This has got to be the best Southern broccoli casserole recipe ever! It’s the perfect side dish—creamy, cheesy, and oh-so-easy! And yes, it’s topped with crunchy, buttery Ritz crackers!
Cousins, I have been craving a good, old-fashioned broccoli casserole. You know… the Southern one. In this post, we’re making super creamy, cheesy broccoli casserole, Southern style. Although it’s completely homemade, this is an easy side dish that will never disappoint. And I will practically hold your hand throughout this entire recipe, so don’t be scared! Buckle up, fam, cause we’re going to cook this easy broccoli casserole recipe together.
Why You’ll Love This Southern Broccoli Casserole
Now, if you’re craving a comforting side dish (is that a thing?! LOL!), this is the recipe for you. It’s a Southern favorite, with its crunchy topping of butter crackers, the creamy cheese sauce, and, of course, the tender broccoli. However, there are a few things this broccoli casserole ISN’T…
- It’s NOT the kind of broccoli casserole made with canned soup. No cream of mushroom here, Cousins! I mean, if you dig it, that’s fine, but this ain’t it!
- It’s NOT the kind of broccoli casserole with rice. I love an easy broccoli rice casserole, but we’re keepin’ the extra carbs out of this one.
- It’s NOT the kind of broccoli casserole with chicken. Can you add it? Sure can! Y’all can follow my recipe for cheesy broccoli chicken and rice here, which is all of the above… but it doesn’t rival THIS cheesy goodness. 😉
Cousins, this is a meatless broccoli cheese casserole that’s far from super healthy, but it IS a comfort food recipe that should be enjoyed occasionally. You know, like during holidays, family gatherings, or for Sunday supper—those sorts of events? It’s the perfect side dish for those fancy dinners. It even works as a main dish if you’re trying to work more meatless meals into your diet.
So, now that I’ve done all my chit-chat – let’s get to this southern broccoli casserole recipe!
Ingredients for Southern Broccoli Casserole
Let’s talk about the simple ingredients you need to make this Southern classic. Below is a list of ingredients, but if you want the whole picture, check out the printable recipe card at the bottom of the post for all the deets.
- Broccoli: the star of the show! I use frozen broccoli for convenience, but you can definitely use fresh broccoli florets if you have them.
- Shredded Cheese: sharp cheddar cheese is my favorite, but use your favorite kind. Monterey Jack, mild cheddar, or even pepper Jack for a kick of spice would be delicious.
- Onions & Garlic: yummy aromatics to flavor the homemade cream sauce.
- Mayonnaise: how the casserole gets its rich creaminess!
- Eggs: gives the casserole a little bit of structure as it bakes.
- Salted Butter: to sauté the onions.
- All-Purpose Flour: to thicken the cream sauce.
- Half & Half: makes the casserole even creamier (hey, I told y’all we’re leaving the diet at the door!).
- Ritz Crackers: for the crunchy, buttery topping on the casserole.
Is it better to use fresh or frozen broccoli in this broccoli casserole?
In my opinion, it’s entirely up to you. If you have frozen broccoli on hand, go ahead and use it! Same with fresh broccoli. Fresh vegetables contain less water, so there will be less risk of a soggy casserole. On the other hand, frozen veg can be just as healthy as fresh, sometimes even more so! Frozen vegetables are usually frozen at the peak of their freshness. They also have a longer shelf life. So it’s time to use that icy bag of broccoli you stuffed into the back of your freezers, Cousins!
Should I thaw frozen broccoli before tossing it into my casserole?
Frozen broccoli has already been parboiled, so it does not need to be thawed. However, if there’s any frost or ice on the florets, you’ll want to remove that by running the broccoli under water and then drying it off with a paper towel.
How to Make Easy Broccoli Casserole (without Canned Soup!)
So, after reading all those ingredients, your mouth is probably watering, right? Well, how about I tell you how to make this easy casserole? You’ll need a casserole dish, a large mixing bowl, and a small saucepan to whip this up. Then we’re ready to rock.
- First, combine the shredded cheddar cheese, eggs, and mayo in a large bowl and mix until creamy and combined.
- Next, toss in your broccoli and garlic and stir everything together.
- In a medium saucepan, melt some salted butter over medium heat. Toss your diced onion into the melted butter and sauté until translucent. (Isn’t the smell of melted butter and onions intoxicating?! Admit it– it is!)
- Sprinkle in the flour and half and half. Cook for about five minutes or until it begins to thicken, then take the onion mixture off the heat.
- Pour the onion mixture and the seasonings into the creamy broccoli mixture.
- Next, pour everything into a prepared baking dish (use cooking spray or butter to grease the dish).
- Top the casserole with the crushed crackers and cubed butter. Bake for 30 minutes, uncovered, until the crispy topping is golden brown. You’re done!
This cheesy goodness is THE ultimate side dish you need on the dinner table. The savory blend of broccoli and seasonings with a cheesy sauce and buttery crackers can’t be beat! It might be your new favorite casserole recipe, even without the canned condensed soup!
Southern Broccoli Cheese Casserole Recipe Variations and FAQs
Now, you won’t be surprised to learn that just about every Southern family has their own variation of Southern broccoli casserole. The best part about this simple ingredient list is that it’s easy to sub out ingredients you don’t love or have on hand and even easier to adjust to your tastes! Here are some flavor variations for you to try.
- You can sub out the mayonnaise for sour cream. If you’re really set on using canned soup, cream of chicken soup or cream of mushroom soup are the go-tos (and you won’t need to use as much or any of the half-and-half).
- Whole milk can be substituted for half and half (which is half milk, half cream) if you don’t have any on hand.
- You can adjust the seasonings to your liking. Try seasoning salt, onion powder, garlic powder, or paprika.
- Try cheese crackers (like Cheez-Its) instead of Ritz Crackers for a different flavor.
- Shred your own cheese instead of buying pre-shredded. It melts so much better and is just as affordable (if not cheaper!).
- You can beef up this casserole with chicken or pasta if you’d like. Use shredded rotisserie chicken for extra protein (or just serve it alongside roasted chicken).
How do you make broccoli casserole not soggy?
The biggest mistake that causes casseroles to become soggy is not getting that extra moisture out of elements like vegetables. If you use frozen broccoli, it’s important that you rinse off any ice chunks or frost and dry the broccoli after! You don’t have to thaw frozen broccoli, but if you do, make sure to pat dry any excess moisture that forms while it thaws.
Can I make this Southern broccoli casserole ahead of time?
Yes! You can prep this side dish ahead of time if needed. Simply prepare it as directed, right up until topping it with the crunchy crackers—you’ll want to add those right before baking so they don’t become soggy in the fridge. Cover the dish and refrigerate or freeze until you’re ready to bake. And yes—it can be frozen!
How to Store Leftover Broccoli Casserole
Leftovers should be stored in an airtight container and will last in the fridge for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. It helps to have a casserole dish with a lid for easy storage. Otherwise, reusable leftover containers or deli storage containers are great to have on hand.
What Pairs with Southern Broccoli Casserole?
Cousins, there are oh-so-many dishes you can serve with this easy side dish—it all depends on the occasion! Here are some options.
If you want other side dishes to serve with broccoli casserole, try these:
- Southern Baked Macaroni and Cheese Casserole
- Hot Water Cornbread
- Air Fryer Roast Potatoes, Onions and Squash
- Homemade Scalloped Potatoes with Ham
- Four Cheese Green Bean Casserole
If you want the broccoli casserole to be the star side dish, it pairs perfectly with these entrees:
- Southern Salisbury Steak Recipe
- Southern Neck Bones and Gravy
- The Best Baked Turkey Wings
- Slow Cooker Whole Turkey
- Oven Baked Barbecue Pork Chops
- Maple Butter Apple Stuffed Pork Sirloin
If you loved this easy Southern broccoli casserole recipe, share some love in a comment below, and don’t forget to share + save this recipe on Pinterest! Keep up with Rosie and I Heart Recipes on social media—you can find me on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest, and check out my cookbooks!
Southern Broccoli Casserole Recipe
- 1 roll of Ritz crackers crushed
- 2 tbsp salted butter cubed
- Preheat the oven to 350 F.
- Combine the eggs, mayo, salt, pepper, and cheese in a large mixing bowl, and mix.1 cup mayonnaise, 1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese, 2 large eggs, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp ground black pepper
- Next, add in the broccoli and garlic, mix, then set the bowl to the side.2 tsp minced garlic, 20 oz bag of frozen broccoli
- In a medium-sized saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.1 1/2 tbsp salted butter
- Now add in the onions and saute until the onions are translucent.1 small onion
- Add in the all purpose flour, and stir.1 1/2 tbsp all purpose flour
- Pour the half & half into the saucepan and cook for 5 minutes or until it thickens.2 1/2 cups half & half
- Next, add the thickened sauce into the mixing bowl with the other ingredients and fold to combine.
- Lightly butter a medium-sized casserole dish, then pour in the casserole mixture.
- Dice the remaining butter into small pieces.2 tbsp salted butter
- Top the casserole off with the crushed crackers, then top with the diced butter.1 roll of Ritz crackers
- Bake uncovered for 30 minutes or until golden brown.