This broccoli casserole recipe is cheesy, creamy, and has a delectable buttery and crunchy Ritz cracker topping. It's sure to become a new favorite side dish in your recipe rotation!
This broccoli cheddar casserole is a side dish that's made with love! It's rich, decadent, and sure to please the pickiest eaters. Cheese and broccoli are a match made in heaven. That creamy, cheesy sauce and crunchy topping take broccoli to the next level. It's great for when you want something that feels a bit special. It's delicious paired with a Sunday roast, or bring it to a holiday meal like Thanksgiving dinner.
This casserole is essentially a broccoli gratin... just with a less fancy name. The breadcrumbs are swapped for crushed Ritz crackers in my version, but you could certainly use breadcrumbs as the topping if you prefer. The sauce is made from scratch... no condensed soups are used in this recipe.
How to make broccoli cheese casserole (summary):
Boil a large pot of water for the broccoli and prepare the recipe ingredients. Boil the broccoli for 2-3 minutes, then drain it well and add it to a 9x13 casserole dish. Make the creamy cheddar sauce in a skillet by whisking together the cream cheese, heavy cream, onion powder, garlic powder, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and salt & pepper. Once you've got a smooth sauce, stir in the cheddar. Pour the cheese sauce over the broccoli and toss, then spread it out evenly. Top the casserole with the remaining cheddar and the parmesan cheese. Mix the Ritz crumbs with the melted butter, then sprinkle it on top of the casserole. Bake, uncovered, for 20-25 minutes or until golden and bubbly. (Full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below)
Recipe notes & tips:
- Buy around 2 pounds of broccoli to get about 6 cups of florets. It's fine if it's a little more, and the amount you can fit in a measuring cup will vary a bit depending how small you chop the florets.
- Be sure to buy a good quality sharp/old cheddar for the best flavor.
- Sub the cream for something lower fat at your own discretion. The sauce may not thicken up the same, and it's possible it'll curdle (you may need to make a roux if you go that route).
- Can I use frozen broccoli? Yes, I recommend thawing it first and draining it well. You can then skip the boiling step since it's already partially cooked before it's frozen.
- Don't have Ritz crackers? Try using panko breadcrumbs instead. You could use regular breadcrumbs, but they will be a bit denser and you may want to toast them in a skillet for a few minutes ahead of time to get the browning process started.
- Make ahead tips:
- To make this casserole a day or two ahead of time: assemble it up until just before the baking step, cover the casserole dish tightly, and refrigerate once it's cooled down a bit. You may want to wait to add the topping just before baking so it remains crispy. Bake at 350F for 30 minutes or until it's heated through.
- Freezing: Assemble just prior to the baking step as outlined above, cover the casserole dish tightly, then freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight. Bake at 350F for 30 minutes or until heated through. Cream sauces and broccoli don't always freeze and reheat well, so my preference is to avoid freezing it if possible.
- Tools used: I grated the cheddar with this Microplane grater.
More delicious vegetable side dishes to try:
Questions about this cheesy broccoli casserole recipe? Let me know in the comments below!
- 6 cups broccoli florets see note
- 8 ounces cream cheese (1 block Philly) softened
- 1 cup heavy/whipping cream
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 2 cups grated cheddar cheese divided
- 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup butter melted
- 1 cup Crushed Ritz crackers or panko breadcrumbs
- Take the cream cheese out of the fridge at least an hour prior to starting the recipe or microwave it for 20-30 seconds (it should be very soft).
- Boil a pot of water for the broccoli. While you're waiting for it to boil, start prepping all the recipe ingredients (ensure they're ready to go before starting the sauce). For the melted butter, I recommend microwaving it in a small bowl and setting it aside until needed.
- Preheat your oven to 375F and move the rack to the top third of the oven.
- Once the water is boiling, add the broccoli and cook it for 2-3 minutes, then drain well and add it to a 9x13 casserole dish.
- To a skillet or medium saucepan, add the cream cheese, cream, onion powder, garlic powder, Dijon, Worcestershire sauce, and some salt & pepper. Cook it over medium-high heat, stirring/whisking nearly constantly until the cream cheese has melted into the sauce (this should take about 5-6 minutes). The sauce consistency should be similar to (or a little thicker than) Alfredo sauce.
- Take the skillet off the heat and stir in half of the cheddar cheese (stir until smooth).
- Pour the sauce over the broccoli, then toss and spread it in an even layer.
- Top the casserole with the remaining cheddar, followed by the parmesan.
- Add the crushed Ritz crackers to the bowl that has the melted butter and stir until they're evenly coated in butter.
- Top the casserole with the buttery Ritz pieces. Bake, uncovered, for 20-25 minutes.
- Let the casserole sit for 5 minutes prior to serving.
- Buy around 2 pounds of broccoli to get about 6 cups of florets. It's ok if it's a bit more, and the amount you can fit in a measuring cup will vary a bit depending how small you chop the florets.
- Serves 6-8 depending on portion size/what it's served with.
- Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only and should be construed as an estimate rather than a guarantee. Ingredients can vary and Salt & Lavender makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information.