This Cheddar’s broccoli cheese casserole recipe is the perfect time-saver on busy nights. Simply add your ingredients to a casserole dish and bake!
If you’ve ever been to a Cheddar’s, it’s hard to forget their delicious broccoli cheese casserole. It’s savory and creamy and has that perfect home-cooked comforting taste. And, unlike most casserole recipes, this one doesn’t need canned cream soup or cheddar cheese soup (and it’s not a rice casserole either)!
This copycat version of Cheddar’s famous dish uses cottage cheese, egg, and cheddar for creaminess. And we’ve included crushed crackers on top for a bit of texture and crunch. This recipe comes together quickly, and can be served as a side dish for holidays, or regular weeknight dinners!
Fresh vs Frozen Broccoli
This casserole works well with either frozen or fresh broccoli, so the choice is yours. But in both cases, you should blanch the chopped broccoli in water before using it.
Personally, I like to use frozen broccoli florets. They come pre-cut, so this is a huge time saver. Also, a bag of frozen broccoli florets is often cheaper than buying it fresh.
Some nutrients are affected by the freezing process, but in general, the loss is very minimal.
Inspiration for This Cheddars Broccoli Casserole Recipe
The great thing about casseroles is that you can pretty much add anything you want! If you want to incorporate some protein into this meal, try some diced chicken or ham. Ground turkey or beef, or even crumbled bacon would also be delicious!
No matter what meat you include, you should always drain it first. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a very greasy casserole. To drain, let your meat rest on a paper towel for a few minutes.
Make a Bechamel
If you have a bit more time on your hands, you can try making a bechamel sauce for this broccoli cheese casserole.
To do this, add 2 tbsp of butter to a pan and let it melt. Stir in 2 tbsp of flour so the mixture thickens. Add about 1 1/4 cups of milk and your choice of seasoning and stir until a thick sauce forms.
Once you have your bechamel sauce, you can stir in some cheese until it becomes velvety smooth. Pour this mixture over all your ingredients and bake. Your broccoli casserole will turn out creamier and saucier this way!
Pair With Basil
The Cheddar’s recipe includes salt, pepper, and chili powder for seasoning. But if you really want to turn up the flavor, try adding aromatic herbs like basil.
Basil pairs nicely with broccoli due to its slightly peppery and citrusy flavor. It even helps cut through the bitterness of broccoli. If you’re using basil, I recommend you swap out the chili seasoning.
Swap the Cheese
This recipe uses cheddar cheese due to its bold, sharp flavor. But different types of cheese will add something different to the dish, so feel free to experiment. Other cheeses that melt well include:
Play With The Toppings
The key to a good casserole is to add a bit of crunch on top to contrast with the creaminess. This broccoli cheese casserole uses crushed crackers, but you can also use regular breadcrumbs or panko. An old trick is to crush some plain potato chips on top for some extra saltiness!
You can often find crispy fried onions in the same section of the grocery store as breadcrumbs. They add a slightly sweet, savory flavor that is perfect for this broccoli cheddar casserole. If you want to skip the crunch, then just add some shredded sharp cheddar cheese on top instead!
Cheddar’s Broccoli Cheese Casserole Recipe
- Prep Time20 min
- Cook Time1h
- Total Time1 h 20 min
- Preheat the Oven
Heat the oven to 350°F.
- Blanch the Broccoli
Boil salted water in a large pot. Add broccoli (fresh or frozen) and boil for about 3 minutes, or until tender. You should be able to put a fork through the broccoli, but not have it fall apart.
Strain the broccoli, and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
- Saute Onion
Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium heat and add diced onions. Cook until the onions are soft and translucent.
- Beat Egg and Cottage Cheese
Add the egg to a mixing bowl and beat on high until fluffy. Add cooked onion, cottage cheese, salt, pepper, and chili. Continue to beat until smooth.
- Combine with Broccoli
In a large bowl, combine the cheese sauce with the broccoli. Pour melted cheese mixture and broccoli into your casserole baking dish.
- Add Topping and Bake
Sprinkle the top with crushed crackers and shredded cheese. Place the casserole dish in the oven and bake for about an hour. The broccoli casserole is done when the edges are crispy and the crackers on top are golden brown.
This creamy broccoli cheddar casserole makes the perfect side for a holiday meal. It goes amazingly with roasted turkey or ham. Or, you can also serve it more casually with a rotisserie chicken.
For a simple weeknight meal, try serving with a baked potato or cooked rice. The cheesy sauce would be the perfect compliment! For a healthier option, try adding a fresh green salad to cut through the richness.
I even recommend making this dish ahead and storing it in the freezer. That way when you’re stuck for a dinner side, you’ll have something delicious already prepared. This recipe reheats well in the microwave too, so it makes the perfect leftover!
Check these Broccoli Appetizers.
- 49.4g Fat
- 12.3g Carbs