Broccoli Rice Casserole from Scratch

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Broccoli Rice Casserole from Scratch!! This delicious side is easy to make.. and if you add chicken or ham it makes a great main dish!

This Broccoli Rice Casserole is made from scratch (and contains no condensed soup).

Fresh broccoli cooked until tender crisp and fluffy rice come together in a creamy cheesy homemade sauce to create a family favorite side dish!

We serve this along side our Crispy Baked Chicken along with a side salad for the perfect easy meal!

This Broccoli Rice Casserole is made from scratch (and contains no condensed soup). Fresh crisp broccoli and fluffy rice come together in a creamy cheesy homemade sauce to create a family favorite side dish!

If you’re looking for a side dish your whole family is going to love, this broccoli rice casserole is definitely the answer!

I had a hard time finding a broccoli casserole recipe that was made without condensed soup (like cream of mushroom) so I turned to my own recipe.

I combined my favorite velvety cheese sauce with a combination of broccoli & rice and baked it until bubbly.  The result is a side (or a quick meatless meal that my whole family loves)!

Broccoli Rice Casserole is homemade from scratch with no condensed soup. You can add any kind of cheese you like.

How Do you Make Broccoli Casserole

Don’t let the homemade sauce scare you away from giving this recipe a try, this from scratch cheese sauce tastes amazing (much better than just adding in a can of soup)!

The sauce for this recipe starts with a roux which is just butter and flour cooked and then milk added.

For a better flavor, you’ll want to be sure to let your butter and flour cook for just a few minutes before you add in the milk.

Once the milk is added you’ll stir the mixture constantly until it comes to a boil.

The results of creating a roux based sauce means your macaroni and cheese is going luscious and velvety smooth every single time.

Broccoli Rice Casserole is homemade from scratch with no condensed soup. You can add any kind of cheese you like.

How do you make Chicken and Rice Casserole?

While you most likely have most of the ingredients for this recipe on hand already, it is very versatile!

We very often add in chicken to make a chicken and rice casserole (the perfect way to enjoy your leftovers).  Turkey works great too!

Out of cheddar?  Use swiss or your favorite cheeses!

Add in cauliflower or add ham or chicken or whatever other veggies you have on hand to turn it from a side into a whole meal!  The possibilities are endless!

To lighten this up a little bit you can use light cheese and lowfat milk with great results.

We’ve also subbed in brown rice or quinoa (or even Cauliflower Rice) with amazing results.

This easy broccoli rice casserole is the perfect side dish. A delicious homemade cheese sauce brings it to the next level (and no canned soup is needed).

This is one of those dishes that my whole family loves, it’s comforting and delicious and packed with flavor.

4.63 from 16 votes
Review Recipe

Broccoli Rice Casserole from Scratch

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Author Holly
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
This Broccoli Rice Casserole is made from scratch (and contains no condensed soup). Fresh crisp broccoli and fluffy rice come together in a creamy cheesy homemade sauce to create a family favorite side dish!


  • 6 cups fresh broccoli cut into bite sized pieces
  • 2 cups cooked white rice
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 cup onion diced (about 1 small)
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon each garlic & black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • salt to taste
  • 3 tablespoons cream cheese
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese divided

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  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

  2. Cook onion and butter on medium-low heat until softened and translucent. Stir in flour, garlic powder and pepper. Cook an additional 2 minutes.
  3. Gradually pour in milk while whisking. Continue whisking over medium heat until thick and bubbly. Remove from heat and add dry mustard, paprika, cream cheese and 1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese. Stir until melted.
  4. Place broccoli in boiling water for about 2 minutes. You still want it slightly crisp as it cooks more in the oven.
  5. Stir together rice, broccoli and cheese sauce. Place in a greased 2 qt casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese and bake 35 minutes or until bubbly and cheese lightly browned.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 307

(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.)

Keyword broccoli rice casserole

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This Broccoli Rice Casserole is made from scratch (and contains no condensed soup). Fresh crisp broccoli and fluffy rice come together in a creamy cheesy homemade sauce to create a family favorite side dish!

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Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!

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  1. This was good. Next time, I’ll crumble a knorr chicken stock cube up in the cheese sauce. I think that would give it that extra bit of flavor-boost it’s missing without the soup. But even without it, it was good. I had some uncomfortable burning in the back of the throat due to the pepper amount. I would reduce that by half, especially if you’re using fresh-cracked as I did. Will make it again. Thanks for a great recipe.

  2. Hey there, I’m planning to make this for my Christmas party at work. I need to feed around 50 people so I’m wondering how to do that with this recipe?

    1. Donna, each recipe makes 8 servings. For 50 people as a full serving, you’d want to make about 6 recipes. If you’re making this as a potluck dish, you may want to consider if people will be adding other foods to their plate, and then make fewer recipes. Enjoy and have fun at the party!!

  3. I made this for Thanksgiving and it wasn’t very easy and looked delicious. However, it was very bland. My family were not fans of this one. Will not be making this again. 

  4. Do you think I could make the sauce ahead of time or even the whole casserole the might before then heat up day of? I am trying to simplify all of the things I have to make for Thanksgiving. Thanks!

    1. Yes, this can be made ahead of time. You may need to reheat it to be able to pour or mix it (the sauce may not mix well if it is cold).

  5. I am so glad to find this recipe. I moved and lost my whole box of special recipes. yes you got it my broccoli and rice cassarole recipe was one of them. I do not like to use canned soups, so it was nice to find this one, much like mine except I believe I used 1 beaten egg in mine. Everyone loved mine, but I am sure they will love yours. Mine did not have cream cheese, but I bet it makes it creamy. I am going to try it soon. Holidays.are coming. Thank you so much. Have good Holidayd coming up. Bonnie

    1. I’m sad to hear that you lost your recipes Bonnie. You’ll hopefully enjoy many more of the recipes we have at Spend With Pennies :). This is definitely a family favorite!

  6. Thank you so much for sharing :)This recipe is DELICIOUS! The only thing I did different was add some French fried onions around the edges the last 5 minutes of baking added a little crunch YUMMY !

  7. Hello! Thank you so much for this “can of” free amazing casserole! I’ve been using this recipe for awile as my go-to for chicken and rice. I grew up in the 90’s so I was literally a tv dinner kid 85% of the time. Now that I have my own kids, I want none of that frozen whachamacallit in front of them at dinner time. I pretty much double the whole recipe and leave for leftovers the whole week! I do also add chicken to the saucepan raw in small pieces no bigger than 1 inch cubed because of my toddler. I use a 13×9 with about 4 cups of rice and if its too thick I add chicken stock(LS) for less salt. I bake at 350 for 25 minutes preheated. Turns out soo amazing and I feel like a chef saying I made from scratch! This is the best, thank you!!!!

    PS for some people asking for a wheat free version try adding chickpea flour since its nice and dense and if the flavor is off use smoked paprika(my favorite) and more ground mustard. I honestly have not tried it this way but I think it could work!

    1. Thank you Nathalie and you’re welcome! I’m so happy to hear that your family loves this casserole so much! And thank you also for the tips.

  8. This was really good!! We’re trying to “eat healthier,” but after reading an Amish novel that mentioned casseroles, I was ready to eat the book!! I subbed Bobs Red Mill Gluten Free flour and it worked great. I didn’t have cream cheese, so I added a couple Tbsp of nutritional yeast for thickening and flavor. I love how adaptable this is. Thanks for sharing it!

  9. Making this tonight – I’m gonna double up on the broccoli. Thanks for going the from scratch route. Every other recipe I found had a can of condensed soup mixed in. Not the over salted, processed flavor I was looking for.

  10. I made this last night. It was absolutely delicious. The whole family loved it. I added mushrooms and ham. I’ll be making this again.

    1. I haven’t tried it that way, the cream cheese does add a creamy texture but it’s only a little bit so you can certainly try it without. I think it will change the texture slightly but still taste great. Let us know how it goes!

  11. Made the sauce in the microwave without onions (no one likes them, except me). Used leftover ham, no salt. Will try leftover chicken sometime. Great recipe. 

  12. My sister found this recipe first and told me about it. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve made this. I’ve made it with chicken for a more main dish at home. My husband loves it. I belong to the Priscilla Circle at my church. We prepare funeral luncheons for families. The dish is always empty when we clean the table. Everyone should try this! Thanks for sharing.

  13. I only have about 1 TBSp of cream cheese left, do you think I could use 2 tbsp. of sour cream without it altering the taste of this dish

  14. Great recipe! Instead of using cheddar cheese, I used Velveeta because of its creaminess and when reheated it doesn’t separate and get oily like cheddar. I did use cheddar to sprinkle over the top. I also used some Cajun seasoning to kick it up a notch while cutting back on the salt. I also used Jasmin rice instead of regular white rice because it has a nutty taste to it. Over all this recipe is a keeper as a base to start.

  15. This was perfect! I live in Europe and needed a recipe where I could actually get all the ingredients (without substitutions). I used to make this when I lived in the States with the Campbell’s cream of mushroom, etc. This recipe is so much better! THANK YOU! Highly recommended.

  16. Has anyone tried this with a milk substitute such as soy or coconut? I am allergic to the whey protein in milk but can still have real cheese not processed. My family is missing broccoli rice casserole.

  17. I absolutely LOVE this recipe! Have made it a handful of times and there are never any leftovers. Great accompaniment to fish and meat dishes but I’m vegetarian so I just have it as is. My number one comfort food!!

  18. So, I can’t see where you say to put the broccoli in raw or cooked.  I’m assuming raw, guess I’ll try it.  Usually the broccoli is cooked a little.

    1. I apologize for the confusion, part of the recipe wasn’t displaying properly. I’ve updated and it should be ok now!

  19. Thank you for the share of Chicken rice casserole. It has been ages since I made one.
    I like the idea of the onion soup mix… This will be supper tonight ( with just a little southern addition. I’ll add little cajun spice to it. ) Thanks, again.. brought back memories of the days when I had two small kids and a very limited budget…. those were the days.

    1. You can absolutely make this ahead of time Mary! The cooking time will be the same, but make sure to set your casserole dish out earlier if it is glass to avoid shattering in the oven!

  20. Sounds good…and, for a change, no pre-packaged/canned items! Also, for those who are gluten intolerant, you can use corn starch instead. 1 1/2 T. in place of the flour. Thanks for a complete, from scratch recipe!

  21. These casserole dishes looks extremely awesome!! I really like broccoli and macaroni casseroles!!! These are very simple to make and to prepare for a family!

  22. can this recipe be made in a crockpot instead of a casserole? I would love to do as a crockpot meal but don’t know if anything would have to be changed??

  23. I tried this this recipe yesterday for my family and they LOVED it!! It was really comfort food at its best….thank you so much.

  24. Holly I just wanted to let you know I’ve used this recipe as a staple in my menu planning since I first came across your recipe. I’ve used it as is for side dish and as a base for many other recipes I’ve come with. Thank you so much for sharing this and all your other recipes with us.

  25. Do we measure out 2 cups of rice after it is cooked which is essentially one cup of uncooked rice or is that 2 cups of raw rice then cooked ?

  26. You say the sauce is easy, but it requires a lot of preparation, and a person who doesn’t cook much wouldn’t have all those spices handy. Using the creamed soups and cheese whiz makes it just as good with a lot less prep time.

  27. Anything that has got lots of cheese in it is good with me. This looks like a good way to get fussy eaters to eat more veggies.

  28. Oh yum, now that looks great. I make broccoli cheese (like cauliflower cheese) but haven’t tried adding rice before now – looks like a great way to round this out to a proper meal. A proper cheesy one ;) Will give this one a try!

  29. How refreshing to find a recipe that doesn’t rely on condensed soup. This is a beautiful dish and I bet it tastes as yummy as it looks!

  30. I made this casserole tonight. The kids, even the picky eater, loved it. It was easy to make and nicely served. Thank you.

  31. This looks familiar Ive been making asimilar dish for 30 years or so. I fry chicken livers battered in dry bread crumbs(lemon pepper and garlic for spices) cook a pot of white rice pour in three cans cream of broccoli soup mix it up…layer half the rice in a baking dish then the fried livers next the rest of the soup and rice on top then shred some mozzarella cheese on top melt it in the oven for a couple of minutes…Yum. But the homemade version sounds like it may be an Upgrade. Guess I’ll have to try it.

  32. I was looking for something that used fresh broccoli and did NOT use canned soup. I made this yesterday for Easter dinner with the extended family. It turned out great. Will definitely make it again.

    1. Yes that should work just fine. You may need to add 15 minutes or so to the cook time if it is cold from the fridge.

    1. If the broccoli is fresh it would likely not soften enough cooked in the sauce as you don’t really want to boil the sauce, just thicken it.

    1. I’m sure that would work however I do find frozen broccoli to be much softer. I’d suggest you don’t steam it too long so it doesn’t get mushy.

  33. I doubled this recipe for Thanksgiving. I used a full 8oz brick of cream cheese and grated the onion. Wow, so glad there was no cream of anything soup. It was wonderful from scratch. It was gone in minutes at 2 different places I took it to. So rich, creamy, and delicious. Will make this again.

  34. I’ve always steered clear of white sauce because any time I use flour, I get lumps. Any tips to avoid this? I’d love to try this recipe!

    1. Be sure your roux (butter/flour) is HOT and your milk is COLD when you’re adding it, this will eliminate lumps. Be sure to whisk while adding the milk.

  35. I added a Ritz cracker topping! By melting 3 tbs of butter and adding that toba sleeve of crushed Ritz crackers! I still added the 1/2 cup of cheese but it gave it the missing peice! It was amazing!

  36. Just made this and it’s fabulous! Used ready made dijon mustard instead of dry, fresh garlic instead of powder and added mushrooms…going into my recipe box! Thanks! :-)

  37. Yum! Made this tonight and it turned out great! I used 2 bags of uncle bens ready rice in bags, and heated them separately for 90 sec each in the microwave. I also added the breast meat from one rotisseri chicken. The only thing I did wrong was didn’t salt the dish, it still was great but could have used a little salt.

  38. What a great idea adding chicken to this! I like to buy the already cooked roasted white chicken meat at my local Cost Co. I usually divide it up and freeze for quick meals. I have some in my freezer right now. I would think like 2 cups of shredded meat would make this a full meal depending on your family size.

  39. Can anyone suggest amount of chicken that I would place in this dish and if I should cook it before putting it in the casserole to cook for the 35 minutes with the rest of the dish.

  40. Uh oh, forgot to cook rice first. Anything I can do now? I turned down the temp to a lower temperature and covered with aluminum foil to try and keep the cheese from burning, as the rice will take a while longer to cook. Any suggestions? Yikes!

    1. That’s disappointing! I would just suggest keeping an eye on the liquid so it doesn’t dry out to much. :/ Hopefully it’s still ok.

    2. Adding some chicken broth to the dish to help the rice cook by absorbing the liquid would help and of course, covering the dish with foil is a great idea.

  41. Congratulations!
    Your recipe is featured on Full Plate Thursday this week. Hope you have a great week and enjoy your new Red Plate!
    Miz Helen

  42. This looks SO good! Thanks so much for sharing. I have all of these ingredients on hand.

    Pinning and making SOON!

  43. The versatility of a great white sauce is endless! Everyone should learn how to make the base for so many great sauces and casseroles. I bet the whole “Cream of” soup business would crumble! How much healthier is it to add fresh green beans and mushrooms to a well seasoned white sauce to make the traditional holiday casserole? Add cheeses of many flavors to top veggies and meats. Make the base of great soups. I should start a class about what butter, flour and milk can really achieve!