Extra-Cheesy Broccoli

published Oct 3, 2022
Cheesy Broccoli Recipe

Broccoli tossed with a creamy cheddar cheese sauce is an easy side dish the whole family will love.

Serves4 to 6

Prep15 minutes

Cook10 minutes

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Credit: Kristina Vanni

If you’re trying to get someone to eat their vegetables (child or adult), cheesy broccoli may be the answer you’re looking for. It’s basically mac and cheese with broccoli instead of pasta. It’s a saucy, comforting side dish guaranteed to win the heart of any cheese-lover. Plus, it’s versatile and stress-free.

Don’t have a fresh head of broccoli? Use frozen instead! Hate doing dishes? You’ll use the same pot to quickly boil the broccoli as you did to make the sauce to minimize dishes. Don’t want to cook anything else? Serve cheesy broccoli over a baked potato and call it dinner.

How to Make Cheese Sauce

Cheese sauce is what makes mac and cheese (and anything else it’s poured over) craveable and comforting, and the technique for making it is basically the same as a béchamel or white sauce with added cheese.

  1. Cook flour in melted butter to make a roux, and then add milk and simmer until thickened.
  2. Flavor it with a touch of ground mustard or cayenne pepper for a bit of a kick, if desired.
  3. Stir in the cheese and cook until smooth and creamy.

The cheese sauce for this recipe may seem thick when it first comes together, but don’t worry! Once the broccoli gets mixed in, it releases a bit of water and thins it out very nicely.

Credit: Kristina Vanni

The Best Melting Cheese for Cheesy Broccoli

For a smooth sauce, the cheeses that melt best are ones that aren’t too aged, like mild or sharp cheddars or Monterey Jack. For cheesy broccoli, I like the flavor of sharp cheddar, which adds a nice contrast to the earthy and sweet flavors of broccoli. I also use Parmesan for flavor. Although it typically doesn’t melt as smoothly, the small amount in this recipe won’t affect the texture of the sauce.

What to Serve with Cheesy Broccoli

Because cheesy broccoli is a heavier side dish, I like pairing it with things that don’t have much dairy to round out the meal.

Cheesy Broccoli Recipe

Broccoli tossed with a creamy cheddar cheese sauce is an easy side dish the whole family will love.

Prep time 15 minutes

Cook time 10 minutes

Serves 4 to 6

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds

    broccoli crowns (about 3 medium), or 1 1/2 pounds fresh or frozen florets (do not thaw)

  • 6 ounces

    sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (about 1 1/2 cups)

  • 2 tablespoons

    grated Parmesan cheese

  • 3 tablespoons

    unsalted butter

  • 2 tablespoons

    all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    ground mustard

  • 1 cup

    whole or 2% milk

  • 3/4 teaspoon

    kosher salt, plus more for the broccoli

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, cut 1 1/2 pounds broccoli crowns or florets into 1-inch pieces, and cut any large pieces of stalk crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick pieces (8 to 9 cups total). Grate 6 ounces sharp cheddar cheese on the large holes of a box grater (or measure out 1 1/2 cups store-bought grated). Grate 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese on the smallest holes of the grater if needed.

  2. Add the broccoli to the boiling water and cook until bright green and crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Drain.

  3. Wipe out the pot, add 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, and return to medium heat. When the butter is melted, add 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour and 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard and whisk for 1 minute to cook the floury taste out. While whisking constantly, add 1 cup whole or 2% milk. Bring to a full simmer, whisking often.

  4. Add the cheddar, Parmesan, and 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Whisk until the cheeses are completely melted, the sauce will be thick. Add the broccoli and gently fold until coated in cheese sauce. Taste and season with more kosher salt as needed.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The broccoli can be cut and refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 days. The cheese sauce can be made and refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 days; reheat over low heat, whisking often, before adding the cooked broccoli.

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days.