can use any kind of frozen broccoli. Look for a good quality broccoli! Two 10-ounce bags should be the perfect amount.
  • Onion — Chopped
  • Butter — Divide into two 2TB portions, as you’ll need it in two places in the recipe.
  • Milk — You can use whatever type of milk you have on hand. If you use non-dairy milk, make sure it is unsweetened and unflavored.
  • Cream Cheese–4 ounces
  • Flour — The original recipe called for all-purpose flour. I’ve also made it using gluten-free all purpose flour  with great results!
  • Cheese — I buy a block of sharp cheddar cheese and shred it myself. You get a better tasting cheddar in the blocks without the fillers that are in pre-grated cheese. That being said, if you buy an 8 oz. bag of shredded cheddar cheese, that will do the trick too.
  • Cornflakes — The original recipe called for soft bread crumbs, but I’ve never used these. I have always used crushed cornflakes. I love the taste that the cornflakes bring to the casserole.
  • Salt & Pepper

broccoli casserole on plate

How to Make Broccoli and Cheese Casserole

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cook your frozen broccoli according to the package directions and drain. Place broccoli in an oven safe casserole dish.

steamed broccoli in ceramic dish

Melt half of the butter in a medium saucepan. Add chopped onions and cook on low heat until the onions are soft. Don’t burn them!

When the onions are cooked, add flour and stir until smooth. Add your salt and pepper.

cooking onions, flour, and butter

Add milk and stir continuously until the mixture is hot and smooth.

cooking a cream sauce with milk and diced onions

Add the cream cheese cubes and stir until they melt into the mixture, making a cream sauce. It’s ok if it’s not completely smooth — small lumps are normal.

making cream sauce with milk and cream cheese

Pour cream sauce over broccoli and stir to mix.

pouring cream sauce over steamed broccoli

Cover the top with shredded cheddar cheese.

topping broccoli casserole with shredded cheese

Melt remaining butter and toss with one cup of cereal crumbs. Sprinkle the crumb and butter mix on top of the casserole.

making broccoli casserole

Bake at 350 until the casserole is bubbly and browned on top — about 40 to 45 minutes.

broccoli casserole ready to bake

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use a different topping?

The original recipe called for soft bread crumbs. I always use crushed corn flakes. There are actually quite a few options for the crumb topping that will work great:

  • Crushed Ritz crackers
  • Crunchy cereals, like Crispix
  • Canned fried onions

Can you use fresh broccoli?

Of course! Frozen is just what my family has always used, so that’s what we did here too. Plus, frozen broccoli is already measured and is very convenient to keep on hand.

If using fresh broccoli, simply wash and cut the broccoli into bite-sized pieces. You can either steam or boil for 3-4 minutes to soften, the proceed with the recipe as written.

Can this recipe be made gluten free?

Our family usually makes this the traditional way with regular flour, but it is easy to modify to be gluten free! Would you believe that I actually used gluten free all-purpose flour? It turned out fantastic!

I also use corn flakes for my topping, as those are gluten free too.

Can this recipe made dairy free?

This could be a little trickier than making gluten free substitutions because all dairy-free cheeses are not created equal! You need something that tastes good AND melts.

I personally can vouch for Daiya non-dairy shredded cheese. However, it’s been tougher to find a good cream cheese substitute. If you know of one, feel free to let me know in the comments!

scooping broccoli casserole out of serving dish

More Casserole Recipes To Try

Printable Broccoli Cheese Casserole Recipe

Did you make this recipe? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

Print

Creamy Broccoli Cheese Casserole

Tender broccoli and cream sauce topped with a crispy cheesy crumb coating -- this broccoli cheese casserole is the perfect vegetable side for your next holiday meal!
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword broccoli, casserole, cheese, sides, vegetables
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Resting Time 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 12
Calories 108kcal
Cost $5

Equipment

  • Large saucepan
  • medium saucepan
  • Oven-safe baking dish

Ingredients

  • 20 ounces frozen broccoli florets 2 (10z) bags
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 4 Tablespoons butter divided
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 ounces cream cheese cubed
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese shredded
  • 1 cup cornflakes crushed

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Cook broccoli according to the package directions. Drain.
    steamed broccoli in ceramic dish
  • Melt 2TB of butter in saucepan. Add onions and cook on low heat until the onions are soft.
  • When the onions are cooked, add the 2 TB of flour and stir it in until it is smooth. Add 1 tsp. salt and ½ tsp of pepper.
    cooking onions, flour, and milk
  • Add the 1 cup of milk and stir continuously until the mixture is hot and smooth.
    cooking a cream sauce with milk and diced onions
  • Add the cream cheese and stir until it is incorporated into the mixture.
    making cream sauce with milk and cream cheese
  • Place cooked broccoli in a casserole dish. Pour the sauce over it and mix.
    pouring cream sauce over steamed broccoli
  • Top with shredded cheddar cheese.
    topping broccoli casserole with shredded cheese
  • Melt 2 TB of butter and toss with 1 cup of crumbs. Sprinkle the crumb and butter mix over the broccoli.
    making broccoli casserole
  • Bake at 350 until the casserole is bubbly and browned on top, about 40 to 45 minutes.
    broccoli casserole ready to bake

Notes

Milk--You can use whatever type of milk you have on hand. If you use non-dairy milk, make sure it is unsweetened and unflavored.
Flour--The original recipe called for all-purpose flour. I use gluten-free flour and it works fine.
Cheese--You could use non-dairy cheese for this. I can't vouch that it will taste the same, but if you use a good quality non-dairy cheese, it will taste great. Otherwise, I buy a block of sharp cheddar cheese and shred it myself. You get a better tasting cheddar in the blocks without the fillers that pre-grated has. That being said, if you buy an 8 oz. bag of shredded cheddar cheese, that will do the trick.
Crumbs--the original recipe called for soft bread crumbs. I've never used these. I have always used crushed cornflakes. I love the taste that the cornflakes bring to the casserole. I also like that cornflakes are gluten-free. You could use crushed Ritz crackers. I have also used cereals such as Crispix. My sister told me that she now uses those canned fried onions. 
Broccoli--I look for the frozen florets, but you can use any kind of frozen broccoli. I've got a favorite brand of frozen broccoli that I love and the taste in this casserole was great. Look for a good quality broccoli. You could use fresh of course. Frozen is perfect because it is already measured and is very convenient to keep on hand.

Nutrition

Calories: 108kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 21mg | Sodium: 321mg | Potassium: 202mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 566IU | Vitamin C: 44mg | Calcium: 108mg | Iron: 1mg

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Tender broccoli and cream sauce topped with a crispy cheesy crumb coating -- this broccoli cheese casserole is the perfect vegetable side for your next holiday meal!

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4 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Great recipe. Just wanted to add that Violife cream cheese is actually a very good dairy free substitute as is Kite Hill but Kite Hill is very expensive so I often opt for the Violife. I will probably try this soon.

    • Sara Garska

      Thanks for the tip! We have several people in our family that can’t eat dairy and I hadn’t had much luck with the dairy free versions.

  2. I just tried Philadelphia dairy-free cream cheese to make a dip and it was fabulous! I can’t wait to make this, my grandma used to make it too! Love, Love all your recipes!!
    I actually made the 7-UP jello salad tonight! I had my grandma’s recipe card but not really any instructions, I took a chance looking online to see if there was a recipe out there as I thought it was something my grandma had created ;), I found your recipe and was so excited! Thanks and I can’t wait to try more!!!

    • So many of our family’s recipe cards are quite vague too! I’m so glad our recipe was able to help you re-create the 7-UP Jello Salad that your Grandma made!

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