This Broccoli Rice Casserole recipe is a cheesy, delicious, and easy dinner idea that the whole family will love. Gooey cheese, fluffy rice, broccoli, and Panko bread crumbs create a simple dish you can make in 45 minutes!
This easy casserole takes 10 minutes of prep time and 35 minutes to cook. It makes for a delicious dinner with lots remaining for leftovers!
This is the ultimate comfort food. Serve it as a side dish or as a stand-alone meal. It’s a versatile recipe you can pull out for the holidays, a potluck or a weeknight dinner at home.
I like to use my rice cooker to prepare the rice ahead of time to save a bit of time on the day I’ll be making the casserole. You can also make rice on the stove or Instant Pot early and refrigerate it.
This casserole has been a family favorite for ages. It’s pure comfort food that nobody can resist. I’m glad you’re here to check it out. Let’s take a look at the main ingredients you’ll need.
White rice: We love the texture and flavor that white rice brings to the table. You want to cook the rice ahead of time and have it cool before you begin making the dish.
Broccoli: Use frozen broccoli for the best results. You could use fresh broccoli if you’d prefer, however, the texture may be slightly different. Feel free to try it both ways to see which way fits your preferences better.
Velveeta: Adding Velveeta to the recipe gives it a fantastic creamy texture that is undeniably amazing. When you combine the cheese with the sour cream, milk, and the shredded cheese, you just can’t go wrong.
This homemade casserole is so simple to make, and it doesn’t have any canned cream based soups! I try to stay away from the processed soups as there is a surprising amount of sodium in them. If there is a good alternative, I’ll use it.
You’ll love the delicious flavors of this amazing comfort food. Okay, take a peek at these easy to follow steps:
Step One: Add the cooked and cooled rice to a bowl. Chop the frozen broccoli into small pieces and mix with the rice.
Note: Definitely chop broccoli into small pieces. I found that larger pieces take too long to cook.
Step Two: Sauté onions with butter over a medium heat until they are translucent. Add in the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the onions and garlic to the rice mixture.
Step Three: Add more butter and the flour to the pan. Slowly add in the milk, making sure to whisk it continuously. The sauce will thicken after about two minutes. Add the Velveeta and stir until it’s melted.
Step Four: In the large bowl, mix together the rice, broccoli, sour cream, shredded cheese, salt, pepper, and cheese sauce.
Step Five: Add the rice mixture to a greased casserole dish. Sprinkle the remaining cheese and bread crumbs on top.
Step Six: Bake until it’s golden brown and top with a few green onions. Serve warm and enjoy!
📌 Expert Tips
- Use any kind of rice you like. Brown, basmati, jasmine rice, etc. Don’t spend extra money to buy more if you have an alternative in your pantry.
- I recommend precooking the rice the morning-of or the day before. It saves time and lets you spend more time with your friends and family.
- If using fresh broccoli, chop it into very small pieces so it doesn’t lengthen the cooking time.
Try out different ideas with this recipe. It’s a versatile dish and will leave a smile on even the pickiest eaters’ faces! I wanted to share some ideas to consider:
- Cauliflower – If you are trying to boost the nutrients or just found a good deal on cauliflower, add some to the dish! You’ll need a total of six cups of broccoli so you can replace any portion of that with cauliflower.
- Chicken – I love chicken and rice, and adding cooked chicken works perfectly with the cheese and broccoli. If you want the extra protein, add a cup or two to this meal. Yum!
- Bacon – Okay, so everything tastes better with a little bit of bacon. Just add some cooked crumbled pieces on top or mixed in with the rice. Either way, it’s divine!
- Carrots – Add a few small chopped or diced carrots to the rice mixture. This adds more nutrients, a slight sweetness, and even more color. Plus, carrots are cheap, so it stretches your dollar even further.
- Mushrooms – I love the earthy flavor of mushrooms, so I add them to a lot of my recipes. Just saute them with onions and garlic then toss them into the mixture.
- Cheese – You can use a variety of cheese if you want. Pepper Jack, Colby Jack, Swiss, and pretty much everything else tastes terrific!
This easy broccoli casserole will last anywhere from 3-5 days in the fridge. It needs to be kept in an airtight container and makes for an quick lunch idea or a side to go with dinner.
Yes, absolutely, you can freeze this casserole. Just place it in a covered container that’s airtight. Look for meal-prep containers.
Alternatively, cut it into single-serve portions, wrap it in Saran, put it in a large Ziploc bag, and freeze it. I find that wrapping it first helps to minimize freezer burn. I love taking out a single serving from the bag and reheating it on nights when I really don’t feel like cooking.
It will last up to two months in the freezer. To serve, just let it defrost in the fridge the night before then reheat it.
There are a few options when it comes to reheating this casserole. Reheat it in the microwave by placing it in a microwave-safe bowl and zapping it for 30 seconds or so. Give it a stir and heat it some more until it’s piping hot. The rice tends to warm up rather quickly, so I recommend using a paper towel to cover it, so it doesn’t explode all over the microwave. Not that that’s happened to me! 😇
Another option is to reheat the casserole in the oven. Just turn it to 350 degrees F. and warm it for around 12-15 minutes until it’s hot. It doesn’t take a long time to warm up.
Lastly, place the mixture in a skillet and warm it up that way. I usually coat the skillet with cooking spray or a little bit of olive oil. It sort of browns up the rice and broccoli rather quickly. Use medium-high heat and stir it almost constantly. The cheese will burn if you let it go without stirring.
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Broccoli Rice Casserole
- 3 cups White Rice cooked and cooled
- 11 oz Frozen Broccoli Florets thawed
- ¼ cup Butter divided
- 1 Small Yellow Onion chopped
- 1 tbsp Minced Garlic
- 2 tbsp All-Purpose Flour
- 1 cup Whole Milk
- 8 oz Velveeta cubed
- ½ cup Sour Cream
- 8 oz Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese divided
- ¼ cup Italian Style Panko Bread Crumbs
- Green Onion chopped, to taste, optional
- Preheat oven to 375F. Add cooked and cooled rice to a large bowl. Chop thawed broccoli into small pieces. Add to bowl with rice.
- Heat 2 tbsp. butter in a pan over medium high heat. Add onions. Sauté for 5 minutes. Add minced garlic and sauté for an additional minute. Transfer to bowl with rice and broccoli.
- Lower to medium heat. Add the remaining 2 tbsp of butter. Allow it to melt, then add flour, whisking continuously for about one minute. Slowly add in milk, whisking continuously, until sauce thickens, for about two minutes. Then add in velveeta cubes. Stir until velveeta is fully melted and incorporated. Remove from heat.
- Combine cooked rice, broccoli, sour cream, half of shredded cheddar cheese, salt and pepper and cheese sauce mixture. Mix well.
- Pour into a greased 8.5×12 casserole dish, top with remaining cheese and sprinkle the Panko crumbs over top.
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until top is golden brown. Garnish with chopped green onions before serving if desired.
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