Broccoli Cheese Casserole with Ritz Crackers | gritsandpinecones.com (2022)

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by Sharon Rigsby 71 Comments

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This easy, make-ahead recipe for Broccoli Cheese Casserole is the best ever, with crisp fresh broccoli smothered in a smooth and creamy sauce made with tangy sour cream, cream of mushroom soup, mayonnaise, and sharp cheddar cheese.

A crunchy topping made with buttery, crushed Ritz crackers and even more cheese kicks it up a notch and completes this popular, classic side dish.

Broccoli Cheese Casserole with Ritz Crackers | gritsandpinecones.com (1)

Loaded with cheesy goodness, Broccoli Cheese Casserole is a holiday crowd favorite and comfort food at its finest. It’s also the perfect side dish for your picky eaters who won’t even realize they are eating vegetables.

In the South, we love a good casserole, and most southern cooks have an arsenal of casserole recipes tucked away. Besides this iconic southern casserole, Southern Chicken Divan, Southern Sweet Onion Casserole, Southern Pineapple Casserole, and Terry’s Sweet Potato Casserole, are also ideal to take to potlucks, church suppers, welcome a new neighbor, or take a sick friend.

Here’s why you will love this recipe:

  1. Not only does this quick and easy recipe only take about five minutes to prepare, but you can make it up to 24 hours ahead of time. Then, all you have to do is pop it in the oven on the big day.
  2. Although a classic holiday dish, Broccoli Cheese Casserole is also a tasty side dish for special occasions, potlucks, or any meal where you want to impress your family or guests!
  3. And, just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, this iconic broccoli and cheese casserole pairs beautifully with just about any entrée and can be served as a side dish for brunch or dinner or as a vegetarian main dish.

Ingredients – here’s what’s in it:

Broccoli Cheese Casserole with Ritz Crackers | gritsandpinecones.com (2)
  • Fresh or frozen broccoli – brings a unique flavor profile to this traditional side dish, and either one works in this recipe. Broccoli, along with cauliflower and cabbage, is considered a cruciferous vegetable and is high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
  • Sour cream – provides a creamy base and tangy deliciousness.
  • Mayonnaise – is another thick and creamy component of the base and adds just a bit of sweetness and its tangy flavor.
  • Cream of mushroom soup – has been used as the base of hundreds of casseroles over the years and is an essential component of this recipe.
  • Sharp cheddar cheese – it couldn’t be a broccoli cheese casserole without cheese, and the melted sharp cheddar cheese adds cheesy goodness and provides another dimension to the sauce.
  • Garlic powder, Kosher salt, ground black pepper: these seasonings all come together to enhance the other ingredients’ flavors.
  • Ritz crackers – the crispy, buttery topping made from these crackers is one of the best parts of this casserole.
  • Unsalted butter – is combined with the cracker crumbs to make the topping rich and buttery!

Directions – here’s how you make it:

  1. When you are ready to get started, gather your ingredients, and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Combine the sour cream, mayonnaise, cream of mushroom soup, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and one cup of grated cheese in a large bowl.
Broccoli Cheese Casserole with Ritz Crackers | gritsandpinecones.com (3)
  1. Mix well, and add the broccoli!
Broccoli Cheese Casserole with Ritz Crackers | gritsandpinecones.com (4)
  1. Place the crackers in a food processor fitted with a steel blade and process. Add the melted butter and pulse a few times to combine. Or, you can manually crush the Ritz crackers with your hands and mix them with the melted butter.
  2. Liberally spray a 2-quart baking dish with a non-stick cooking spray. Add the broccoli mixture and spread out evenly. Top with the Ritz cracker crumbs and the rest of the shredded cheese.
Broccoli Cheese Casserole with Ritz Crackers | gritsandpinecones.com (5)
  1. Bake the casserole uncovered for 30-35 minutes or until it is bubbly and the cracker crust is lightly browned. Let it sit for about five minutes and serve hot.
Broccoli Cheese Casserole with Ritz Crackers | gritsandpinecones.com (6)

Frequently asked questions:

Can I substitute frozen for fresh?

Yes, you can either use three stalks of fresh broccoli or one 15-ounce bag of frozen.

Do you have to cook fresh broccoli before putting it in the casserole?

I don’t usually blanch fresh broccoli first because I like it crisp. However, if you prefer your broccoli a little softer, you will want to blanch it first.

How to blanch it?

To blanch fresh broccoli, place it in a bowl, add a tablespoon of water, cover with a plate and steam it in the microwave for about two minutes.

Do you have to cook frozen broccoli before putting it in the casserole?

No, frozen broccoli has already been blanched and does not need to be cooked first.

Do you put eggs in broccoli casserole?

Most recipes for broccoli cheese casserole do not call for eggs as an ingredient, and this one is no exception. Recipes that call for adding eggs tend to be more breakfast-oriented such as my Mushroom and Broccoli Frittata or Broccoli Cheese Bake.

Can this dish be frozen?

Yes, make the casserole as directed, but do not bake it. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and then aluminum foil. It can be stored in the freezer for up to three months. Allow the casserole to thaw overnight in the refrigerator before baking it.

What to serve it with?

This family-friendly casserole is a holiday staple in our house, and it is always front and center on Thanksgiving, Easter, and Christmas.

I usually serve it with either Baked Ham with Pineapple and Cherries or Smoked Turkey for the holidays. Other side dishes that pair well with it include Creamy Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes, Green Bean Bundles Wrapped in Bacon, Traditional Southern Cornbread Dressing, Spicy Southern Corn Casserole, Southern Sweet Potato Casserole, and Sweet and Sour Green Beans.

You can find more holiday recipes by checking out these links: Thanksgiving recipes, Christmas recipes, and Easter recipes.

Variations:

Want to change things up a bit? Feel free to add a cup of cooked chopped chicken or two cups of cooked rice or orzo to this casserole. You can also replace half of the broccoli with cauliflower.

Sharon’s Tips:

  • If you make this casserole ahead, assemble the dish, but do not add the cracker topping. Cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. When you are ready to bake it, add the topping and bake as directed. If it is cold right out of the fridge, you may need to add 10-15 minutes to the total baking time.
  • If you don’t have any Ritz crackers, crush croutons and use them instead. You can also substitute crushed club crackers, panko bread crumbs, or canned fried onions. To make it low carb, substitute crushed pork skins for the crackers.
  • You can also substitute cream of chicken or cream of celery soup in a pinch.
  • When testing your broccoli to see if it is done, try a piece of the stalk and not a floret, which will cook much faster.
  • If you prefer soft broccoli, you might also want to leave the casserole in the oven for an additional five minutes or until it is a consistency you like.
  • To change things up a bit, if you don’t have cheddar you can substitute gruyere, fontina, Havarti, a Mexican blend, an Italian blend of cheeses, Velveeta, or even Cheez Whiz.
  • If you are using frozen broccoli, you do not have to thaw it first.
  • This recipe as written makes about six servings. If you need to feed more people, you can double the recipe and use a 9×12 inch baking dish.

More broccoli recipes:

If you like broccoli as I do, you might also like these other popular recipes on my blog: Broccoli Cauliflower Salad with Cranberries, Broccoli Cheddar Cornbread Muffins, Potato Broccoli Salad with Vinaigrette, Southern Broccoli Salad, and Easy Chicken and Broccoli Stir Fry.

If you make this dish, please leave a comment and give this recipe a star rating. I would love to know how you liked it!

Thanks so much for visiting Grits and Pinecones!

Broccoli Cheese Casserole with Ritz Crackers | gritsandpinecones.com (7)

Broccoli Cheese Casserole Recipe

Sharon Rigsby

This flavorful casserole pairs well with just about any entrée, and this iconic Southern dish is the perfect side for a holiday dinner.

4.52 from 76 votes

Print Recipe Pin Recipe

Prep Time 10 mins

Cook Time 35 mins

Total Time 50 mins

Course Side Dish

Cuisine American, Southern

Servings 6 servings

Calories 364 kcal

Ingredients

  • 6 cups broccoli florets about three stalks, or a 15-ounce bag of frozen broccoli
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ½ cup mayonnaise I like Dukes
  • 10.5 ounces cream of mushroom soup 1 can
  • 1⅓ cups sharp cheddar cheese grated, divided
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ cup crushed Ritz crackers about 10-15 crackers
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter melted

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

  • Combine the sour cream, mayonnaise, cream of mushroom soup, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and one cup of the grated cheese in a large bowl. Add the broccoli and mix well.

  • Place the Ritz crackers in a food processor fitted with a steel blade and process. Add the melted butter and pulse a few times to combine. Or, manually crush the Ritz crackers with your hands and mix with the melted butter.

  • Liberally spray a 2-quart baking dish with a non-stick cooking spray, add the broccoli mixture, and spread out. Sprinkle the remaining ⅓ cup of the cheese and cracker crumbs evenly over the top.

  • Bake the casserole uncovered for 30-35 minutes or until it is bubbly, the cracker crust is lightly browned, and the broccoli is fork-tender. Let sit for about 5 minutes and serve.

Notes

  • If you make this casserole ahead, assemble the dish, but do not add the cracker topping. Cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. When you are ready to bake it, add the topping and bake as directed. If it is cold right out of the fridge, you may need to add 10-15 minutes to the total baking time.
  • If you don’t have any Ritz crackers, crush croutons and use them instead. You can also substitute crushed club crackers, panko bread crumbs, or canned fried onions. To make it low carb, substitute crushed pork skins for the crackers.
  • You can also substitute cream of chicken or cream of celery soup in a pinch.
  • When testing your broccoli to see if it is done, try a piece of the stalk and not a floret, which will cook much faster.
  • If you prefer soft broccoli, you might also want to leave it in the oven for an additional five minutes or until it is a consistency you like.
  • If you don’t have cheddar or want to change things up, you can substitute gruyere, fontina, Havarti, a Mexican blend, an Italian blend of cheeses, Velveeta, or even Cheez Whiz.
  • If you are using frozen broccoli, you do not have to thaw it first.
  • This recipe as written makes about six servings. If you need to feed more people, you can double the recipe and use a 9×12 inch baking dish.

Nutrition

Calories: 364kcalCarbohydrates: 11gProtein: 11gFat: 32gSaturated Fat: 12gPolyunsaturated Fat: 9gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 57mgSodium: 1059mgPotassium: 406mgFiber: 3gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 1068IUVitamin C: 81mgCalcium: 246mgIron: 1mg

Tried this recipe? Tag me today! Mention @gritspinecones or tag #gritspinecones!

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  1. Broccoli Cheese Casserole with Ritz Crackers | gritsandpinecones.com (12)Ashley

    Broccoli Cheese Casserole with Ritz Crackers | gritsandpinecones.com (13)
    MY FAVORITE side dish at Thanksgiving… So DELICIOUS!! Made this one several times and it is always a WINNER!

    Reply

  2. Broccoli Cheese Casserole with Ritz Crackers | gritsandpinecones.com (14)Ashley Lentini

    Broccoli Cheese Casserole with Ritz Crackers | gritsandpinecones.com (15)
    This is the BEST DISH EVER!!! My brother is the pickiest eater, however No Thanksgiving or Christmas gathering would be allowed in his world without it. He even made it last year for our Thanksgiving. It should not just be a holiday dish though. It is DEELICIOUS any day of the year! Highly recommended. I would even eat it for breakfast… LOL

    Reply

  3. Broccoli Cheese Casserole with Ritz Crackers | gritsandpinecones.com (16)Desi

    Broccoli Cheese Casserole with Ritz Crackers | gritsandpinecones.com (17)
    Made this for Christmas and everyone loved it, not a drop left.

    Reply

  4. Broccoli Cheese Casserole with Ritz Crackers | gritsandpinecones.com (18)Sarah

    Broccoli Cheese Casserole with Ritz Crackers | gritsandpinecones.com (19)
    I’m wanting to try this for my family’s Christmas gathering. How well would it hold up on a 2-3 hr drive? I could warm it up once I get there but would it be mushy or anything by the time I get there?

    Reply

    • Broccoli Cheese Casserole with Ritz Crackers | gritsandpinecones.com (20)Sharon Rigsby

      Hi Sarah, it would be best if you could make it before you leave home and then pop it in the oven to cook before you eat. However, that said, my son, made this for Thanksgiving and brought it to our house. He made it about two hours ahead and then we just reheated it before we ate. I would say the only thing I noticed was the topping wasn’t quite as crisp, but it wasn’t mushy and still was delicious. I hope this helps!
      All the best,
      Sharon

      Reply

  5. Broccoli Cheese Casserole with Ritz Crackers | gritsandpinecones.com (21)Mamie

    I forgot to ask..if you use frozen broccoli do you thaw it first?

    Reply

    • Broccoli Cheese Casserole with Ritz Crackers | gritsandpinecones.com (22)Sharon Rigsby

      Hi Mamie, I don’t thaw it first.
      Sharon

      Reply

      • Broccoli Cheese Casserole with Ritz Crackers | gritsandpinecones.com (23)Ellen

        If using fresh broccoli, should I steam it first or cook it raw?

      • Broccoli Cheese Casserole with Ritz Crackers | gritsandpinecones.com (24)Sharon Rigsby

        It depends on how you like your broccoli. If you like it crisp, you don’t need to blanch it first. If you like it a little softer, blanch it’s for two to three minutes in the microwave.
        I hope you enjoy the casserole and Happy Thanksgiving!
        Sharon

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