Broccoli Casserole (From Scratch!)
Made from scratch, this broccoli casserole is the ultimate comfort food dish. Fresh broccoli is smothered in a creamy mushroom cheese sauce and topped with a crunchy, buttery Ritz cracker topping in this filling and wholesome recipe. Serve it with baked chicken, roast turkey, or a classic meatloaf for a hearty meal you won’t soon forget.
When I was growing up, we had Sunday dinner at my grandma’s every single week. Every week, my grandma would cook a spread of pasta, meats, potatoes, vegetables, salad, and more.
One of my great aunt’s most popular contributions was her broccoli casserole. For a crew of kids that weren’t big vegetable fans, we sure did devour it!
What is Broccoli Casserole?
I never had my aunt’s recipe, but I know it was made with cream of mushroom soup, I think frozen broccoli and a Ritz cracker topping. It definitely fell into the category of comfort food, much like the scalloped potatoes that often graced the table that my cousin and I would hoard, right on through adulthood. I’ve long thought about that broccoli casserole and wanted to recreate it, but with homemade, from-scratch adjustments.
This revamped version uses fresh broccoli, chopped mushrooms, an easy homemade white sauce, some cheddar cheese, and because I cannot quit Ritz crackers, I kept that same buttery cracker topping. The result was amazing and brought back so many fun Sunday afternoon memories.
How to Make Homemade Broccoli Casserole
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Broccoli Florets – Washed and trimmed and cut into bite-sized pieces.
- Butter – I used unsalted butter to cook the onion and mushrooms as well as to make the roux in the creamy sauce.
- Onion + Mushroom – Finely chopped and cooked for aromatics and flavor in the casserole.
- Cheese Sauce – Made with flour, whole milk, salt, pepper, and shredded cheddar cheese.
- Ritz Cracker Topping – A glorious, buttery mixture of crushed Ritz crackers and melted butter.
Making the Casserole
- Prep for baking: Preheat the oven to 350°F and lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking dish; set aside.
- Blanch the broccoli: Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add the broccoli and boil for 3-5 minutes, until tender enough for a fork to pierce through but still firm. Drain the broccoli and rinse with cold water.
- Cook onion +mushrooms: In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter, then add the onion and mushrooms. Cook about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until the mushrooms release liquid and it evaporates. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
- Make the roux: In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the remaining 5 tablespoons of butter, then add the flour and stir until the mixture is lightly browned and has a nutty aroma, 1 to 2 minutes.
- Cook the sauce: Slowly whisk in the milk until all of the milk has been added. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until the mixture begins to thicken. Add one-third of shredded cheese and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat and stir in the onions and mushrooms, then stir in salt and pepper.
- Prepare the casserole: Place the broccoli in the prepared baking dish and sprinkle with one-third of the shredded cheese. Pour the sauce over the broccoli, then sprinkle with the remaining third of shredded cheese.
- Ritz cracker topping: In a small bowl, combine the Ritz cracker crumbs and melted butter until all of the crumbs are moistened. Sprinkle evenly over the top of the casserole.
- Bake the casserole: In a preheated oven, bake the casserole until the top is golden brown and the sauce is bubbling, 15 to 25 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit 10 minutes before serving.
Fresh Broccoli vs. Frozen Broccoli
I opt to use fresh broccoli over frozen broccoli in this recipe. To pick out the best heads of broccoli you want to find a head with green florets and firm stalks. Avoid any broccoli with yellowing or browning on the head or stalk.
If you do not have access to fresh broccoli or need to use frozen be sure to thaw and drain the broccoli entirely. Your casserole will be watery and soggy if you use unthawed florets.
Storing, Reheating, and Making Ahead
- Storing – Keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- Reheating a Single Serving – For a single serving, I recommend reheating the casserole in the microwave. Heat in 30-second intervals until warmed through.
- Reheat the Whole Dish – To reheat the entire casserole, allow to come to room temperature and pop in the oven, covered with foil at 350°F for about 15 minutes or until cooked through.
- Making Ahead – You can make the entire casserole, except for the Ritz cracker topping, one day in advance and cover and refrigerate. Then when you are ready to bake remove it from the refrigerator and bring it to room temperature, top with the buttery cracker topping, and bake!
Freezing Broccoli Casserole
Another great make-ahead option is to freeze the casserole for up to 3 months. To freeze the casserole:
- Prepare the casserole in a freezer-safe and oven-safe container.
- Do not top with the Ritz cracker topping.
- When you are ready to bake, remove from the freezer and let thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
- Before baking, bring to room temperature, top with the ritz cracker topping, and bake.
If you are looking for ways to add in extra protein, grains, or flavor to this dish you can try adding in any of these mix-ins to shake it up!
I would suggest a substitution ratio of 1:1 meaning remove one cup of broccoli for each cup of mix-in you want to add. This will keep the cheese sauce to filling ratio in check and shouldn’t alter the cooking time.
- Cooked chicken: Cubed or shredded would work perfectly, it would also be an excellent use for a rotisserie chicken.
- Rice: Try pre-cooked jasmine rice, brown rice, or cauliflower rice for an extra serving of vegetables.
- Potato: Use pre-cooked potato cut into 1-inch sized pieces.
- Bacon: I would use cooked bacon chopped into bite-sized pieces and mix some with the creamy cheese sauce and then mix the rest into the ritz cracker crumb topping (chef’s kiss).
Make it a Meal!
While I could dig in, fork first to a heaping plate of this broccoli casserole, here are a few main dishes you can make to serve with this comforting casserole.
If you Like Homemade Broccoli Casserole, Try This Next:
- Homemade Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole
- Broccoli and Cheese Soup
- Classic Green Bean Casserole Recipe
- Cheesy Corn Casserole
With fresh broccoli, a made from scratch white cream sauce, cheese, and a buttery Ritz cracker topping, this comforting Broccoli Casserole has it all! Made to stick to your ribs, feed your soul, and keep you full long after you finish.
If you make this Broccoli Casserole recipe and love it, remember to stop back and give it a 5-star rating – it helps others find the recipe! ❤️️
Broccoli Casserole (From Scratch!)
- 3 pound (1.36 kg) broccoli florets, cut into bite-size pieces
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- ½ (0.5) medium yellow onion, finely chopped
- 8 ounces (226.8 g) white button mushrooms, finely chopped
- 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 4 cups (976 ml) whole milk
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon (0.5 teaspoon) freshly ground black pepper
- 8 ounces (226.8 g) sharp cheddar cheese, shredded and divided
For the Topping
- 30 Ritz crackers, crushed
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9x13-inch baking dish; set aside.
- Bring a large pot of water to boil, add the broccoli and boil for 3 to 5 minutes, until still firm, but tender enough that a fork can pierce through. Drain the broccoli in a colander and rinse with cold water.
- In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter, then add the onion and mushrooms. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms release liquid and it has all evaporated, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
- In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the remaining 5 tablespoons of butter, then add the flour and stir until the mixture is lightly browned and has a nutty aroma, 1 to 2 minutes. Slowly begin to add the milk, whisking constantly until all of the milk has been added. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until the mixture begins to thicken. Add one-third of the shredded cheese and stir until completely melted. Remove from the heat and stir in the reserved onions and mushrooms, then stir in the salt and pepper.
- Place the broccoli in the prepared baking dish and sprinkle with another one-third of the shredded cheese. Pour the sauce over the broccoli, then sprinkle with the remaining third of the shredded cheese. In a small bowl, combine the Ritz cracker crumbs and melted butter until all of the crumbs are moistened. Sprinkle evenly over the top of the casserole.
- Bake in the preheated oven until the top is golden brown and the sauce is bubbling, 15 to 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let sit for 10 minutes before serving. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
- Extra Ingredients: Remove 1 cup of broccoli for each cup of an add-in you include. Some ideas: cooked chicken or ham (shredded or cubed), cooked rice, cubed pre-cooked potatoes, cooked and chopped bacon.
- Storing: Keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- Reheating: For a single serving, heat in the microwave in 30-second intervals until warmed through. To reheat the entire casserole, allow to come to room temperature, cover with foil, and place in a 350°F oven for about 15 minutes or until warmed through.
- Make-Ahead: You can make the entire casserole, except for the Ritz cracker topping, 1 day in advance. Cover and refrigerate; when ready to bake, remove from the refrigerator and bring to room temperature, top with the Ritz cracker topping, and bake.
- Freezing Instructions: Prepare casserole in a freezer-safe and oven-safe container. Do not add the Ritz cracker topping. When ready to bake, thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Before baking, bring to room temperature, add the topping, and bake as directed.
Did you make this recipe?
Leave a review below, then snap a picture and tag @thebrowneyedbaker on Instagram so I can see it!
Photography by Lauren Grant.
I tried recioe again and made certain the broccoli was dry before assembling. I still had water in bottom of casserole dish. Since I did not get a response to previous question about this, I won’t try this recipe again. I’m sure it would be delicious if the problem of water wasn’t an issue.
This casserole was delicious but I did have an issue I need to fix before I make it again. I had a lot of water in bottom of my baking dish (under the broccoli). Only change I made in recipe was to bake at 350 because I baked another casserole at same time. I did refrigerate for a few hours prior to baking…otherwise followed directions in recipe. I did not use pregrated cheese and I drained broccoli well after rinsing in cold water. The sauce was delicious and held up well so I really want to tweak this so I can make again. Thank you for any assistance you can provide.
This is absolutely fabulous and easy! I made a meal out of it for dinner by adding chicken like you suggested. Family LOVED it!! Will not only use for thanksgiving will use during weekdays for easy make ahead meal!! Thanks Michelle!
I make something like this casserole which my family loves. I use low fat cream of chicken soup, milk, cooked egg noodles, diced cooked chicken, sauteed onions and diced red pepper and of course, the cheese and steamed broccoli. The sauce is most important (not from scratch in my case) but a few cans of the soup plus a can of milk each gets heated up and I add extra chicken bouillon, a few shots of worcestershire sauce and a bit of cayenne.
I am not a mushroom fan. Would there be any issues with the recipe if I eliminate the mushrooms?
None at all, you can omit them. Enjoy!
I’m no longer receiving your recipes . I have to search for them. Is there something I’m doing wrong? I absolutely love your recipes.
Thanks Michele Orona
Oh no! Definitely send me an email (email@example.com) so we can try to sort it out.
This is a wonderful recipe, just the right amount of cheesiness and creaminess. The cracker popping gives it nice texture too. Will definitely make again.
Can this be made a day ahead and popped in the oven the day of?
Hi Marilyn, Yes, that would work!
I made this today. This recipe is special. So good. Thank you for sharing it with us.
I am thinking of taking this to a potluck lunch. Is it good at room temperature?
Hi Donna, It’s not bad, but if you have a thermal carrier or something similar you can pack it in to retain as much warmth as possible, that would be best! It doesn’t have to be piping hot, but the consistency will change once it cools to room temperature.
This is my go-to recipe for broccoli casserole. I omit the shrooms. I love this recipe.
I am making your broccoli casserole to take to a Christmas dinner . How many cups of florets is equivalent to your three pounds? I am using frozen so should I just thaw them out? I prefer fresh but a sprained wrist is making it tricky to use a knife.
Hi Joyce, It’s about 8 cups. I think thawed frozen should work okay. I hope your wrist feels better!
Massive fail. Taste was just OK but the sauce really thinned out and wasn’t attractive. I’m a pretty good cook so wasn’t expecting this. I wouldn’t make it again.
I made this last night and was disappointed. My cheese sauce didn’t seep into the broccoli layer below and just kind of sat, layered, on top. Then a layer of water was underneath the broccoli (even though it was par-cooked per the recipe). Next time I try this, I will mix the cooked broccoli with the cheese sauce before putting into the pan. Hopefully that will eliminate the separated layers.
I’m curious if you used pre-shredded cheese or did you grate it yourself? Pre-shredded cheese has an anti-caking agent that can inhibit melting.
Hi I’m wondering I you could add in some cooked chicken and rice?. Or do you think it would throw the flavors off?
Hi Mary, I think it would be okay, just be aware that the rice may absorb some of the sauce.
Am planning to make this for Christmas dinner and am wondering if it would fit in a 2-quart baking dish versus a 9 x 13. What do you think? Thanks!
Hi Amanda, There is too much filling to fit into a 2-quart casserole dish.
Made it in a 9×13, and it was a huge hit! Definite family favorite and will be making again. Thanks so much!
So, I love this recipe! After trying it once, my husband decided that it needed to be a bit more substantial so we added rice! I posted my tweaked version on my blog, giving the original credit to you, of course! I would love for you to stop by and check it out if you get a chance. :)
Thank you for sharing! I look forward to trying more recipes from your site!
This looks delicious! I’m on a bit of a Greek yogurt kick lately, how do you think it would be if I subbed some of the milk for Greek yogurt? I’m thinking even if I add it with the mushrooms and onions, it may curdle too much in the oven… any thoughts?
Hi Ryan, Unfortunately, you can’t. The milk is used to make the sauce; it thickens along with the flour. Subbing yogurt here would not have the same effect.
Can you substitute skim milk in this recipe? or perhaps a mix of skim and fat free half and half? this recipe looks fantastic, just needs to be “healthified” for my relatives. Thank you!
Hi Megan, The sauce will not thicken up very much with skim milk. I would recommend using 2% milk if you want to do something other than whole milk and still want the sauce to come out correctly.
Can we substitute some of the butter with olive oil?
Hi Deb, Sure, I don’t see why not.
Thanks for this recipe . . . So many recipes from the US seem to rely on assembling collections of processed “ingredients” ; your ‘from scratch’ version is
a great improvement! (And it allows us to make more of our own mistakes!)
We’re not big on mushrooms. Is there something you can suggest to substitute the mushrooms? Thanks. :)
Hi Maritza, I used them to mimic the cream of mushroom soup my aunt used to use; you can simply omit them.
hi there – I make a similar broccoli casserole but wanted to know if you could freeze it? I need to make it a week in advance.
Hi Victoria, I’m not sure how it would freeze, with the cream in the recipe. I would probably try to make it the day before and refrigerate it.
What a tasty broccoli casserole!
<3 your site! Also awesome that you actually write your recipe in true recipe form. I get confused when bloggers put it under the picture. Thanks for sharing.
I’m making this for our Thanksgiving meal get together! It just sounds right and so I’m sure it will be (as long as follow directions well, lol)! Thanks for the story about your family. What a wonderful memory you have!
Can this be made the day ahead minus adding the Ritz before baking? Then day of just add the Ritz & bake? Thoughts?
Hi Kelly, Yes, I think that would be just fine. Enjoy!
I have the one grandmother in the world who cannot cook–seriously, almost anything she makes is bland at best and nasty at worst. But broccoli casserole, I believe with some rice thrown in there, was the one thing she could consistently make that I actually enjoyed eating! I love your recipes that to me are so classically Midwestern. :)
Looks yummy! Especially the crispy topping! I’m such a fan of anything broccoli so will definitely give this a go!
OMG Yum!!! I am deffo going to make this, it has made me hungry just looking at it x
Made this tonight alongside a roast….my whole family loved it! Chopped the mushrooms and onion in the Cuisanart so they would go undetected by my picky kids. It worked! Thanks for such a terrific side dish recipe…this one is definitely a keeper!
I love reading your family stories. It really make a great recipe even better when it comes with a story! This casserole looks so good and I LOVE that is is from scratch!
Thanks for sharing! What a great childhood to spend so much time with your grandmother :)
This looks unbelievably good. I love the addition of Ritz crackers!
I think one of the best things about food blogging is reading everyone’s memories and family stories. There are many recipes I make that remind me of members of my family and family gatherings. I’ve been looking for a homemade Broccoli Casserole for a long time and now I’ve found it! Thanks for sharing such a special family recipe with us.
Is this something that I could make ahead the day before and then just add the Ritz topping before I bake on the day of?
Sounds delicious.. thanks for sharing :)
This is great! It reminds me of my Grandma also! We always had this at Thanksgiving, but with canned cream of mushroom soup, and frozen broccoli. Ours had rice in it also. Thanks for re-creating this as a from-scratch recipe, and thanks for keeping it topped with Ritz! I will re-post after I make it!
Thank for sharing a “scratch” recipe for this dish. I use mushroom soup once in a while … sure is nice to have options!
Just what I was looking for! Thanks! Oh, Happy Thanksgiving-it’s finally here.
Good luck with your spread- take pictures.
This is my first time to see a broccoli casserole. Think people in Texas tend to eat broccoli and rice. Have not made one in years. Your recipe looks great but the men in my family will not eat broccoli.
I love broccoli casserole but how could I add some long grain rice to the dish?
Hi Tye, I haven’t played around with adding rice to this; you might be able to par-boil the rice and let it finish cooking in the casserole, but you would need more liquid/sauce, since the rice would absorb some of it.
This recipe is a must try. your story made me remember my own family sunday lunches at my grandmas, we would arrive around eat and just stay and talk, or watch tv, the cousins would all play around. I miss my grandma so much and I miss our sunday´s lunch.
This looks delicious! I definitely want to give this a try!
Oh my gosh, does your casserole sound good!!!! This is such a great side dish and I bet the kids love it!!!
Thank you for this! My husband loves my mom’s broccoli-rice casserole but I never make it due to the nature of who-knows-what is in a cream soup.
I have never tried a broccoli casserole-only done green beans. But I like broccoli better than green beans so I’m going to give this a try for Thanksgiving. Yum!
I’ve never had broccoli casserole! I know I’d love it though – yum!!
I grew up in Pittsburgh and we went to my grandparents’ house every Sunday after church just as you did. Such great memories. Broccoli casserole was a staple on our holiday tables when I was growing up too…although we put a can of crunchy onions on top instead of Ritz. Have a great first Thanksgiving in your new home hosting your family and starting traditions of your own with your CCC!
Thanks for sharing this story. It certainly made me feel nostalgic. And the broccoli casserole recipe is wonderful – I hope to create my own family memories with this dish.
I am also making a broccoli casserole for the big day. It is my cousin’s recipe and uses the canned cream of mushroom soup. I just bought a batch of fresh mushrooms yesterday to make my homemade version. Thanks so much for sharing your recipe…I am going to follow yours instead. Looks delish as always.
Oh my goodness, yes please! Broccoli…cheese…butter…ritz?! Those are the 4 words to my heart! I love how simple and tasty this dish sounds :)
Hi Michelle, at what point do you add the mushrooms…. apologies if I’ve missed something!
And, thanks for your wonderful, wonderful recipes… it’s a delight to see a new one every single day and keep adding to my repository and kitchen trials!
Hi Priya, It’s in step #3, you add the onions and mushrooms.
the emailed version skips when to add the mushroom mixture…:S I ended up pouring them on top of the sauce before the crackers and just mixing up a bit- still tastes delicious :)
Hey, it’s a great idea for Advent time, as we try to keep the fringe – means no meat at that time.
Thanks for sharing.
I love it when you share stories about your family. Yesterday I was studying the recipe for those walnut filled cookies that you said were your grandmas’ recipe – was seriously contemplating making them and I loved reading the post, too. And this casserole, brought into the modern day (but there’s nothing wrong with some cream of mushroom soup – my mom and grandma used a ton of it!) and with fresh ingredients.
And thanks for not quitting the Ritz :)
This looks fantastic! Thanks for sharing! My 2 year old loves broccoli but only if it’s IN something :)
This looks delicious! I love reading stories about your grandma and her cooking. My grandma was my biggest influence when it comes to cooking and I miss mine a ton also.
This sounds so tasty! I love proper home cooked meals xo