Broccoli Cheese Rice Casserole

November 17th, 2009 by katie

And so begins my official Thanksgiving recipe countdown.  First up is our favorite holiday side dish. I don’t know why we only serve this at holidays, probably because it makes a ton and everyone loves it.  A creamy concoction of tender broccoli, rice, and crusty cheese-what’s not to love?

I really like to hear about different family traditions at Thanksgiving.  I think it is interesting to see what the must have dishes are with each family.  What’s your must have Thanksgiving dish?  With both our families there is always a version of this casserole.

Broccoli Rice Cheese Casserole

serves 12, prep 10-15 min, cook approx 45 minutes
  • 1 pound broccoli florets (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 cup onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup celery, diced
  • 4 cups cooked white rice (2 cups uncooked)
  • 2-3 cups shredded Colby cheese (or whatever)
  • 2 cans cream of soup whatever flavor (mushroom, chicken, and/or celery work best)
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.  Grease a 3 quart casserole dish with a lid.
  2. Saute onion, celery and fresh broccoli if using (you don’t have to saute frozen broccoli since it is usually parboiled) until soft.
  3. In the casserole dish, stir together veggies, rice, 1 to 2 cups of cheese and soup.
  4. Cover with remaining cheese and bake, covered, for about 45 minutes or until hot.
  5. Remove the cover to brown cheese.

The nice thing about casseroles like this is that they can be prepared ahead of time and refrigerated or frozen until ready to cook.  Be sure to give the dish adequate time to defrost/warm-up or anticipate a longer baking time.  It can really vary depending on how cold it is going into the oven, how many other dishes you are baking at the same time, etc… but it is also very forgiving.

Actually, the whole casserole is really forgiving.  You can use any flavor or combination of cream soups you like or it is especially delicious with the real cream soup.  I have also made it without bothering to use the onions and celery-and so skipped the entire cooking step and it tastes just fine.  We have even mixed it together with uncooked instant rice and baked it that way, letting the rice cook in the casserole while it is baking.  I prefer the fully cooked version only because I know it will be edible at any point even if I screw up the baking time.

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Posted in Easy, Pantry Challenge, Sides

30 Responses

  1. Melissa

    Katie, that is just ridiculously good. Steve wouldn’t necessarily want it to replace the sides I already make, but that doesn’t mean I can’t make it some other time. Cheese-tastic.

  2. Karly

    Oh man. Another recipe that I’m going to be making for Thanksgiving dinner! Or maybe I’ll just make it and put in two smaller dishes and freeze one for a later date. Either way, I’m definitely making this!

  3. marguerite

    Mmmm…. we don’t usually serve any rice dishes at Thanksgiving. But I think my family would love that!!

  4. Biz

    My husband must have pecan pie and we always have to have both a ham AND a turkey!

    Your casserole looks delicous!

  5. Risa

    That looks yummy.

  6. heidileon

    darling! I do not celebrate Thanksgiving but I will make sure to bake this rice casserole since it sound so comforting, the perfect main dish (at least for me) for a cold winter evening.

    I’m looking forward to read the rest of the Thanksgiving recipes series!

  7. Tiffany

    Thanks for this post. I just printed it to make for Thanksgiving this year. I’m hosting a large group for the first time, and I haven’t even started thinking about what I’m going to make, so your countdown is really going to help me out!

  8. hungry dog

    Looks awesome. And what’s more American than a casserole? Seems perfect for thanksgiving.

  9. Lauren

    You must have read my mind because I’ve been looking for a good recipe for this dish that did NOT use Velveeta. I’m going to make this for Thanksgiving. Back at home, we eat this all the time (it might be a southern or Texan thing…idk!). Thanks again!

  10. sonja

    Thank you!!!

    I have been searching and searching for a broc/cheese/rice recipe that did NOT have cheez whiz or velveeta!!!! this sounds like exactly what I want – cant wait to try it.

    I cant add this to my thanksgiving line up because we already have too many sides for our little family of 6… but it will definitely show up on our table :)

    btw – my thanksgiving must haves … Turkey (ham only if we have a lot of extra people), mashed potatoes, cornbread stuffing (fam recipe!), green bean casserole, corn, rolls, gravy, apple pie. (this year I am testing Paula Dean’s toffee banana pie as well) I LOVE THANKSGIVING!

  11. Roxanne

    Thank You so much!
    You rescued my Thanksgiving.
    For me, This was always my favorite Childhood Memory /holiday. I loved how my family would all come together & there would always be a variety of food to choose from. ( Seeing as how I have a huge Family and all.) My dad is a Kitchen Chef , therefor my mothers family would have him do the Turkey, stuffing , mashed potatoes, cornbread, gravy, & all the different pies each year from scratch. The little that was left to make would be done by one of my 7 aunts. Besides my dad’s cooking the only other thing that was memorable and I absolutely looked forward to each year was my aunt Mary’s Broccoli rice & cheese casserole. This leads me to where I am now: Ten years in the present, Pregnant & craving, 1,651 mi away from all family, living in the middle of the Mojave Desert on a small Army Base with just my Husband & daughter, and trying to think of what I can make to gratify my all time favorite Thanksgiving dinner memories. So began my mission to find a Broccoli rice & cheese recipe that would substitute the casserole my aunt made every Thanksgiving. Only I was disappointed seeing most recipes I found added Velveeta cheese or Cheese Whiz. That is until I found this one. It looks just as delicious as I remembered it. Can’t wait to try. I will then let you know how good it was.

  12. Tina

    This looks great. I have been looking for a broc/cheese/rice casserole recipe that did not include Velveeta. Thanks so much. Can’t wait to try it!

  13. lis

    This recipe looks awesome. I have fond memories of my granny serving this dish at the holidays and I wanted to share a comfort food dish with the people that are having hard times. I just multiplied the recipe by 5 and made a giant batch of your recipe to donate to the dinner for the homeless today. Thanks for sharing and know that your recipe was brought to life for many.

  14. Sandi

    I made this on Christmas Day, and it was the best I’ve made yet. I used colby jack cheese, and topped it with sharp cheddar. I used cream of chicken-mushroom soup. I grabbed 2 cans from a bin at the store, and when I got home – one of the cans was “light” Italian Wedding soup. Luckily, I had a can of cream of mushroom soup in the pantry. I would have added an additional can of either cream of mushroom or chicken if I had it,but the extra cheese made it taste great. It was a big hit, and this is now my “official” broccoli cheese rice recipe.

  15. Wendifer

    You know, one of my favorite additions to a broccoli-cheese casserole is drained, chopped water chestnuts. It is an easy way to add some crunch and texture.

  16. TusseyMussey

    I was surfing the web for a traditional broccoli/cheese/rice casserole (as I’d misplaced my mom’s) and came across yours which is exactly what I was looking for. Thank you so much for posting this. Mom used to add a large can of white meat chicken to hers which turned it into a rather substantial main course (for non-holiday meals, of course). In the past, I’ve sometimes used Cream of Asparagus soup and it really adds a depth to the flavor, though Cream of Chicken is my standby.
    On a side note, one of our Thanksgiving standbys is Peachy Yams and I can’t imagine a Thanksgiving without them. They’re quite awful and terribly sweet but they’re tradition! My mom started making them back in the 70′s at Thanksgiving and never missed one holiday! On halved canned peaches, drop a couple ounces of mashed sweetened yams (Sugary Sam’s brand is the standard). Top each portion with several mini-marshmallows and some chopped pecans and bake at 350 until heated through with the marshmallows turning slightly browned. At least the kids love ‘em!

  17. Katie

    This is a good ole southern favorite, we sometimes will add chicken to make it a meal.

  18. Rena

    I have twin 14 yr old daughters. While clipping coupons this morning one of the girls saw a picture of a broccoli casserole and asked if I could make one. I went on line and I too saw the ones with the instant stuff added which were not appealing to me. I ran across this one and it was just as I thought one should be…Am going to try this one today!!! will let you know how it turns out.

  19. Janet

    I have never made broc/cheese/rice casserole, but tasted it a few years ago when my daughter in law’s Mom brought this to a Thanksgiving dinner….it is a tradition for their family, and they make it with velveeta. Thank you for this improved recipe…..I will now start making it, as I didn’t want to make it with velveeta.

    Our traditions are: roasted turkey, mashed potatoes made from potatoes we grow in the garden, gravy, a stuffing casserole recipe I made up years ago and everyone loves it, green beans bottled from our garden, a holiday salad from my husband’s family (made of apples, dates, sour cream, walnuts, mandarins, coconut), homemade rolls shaped like turkeys, homemade cranberry sauce that we bottle ourselves, relish/veggie tray. For dessert: pumpkin pie with whipped cream for most of us, plus a yummy apple dessert that is a tradition in our family for those who don’t like pumpkin pie….oh, everyone has to have some anyway, even if they like pumpkin pie.

    I tried the green bean casserole one year, but no one liked it, so I went back to the bottled green beans.

    Also, we do a Thankful Jar: put out any jar, plain or cute, a week or so before Thanksgiving Day…..along with a pen and strips of paper. Then each time a family member thinks of something they are thankful for, they write it down and put it in the jar. The papers are read after or during Thanksgiving Dinner…..we just each took turns taking out one paper and reading it out loud to everyone. An awesome way to share thanks……and at times very hilarious….and we all end up laughing like crazy! We have some great memories of the thankful jar.

  20. Melodie

    Thank you so much for this recipe! Like everyone else, I didn’t want to use Velveeta or some other kind of cheese sauce! This was exactly what I was looking for! I did my own twist on this recipe and put in chicken and a little bit of minced garlic and omitted the celery(I neither had it or like it). It turned out great! My husband wanted to have a second helping because it tasted so good even though he was full! Thanks again!

  21. Kofi

    I have been looking for this recipe! I too don’t do the processed cheese, and being a vegetarian (just me not kiddos) I totally adore this dish. I love the celery, and I usually use nacho cheese soup or another vegetable soup. This is a staple at most holiday get togethers. I don’t do the crackers either.

  22. lisa

    looks really good and I’m looking to make it outside of thanksgiving! why do we have those recipes we only make once a year. i’m going to break the cycle tonight. :)

  23. Jessica

    Thanks for the recipe! I used a brown rice medley from trader Joes, and a Butternut squash soup to “healthy” it up a bit more, and my kids and hubby have loved it :) What a fun, Autumn meal!

  24. Melissa

    Thank you so much. I searched forever to find a recipe that used real cheese and yours was the only one i found that sounded good. Cant wait to make today. Thanks!

  25. nicole

    so will it really make a difference if i use cooked or uncooked rice?
    i want to make this for my family so i want to get it right!
    thanks

    You can use uncooked instant rice but you will have to bake it until the rice is tender. If you really want to be sure, I would use cooked rice because then it will be ready as soon as it is hot. -Katie

  26. Karen

    Your recipe calls for cream of chicken (or whatever soup). This usually comes condensed. Do I use the soup straight, or do I dilute with a can of water? Thanks!

    You can just use it straight, no need to dilute. -Katie

  27. Cassandra from TX

    This is just what I was looking for– a brocco-rice casserole that uses fresh broccoli and real cheese. I’m looking forward to making this tonight (and quelling my broccoli casserole craving)…thank you!

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    Hmm it appears like your site ate my first comment
    (it was extremely long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I wrote and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog.
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  30. cocovation

    I would like to try this. If I were to add a shredded rotisserie chicken to make this main course, would I need to adjust the quantities of any of the other ingredients? If yes, which ones? Thank you.

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