Your whole family is going to love this easy broccoli casserole recipe. It has an incredibly rich and flavorful cream sauce, without cream of mushroom soup. The butter Ritz topping is garlicky, crunchy, and easy to make.
This is the Best Broccoli Casserole Recipe I've Ever Had
And here is why:
- No cream of mushroom soup
- Soft, but tender broccoli
- Covered in buttery crackers
- So much cheesy goodness
- Even picky eaters love it
- Perfect side dish for Thanksgiving and everyday dinners
Ingredients You Need
Here are the simple ingredients for this cheesy broccoli casserole. Skip down to the recipe card below for exact measurements.
- Whole milk: for the most rich and creamy sauce.
- Cornstarch: to thicken and create your own condensed soup.
- Unsalted butter: you need this for the creamy sauce and the buttery Ritz crackers
- Chicken bouillon paste: you can sub this for one cube.
- Spices: kosher salt, black pepper, onion powder, and garlic.
- Cream cheese: to thicken the cheesy sauce. Swap this for sour cream.
- Sharp cheddar cheese: buy a block and shred it yourself. It tastes and melts better.
- Fresh broccoli florets: frozen works too, but fresh is best. I used 1 ½ large bags of broccoli.
- Eggs: to bind and thicken.
- Ritz crackers: add a crunchy, buttery flavor and texture.
- Fresh garlic: to mix in with the topping.
Note: this recipe includes ingredients to make your own cream of mushroom soup. Omit the milk, cornstarch, butter, chicken bouillon, onion powder, and garlic powder and replace it with one can of cream of mushroom soup or cream of chicken soup if desired.
How to Make this Easy Broccoli Casserole Recipe
Here are the step-by-step instructions, with photos, for this broccoli cheese casserole recipe so you have a clear idea of what to expect. Jump down to the recipe card for the full printable recipe.
Homemade cream of mushroom soup: Pour the milk into a medium to small saucepan with the cornstarch and whisk to dissolve it. Turn the stove to medium heat and add the butter, chicken bouillon, and seasoning until the butter melts. Turn the heat up to medium-high and gently boil the mixture for 1 minute, until thickened.
Creamy cheese sauce: Turn the heat down and stir in the cream cheese and cheddar cheese until it's melted.
Make the creamy cheese sauce: Turn the heat down and stir in the cream cheese and cheddar cheese until it's melted.
Creamy casserole: Whisk eggs into the slightly cooled cheese sauce. Make sure it's not too hot so it doesn't scramble the eggs. Pour the sauce over the broccoli and toss to coat. Sprinkle it with more cheddar cheese.
Cracker topping: Mix crushed crackers, melted butter, and garlic in a small bowl. Sprinkle it over the broccoli casserole.
Bake and serve: transfer the dish to the oven and bake at 400°F for 35-40 minutes. Check around the 25-minute mark and tent with foil if the Ritz cracker crumbs are browning too much. Serve warm with your favorite main dish.
- Use cream of mushroom soup or cream of chicken soup instead of making your own. Mix the soup in a large bowl with the cream cheese and cheddar cheese and toss it all with the broccoli.
- Gluten-free: swap the Ritz crackers for gluten-free crackers. Lance is a good brand or you could make your own Ritz style gluten-free crackers.
- Dairy-free: use plant-based milk and vegan butter. Try Kite Hill dairy-free cream cheese and omit the cheddar cheese or use your favorite plant-based option. Swap the crackers for a dairy-free version like Simple Mills, or use breadcrumbs.
Storage and Make-Ahead Instructions
Storage instructions: allow the casserole to cool and transfer leftovers to an airtight container. They will stay fresh in the fridge for up to 4 days. Reheat in the microwave or in the oven at 300°F until heated through.
Make-ahead (up to 2 days in advance): prepare the entire dish up until make the crunchy topping. Cover with plastic wrap or foil and store it in the fridge for up to 2 days. When you're ready to make it, remove it from the oven and let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Make the cracker topping and bake as directed.
Broccoli casserole is a classic, delicious side dish and I hope this becomes a favorite recipe for your holiday table. If you need more inspiration for side dishes, try roasted broccoli and carrots, cheesy scalloped potatoes, or boursin mashed potatoes.
If you make this recipe, I’d love for you to give it a star rating ★ below. You can also tag me on Instagram so I can see it!
Easy Broccoli Casserole
- 1 ¼ cup whole milk
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch or tapioca starch
- 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 ½ teaspoons (or 1 cube) chicken bouillon paste
- 1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon EACH: black pepper, onion powder, garlic powder
- 6 ounces cream cheese
- 2 ¾ cups sharp cheddar cheese divided (Note 1)
- 48 ounces fresh broccoli florets (Note 2 Frozen Broccoli)
- 2 eggs beaten
Ritz cracker Topping
- 1 ½ cups crushed Ritz crackers (about 1 sleeve)
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- 9x13-inch (or 3-quart) casserole dish
- Small saucepan
- Large pot for boiling the broccoli
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Spray a 9x13 inch (or 3 quart) casserole dish with nonstick spray.
- Pour the milk into a medium saucepan with the cornstarch and whisk to dissolve it before you turn on the heat. Turn the heat up to medium-high and stir in the butter, chicken bouillon, salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder. Bring the mixture to a boil and stir for 30 seconds to 1 minute until thickened.
- Turn the heat down to medium-low and stir in the cream cheese and 1 ½ cups of shredded cheddar cheese. Stir until the cream cheese is melted into the sauce then remove it from the heat and allow it to cool slightly.
- While it’s cooling, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the broccoli florets and boil for 3 minutes, until the broccoli is noticeably brighter in color. Immediately drain the broccoli in a colander to stop the cooking process. Transfer the broccoli to the prepared casserole dish.
- When the creamy sauce is cooled, add the beaten egg. Make sure the mixture isn’t too hot or it could scramble the eggs. To be safe, you could add a bit of the mixture to the eggs first to temper it (bring it up to temp) before adding it to the mixture.
- Pour the creamy mixture over the broccoli and toss to coat. Sprinkle the remaining 1 ¼ cups of shredded cheese on top.
- Quickly mix the Ritz crackers with butter and garlic. Sprinkle evenly over the broccoli casserole
- Bake in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes, or until the edges are bubbling and the top is golden brown. Serve warm.
- Broccoli casserole will stay fresh in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.