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Indulge in the creamy goodness of Cheesy Cheddar Broccoli Casserole with tender broccoli, melty cheddar cheese, and a winning flavorful twist!
Looking for a delicious and comforting side dish? Look no further! Cheesy Broccoli Casserole will satisfy your cravings!
This easy-to-make recipe combines the freshness of broccoli with the creaminess of melted cheddar cheese. You can create a flavorful dish that will become a family favorite with a few simple steps.
Let’s dive in and explore the unique features and flavors of this mouthwatering classic broccoli casserole recipe, starting with that ‘flavorful twist!
The unique feature of this recipe comes from the addition of grated onion and a touch of paprika. The texture grated onion offers is reminiscent of Cracker Barrel Restaurants’ hash brown casserole but in a comforting cheese and broccoli casserole.
It also adds a subtle tang and depth of flavor, while the paprika infuses a hint of smokiness or spice, depending on your preference for hot, sweet, or smoked. These ingredients elevate the taste of this easy broccoli cheese casserole recipe, giving it that unique and delicious twist.
This easy comfort food recipe combines tender broccoli, melted cheddar cheese, and a flavorful twist that will leave you craving more. Perfect for weeknight dinners or potluck gatherings. If comfort food is on the menu, consider my Parmesan-crusted Mashed Potatoes, or my beefy Cottage Pie.
Ingredients That Go Into Cheddar and Broccoli Casserole
Overall, the ingredients for this recipe are generally easy to find and not seasonal. You should be able to locate them in your local grocery store quickly. Feel free to adapt and personalize the recipe with these substitutions and variations, allowing you to create a unique and delicious dish tailored to your liking.
- Broccoli – For the best results, use fresh broccoli. However, if fresh is not unavailable can substitute with the same amount of frozen broccoli. Both options work equally well. Find broccoli in the produce section of your local grocery store.
- Mayonnaise – Opt for regular mayonnaise for the classic flavor. You can find it in the condiment aisle of your grocery store. If you prefer a lighter option, low-fat mayonnaise is a suitable substitute.
- Cream of Mushroom Soup – The recipe calls for a 10 ¾ ounce can of cream of mushroom soup. However, if you prefer, you can substitute it with 6 ounces of softened cream cheese. It’s a creamy alternative that adds a unique touch to the casserole.
- Sharp Cheddar Cheese – Use 1 cup of shredded sharp cheddar cheese, which imparts a robust flavor. If sharp cheddar is not your preference, feel free to substitute it with any other shredded cheese variety you like. Look for shredded cheese in the dairy section of your grocery store.
- Onion – Grate 4 tablespoons of onion using a box grater. This adds a pleasant tang and depth of flavor to the casserole.
- Paprika – Choose sweet, smoked, or hot paprika according to your taste preference. Paprika can be found in the spices aisle of your grocery store.
Substitutions and Variations
- Cream Cheese – Use 6 ounces softened instead of cream of mushroom soup. This alternative adds a creamy and tangy element to the casserole and yields a delicious broccoli casserole without soup.
- Shredded Mozzarella, Gruyère, Swiss – experiment with any of those above, or blend your favorite cheeses for a personalized flavor profile.
- Cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, Broccoli Rabe – substitute with any or a combination of various vegetables.
- Panko Breadcrumbs, Crushed Potato Chips, Corn Flakes – get creative with your choice of crunchy topping and add a delightful texture to the casserole. I am partial to a broccoli casserole with corn flakes myself!
- Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Italian Seasoning, Cayenne Pepper – use in conjunction with or in lieu of paprika to customize the taste according to your preferences.
Adding Chicken for A Main Dish Casserole
By adding chicken to the recipe, you’ll have a flavorful and satisfying one-dish meal that combines the creamy goodness of the casserole with the protein-rich chicken.
Follow the recipe instructions combining all ingredients. Add 2 cups of fully cooked chicken. Adding chicken will increase the volume of the casserole, so adjust the baking time slightly. Check for doneness by ensuring the top is golden and bubbling, and the casserole is heated. Let it cool slightly, then serve as a delicious main meal with a side salad or crusty bread.
A combination of panko and well-crushed corn flakes compliments this chicken cheddar broccoli casserole variation perfectly!
Buying Guide for Broccoli
When purchasing fresh broccoli, look for vibrant green florets with firm stalks. Avoid any florets that appear yellow or wilted.
The stalks should be sturdy and free from soft spots. If opting for frozen broccoli, ensure the package is sealed without any signs of freezer burn.
How Long Does Cheddar Broccoli Casserole Last In the Fridge?
When properly stored in an airtight container, broccoli cheese casserole can last up to 3 days in the refrigerator. To prevent bacterial growth, refrigerate the casserole promptly after it has cooled down.
Make sure to cover the casserole dish tightly with plastic wrap or transfer it to an airtight container before placing it in the refrigerator. Remember to reheat the leftovers thoroughly before consuming them.
If you anticipate being unable to consume the casserole within three days, consider freezing it for more extended storage.
Step By Step Instructions
As far as broccoli cheese casseroles go, this one is fun and delicious to assemble.Once baked, the bake emerges from the oven with a golden, bubbly top and a tantalizing aroma that brings comfort and satisfaction to every bite.
1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease an 8×10-inch casserole dish with cooking spray. From a large head of broccoli, trim florets to desired size. Aim for 5 cups of raw broccoli, florets, and stems.
2. Grate 2 cups of sharp cheddar cheese from a large block. Alternatively, use any cheese that resonates with your eaters to include a combination of cheeses equal to 2 cups. Half will be mixed into the casserole, and the other will be used to top it.
3. Cook the broccoli in boiling water for about 3 minutes. The broccoli should be tender but not soft. Remove from the heat.
4. Drain the broccoli well. This cannot be emphasized enough. I drain in a sieve, then spread the broccoli on paper toweling to continue drawing out moisture.
5. While the broccoli drains and cools, peel and grate a small onion. You will need 4 tablespoons but feel like you can do more. I love the texture, so I always double the amount to 8 tablespoons.
6. In a large bowl, combine 1 cup of mayonnaise, 2 beaten eggs, 1 (10 3/4-oz) can of mushroom soup, 1 cup of cheddar cheese, and the grated onion. Stir well to combine. See my notes in the recipe card if you prefer a broccoli casserole, no soup.
7. Taste for seasoning. Add salt, pepper, or other desired seasonings. Cayenne, garlic powder, and onion powder are good seasonings if you need anything.
8. Stir in the cooked and drained broccoli and mix well. Turn out into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the top of the casserole with the remaining cheddar and paprika. The paprika may be sweet, smoked, or hot.
9. Bake the casserole in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until bubbling and golden brown on top. Optional: If you plan to add a crunchy topping, crush it into tiny bits, toss it with a tablespoon of melted butter, then scatter over the casserole for the final 10 minutes of the bake. Allow the hot dish to stand for 5 minutes before serving. The casserole will be very hot.
How To Serve This Easy Broccoli Casserole
- Serve as a delicious side dish alongside roasted chicken, grilled steak, or baked fish. It pairs well with various protein-based mains, adding a creamy and flavorful element to the meal.
- Bring to potluck gatherings or larger get-togethers. It can be prepared in advance, refrigerated, and then baked right before serving. The creamy, cheesy goodness will surely be a hit with friends and family.
- A great brunch or lunch option! Serve it alongside a fresh salad or a bowl of soup for a satisfying and complete meal. It’s a versatile dish that can be enjoyed at any time of the day.
- Customize and add additional ingredients like cooked bacon, diced ham, or sautéed mushrooms for extra flavor and texture. Experiment with different herbs and spices to further enhance the taste.
- Consider garnishing the casserole with some chopped fresh parsley or chives before serving. This adds a pop of color and freshness to the dish, enhancing its overall presentation.
Bulk This Up to Feed A Crowd
Adding rice, vermicelli, or other short noodle to this casserole creates a heartier dish. Rice and noodles absorb the flavors of the creamy base and meld well with broccoli and cheese.
Cook the desired amount of rice or noodles according to the package instructions. After combining all ingredients, stir in the cooked starch and the broccoli. Evenly distribute the starch throughout the mixture. Place the mixture in a casserole dish and top with remaining cheese and paprika. Bake according to instructions in the recipe card, ensuring the casserole is cooked through and the cheese is melted and golden.
How To Store Cheesy Cheddar Broccoli Casserole
If you have leftovers, store the casserole in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in 350°F oven wrapped with foil or covered in microwave in 50-second intervals until heated.
To freeze, wrap the cooled casserole tightly with plastic wrap and aluminum foil, which will keep well for up to 3 months. Thaw the frozen casserole in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.
Jenny’s Recipe Pro Tips
- Cooking the broccoli until it is tender but not overly soft is crucial. Overcooking can lead to mushy broccoli that may affect the texture of the casserole.
- Drain the cooked broccoli well before adding it to the casserole. Excess moisture can make the dish watery, so proper draining is essential for the recipe’s success.
- To substitute cream cheese instead of cream of mushroom soup, whisk 1/4 to 1/2 cup of the broccoli cooking water into the softened cream cheese to achieve a smoother consistency.
- For a crunchy topping, melt 2 tablespoons of butter and combine 1 cup of Ritz crackers (crumbled), Cheez-It crumbles, or cornflakes. Sprinkle the mixture on top of the casserole after 15 minutes of baking and continue baking for the remaining 10 minutes.
Absolutely! You can substitute frozen broccoli for the same amount of fresh broccoli. Just make sure to thaw, cook, and drain it well before adding it to the recipe.
Yes, you can use any shredded cheese you prefer or have on hand. Feel free to experiment with different flavors and combinations.
Yes, you can assemble the casserole ahead of time and refrigerate it. When ready to bake, follow the instructions and adjust the baking time.
More Easy Cheesy Casserole Recipes You’ll Love
Cheesy Cheddar Broccoli Casserole
- 8 x 10 casserole dish
- 20 ounces broccoli cooked and drained well; may substitute frozen broccoli in same measure
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 2 large eggs beaten
- 10 ¾ ounces cream of mushroom soup may substitute 6 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese shredded; divided; may substitute any shredded cheese or combination of cheeses
- 4 tablespoons onion grated fine on a box grater; more to taste
- 1 teaspoon paprika sweet, smoked, or hot
- salt to taste
- pepper to taste
- crushed corn flakes optional; 1 cup mixed with 1 tablespoon melted unsalted butter
- plain panko optional; 1 cup mixed with 1 tablespoon melted unsalted butter
- crushed potato chips optional; 1 cup mixed with 1 tablespoon melted unsalted butter
- crushed Ritz crackers optional; 1 cup mixed with 1 tablespoon melted butter
- crushed Cheez-It/Goldfish crackers optional; 1 cup mixed with 1 tablespoon melted butter
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease an 8 x 10-inch casserole dish with cooking spray. Use a tablespoon of softened, unsalted butter if preferred. Set aside.
- Combine the mayonnaise, beaten eggs, cream of mushroom soup, half the grated cheddar, and grated onion in a large bowl. Stir well to combine. Taste for seasoning at this juncture; add salt, pepper, or other desired seasonings, and stir to combine. Add the broccoli and toss well to coat.
- Scrape into the prepared casserole dish. Sprinkle top with paprika. Sprinkle the remaining half of the cheese. Optional: If using a crunchy topping such as Ritz cracker crumbles, potato chips, panko breadcrumbs, Cheez-It/Goldfish crumbles, or cornflakes, melt one tablespoon of butter and combine 1 cup of the desired topping to coat: sprinkle atop the casserole for the final 10 minutes of the bake. Bake 20-25 minutes at 400°F, uncovered. NOTE ** If substituting cream cheese for the cream of mushroom soup, whisk in 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of the broccoli cooking water to thin the cream cheese out.
The nutrition value can vary depending on what product(s) you use. The information below is an estimate. Always use a calorie counter you are familiar with.
Please note that table salt and iodized salt are NOT substitutions for Kosher salt. Do not deviate unless otherwise specified.