This Broccoli au Gratin is my very favorite broccoli side dish. The Broccoli Cheese Casserole smothered in creamy sauce with sharp cheddar cheese and crisp topping is always popular with family and friends. As a matter of fact, the broccoli gratin side dish is requested of me every year for Thanksgiving.
While this cheesy broccoli casserole is a holiday season staple, it is a great broccoli side dish to serve anytime you are serving a few extra people. It also makes fabulous leftovers.
Broccoli Cheese Casserole
One of the most popular dishes I make each Thanksgiving is this yummy Broccoli Au Gratin Casserole. It is actually an easy dish to make from scratch. It's such a quick recipe to prepare too.
Broccoli cheese casserole is one of my favorite meatless dishes or and a popular comfort food side dish. It's so convenient to have on hand during the hectic school week. If you know how to mix ingredients together and bake it, then you can make this. There are three parts to this broccoli gratin casserole: the broccoli, the cheese sauce, and the crunchy browned bread crumb topping.
Cheese Sauce for Broccoli Gratin from Scratch
It's so easy to make your own cheesy sauce for broccoli! It is a great way to avoid the chemicals and preservatives that are in lots of canned or box cheese sauces too.
There is really no need to resort to using cream of mushroom or cream of chicken soup to make this easy broccoli casserole. A homemade cheese sauce is quite simple to prepare. I assure you, after making it a couple of times, you won't bother with the canned or powdered stuff again.
How To Make Broccoli Au Gratin Casserole
Let's make the broccoli cheese casserole recipe! I have step-by-step instructions with pictures for you here, or jump down to the printable recipe card if you prefer.
The recipe makes about 10 servings.
Prep Time: 10 mins | Cook Time: 20 mins | Total Time: 30 mins
Ingredients for the Broccoli Bake:
- Fresh Broccoli Florets
- Unsalted Butter or spread
- Panko bread crumbs
- Fresh Garlic cloves, minced
- Parmesan cheese ***optional
- Chicken stock base
- Salt and black pepper
- Shredded Cheddar Cheese
You will also need an 8x8 baking dish
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Coat a large baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
Steam the broccoli to crisp tender and arrange in baking dish.
Steaming - Fresh broccoli can be placed in a glass bowl with a little water. Cover the top with plastic wrap and microwave for about 5 minutes, until crisp tender. Drain and assemble in the casserole dish. This can of course also be done on stovetop as well.
Mix half the softened butter in with the Panko crumbs to make a topping. Set aside. While I prefer the flavor of butter, olive oil can be swapped if you like.
Melt the remaining butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook about one minute to soften.
Reduce to medium heat. Add flour, milk and base to the pan. Whisk well, while you cook, stirring constantly so it won't burn or clump. Cooking until the sauce thickens to the point it readily coats the back of a spoon.
Take the sauce off the burner and stir in half of the shredded cheddar cheese. Then season with salt and pepper.
Pour the creamy cheese sauce evenly over the tender broccoli florets in the baking dish. Sprinkle on the remaining cheese then the bread crumbs.
TIP: Place a baking sheet under the casserole to catch any drips, particularly if the dish is filled to top.
Bake for 20 minutes to 25 minutes. Until the broccoli gratin is bubbly and the topping of breadcrumbs is golden brown.
What to Serve with Broccoli Cheese Casserole
Serve this broccoli casserole with anything from Blackened Salmon, pork chops or ribs to your favorite kielbasa recipe. It also goes great with turkey or chicken. The broccoli gratin pairs with pretty much anything from barbecue potluck to holiday dinner.
Be ready for your family to request you to make broccoli cheese casserole whenever they can.
Yes, that is not a problem. Simply thaw the frozen broccoli florets and drain off liquid before using in the gratin recipe.
If you store in an airtight container (or snugly wrapped) shortly after it has cooled, it will last 3-5 days in the fridge.
Yes, absolutely! If you follow a few simple rules.
1. Cool the casserole completely before freezing.
2. Make sure it is well wrapped with plastic wrap or sealed with cover.
3. Fully thaw the broccoli cheese casserole in the refrigerator before reheating. Drain any liquid before placing in the oven.
Reheat at 350 degrees until hot all the way through. (20-25 minutes)
Yes, simply crush the crackers and substitute for the bread crumbs to make a buttery cracker topping for the broccoli cheese casserole.
Broccoli Au Gratin | Broccoli Cheese Casserole Recipe
- 2 quarts broccoli florets
- ¼ cup water
- ¼ cup unsalted Butter or spread
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 2 cups milk whole milk or half and half are preferable
- ¼ cup all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon chicken or vegetable base preferably msg free
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese or cheese of choice (I use sharp cheddar cheese)
- salt and black pepper to taste
- ½ cup panko bread crumbs
- 2 tablespoons butter or spread
- 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan Cheese *** optional
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Coat an 8 x 8 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray (optional step that makes clean up easier).
- Place the florets in a glass or ceramic bowl, add the ¼ cup of water, cover with plastic wrap and steam in the microwave for 5 minutes, then drain the broccoli, and arrange in a 2 qt casserole dish (I usually use an 8x8).
- Prepare the topping for the casserole, by mixing half of the butter/spread into the Panko crumbs. Stir to combine, then set aside. Stir in option Parmesan if you like.
- While the broccoli is steaming, melt the remaining butter in saucepan over med-high heat. Once melted add garlic and stir.
- After the garlic is cooked through and soft (only takes about a minute), add milk, flour and base. Whisk well, and continue to stir constantly. Cooking until the sauce readily coats the back of a spoon (see image).
- Remove the sauce from burner, then add ½ the cheese. Stir until cheese is melted, add salt and pepper to taste. Then pour the cheese mixture over the broccoli evenly.
- Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the casserole, then evenly cover with topping.
- Bake for 20-24 minutes, until the panko crumbs are golden brown.