This easy Broccoli Rice Casserole is the perfect side dish for dinner tonight! Made in one pot, completely from scratch, this cheesy side dish is a total crowd pleaser. Delicious enough for the holidays yet easy enough for weeknight dinners!
This post is sponsored by Challenge Dairy.
Broccoli Cheese Rice Casserole
This easy Broccoli Rice Casserole is one of those perfect side dishes that you’ll find yourself making again and again. It’s a one pot recipe meaning that everything happens inside one large skillet or dutch oven – including cooking the rice! The broccoli can either be microwaved or boiled before being added so I guess there is one more bowl there – but, really, the clean up is pretty simple and the flavor is worth every single second.
There is nothing more comforting than a casserole and when you combine cheese with rice and broccoli… well, you’ve got a real winner on your hands.
This broccoli and rice casserole starts how all great recipes start – with butter. It adds flavor to the casserole itself and is the perfect addition to the topping that provides a lovely crunchy, flavorful finish to the dish.
I used Challenge butter in this Broccoli Cheese Casserole because it’s the BEST. Challenge is the brand of butter I’ve used and trusted for years and years. Made with 100% real cream, it’s my butter of choice. I’ve been using Challenge products my whole life and trust their products. I know the quality is outstanding and use it for all my baking and cooking!
What To Serve With This Casserole
This recipe is such a great cheesy, starchy side that it goes with just about everything. You really just need a main protein and you’re set. Here are a few of our favorite dinner recipes that we make alongside this Broccoli Rice Cheese Casserole:
- Swedish Meatballs
- Honey Balsamic Chicken
- Salisbury Steak Recipe
- Garlic Herb Roast Chicken
- Chicken Fried Steak
Broccoli Rice Casserole Recipe Ingredients
You are going to love how easy and delicious this broccoli rice cheese casserole recipe is! As always, you can find a printable recipe card at the end of this post. Now let’s take a look at what you’ll need to have on hand:
- broccoli – you’ll need about 2 heads of broccoli, 8 cups of broccoli florets or 20 ounces. Make sure the florets are cut into bite sized pieces, no bigger than one inch or so.
- unsalted butter – for sautéing the onions and adding extra flavor to this broccoli and rice casserole.
- extra virgin olive oil – the combination of butter and olive oil is so delicious and the perfect foundation for this recipe.
- onion – I used yellow onion but white would also work. Just make sure to finely dice the onion.
- long grain white rice – the rice does not need to be cooked. It gets cooked in the pot.
- garlic – I used 3 cloves but you can use a little less if you’re not a fan of garlic. Minced garlic adds a lot of flavor without getting big chunks of overpowering garlic in the broccoli rice cheese casserole.
- chicken stock or broth – I opted for a low sodium version for this recipe. The stock adds so much flavor to this recipe because the rice is cooked in it instead of water.
- half and half – the half and half adds so much richness to this casserole recipe! Milk can be substituted.
- salt – for flavor! It brings a lot of balance and enhances the flavors of the other ingredients in this recipe.
- sharp cheddar cheese – I recommend buying a block of cheese and grating it yourself. It will melt better. If you’re not a fan of cheddar cheese, check out some other suggestions in my tips and tricks section below.
- Parmesan cheese – I love the addition of Parmesan cheese. It adds a bit of sharp flavor and intensity of flavor to this homey dish.
Broccoli and Rice Casserole Topping
- unsalted butter – the butter will need to be melted and then combined with the rest of the topping ingredients. It creates a crunchy, buttery topping that is the perfect finish to this dish!
- Panko breadcrumbs – creates a lovely, crispy topping. If you’re not a fan, check out some other suggestions in my tips and tricks section below.
- smoked paprika – adds a hint of smokiness and flavor.
- Parmesan cheese – helps the topping to brown and adds lovely flavor.
How To Make Broccoli Rice Casserole
- Cook broccoli by microwaving for 3½ to 4 minutes until broccoli is tender and bright green.
- Melt butter and olive oil together in a large deep skillet or dutch oven over medium heat. A
- Add the diced onions and cook until translucent, about 6 to 8 minutes.
- Stir in rice and garlic and continue cooking, stirring continuously, for 1 minute.
- Add in the chicken stock, half and half and salt and stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium low.
- Cook until the rice is tender, about 22 to 25 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Stir in the cooked broccoli, grated cheddar cheese and Parmesan cheese.
- Transfer to the prepared baking dish and prepare the topping.
- Combine the melted butter, Panko breadcrumbs, smoked paprika and Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle over the top of the casserole.
- Bake the broccoli cheese rice casserole for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown and bubbling.
- Rest for 5 minutes before serving.
Cooking the Broccoli: Don’t want to microwave the broccoli? You can cook the broccoli on the stovetop instead. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add broccoli and cook for 4 minutes until broccoli is bright green and tender. Remove with a slotted spoon and let drain thoroughly before adding to recipe.
Refrigerator: This broccoli cheese rice casserole can be covered tightly or stored in airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Freezer: To freeze this casserole, cool completely, transfer to a freezer safe, airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and then reheat in the microwave.
Trish’s Tips and Tricks
- Turn this broccoli rice casserole into a meal by adding diced ham or chicken to the recipe. It’s a great way to use up leftover holiday ham or rotisserie chicken!
- Swap in half cauliflower for the broccoli for a unique flavor twist!
- Tired of cheddar cheese? Try Swiss cheese or pepper jack cheese for a yummy change. You can go half and half with the cheddar or all in!
- Customize the crunchy topping! I love this Panko topping but here are some other delicious options: Ritz crackers, cornflakes, seasoned breadcrumbs.
More of our Favorite Side Dishes
Side dishes make the meal! I’ve said it a million times and that’s because it’s true. A few awesome side dishes can take any meal – holiday or otherwise – to the next level. Don’t miss out on these favorites:
- Cheesy Potatoes
- Green Bean Recipe
- Mashed Potatoes
- Dinner Rolls
- Creamed Peas
- Creamed Corn
- Baked Potato Recipe
- Fried Cabbage
How To Make Broccoli Rice Casserole
Broccoli Rice Casserole
- 20 ounces broccoli florets cut into bite sized pieces, about 2 heads of broccoli or 8 cups
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter I used Challenge butter
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 onion finely diced
- 1 ¼ cups long grain white rice not cooked
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 32 ounces chicken stock or broth, low sodium
- 1 ¼ cups half and half
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese grated
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter melted, I used Challenge butter
- 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
- ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 400°F and lightly grease a 9 x 13 baking dish, set aside.
- Cook broccoli by placing in a microwave bowl and covering. Microwave for 3½ to 4 minutes until broccoli is tender and bright green. Do not overcook. (Alternatively, bring a large pot of water to a boil, add broccoli and cook for 4 minutes until broccoli is bright green and tender. Remove with a slotted spoon and let drain thoroughly before adding to recipe.)
- In a large deep skillet or dutch oven, melt butter and olive oil together over medium heat. Add the diced onions and cook, stirring frequently, until translucent, about 6 to 8 minutes.
- Stir in rice and garlic and continue cooking, stirring continuously, for about 1 minute.
- Add in the chicken stock, half and half and salt and stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium low. Cook, stirring frequently, until the rice is tender, about 22 to 25 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Carefully stir in the cooked broccoli, grated cheddar cheese and Parmesan cheese making sure to evenly distribute the ingredients.
- Transfer to the prepared baking dish (or, if using an oven safe skillet, consider baking it right in the skillet) and prepare the topping.
- In a small bowl, stir to combine the melted butter, Panko breadcrumbs, smoked paprika and Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle the topping over the casserole.
- Bake the casserole for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown and bubbling. Remove and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.