Broccoli Rice Casserole
I’m bringing you some major comfort food today! It’s creamy, flavorful, and oh so delicious Broccoli Rice Casserole! This dish is an easy mix of broccoli and rice that gets tossed in a creamy Velveeta cheese sauce and topped with cheddar cheese and crispy fried onions. Bake to perfection for an absolutely irresistible side that everyone’s sure to love! Broccoli cheese casserole is a classic recipe that’s the perfect side dish for a simple, cozy weeknight dinner, yet elevated enough for the holidays or a special occasion!
my favorite broccoli rice casserole recipe
I know there are a variety of different broccoli rice casserole recipes out there, but believe me when I say, this is truly the BEST you will ever taste. I’ve always loved my mom’s classic broccoli rice casserole, but I wanted to change things up a bit. Typical food blogger, always having to experiment with recipes!
This past Thanksgiving, I brought home an entirely different broccoli cheese casserole with ingredients like Velveeta, cheddar cheese, cream of chicken soup and French’s fried onions. No, this dish is not healthy, but it’s SO incredibly delicious! Trust me, it’s worth it! 😉
Perfect for any occasion, whether it be after a hectic day at work, or a festive dinner like Easter, Christmas or Thanksgiving! With an easy make ahead option, you guys will love this broccoli cheese casserole just as much as we do!
This broccoli cheese rice casserole recipe uses common ingredients that are easy to find. Do be aware that Velveeta cheese is not located with other cheese products in the refrigerated section of the grocery store, instead it’s near shelf stable dips and spreads. Here’s the lineup:
- Cooked rice. I used instant rice to save on cooking time, but feel free to use any variety of rice that you have available.
- Broccoli florets. I buy a 16-ounce package of frozen broccoli florets that can be steamed in the microwave. So convenient!
- Onion. Totally optional, but I really love the savory flavor it adds.
- Cream of chicken soup. This will add to the creaminess of the dish.
- Milk. Any type of milk will work, but I like to use whole milk for maximum richness.
- Velveeta. This type of cheese is a must. It melts wonderfully to make the most creamy sauce.
- Salt + pepper. A bit of each for maximum flavor.
- Fried onions. I get French’s brand and they add the perfect crispiness to this casserole.
how to make broccoli rice casserole
I know there are tons of broccoli cheese rice casserole recipes, but this one’s the BEST! It’s also super easy! You’ll just want to make sure you cook your rice and broccoli before getting started. Here’s the rundown of how to make this casserole:
- Make the cheese sauce. This recipe starts with making the most delicious, creamy cheese sauce. Mix onions, soup, milk, Velveeta, salt and pepper together in a large pot over medium to medium-high heat. Stir frequently until smooth and creamy.
- Add broccoli and rice. When the cheese sauce is creamy, stir in the cooked rice and steamed broccoli.
- Transfer to baking dish and add topping. Pour the broccoli and cheese mixture into a greased 9 x 13″ baking dish. Top with cheddar cheese and fried onions.
- Cook casserole. Bake at 350ºF for 35-40 minutes and until the casserole is hot and bubbly.
- Cool and serve. Allow casserole to cool for about 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
This broccoli casserole is extremely easy, but here are a few tips to make sure your dish bakes up perfect every time!
- For the cheese topping, I recommend using freshly grated cheese for this recipe. The pre-shredded cheese that comes in a bag is often coated with anti-caking agents and does not melt as smoothly as freshly grated cheese.
- Make ahead option! This casserole can be assembled up to about 12 hours before baking it. Add the fried onions just before the dish goes into the oven.
- If you prefer the broccoli pieces to be small (like I do), chop the broccoli into smaller pieces before adding it into the cheese sauce.
- If you notice the fried onions getting too brown while the casserole is baking, you can cover it with aluminum foil, but you DO want them to get crispy.
- You can use instant rice or regular brown or white rice in the recipe, just be aware the cooking time and amount of liquid needed will differ for the cooked rice.
ways to customize your broccoli rice casserole
We love this casserole as written, but feel free to experiment and switch up some of the ingredients depending on what you have on hand.
- Protein. To add a little protein to this dish, you could try adding some cooked shredded chicken.
- Vegetables. Instead of broccoli try another favorite veggie, such as zucchini, asparagus, mushrooms, cauliflower or green beans.
- Cheese. While this dish is typically topped with cheddar cheese, other options include Colby, American or Monterey Jack cheese. But I don’t recommend changing up the Velveeta to another type of cheese.
- Topping. Instead of French’s fried onions for the topping, you could use crumbled Ritz crackers or cheese crackers, or even Panko breadcrumbs.
what to serve with broccoli rice casserole
For the holidays, we serve this cheesy broccoli dish with a feast: dressing, sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, dinner rolls, mashed potatoes and gravy, turkey and pie! But broccoli cheese rice casserole is honestly great served anytime of the year. Here are some entrée suggestions to go with your casserole:
storing and freezing broccoli rice casserole
- Storing leftovers. Place any leftover broccoli rice casserole in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to about 5 days.
- To reheat. Pop individual servings in the microwave and cook for 30 second intervals until it’s warm. You can also place the casserole dish in the oven at 350ºF. If using the oven, loosely cover with foil and place the dish on the center rack for 15 to 25 minutes, until warmed through (the larger the serving, the longer the cook time).
- Freezing. Place leftovers in an airtight freezer-safe storage container or a freezer-safe baggie in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
This broccoli rice casserole is a great recipe to have in your repertoire for when you need a comforting side dish to feed a crowd. It works great for holiday feasting or for any normal dinnertime side. I love the familiar, cozy flavors and that it is so simple to make!
more great side dish recipes
If you try this broccoli casserole recipe, let me know! Leave a comment and if your family loves it as much as mine does, be sure to give it a five star ⭐️ rating! Also, tag @kimscravings on Instagram with a picture of your creation. It’s so fun to see what you’re cooking! Be sure to subscribe to our mailing list to receive more healthy delicious recipes straight to your inbox.
Broccoli Rice Casserole
- 3 cups cooked rice
- 1 (16 ounce) package frozen broccoli florets*,, steamed
- 1 small onion,, finely chopped (optional)
- 1 (10.5 ounce) can cream of chicken soup
- 1/2 cup milk
- 4-6 ounces Velveeta
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 2 cups grated cheddar cheese
- French's fried onions
- In a large pot over medium to medium-high heat, cook and stir together the onions (if using), soup, milk, Velveeta, salt and pepper till warm and creamy.
- Add the rice and broccoli to the cheese sauce and stir to combine.
- Pour the broccoli cheese mixture into a greased 9x13" glass baking dish. Top with cheddar cheese and French's fried onions.
- Bake in a preheated oven at 350ºF for 35-40 minutes and until it's hot and bubbly. If you notice the fried onions getting too brown, you can cover the dish lightly with foil. But you do want the onions to get crispy.
- Once cooked, allow casserole to cool for about 5 minutes. Serve and enjoy!