Broccoli casserole is a creamy, cheesy, indulgent side dish made with fresh broccoli florets, cheddar cheese, rice, and baby bella mushrooms in a lemon cream sauce. This recipe is ready in 30 minutes so it's an easy side dish for any holiday or weeknight meal.
Broccoli casserole is one of my favorite Thanksgiving side dishes. It's enriched with cheese, condensed soup, and rice then baked to ooey gooey perfection. It's technically a side dish but this broccoli rice casserole can truly stand on its own.
I've made this recipe for plenty of holidays and casual dinners so I've perfected it and now I'm ready to share the best broccoli casserole.
- Why You'll Love This Broccoli Casserole Recipe
- What is Broccoli Casserole?
- What does Broccoli Casserole taste like?
- How to Make Broccoli Casserole
- Tips and Tricks
- Recipe Variations
- How to Store Leftovers
- Can I make Broccoli Casserole in advance?
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Broccoli Cheese Casserole
Why You'll Love This Broccoli Casserole Recipe
Great for Holidays. The holiday isn't complete if this isn't on the table at Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter. Broccoli cheese casserole is rich and indulgent so it's definitely a special treat.
Easy to Make. Want something hearty and satisfying that cooks quickly? This is it!
Versatile. This easy casserole recipe is easy to adapt to anyone's taste buds. Swap and omit ingredients however you see fit!
What is Broccoli Casserole?
Broccoli casserole is a cheesy side dish served with broccoli, condensed soup, and rice. Broccoli casserole recipes date back to the 1800s so this dish has clearly stood the test of time!
What does Broccoli Casserole taste like?
Traditionally, broccoli casserole has a strong cheddar cheese flavor with notes of broccoli of course. The condensed soups give the garlicky and creamy flavor.
Depending on your style and flavor in foods, this version has heavy notes of lemon (which pairs well with the broccoli), seasonings, and mushrooms that give an extra earthy flavor.
I may have taken a few liberties with the "from scratch" title because this recipe includes some helpful shortcuts for convenience. But this broccoli and cheese casserole is loaded with fresh ingredients so it doesn't taste overly processed.
- Fresh Broccoli. Using fresh broccoli really provides a different texture and flavor so don't omit this part! Frozen broccoli becomes too mushy.
- Baby Bella Mushrooms. Diced.
- Garlic Cloves. Minced.
- Cooked Rice. Instant rice is fine for this recipe.
- Condensed Soups. Cream of Mushroom and Cream of Broccoli Cheese Soup add luscious, creamy thickness and plenty of flavor.
- Sour Cream. This enriches the mixture and adds a tangy taste that offsets the deep, savory flavors of the other ingredients.
- Sharp Cheddar Cheese. Most of the cheese goes into the broccoli mixture but save some for a browned, cheesy topping.
- Lemon Pepper Seasoning. Add for depth of flavor.
- Lemon Juice. Most green veggies pair well with fresh lemon juice. Adding fresh lemon juice provides a fresh and clean taste.
- Salt + Pepper. Add to taste.
How to Make Broccoli Casserole
This broccoli and cheese casserole takes just 20 minutes to prepare and then another 10 minutes in the oven.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Add 2 cups of water to a large stock pot on medium to high heat. Clean and chop fresh broccoli, then place them in a large pot once the water is hot. Do not submerge the broccoli in water, you're just steaming it.
Sauté Mushrooms & Prepare Rice
While the broccoli is steaming, finely mince the garlic and roughly chop the mushrooms. Saute garlic and mushrooms in cooking oil until soft and translucent, salt and pepper to taste.
Within 8-10 minutes the broccoli should be done. Drain and place it in a mixing bowl.
Prepare rice according to package instructions.
Prepare Casserole for Baking
Add broccoli, soup, sour cream, sautéed mushrooms and garlic, more than half of the shredded cheese, cooked rice, lemon juice, and seasoning to a large mixing bowl.
Then stir to combine. Finally, add the remaining cheese on top and bake at 350°F for 20 minutes uncovered.
Tips and Tricks
- Use fresh broccoli instead of frozen. Frozen can be used but has a mushy consistency whereas fresh broccoli florets offer more texture and bite.
- Utilizing fresh cheese instead of the bagged version makes for a creamier texture. Pre-shredded cheese is coated with cellulose to block out the moisture. In return, this cheese does melt as well and leaves a rubbery finish.
- Adding sour cream to the casserole uniquely creates a rich flavor. To cut the richness or for a cleaner option, use plain Greek yogurt instead.
- Crackers: Crush Ritz crackers over the assembled casserole just before baking for a golden brown, crispy topping.
- More Veggies: Make this dish more nutritious by adding cauliflower, corn, peas, or green beans.
- Meat: Make this a complete meal by adding precooked shredded chicken or diced ham to the casserole.
- Broccoli Casserole Without Soup: If you don't want to use canned soup for this recipe, swap it out for milk (evaporated milk, half and half or whole milk; depending on your desired consistency).
How to Store Leftovers
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Reheat it in the microwave.
Can I make Broccoli Casserole in advance?
Yes. Broccoli casserole with rice keeps for several days in the fridge so you can make it 1-2 days ahead and reheat the casserole in the oven at 325° for about 10 minutes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you use fresh broccoli instead of frozen in casserole?
Absolutely! Fresh broccoli is preferred. However, it takes a bit more prep. You'll need to wash, trim, and cut the fresh broccoli into bite-sized pieces as it's not pre-cooked like frozen broccoli. Fresh broccoli takes a bit longer to cook too.
What meat goes with broccoli casserole?
This casserole is incredibly versatile and pairs well with a variety of meats including chicken, turkey, and ham.
Does fresh broccoli need to be cooked before using in a casserole?
It's best to precook fresh broccoli before baking it in a casserole. It can take a bit longer to cook to a tender texture, especially in the middle of a casserole. Pre-cooking ensures even cooking throughout the casserole.
I HOPE YOU ENJOY THIS BROCCOLI CHEESE CASSEROLE RECIPE!
Broccoli Cheese Casserole
- 2 lbs Fresh Broccoli roughly chopped
- 4-6 oz Baby Bella Mushrooms small diced
- 3-4 cloves Garlic minced
- 1 cup Cooked Rice instant is fine
- 1 can Cream of Mushroom
- 1 can Cream of Broccoli Cheese Soup
- ¼ cup Sour Cream
- 2 cups Sharp Cheddar Cheese
- 2 teaspoon Lemon Pepper Seasoning
- 1 tb Lemon Juice
- Salt + Pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Add about 2 cups of water to a large stock pot on medium to high heat. (Do not submerge broccoli in water)
- Clean and chop broccoli, place in large pot after water is hot. (Steam broccoli, do not boil)
- While broccoli is steaming, finely mince garlic and roughly chop mushrooms.
- Saute garlic and mushrooms in a 1 teaspoon of oil until soft and translucent, salt and pepper to taste.
- Broccoli will be steamed and ready in about 5 minutes. Drain and place in mixing bowl.
- Prepare rice according to package instructions.
- To the mixing bowl with broccoli; add can of cream of mushroom and broccoli, sour cream, sautéed mushrooms and garlic, more than half of shredded cheese, cooked rice, lemon juice, lemon pepper seasoning, salt and pepper and stir to combine.
- Place mixture in baking dish and top with remaining shredded cheese.
- Bake for up to 20 minutes until cheese is bubbly and slightly browned.