This flavorful stovetop Broccoli Rice Casserole full of melted cheese makes a fantastic side dish. Loaded with fresh broccoli that is added at just the right time to cook it tender and not mushy, this broccoli cheese rice casserole is beyond satisfying. It tastes wonderful on it's own, but you can easily add some chicken, pork, seafood or steak for a complete one pot dinner!
Why this recipe is so great:
- Fresh broccoli: While other recipes use frozen broccoli, I much prefer to use fresh. When added at the right time, the broccoli cooks to a vibrant green with a perfectly tender texture.
- Toasted rice: Much like a delicious risotto, the uncooked long grain rice is toasted prior to adding the liquid. This gives a more deep and complex flavor in the casserole.
- The cheese! Broccoli and cheddar are a fantastic combination, but cheddar doesn't create a rich creamy texture when melted. That's where the mozzarella comes in. When mixed together, you get not only amazing flavor, but that wonderful cheese pull!
- Amazing flavor: The secret ingredients are dried mustard and fresh thyme. A small amount goes a long way!
Exact quantities are listed in the recipe card below, but here is a summary.
- Broccoli - Use fresh broccoli and trim the crowns to bite sized pieces
- Cheese - equal parts cheddar and mozzarella
- Onions, celery, garlic - sauteed in butter and olive oil for flavor and texture
- Whole milk and chicken broth for the needed liquid
- Uncooked long grain rice with some flour for thickening
- Fresh thyme and dried mustard for flavor
How to make Broccoli Cheese Rice Casserole:
Detailed step by step instructions are listed in the recipe card below, but here is a summary.
- Saute vegetables: Cook the onion and celery in the butter and olive oil. When they are almost done, add the garlic.
- Toast rice: Add the uncooked rice and allow to turn golden brown. Then, coat with flour and allow to cook for a bit.
- Add liquid: Pour in the broth and milk along with the thyme, dried mustard, salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
- Cook: Cover and cook until the rice is tender and the liquid has mostly absorbed.
- Add broccoli and cheese: Stir in the broccoli and allow it to cook in the remaining liquid. Then, stir in half the cheese.
- Top with cheese: Add the remaining cheese and cover with lid just until that cheese has melted. Serve and enjoy!
Recipe tips for perfect results:
- Broth: To make this broccoli rice casserole vegetarian, you can swap out the chicken broth with vegetable broth. Likewise, you can use beef broth or even seafood stock, depending on the protein you plan to serve with it.
- Cheese: You can use any kind of shredded cheese you prefer. Gruyere and extra sharp cheddar would make a great choice.
- Herbs: Fresh time is my favorite with this recipe, but minced rosemary or basil would work as well.
- Time to cook: It is very important that you taste the rice when it cooks in the liquid. You want to add the broccoli when there is still liquid left in the pot and the rice is mostly done but still has some bite to it.
- Storage and reheating: Store in an air tight container in the refrigerator. To reheat, microwave in one minute increments at 50% power until heated through.
Serve this recipe with:
Make this broccoli rice casserole recipe and serve with these favorites for a complete meal!
If you’ve made this or any other recipe on my site, let me know in the comment section how it turned out. I love hearing from my readers!
Broccoli Rice Casserole
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 medium onion (finely chopped)
- ½ cup celery (finely chopped)
- 4 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1 ½ cups long grain rice (basmati or jasmine)
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups whole milk
- 2 ½ cups chicken broth
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme (thick stems removed)
- ½ teaspoon dry mustard
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper (freshly ground)
- 12 ounces fresh broccoli (equivalent to one large head, cut into small florets)
- 1 cup cheddar cheese (shredded )
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese (shredded )
- Cook onions and garlic: Heat olive oil and butter in a large dutch oven or heavy bottomed pan over medium high heat. Saute the onions and celery until everything is very fragrant and the onions are slightly translucent and starting to brown. When they are about ready, stir in the garlic and cook for another minute.
- Brown rice: Add the uncooked rice, stir to coat, and allow to cook for several minutes without stirring. Once the rice is toasted, add the flour, stir to coat, and saute for about a minute.
- Cook rice in liquid: Add the milk and broth to the rice mixture and stir well. Add thyme, ground mustard, salt and pepper. Bring mixture to a gentle boil, reduce heat to medium low, and cover. Cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, until the rice has absorbed most of the liquid and is cooked, but slightly underdone.
- Add broccoli and cheese: Add the broccoli and gently stir to combine. Cover and cook for only a couple of minutes until broccoli is vibrant green and slightly tender. Mix together cheeses and add half to casserole. Stir to combine. Top with the remaining cheese and cover with lid. Allow the cheese to melt and serve hot.