Jump to RecipeJump to VideoLeave a ReviewPin Recipe

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. I may earn a small commission for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial, and/or link to any products or services from this website.

Easy and cheesy, this is truly the best Broccoli Rice Casserole! Fresh broccoli, onion, and long grain white rice come together in a sauce made from cream of mushroom soup and plenty of sharp cheddar cheese. Stir it all together, top it off with crushed Ritz crackers, and bake it in the oven. The flavorful side dish is delicious alongside a turkey for Thanksgiving dinner, a ham on Christmas, or a roast chicken for your next Sunday supper. You can even add chicken or ham and turn it into a weeknight entrée!

Overhead shot of a broccoli rice casserole on a wooden table

Southern Broccoli Cheese Rice Casserole

Broccoli is one of the most popular vegetables (especially with kids), and it’s available year-round — both fresh and frozen — so it’s a staple in our regular weeknight routine. It should also come as no surprise that pairing broccoli with rice in a creamy cheese sauce has been a Southern staple for generations. Whether you add chicken or ham to make it a main course dinner, or offer the broccoli rice casserole as a side dish with a meat-based entrée, this easy, make-ahead dish is always a hit!

Boiling fresh broccoli florets

With help from a can of cream of mushroom soup (or cream of chicken soup if you prefer), the simple casserole requires just minutes of hands-on effort. It can be assembled in advance for busy holidays or hectic weeknight meals, and you can adapt the ingredients based on your personal preferences. Fresh or frozen broccoli will work, cheddar, Velveeta or different types of cheese are all great, and you can add in extras like chicken, bacon, ham, or turkey to bulk it up and turn it into the main course. Use this recipe as a base and create your own version of the best broccoli and rice casserole!

Adding celery and onion to a Dutch oven

Ingredients for Easy Broccoli Rice Casserole

This is a quick overview of the ingredients that you’ll need for the cheesy broccoli rice casserole. As always, specific measurements and complete cooking instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.

  • Broccoli florets: I use fresh broccoli, but you can substitute with frozen broccoli florets.
  • Butter: to sauté the vegetables and add flavor to the casserole.
  • Onion, celery and garlic: savory ingredients that enhance the dish.
  • Cream of mushroom soup: the base of the cream sauce. You can substitute with cream of chicken soup, cream of celery soup, or any other flavor variety that you prefer.
  • Paprika, dry mustard, and ground nutmeg: seasonings that give the dish a more complex, homemade taste!
  • Sharp cheddar cheese: creates a cheese sauce and also adds flavor and cheesy texture to the top of the casserole. You can use Velveeta or other good melting cheeses like Colby, Monterey Jack, Cheddar Jack, or Swiss if you prefer.
  • Milk: use 2% or whole milk for the best flavor and texture.
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper: to enhance the other flavors in the dish.
  • Cooked rice: I use long-grain white rice, but any cooked rice will work. Try wild rice or brown rice, too!
  • Ritz crackers: for a buttery, crunchy topping that’s a classic addition to any Southern casserole.
Pouring milk into a Dutch oven

How to Make Broccoli Rice Casserole

This easy casserole comes together in about 20 minutes, and can be prepared in advance for busy days. It’s the perfect addition to your next cozy meal!

  1. Boil the broccoli just until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes.
  2. Sauté onion, celery and garlic in butter.
  3. Make the cheese sauce by stirring in condensed soup, seasoning, cheese, milk, salt and pepper.
  4. Remove from the heat and add the cooked rice and broccoli.
  5. Transfer the mixture to an 8-inch square dish.
  6. Top with crushed crackers and additional cheese.
  7. Bake in a 350°F oven for about 20 minutes, or until the topping is lightly toasted and the filling is hot and bubbly.
Adding white rice to a Dutch oven
Sprinkling cheese on top of broccoli rice casserole

What to Serve with Broccoli and Rice Casserole

This versatile side dish pairs nicely with almost any meat-based dinner. It’s even hearty enough to serve as a vegetarian entrée! Here are some delicious options that go well with the broccoli cheese rice casserole:

Side shot of broccoli and rice casserole in a white dish on a table

Make Ahead

This is a great make-ahead side dish. You can assemble the casserole up to 24 hours in advance and keep it covered in the refrigerator until ready to bake. When ready to bake, allow the dish to sit on the counter and come to room temperature for at least 30-60 minutes. If it’s still cool when it goes into the oven, you may need to increase the baking time by 5-10 minutes.

Close up shot of easy broccoli rice casserole

Storage

  • Leftover broccoli rice and cheese casserole will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
  • To reheat the casserole: If reheating an entire casserole, cover the dish loosely with foil and bake in a 350° F oven until warmed through (about 20-30 minutes). Individual portions can be reheated in the microwave for 1-2 minutes.
  • I do not recommend freezing this casserole, as the creamy cheese sauce may separate or have an undesirable texture when thawed. The thawed broccoli and rice may be mushy as well.
Side shot of the best broccoli rice casserole on a wooden table

Recipe Variations

  • Instead of fresh broccoli, you can use frozen broccoli florets. If starting with frozen broccoli, boil until crisp-tender or steam in the microwave for about half of the time suggested on the package.
  • Use a different flavor of condensed soup such as cream of chicken or cream of celery if you don’t care for cream of mushroom.
  • Try other types of cheese. Velveeta works great and melts smoothly into the sauce. Other good options include Monterey Jack, Swiss, Colby, Cheddar Jack, or Pepper Jack.
  • Top the casserole with buttered breadcrumbs, crushed Corn Flakes cereal, or other crackers such as Cheez-Its in lieu of the Ritz.
  • Serving a larger crowd? Double all of the ingredients and bake the casserole in a 13 x 9-inch dish. You may need to extend the baking time by a few minutes as well.
  • Add diced ham or cooked, shredded chicken to make it a meal!
Overhead shot of cheesy broccoli rice casserole in a white dish

Tips for the Best Broccoli Rice Casserole Recipe

  • When pre-cooking the broccoli, steam or boil just until crisp-tender (not too soft, and still a bright green color). For frozen florets, this is about half of the recommended microwave cooking time provided on the package. Remember, the broccoli will continue to cook as the casserole bakes in the oven, and you don’t want mushy over-cooked broccoli when it’s finished.
  • Cook the cheese sauce over a very low flame. Adding milk and cheese to a very hot pan can cause the cheese to separate or the milk to curdle.
  • For another shortcut, use microwaveable packets of rice (such as Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice). Cook the rice according to the package instructions and then use in the recipe.
Side shot of a spoon in a dish of southern broccoli cheese rice casserole

More Side Dish Recipes to Try

Overhead shot of a broccoli rice casserole on a wooden table

Easy Cheesy Broccoli Rice Casserole

Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 40 minutes
Servings 6 people
Calories 366 kcal
Easy and cheesy, this is truly the best Broccoli Rice Casserole!

Ingredients
  

  • 3 cups broccoli florets
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1 (10.5 ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup, NOT diluted
  • teaspoon paprika
  • teaspoon dry mustard
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 1 ½ cups grated sharp cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1 cup 2% or whole milk
  • 3 cups cooked long-grain white rice
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 cup lightly crushed Ritz crackers

Instructions

  • Cook the broccoli for about 2 minutes in boiling water, just until crisp-tender. Drain and set aside.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease an 8-inch square baking dish; set aside.
  • In a large skillet or Dutch oven, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add onion and celery; cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  • Reduce the heat to a very low flame. Stir in soup, paprika, dry mustard, nutmeg, 1 cup of the cheese and milk. Cook, stirring constantly, until the cheese melts, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
  • Add cooked rice and broccoli; stir to combine. Taste and season with salt and pepper, if necessary.
  • Transfer mixture to the prepared baking dish. Top with crushed crackers and remaining ½ cup of cheese.
  • Bake for about 20 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.

Notes

  • When pre-cooking the broccoli, steam or boil just until crisp-tender (not too soft, and still a bright green color). For frozen florets, this is about half of the recommended microwave cooking time provided on the package. Remember, the broccoli will continue to cook as the casserole bakes in the oven, and you don’t want mushy over-cooked broccoli when it’s finished.
  • Cook the cheese sauce over a very low flame. Adding milk and cheese to a very hot pan can cause the cheese to separate or the milk to curdle.
  • For another shortcut, use microwaveable packets of rice (such as Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice). Cook the rice according to the package instructions and then use in the recipe.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/6 of the recipeCalories: 366kcalCarbohydrates: 37gProtein: 15gFat: 18gSaturated Fat: 10gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 46mgSodium: 661mgPotassium: 357mgFiber: 2gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 773IUVitamin C: 42mgCalcium: 299mgIron: 1mg
Keyword: broccoli and rice casserole, broccoli cheese rice casserole, broccoli rice casserole
Course: Dinner, Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Southern
Author: Blair Lonergan
blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

Read More

Square overhead shot of hands serving a chicken pot pie recipe with biscuits
Overhead image of a bowl of chili mac on a dinner table with cornbread
Hands serving a platter of sheet pan sausage and potatoes

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Comments

  1. Could this be adapted to the crockpot after all the cooking is finished? I have a potluck so I’m trying to keep it warm

    1. Hi, Nicole! Yes, I think that would work. Just keep in mind that the topping will not get toasted and browned in the Crock Pot. Also, if you add the slow cooker lid, the topping might get soggy because the condensation will drip back down onto the crackers.