Broccoli Cheese Casserole
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Allow me to introduce you to the ultimate side dish, Broccoli Cheese Casserole! Topped with a homemade cheesy cream of chicken soup and buttery ritz crackers, you can’t go wrong with this incredible, easy to make side dish!
To make this recipe gluten free or vegetarian, just follow my tips below! Serve this scrumptious casserole at Thanksgiving along with a Smoked Turkey Breast, or anytime of the year with your favorite entree! After just one bite, you’ll be hooked on this Broccoli Cheddar Casserole!
Thanks to my friends at Cabot for sponsoring today’s post!
It’s almost Thanksgiving and you’re scouring the internet looking for that one perfect side dish to complete your meal. Luckily the scouring stops here! This broccoli casserole is an incredible addition to any meal, but an absolute show-stopper on the Thanksgiving dinner table!
Now let’s talk about this casserole, what’s so special about it? Well let’s start with the homemade creamy, cheesy sauce. It’s one part homemade cream of chicken soup, one part Cabot Vermont Sharp Cheddar Cheese.
And what happens when you put the two together? You get THE BEST creamy, cheesy broccoli-topping sauce EVER!
Now what good creamy vegetable casserole would be complete without a crunchy topping? That’s why I combined MORE Cabot Sharp Cheddar with crumbled Ritz crackers and melted butter to create a flavorful, crispy topping that pairs perfectly with the creamy, cheesy sauce!
This is not a broccoli casserole + a little cheese, this is a BROCCOLI CHEESE casserole, that highlights both ingredients so wonderfully! While I highly recommend this casserole as a side dish, I have definitely eaten a big bowl of it as a meal! It’s just that good!
Table of contents
Ingredients you’ll need
- Unsalted Butter
- Garlic Cloves – garlic powder can be substituted if you don’t have any fresh garlic cloves on hand.
- Black Pepper
- Chicken Broth – or vegetable broth, if you’d like to make the recipe vegetarian.
- Half-and-Half – you could also use heavy cream, but I do not recommend using milk for this recipe. It just doesn’t produce that creaminess we’re looking for in the sauce!
- Cabot Vermont Sharp Cheddar Cheese – one whole 8 oz block shredded into about 2 1/2 cups.
- Fresh Broccoli Florets – frozen broccoli can be used to make this recipe, but I don’t find that the texture remains the same, so I recommend fresh whenever possible!
- Buttery Round Crackers (such as Ritz) – this is an optional topping, you can leave it off or replace with gluten free panko breadcrumbs to make this recipe gluten free.
Step by step instructions
- Prepare the homemade cheesy cream of chicken soup.
- Shred an 8 ounce block of Cabot Vermont Sharp Cheddar, measure out 1/4 cup of shredded cheese, then set the rest aside.
- In a large skillet on the stove, over medium high heat, add two tablespoons butter.
- Once the butter is melted, add minced garlic cloves and saute for 1 minute.
- Add salt, pepper, paprika and cornstarch to the skillet. Stir to combine to make a seasoned roux. Cook in the skillet for 3-4 minutes, stirring consistently.
- Quick Tip! If using garlic powder instead of garlic cloves, skip the step of sautéing the garlic and add the garlic powder at the same time as the salt, pepper and paprika.
- Pour chicken broth into the skillet and stir to combine, then simmer for 1-2 minutes.
- Reduce the heat on the stovetop to medium-low and add the half-and-half. Simmer for 6-8 minutes.
- Remove the homemade cream of chicken soup from the stovetop and stir in all of the shredded Cabot cheddar cheese, except for the 1/4 cup reserved for the topping.
- Prepare the topping for the casserole.
- In a small bowl, combine melted butter, crushed buttery crackers and the reserved 1/4 cup of Cabot shredded cheddar.
- Add the broccoli florets to a large baking dish. I used a 9 inch by 13 inch casserole dish.
- Top with the creamy, cheesy sauce from the skillet. Toss the broccoli in the sauce.
- Sprinkle the cracker topping evenly over the top of the casserole.
- Bake in a preheated 350°F oven for 30 minutes.
How to make the casserole low carb, vegetarian or gluten free
- To make this casserole vegetarian, simply replace the chicken broth with vegetable broth.
- Looking to make this casserole low carb? No problem, just omit the buttery cracker topping. Sprinkle the reserved 1/4 cup shredded cheddar over the casserole before baking. This will reduce the total carbs from 19, down to 12, and the net carbs down to 9 per serving.
- To make this casserole gluten free, either use the low carb option above or replace the buttery crackers with gluten free crackers or gluten free panko breadcrumbs. Since I used cornstarch to make the roux, no other substitutions need to be made. All Cabot Cheddars are 100% naturally gluten-free AND lactose-free.
Whit’s tips & tricks
- If you’re making this casserole ahead of time and plan to add the buttery cracker topping, I recommend waiting to put the topping on the dish until right before popping it in the oven. This way the crackers will stay crispy!
- If using frozen broccoli, be sure to thaw it first, either in the refrigerator or microwave. Pat the broccoli dry after it’s thawed so that no extra moisture gets added to the casserole.
- You DO NOT need to blanch the broccoli before making this casserole. In the dozen + times I’ve made this casserole, I’ve never blanched the broccoli. Adding fresh broccoli right into the casserole means you end up with broccoli that keeps it’s shape and doesn’t turn into mush. I find the texture to be one of the best parts of this casserole!
- Please, oh please, do not use canned cream of chicken or cream of mushroom soup! This casserole is so amazing because of the homemade cheesy cream of chicken soup. I promise it’s SO EASY to make and will give you the most amazing results in the flavor department!
- You can literally serve this side dish anytime of the year, it’s not just for Thanksgiving! It’s great with grilled chicken, pork chops or steaks!
- You can even turn this casserole into a meal itself, by adding 1-2 cups of shredded rotisserie chicken right into the dish with the broccoli!
More easy, cheesy recipes to try
Try any of these 7 delicious recipes I’ve made with Cabot cheese over the years! There really is nothing better than their cheddar for cooking, snacking or even baking!
Cabot is a co-operative owned by family farms throughout New England and New York, with 100% of the profits going back to the farmers. Support a farmer & eat delicious cheese, sounds like a win-win to me! Visit CabotCheese.coop for even more cheesy recipe ideas!
- Buffalo Chicken Cauliflower Casserole
- French Onion Queso Dip
- Bacon Wrapped Cheesy Meatballs
- Breakfast Tater Tot Casserole
- Cheesy Mashed Cauliflower
- Cauliflower Nachos
- Buffalo Chicken Egg Rolls
Broccoli Cheese Casserole
- 8 ounces Cabot Vermont Sharp Cheddar Cheese
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 cup half-and-half
- 2 pounds fresh broccoli florets
Buttery Cracker Topping
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
- 30 buttery crackers, like Ritz (crushed)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Shred the 8 ounce block of Cabot cheddar cheese, this should produce about 2 1/2 cups of shredded cheese. Measure out 1/4 cup of shredded cheese, then set the rest aside.
- Add the 2 tablespoons butter to a large skillet on the stove over medium-high heat, once melted, add the garlic and saute 1 minute.
- Add the salt, pepper, paprika and cornstarch, stir to combine and cook for 3-4 minutes.
- Add the chicken broth to the skillet, stir to combine everything, then simmer 1-2 minutes.
- Reduce the heat on the stove to medium-low and add the half-and-half.
- Simmer on the stove for 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the shredded cheese, reserving ¼ cup for topping the casserole
- Add the broccoli florets to a large oven-safe baking dish. I used a 9 inch by 13 inch casserole dish.
- Cover with the creamy, cheesy sauce from the skillet.
- Toss until the broccoli florets are coated in the sauce.
- In a small bowl, combine the melted butter, crushed crackers and reserved ¼ cup shredded cheddar cheese.
- Sprinkle the cracker topping evenly over the casserole.
- Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes.
- Vegetarian Option – to make this recipe vegetarian, simply use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.
- Low Carb Option – omit the buttery cracker topping. Simply top the casserole with the reserved 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese. This will reduce the carbs per serving from 19, down to 12 and the net carbs down to 9 per serving.
- Gluten Free Option – use the low carb option above, or replace the buttery crackers with a gluten free cracker or gluten free panko breadcrumbs.
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