Cheesy broccoli bake (broccoli casserole) is the perfect, easy make-ahead side dish. Perfect for everything from a simple weeknight dinner to a Thanksgiving feast.
I’m a big fan of covering vegetables in creamy cheese sauce and baking until golden brown. But something tells me that pretty much no person on Earth would be against that. Right? I mean, even the most hatiest (totally a word) vegetable haters will love this glorious cheesy broccoli bake (or broccoli casserole as it is also called).
Not only is it absolutely delicious but it’s also SO easy to make. The cheese sauce is a one-pot wonder and comes together in minutes (check out the video below) and is layered with steamed broccoli and mozzarella before baking. You could blanch or roast the broccoli as well, you just want to make sure it’s par-cooked before layering with the cheese sauce.
I love serving this cheesy broccoli casserole with roast chicken or pan-seared pork chops for an easy weeknight dinner but if you’re thinking about side dishes for Thanksgiving or Christmas, this one is a total winner. Also, well done you planner you! It also helps that you can assemble it up to two days ahead and keep it covered in the fridge until you’re ready to bake it. Winning, all around!
How to make broccoli casserole?
Steam, roast or blanch fresh broccoli florets until just tender. Test this by sticking a sharp knife into the stem. If it inserts easily, the broccoli is cooked. Cooking the broccoli before covering in cheese sauce will allow the casserole to bake quickly. To make the cheese sauce, melt butter in a saucepan then whisk in flour to make a roux. Pour in milk while whisking until the sauce is smooth. Add spices of your choice and mix in. Smoked paprika, nutmeg, dried oregano, mustard powder and chilli flakes all work very well in cheese sauce. Turn down the heat and allow to simmer until the sauce has thickened and is cooked through. It should have no floury taste. Remove from the heat and mix in the grated cheddar cheese. Grease a baking dish with melted butter then add the par-cooked broccoli. Pour the cheese sauce over the broccoli and top with shredded mozzarella cheese. Place in a hot oven and allow to bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown and bubbling. Remove from the oven, allow to rest for 5 minutes then serve.
How do you make cheese sauce for broccoli?
Make an easy cheese sauce by whisking butter and flour in a medium saucepan over medium heat until a roux forms. Slowly whisk in milk and season with salt, nutmeg, mustard powder and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Remove from the heat then stir in the cheese until completely melted.
What cheese goes with broccoli and cheese?
Using a strong cheese like mature or aged cheddar, Parmesan, Gruyere is best for broccoli and cheese. The flavor of the cheese needs to be able to stand up to the flavor of the broccoli. Adding a good melting cheese like mozzarella, Raclette or Fontina will add lush creaminess.
Can I freeze broccoli casserole?
Yes, to freeze: assemble the broccoli bake in a foil baking container and top with the shredded mozzarella. Press a sheet of parchment paper onto the surface of the casserole then wrap tightly in foil. Freeze for up to 4 months. To bake, remove the parchment paper and bake from frozen until golden brown and bubbling
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Cheesy broccoli bake
For the cheese sauce
- 4 cups Cheese sauce
For the Cheesy broccoli bake
- 750 g (1½lbs) broccoli florets
- 2 cups mozzarella cheese grated
- Pre-heat the oven to 200ºc/400ºF.
- Prepare the cheese sauce to recipe instructions.
- Steam or blanche the broccoli until just tender then drain and allow to dry for 10 a few minutes.
- Layer the broccoli, cheese sauce and mozzarella in an oven-safe casserole dish then place in the oven.
- Bake until golden brown and until the broccoli is cooked through and serve.