Broccoli Casserole is a cheesy and filling side dish made with broccoli, mushroom soup, mayonnaise and cheese that is an easy, filling and hearty side dish for a crowd.
Broccoli Casserole was a recipe I first came across while going through a magazine. It was different than the kinds of recipes I’d had as a kid but it sounded so warm and comforting. It’s like the broccoli version of green bean casserole.
I’ve made it with both homemade condensed mushroom soup and pre-made mushroom soup, I’ve added chicken and turkey to it in the past to make it a one stop dinner. I’ve made it with all different kinds of cheeses instead of just cheddar cheese. The base is a great idea for a casserole dish.
The one thing I don’t change is using fresh broccoli. I think if you swap out frozen broccoli in this recipe the quality of the recipe will suffer quite a bit.
Now, please understand this, I am not trying to tell you that you can’t do it. You of course can, and if you have it on hand go for it. But the flavor and texture difference will be a big one and let me tell you why.
When broccoli is frozen the breakdown of it’s texture is pretty significant. The stalk of frozen broccoli is always shaved off so once it’s been frozen and thawed back out again its basically softened to the point of having no texture. The florets are also soggier in frozen broccoli.
Probably the most important reason I don’t use frozen broccoli, it tends to be cuts of broccoli that are pretty chopped up and small. No matter which brand I look for, I find myself disappointed in the cuts of florets.
I normally buy broccoli crowns when making this recipe, then shave just the outest layer of the stalk off, leaving a bit of it behind.
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What kind of cheese can you use in the casserole?
The recipe calls for cheddar but I have used mozzarella, cream cheese, pepperjack, provolone and my favorite swap extra sharp cheddar cheese, which is just a ton more flavor for the same amount of calories.
Can you make-ahead Broccoli Casserole?
Yes, you can do everything except add the remaining cheese and crackers to the dish before the baking step. If you add those too early the cheese will absorb the liquid of the dish and it won’t melt well and the crackers will become soggy instead of crisping up.
Tips for making Broccoli Casserole:
- My go-to for making recipes that call for cheddar cheese with extra sharp or sharp cheddar.
- Sometimes when a recipe calls for mushroom soup I also like to add 8 ounces of sliced mushrooms that I cook in some butter.
- If you don’t want to use ritz crackers you can also swap them out for some panko bread crumbs you’ve sauteed in butter.
- If you want to skip the mayonnaise you can use sour cream instead.
- If you don’t want to use broccoli you can make this into a cauliflower gratin using cauliflower and cream of cheddar soup instead.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Place dripping wet broccoli florets and onion in a large microwave safe bowl and cover with wet paper towel and cook for 3 minutes.
- Drain the water from the bowl and add in the butter, mushroom soup, mayonnaise, eggs, salt, pepper and 1 cup of cheddar cheese and mix well.
- Pour into a 9x13 baking dish and top with remaining cheese and the crackers before baking for 30 minutes.