This cheesy broccoli rice casserole is made from fresh broccoli, a variety of cheeses, and filling white rice for a wonderful weekday meal that everyone will love. Like all my casserole ideas, it can be easily modified to fit whatever you need to use up in your pantry! And, just add chicken to make it a complete one-pot meal.
Quick and Delicious Weekday Cheese and Broccoli Side Dish
Do you have a hard time getting your kids to eat their vegetables? They will devour their broccoli when it’s served this way, with three different kinds of cheese and deliciously seasoned white rice! And the best thing is, you can have this recipe on the table in far less than an hour with only a few minutes of hands-on prep.
FAST – Chopping your broccoli and grating your cheese is the only real work involved.
FAMILY FRIENDLY – Your family will love this cheese, broccoli, and rice combo.
SIMPLE – You probably have most if not all of these ingredients in your fridge or pantry right now!
This recipe calls for simple, easy ingredients that are easy to find at the grocery store (or on your pantry shelf). To make this cheesy broccoli casserole, you will need (scroll down to the recipe card for full details):
CHICKEN BROTH – This will add so much more flavor to your rice than cooking it in plain water.
OLIVE OIL – Adds depth to the flavor of your rice, along with the chicken broth.
BROCCOLI – I prefer fresh, but you can use frozen broccoli florets too. I like to grab a bag of pre-cut broccoli florets to help save time.
CREAM CHEESE – Cut into cubes at room temperature. Either regular or low-fat works.
SOUR CREAM – This will make the sauce creamier and add flavor.
MILK – A deliciously creamy liquid for everything to cook in.
CHEDDAR CHEESE – Shredded. I like to use a sharp cheddar for ultimate flavor.
PARMESAN – I prefer freshly grated, but you can use any type of parmesan that you like or have on hand.
GARLIC – Minced. You want the garlic pieces to be small enough that the garlic creates even flavor throughout your dish and no one gets a large chunk as a surprise!
ITALIAN SEASONING – I like Italian seasoning because my family likes it too!
SALT AND PEPPER – a pinch of these seasonings go a long way.
RICE – Long grain white rice is my favorite type for this recipe because it cooks quickly and evenly. Typically for recipes like this one, I will use a box of Minute Rice to ensure it cooks faster.
You can change this versatile casserole up very easily by altering one or more of these ingredients:
CAULIFLOWER – If you have no broccoli in the house, use cauliflower instead! Or you could even do half and half since they cook up identically.
MUSHROOMS – 1 cup of diced mushrooms is a nice earthy addition to this scrumptious casserole, and they won’t affect the cooking time at all.
CHICKEN – Add 1/2 cup of diced-up leftover or rotisserie chicken to instantly take this from a side dish to a complete meal, with almost no extra time or work.
SPICES – Feel free to swap out Italian seasoning with chili powder and red pepper flakes for a bit more spice. You can also add cumin or paprika for more depth of flavor.
CHEESE – Almost any melty cheese will do here! Monterey jack, mozzarella, or marble cheddar would make delicious substitutes.
How to Make Cheesy Broccoli Rice Casserole
I’m so glad you’ve decided to make your suppertime easy and delicious with this recipe! Here’s what you need to make this casserole with detailed instructions in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
PREHEAT – Set your oven to 350˚F. Spray a 9×13 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
BROCCOLI – Add the broccoli florets to a pot with 1″ of water in the bottom. Bring it to a boil, then reduce to simmer. Cover with a lid and let the broccoli steam until it is crisp tender when poked with a fork. Drain and set aside.
CHEESE – Cut the cream cheese into small bite-size pieces. In a large bowl or straight in the casserole dish, mix cream cheese with the sour cream, 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese, 2 Tbsp parmesan, garlic, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Add in the cooked broccoli and rice and stir everything together.
ASSEMBLE – Pack the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Press the rice and broccoli into the liquid so that it is covered. Sprinkle the last half of cheddar cheese and parmesan on top.
BAKE – Cover and bake in the oven for 35 minutes, or until edges begin to brown. Let it cool for 5 minutes, then scoop and serve while warm.
This cheesy rice and broccoli casserole is great for eating now or later. Leftovers taste great and can be stored in the fridge or frozen for later:
REFRIGERATE – You can keep this in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
FREEZE – This is a great freezer meal idea! Put it all together, cover it tightly with plastic wrap or tin foil, and stick it in the freezer for later. You can also freeze baked leftovers the same way. It will be good in the freezer for up to 3 months.
REHEAT – Reheating in the oven is always the best way to ensure a good consistency, but you can use the microwave too! If reheating from frozen, make sure to thaw it completely first. Warm portions in the microwave for about 1 minute, or the entire casserole in the oven for about 20 minutes at 350˚F. Stir if any separation occurs.
– Chop the broccoli into small bite-size pieces. They should also be similar in size. This will allow the broccoli to cook faster.
– Fresh broccoli will take longer to cook than frozen broccoli. Test for doneness by poking with a fork.
– Use a quick cooking rice for this recipe like Minute Rice.
– Make sure to press all ingredients down into the liquid. As it bakes, the rice will absorb all the liquid and make it light and fluffy. Any rice that sits above the liquid while baking will not cook properly.
– Chop the cream cheese into small pieces and spread the sauce mixture evenly around the casserole dish. The chunks of cream cheese will melt but don’t blend evenly (this is how the recipe works). It tastes great!
Is it better to use fresh or frozen broccoli in a casserole? – I like to use fresh for a few reasons. I think the flavor of fresh broccoli is nicer than frozen. I also like the texture better, and the moisture fresh veggies add to the casserole is a great bonus. Frozen is also totally fine, but if you have the option I would go for fresh.
Can Cheesy Rice and Broccoli casserole be frozen? – Yes! This is a great meal to make ahead of time and freeze unbaked. Then when you need it, thaw it out ahead of time and bake according to the original recipe instructions.
Cheesy broccoli rice casserole is a quick and easy, budget-friendly meal! There is not meat in this recipe, helping to cut down on costs, making it the perfect recipe for meatless meal nights. First, the broccoli is steamed, and then all the ingredients are mixed together and baked for an easy no-fuss dinner idea. We love easy recipes like this one!
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Calories: 357kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 61mg | Sodium: 449mg | Potassium:…