I have a pan of comfort food for you today in the form of Broccoli Rice Casserole. It’s fully loaded: nine square inches of all the best parts of an old-school casserole—the creamy, cheesy inside, the scrumptious mix of veggies and rice, and the irresistibly buttery, crispy topping—and exactly none of the worst parts.

Easy broccoli rice casserole with cheese and breadcrumb topping

This recipe is sponsored by Land O’Lakes.

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This healthy broccoli rice casserole is made from scratch with ingredients you can feel good about.

Its family-friendly flavor will be a hit with kiddos and grown-ups alike.

Courtesy of a midwestern upbringing peppered with a large family collection of what I can only describe as “church lady” cookbooks, I consider myself a steady casserole connoisseur.

Dishes like southern broccoli cheese rice casserole were a staple at our childhood dinners, but when I started cooking for myself, I avoided them at first.

I associated casseroles with processed ingredients.

When you step away from the stereotypes, however, recipes like this broccoli rice casserole have incredible meal potential. They offer multiple food groups in one pan, can scale to feed a crowd, and are freezer friendly too.

This wholesome spin on a classic casserole tastes just like mom’s or grandma’s cheesy broccoli rice casserole, but it’s so much better for you.

Healthy broccoli rice casserole in a baking dish on a dish towel

5 Star Review

“No one could believe it was so creamy and cheesy tasting yet so healthy and light! This is my trusted site for eating right without sacrificing flavor!”

— Mer —

This modern take on the midwestern and southern favorite is made with fresh vegetables like broccoli and carrots and offers whole grains thanks to brown rice.

The luscious, velvety sauce is made with cheese and Greek yogurt.

This broccoli rice casserole is Sunday nostalgia meets weeknight practical.

You can keep this recipe as is for a dynamite side that’s excellent for potlucks and holidays, or add diced chicken or ham for a dinner the entire family is guaranteed to love.

Secrets to the Best Broccoli Rice Casserole

  • Freshly Grated Cheese. Once you try this recipe with freshly grated cheese, you’ll swear off Velveeta broccoli rice casserole.
  • Butter. The casserole does need some richness, which is why I opted for Land O Lakes® Butter with Canola Oil. It’s made with only sweet cream, canola oil, and salt, has a fresh buttery taste, and is ultra-convenient.
  • Instant Rice. For this casserole, I opted for instant brown rice, which cuts nearly 40 minutes out of the cook time since you do have to cook rice before putting it in a casserole. It also saves a dish, since the rice and broccoli steam together in the same pot.

Market Swap

  • You *can* use instant white rice or regular brown or white rice in the recipe, but the cooking time and amount of liquid needed will differ.
  • If you’d like to swap in different rice, I recommend cooking it separately, steaming the broccoli separately, then stirring everything together in the pot as directed.
  • Greek Yogurt. A fantastic ingredient to make creamy casserole sauces, it’s high in protein and low-calorie. (I also used it in this Broccoli Quinoa Casserole.)
  • Breadcrumb Topping. Is it actually a casserole without the topping? I think not.
Carrots, brown rice, broccoli, and butter

How to Make Broccoli and Cheese Rice from Scratch

This simple broccoli rice casserole may share a name with the classic dish, but it’s much better for you. It’s also easy to make broccoli rice casserole from scratch!

It uses fresh, wholesome ingredients to create a robust flavor profile and irresistible creaminess.


The Ingredients

  • Brown Rice. Brown rice is higher in nutrients and fiber than its white rice counterpart, and I especially love its more chewy texture in casseroles.
  • Broccoli. The star veggie in this casserole. It’s packed with fiber, Vitamin-C, and is begging to be coated in the cheesy flavors. (Learn more about the health benefits of broccoli here.)
  • Carrots. In addition to broccoli, I supplemented the casserole with carrots. Another kid-friendly favorite, carrots provide color and texture, and they are a natural pairing with broccoli.
  • Flour. A little all-purpose flour helps make a thick, velvety sauce.
  • Milk. I used skim milk as the liquid base for our creamy sauce, but you can use any milk you have on hand.
  • Dijon Mustard. A subtle addition that makes the cheesy flavors pop.
  • Greek Yogurt. A weapon for creating healthy casseroles that don’t skimp on flavor.
  • Cheddar Cheese. I used freshly grated sharp cheddar, which melts beautifully. I prefer sharp cheddar because it is more fully flavored, and thus a lesser amount goes a long way.
  • Panko + Parmesan Topping. I like the larger-sized Panko breadcrumbs here, because they make the topping especially crunchy.

The Directions

  1. Boil the brown rice. Add the broccoli, cover the pot, and cook for 5 minutes.
  2. Saute the onion and carrots in a big pot. Sprinkle flour over the vegetables, stir in the milk, and cook until thickened. Add the yogurt and cheese.
Vegetables, rice, and cheese in a Dutch oven
  1. Stir the cooked rice and broccoli into the pot with the cheese mixture. Pile the mixture into a greased baking dish.
  2. Make the breadcrumb topping, then scatter it over the top of the baking dish. Cover and bake for 15 minutes at 375 degrees F, then bake uncovered for 15 to 20 more minutes. Let it rest for a few minutes, then DIG IN!

Dietary Notes

  • Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole. If you want to add some extra protein, check out this tasty Healthy Cheesy Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole.
  • To Make Gluten Free. Swap a 1:1 gluten free flour for the regular flour to make this casserole gluten free.
  • To Make Vegetarian. Use the vegetable broth option instead of the chicken broth.
  • To add protein but keep the recipe vegetarian, add white beans as I did in this Broccoli Quinoa Casserole.
A baking dish with broccoli rice casserole, a plate of broccoli rice casserole, and a tub of butter

Storage Tips

  • To Store. Store leftovers in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  • To Reheat. Reheat gently in the microwave or in a casserole dish in the oven at 350 degrees F. If using the oven, loosely tent the casserole pan with foil and place the pan on the center rack for 15 to 25 minutes, until warmed through (the larger the serving, the longer you will need).
  • To Freeze. Place leftovers in an airtight freezer-safe storage container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

More Healthy Recipes with Broccoli

Pair this with

Cheesy casserole in a baking dish

Recommended Tools to Make Broccoli Rice Casserole

Essential Dutch Oven

A heavy-duty, high-quality Dutch oven is an essential tool in my kitchen. You’ll find yourself reaching for it on repeat!

This easy broccoli rice casserole bridges the divide between the food we “want” to eat—food that fills, is comforting, and is both sentimental and scrumptious—with the food we “should” eat: balanced, wholesome recipes made with ingredients we feel can good about.

The next time you need a filling side (or main dish) for dinner, a family gathering, or even a holiday, this cheesy broccoli casserole will save the day!

A white baking dish with broccoli rice casserole

Did you make this recipe?

Let me know what you thought!

Leave a rating below in the comments and let me know how you liked the recipe.

A white baking dish with broccoli rice casserole

Broccoli Rice Casserole

5 from 7 votes
Easy Broccoli Rice Casserole! Cheesy and creamy like the original, but lightened up with everyday ingredients. A favorite dinner or potluck side.

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 1 hr
Total: 1 hr 10 mins

Servings: 6 servings, about 10 cups

Ingredients
  

  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can low-sodium chicken broth or low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 cups instant brown rice if you use white rice or non-instant rice, the cooking time and amount of liquid needed will differ
  • 1 pound broccoli florets chopped into bite-size pieces, about 8 cups
  • 4 tablespoons Land O Lakes® Butter with Canola Oil divided
  • 1 small yellow onion diced
  • 4 medium carrots peeled and cut into ¼-inch dice, about ½ pound
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt divided
  • ¾ teaspoon garlic powder divided
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper divided
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 ½ cups milk I used skim
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • ¾ cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese about 4 ounces
  • ½ cup panko bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan

Instructions
 

  • Place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease a deep 9-inch-square baking dish or similar 2 ½-quart casserole dish.
  • Bring the broth to a boil in a large pot, then add the rice. Return to a boil, add the broccoli to the top of the rice (no need to stir it together), then cover, reduce the heat to low, and let cook 5 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and let sit, covered, for an additional 5 minutes. Most of the rice liquid should be absorbed.
  • Meanwhile, in a dutch oven or other large deep pot over medium heat, heat 2 tablespoons Land O Lakes® Butter with Canola Oil. As soon as it melts, add the onion, carrot, ½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon garlic powder, and ¼ teaspoon black pepper. Sauté until the onion is soft and starting to brown, about 4 to 6 minutes.
  • Grab a whisk and keep it handy. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon or a spatula, until all of the white parts of the flour disappear. Splash the milk into the pot a little at a time, whisking to keep the sauce smooth. Once all the milk is added, stir constantly and cook until thickened, about 7 to 10 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat and whisk in the Dijon and remaining ¼ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon garlic powder, and ¼ teaspoon black pepper. Let cool slightly, then stir in the Greek yogurt and cheddar cheese until smooth.
  • With a large spoon, scoop the rice and broccoli into the pot with the cheese mixture. Stir to combine the rice and broccoli with the creamy sauce. Spoon the mixture into the prepared baking dish and spread it into an even layer.
  • In a medium microwave-safe bowl, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons Land O Lakes® Butter with Canola Oil. Add the panko and Parmesan and stir to combine. Sprinkle the topping over the casserole.
  • Cover the casserole (with the lid or foil if it doesn’t have an oven-safe lid) and bake for 15 minutes, then uncover and continue baking until hot and bubbly and the panko is toasted, about 15 to 20 additional minutes. Let stand 10 minutes, then serve.

Notes

  • TO STORE: Store leftovers in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  • TO REHEAT: Reheat gently in the microwave or in a casserole dish in the oven at 350 degrees F. If using the oven, loosely tent the casserole pan with foil and place the pan on the center rack for 15 to 25 minutes, until warmed through (the larger the serving, the longer you will need).
  • TO FREEZE: Place leftovers in an airtight freezer-safe storage container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

Nutrition

Serving: 1(of 6)Calories: 404kcalCarbohydrates: 48gProtein: 19gFat: 16gSaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 45mgPotassium: 692mgFiber: 4gSugar: 11gVitamin A: 7909IUVitamin C: 71mgCalcium: 385mgIron: 3mg

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Related Recipes

More crowd-pleasing, healthy, and delicious sides. For the holidays, check out my other  favorite Thanksgiving sides.

I am sharing this post in partnership with Land O’Lakes. As always, all opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands and companies that make it possible for me to continue to create quality content for you!

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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36 Comments

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  1. I trust and love your other recipes…. what could I do to make this work with regular ole white rice? Yes, it will destroy the nutrition, but it’s what we have in the house!

    Thanks!

    1. Hi Erica, thank you for your kind words! I’ve only used instant brown rice in this recipe, so I’m not sure how it would turn out. The cooking time and amount of liquid needed will differ from the recipe. If you decide to experiment, I’d love to hear how it goes!

  2. This casserole was absolutely delicious! It was a very easy and satisfying dinner and the panko bread crumbs definitely added a nice touch. I think that canned tuna would really complement this casserole’s flavor, so I will try that the next time I make it. Thanks so much for creating this recipe!5 stars

  3. Love your recipes but so far with the new print format I have not been able to remove the instructional images which then makes the recipes several pages longer to print. Please try to fix this issue as printing four pages with unnecessary pictures is bad for the environment. Thanks!

    1. Hi Alissa! Thank you for your feedback on the recipe photos. I’ve updated a few things, and the photos should not show up now when you hit the print button. If you see still see them, you could try clearing your caches first. I hope this helps!

  4. Hi Erin! Can I make this today – up to the baking part – and store in fridge to cook tomorrow? Thanks!

    1. Hi Jane! I think you could prepare the base of the casserole today, but you should wait to add the panko topping until just before baking. I hope you enjoy it!

  5. I can see the boys fighting over that topping already. This will be such a big hit here. Reminds me of meals my mom would make when I was a kid.

  6. No one could believe it was so creamy and cheesy tasting and yet so healthy and lite! My very fit and healthy nieces gobbled it up. This is my trusted site for eating right without sacrificing flavor! 5 stars

    1. Hi! The frozen broccoli will have a mushier texture, but if you’d like to use it for convenience, you can thaw it and chop it into bite-sized pieces, then stir it into the casserole along with the rice just prior to baking. If you do try it this way, I’d love to hear how it goes!

    1. Hi Josh! The recipe calls for uncooked instant brown rice, and you will cook it in Step 2. I hope you enjoy the recipe if you try it!

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