This casserole has found its place at potluck dinners, Sunday dinners, weeknight meals, and beyond for many generations.
We are going to step things up a bit and forgo the processed cheese and canned condensed soup and replace them with quality cheddar cheese and easy homemade cream of mushroom soup. The difference in taste is night and day and is completely worth the little bit of extra effort it takes.
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How To Make Broccoli Casserole with Cheddar and Rice
We’re taking this iconic casserole to the next level.
All it takes is a little prep work, and then it all comes together very quickly.
How To Blanch Broccoli
Even when we’re using frozen broccoli (you didn’t hear us say that😉), we always blanch our broccoli florets.
There are multiple methods for blanching, but we use the process of quickly adding vegetables (ie, broccoli) to boiling water for about 1 minute, and then draining and quickly transferring to an ice bath.
EXPERT TIP: Blanching the broccoli softens the vegetable just enough so after the casserole bakes, it’s fork-tender: not too tough, yet not too mushy. Transferring to an ice bath ensures the broccoli won’t continue to cook, even after it’s been drained.
Elevating the Flavor Profile
We love to get two 8 oz. blocks of good quality cheddar, medium-sharp, regular-sharp, or extra-sharp, and then use either our food processor or a box grater to shred the cheese. Bagged cheddar will always be drier and not as loaded with flavor.
Perfectly steamed rice adds a nice texture and taste to the broccoli casserole that is noticeably better than fast-boil rice.
EXPERT TIP: But what really brings the epic casserole together is the homemade cream of mushroom soup. It can easily be made days in advance and is honestly what puts the dish over the top. And we promise: It’s easy to prepare!
Mix all the ingredients (except the buttery Panko bread crumbs) together in a large bowl or pot.
Every good casserole needs a crunchy topping.
We find the mixing Panko bread crumbs with a couple of tablespoons of melted butter make the most amazing topping ever.
Sprinkle the top of the casserole with Parmesan cheese, and then top with the Panko/butter mixture.
How To Serve and How To Store
This casserole is perfect for serving a crowd, such as a potluck dinner.
Soon after it’s out of the oven, cover with foil, and it will stay warm for 30 minutes to an hour.
EXPERT TIP: Leftovers can be stored in an air-tight container for up to 1 week. The casserole reheats wonderfully in an oven preheated to 350° for about 20 minutes. The casserole can be prepared up to 3 days in advance of baking. If making in advance, wait until just before baking to add the Panko/butter topping.
What To Serve With Broccoli Casserole
This casserole is pure comfort food.
Because we’ve elevated the flavor profile, it’s perfect for a side dish on your holiday table.
If you’re looking to step up the game on a classic dish, that still won’t take endless hours in the kitchen, look no further.
Every time we serve this dish to guests, people can not get over the taste and always want the recipe (and leftovers to take home).
It elevates the ordinary to extraordinary in an amazing way.
Ready to make a side dish that quite possibly will be the star of the show? Go for it!
And when you do, be sure to take a photo of it, post it on Instagram, and tag @HowToFeedaLoon and hashtag #HowToFeedaLoon!
Broccoli Casserole with Cheddar and Rice
- 9"x13" baking dish (or similar size)
- 4 cup cream of mushroom soup click the link for easy recipe
- 2 heads broccoli cut into small florets
- 1 lb cheddar cheese grated
- 2 cups steamed rice click the link for easy recipe
- ½ cup scallions chopped
- 1½ tsp Kosher salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter melted, plus extra for greasing dish
- ½ cup Panko bread crumbs
- ¼ cup Parmesan cheese
- Cream of mushroom soup (see link in the ingredients list)
Prepare the Casserole
- Bring a pot of water to a boil. Fill a large bowl with water and add ice. Carefully add the broccoli florets to the boiling water. Bring back to a boil and cook for 1 minute. Drain and transfer to the ice bath to stop the cooking. Discard the ice and drain again.
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Grease a 9x13" baking dish with butter or cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, add the blanched broccoli, cheddar cheese, cooked rice, scallions, salt, and pepper. Pour the cream of mushroom soup over the top. Use a large wooden spoon to mix everything together.
- In a small bowl, pour the melted butter over the Panko bread crumbs. Use a fork to mix together.
- Transfer the broccoli mixture into the prepared dish. Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese over the top, and then top with the bread crumbs.
- Bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Increase the temperature to 425°F and bake for another 8 to 10 minutes, until nicely browned on top and the casserole is bubbly.
- Remove from the oven and allow to sit for 5 to 10 minutes.