Plenty of cheesy cheddar sauce surrounding broccoli and cauliflower florets and a crunchy topping make this the perfect cheesy casserole side dish.
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Confessed cheese junkie here. Anything with a cheese sauce is yummy good, so I decided to develop an easy recipe using both broccoli and cauliflower and give it a good crunchy topping for another texture dimension.
I put this casserole together as I went along. I already knew what would made a great creamy and cheesy sauce, so I ran with it. At first I didn't think it was cheesy enough, so I added some Cheez Whiz. For the topping, the panko crumbs and butter combination was a no-brainer. I made this broccoli and cauliflower casserole to serve with my Slow Cooker Pot Roast and Gravy, along with some mashed potatoes. It also pairs really well with my Salisbury Steak with Mushroom Gravy recipe!
I used fresh cauliflower and broccoli for this recipe, but you can easily use frozen varieties. Just thaw them before putting the casserole together.
- Cream cheese
- Cheddar cheese
- Cheez Whiz
- Heavy cream
- Broccoli and cauliflower
- Panko bread crumbs
- Garlic, onion and dry mustard powders
- Salt and pepper
- If using fresh florets, par-cook them first. If using frozen florets, thaw them completely (they've already been blanched).
- In a large non-stick pan, melt the butter, then add flour; cook and stir until smooth. Add the heavy cream, pepper, and the garlic, onion and mustard powders and cook to a simmer. Now add the grated cheddar cheese, Cheez Whiz and cream cheese and simmer until the cheeses are completely melted and incorporated into a smooth sauce. Stir frequently throughout. Remove from the heat, test and add salt to preference.
- Gently stir in the broccoli and cauliflower until well-coated with the sauce.
- Separately, mix the panko crumbs with melted butter.
- Place the cheese-broccoli-cauliflower mixture into a 9x9 baking dish or similar size casserole. Top it with the crumb mixture evenly (no clumps) and bake at 350℉ for 25-30 minutes, or until the mixture begins to bubble around the edges and the crumbs are beginning to brown.
Hint: Wait to add salt to the cheddar cheese sauce until all the other sauce ingredients have been added. The cheese will add salt flavor to the sauce, so you want to taste it prior to adding any salt, if needed at all.
This recipe uses ingredients that make a rich and creamy cheese sauce. If you're interested in a cheese sauce recipe using low-fat ingredients, try this recipe at LiveLighter.
It's best not to use pre-shredded cheddar, because it doesn't melt as well as cheese grated from a brick. Why? Pre-shredded cheese is coated with anti-caking additives like cellulose, potato starch and calcium sulfate, because it keeps the cheese from clumping up in the bag. Those ingredients aren't necessarily bad for you, they just hinder the melting process and may thicken the sauce more than it ought to be thickened. Try using this amazingly fast cheese grater, instead (I love mine!).
Try adding brussels sprouts, too! Just swap out some broccoli and cauliflower to maintain the ratio of 8 cups of veggies total. If they're fresh, don't forget to pre-cook them to tender-crisp like the other veggies.
To turn this into a main dish, add a couple cups of cooked, diced chicken (boneless, skinless of course).
Instead of panko bread crumb topping, try topping the dish with French's fried onions!
For this recipe, you'll need a casserole or baking pan (2-quart volume). I suggest a non-stick sauce pan for the cheese sauce, and if you're grating your own cheddar cheese, try this super-fast grater.
A silicone spatula is great for keeping the cheddar cheese sauce off the sides and thoroughly stirring it from the bottom of the pan during the sauce prep.
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.
Freeze Cheesy Broccoli and Cauliflower Casserole in an airtight container for up to six months. Thaw completely before reheating slowly to avoid breaking the cheese sauce ingredients.
In order to maintain the crispy topping, this casserole reheats best in an oven or toaster oven.
Not all brick cheeses are made alike, because some may contain more oil than others. For this reason, keep an eye on the thickness of the cheese sauce. Remember, you don't want it so thick that it's difficult to mix with the broccoli and cauliflower. Add some additional heavy cream to thin it out if needed.
If you opt to use packaged shredded cheese, you may find the melting process takes longer, and it will probably thicken the sauce more so than hand-shredded cheese would. Again, add some extra heavy cream, if needed.
Looking for other side dish recipes? Try these:
These are great dishes to serve with Cheesy Broccoli Cauliflower Casserole:
Cheesy Broccoli Cauliflower Casserole
- 4 cups broccoli florets
- 4 cups cauliflower florets
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 8 ounces cream cheese softened
- ½ cup sour cream
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon dry mustard powder
- 3 cups grated cheddar cheese
- ½ cup Cheez Whiz
- salt to taste
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- Preheat the oven to 350℉
- In a large pot ¾ full to a boil. Add the cauliflower and boil for 2 minutes, then add the broccoli and boil for 2 more minutes. Remove from heat and drain immediately in a colander. Set aside.
- In a large sauce pan over medium low heat (non-stick really helps), make the roux by melting 4 tablespoons of butter, then add the flour. Stir constantly to blend well and cook the flour, about 2 minutes.
- Add the cream cheese, sour cream and heavy cream to the flour and mix well, stirring constantly until the cream cheese is completely dissolved and the flour thickens the mixture. This won't take long, maybe two minutes or so.
- Add the onion and garlic powders, pepper, and mustard powder and stir until blended.
- Add the cheddar cheese and stir until melted and thoroughly blended with the sauce. If you feel the sauce is too thick at this point, add additional heavy cream to thin it, and stir thoroughly. Taste for salt and add if desired. Remove from the heat and pour into a non-stick two-quart baking dish or casserole, spreading into the pan evenly.
- In a separate bowl, melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a microwave-safe bowl. Add the panko crumbs to the bowl and mix until the crumbs are thoroughly and evenly coated. Top the cheese and vegetable mixture with the panko bread crumbs. The crumbs don't need to cover it completely.
- Bake for 30 minutes or until the casserole bubbles around the edges and the crumbs begin to brown just a bit. Remove from the oven, let it rest for 5 minutes, then serve.
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove
See more guidelines at USDA.gov.