This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

I have a pan of comfort food for you today in the form of Broccoli Rice Casserole! It’s fully loaded with all the best parts of the original recipe—the creamy, cheesy inside, the scrumptious mix of veggies and rice, and the irresistibly buttery, crispy topping—but is made from scratch with simple, healthy ingredients!

a spoon scooping Vegetarian Broccoli Rice Casserole

Why You’ll Love This Easy Casserole Recipe

  • Family-Friendly. Broccoli, rice, and cheese are three easy favorites. This homey recipe is a hit with kiddos and grown-ups alike. (Check out this Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole for a main dish version with meat.)
  • Healthy Ingredients. Forget the “cream-of” soups, soup mixes, and processed cheese. This easy casserole uses simple, feel-good ingredients, and you can taste the love.
  • The Crispy Topping. Those buttery breadcrumbs (or crushed Ritz crackers if that’s your gospel) are basically a mandatory part of any casserole recipe.
  • Feeds a Crowd. Casseroles are easy to make ahead and scale, making them ideal for holiday gatherings like Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Easter.
  • Goes-with-Anything. Since it combines whole grains and veggies into one dish, it’s a perfect side for any protein, from Baked Salmon, to Grilled Chicken Breast, to Crockpot Pork Chops.
a plate with the best broccoli rice casserole no canned soup

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 —

How to Make Broccoli Rice Casserole from Scratch

The Ingredients

  • Instant Brown Rice. Saves time (and dishes). Instant rice cuts nearly 40 minutes out of the cook time and steams together with the broccoli right in the same pot. I opt for instant brown rice since it is higher in nutrients and fiber than its white rice counterpart. I especially love its chewy texture in casseroles too.
  • Broccoli. The star veggie in this casserole (and Broccoli Cheddar Soup). It’s packed with fiber and vitamin C. Plus, it’s begging to be coated in the cheesy flavors.
  • 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 (as seen on this healthy Asparagus Casserole).
  • Butter. This healthy broccoli casserole with rice does need some richness, so I added just enough butter to do the job without weighing it down with excess fat.
  • Milk. You can use any milk you have on hand.
  • Dijon Mustard. A subtle addition that makes the cheesy flavors pop.
  • Greek Yogurt. Skip the canned soup. This fantastic ingredient is perfect for making creamy casserole sauces (ahem, Turkey Tetrazzini) that typically call for cream of mushroom or cream of chicken soup.
  • Cheddar Cheese. Once you try this recipe (or Instant Pot Mac and Cheese) with freshly grated cheese, you’ll swear off Velveeta broccoli rice casserole. I prefer sharp cheddar cheese. Not only does it melt like a dream, it is more fully flavored than mild cheddar.
  • Panko + Parmesan Cheese. Is it actually a casserole without the topping? I think not. I like the larger-sized Panko breadcrumbs here because they make the topping especially crunchy (just like on my favorite Pineapple Casserole).
a pan of healthy broccoli rice casserole with crispy topping

The Directions

a saucepan filled with brown minute rice
  1. Boil Water and Add the Rice. Make sure you have extra room in the pot.
a saucepan filled with fresh broccoli
  1. Add the Broccoli. Cover and the broccoli will steam right on top. Easy!
sauteed carrots and onions in a Dutch oven
  1. Saute. Do this in a big pot.
a sprinkle of flour over tender sautéed vegetables
  1. Sprinkle in the Flour. This will thicken the sauce.
a creamy cheese sauce that's better than original broccoli rice casserole sauce
  1. Add Milk and Simmer. Once it’s thickened, whisk in the yogurt and shredded cheddar cheese.
easy broccoli rice casserole in a Dutch oven
  1. Stir Everything Together. Then pile the mixture into a greased baking dish.
a casserole dish with broccoli rice casserole with minute rice topped with crispy breadcrumb topping before baking
  1. Top with Breadcrumbs. It will look like a lot, but it’s perfect.
  2. Cover and Bake. This will make sure the filling gets hot and bubbly.
  3. Uncover and Bake a Little Longer. This is to make the breadcrumbs golden. In total, broccoli rice casserole bakes for 25 to 35 minutes at 375 degrees F. ENJOY!
A white baking dish with a southern broccoli rice casserole recipe

Recipe Variations

  • Add Protein. To turn this casserole into a main, you can take a note from this Ground Beef Casserole and add ground beef or stir in shredded chicken or diced ham. To keep the recipe vegetarian, add white beans like in this Broccoli Quinoa Casserole.
  • Change Up the Topping. Swap the panko for crushed buttery crackers, crushed cornflakes (like in Hash Brown Casserole), or take a note from Chicken Bacon Ranch Casserole and add a handful of chopped Baked Bacon.
  • Add More Fresh Veggies. Feel free to experiment with other vegetables you enjoy and are seasonally available. Cauliflower or grated parsnips would be great variations to consider since their taste, texture, and water content is similar to broccoli and carrots.
  • Or Swap Frozen Veggies. This Chicken and Rice Casserole uses a bag of frozen veggies in place of fresh to make it even easier to prepare. The same would work here.
  • Skip the Rice. For a low-carb version of this recipe, see my Broccoli Bake, which is similar to a broccoli gratin and does not have rice.

Storage Tips

  • To Store. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge 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.

Meal Prep Tip

For make-ahead broccoli rice casserole, prepare the casserole as directed through Step 6 of the instructions. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days. When ready to bake, remove the casserole from the fridge and let it come to room temperature. Finish as directed, adding the panko topping to the casserole just before baking.

top rated broccoli rice casserole in a white baking dish

What to Serve with Broccoli Rice Casserole

This easy broccoli rice casserole goes with any of your favorite mains!

easy broccoli rice casserole with fresh broccoli on a plate

Recipe Tips and Tricks

  • Use Instant Brown Rice. If you’d like to follow the recipe as written, you need to use instant (that is quick-cooking, 10-minute) brown rice. 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. Wild rice would be a fun twist; or see How to Cook Brown Rice or How to Cook White Rice for long grain options.
  • Dice the Carrots Small. This will ensure they soften completely in the oven.
  • Wait to Add the Greek Yogurt. Letting the casserole mixture cool for a bit before you add it deters curdling. If you don’t keep Greek yogurt on hand in your kitchen, you can swap it for light sour cream with equally creamy results.

Broccoli Rice Casserole

5 from 17 votes
The BEST cheesy broccoli rice casserole without canned soup. Easy, healthy, and a family favorite side dish for any main dishes and holidays.

Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 1 hour
Total: 1 hour 10 minutes

Servings: 6 servings, about 10 cups

Ingredients
  

  • 1 can low-sodium chicken broth or low-sodium vegetable broth (14.5-ounces)
  • 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-sized pieces (about 8 cups)
  • 4 tablespoons butter divided
  • 1 small yellow onion diced
  • 4 medium carrots peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice (about 1/2 pound)
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper divided
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 cups milk (I used skim)
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 3/4 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese (about 4 ounces)
  • 1/2 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 1/2-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 cook for 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 of butter. As soon as it melts, add the onion, carrot, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, and 1/4 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 flour over the vegetables and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, 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 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, and 1/4 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 of butter. 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 for 10 minutes, then serve.

Video

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: 396kcalCarbohydrates: 46gProtein: 17gFat: 17gSaturated Fat: 9gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0.3gCholesterol: 47mgPotassium: 628mgFiber: 4gSugar: 10gVitamin A: 7898IUVitamin C: 71mgCalcium: 372mgIron: 3mg

Join today and start saving your favorite recipes

Create an account to easily save your favorite recipes and access FREE meal plans.

Sign Me Up

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Make Broccoli Rice Casserole with Frozen Broccoli?

Frozen broccoli florets 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!

Does Rice Need to be Precooked Before Adding to Broccoli Rice Casserole?

Whether or not rice should be cooked before adding it to a casserole will vary between recipes. In this easy broccoli rice casserole recipe, the rice is cooked with broccoli in vegetable broth before being combined with the other ingredients and baked in the oven.

Can I Make Broccoli Rice Casserole Vegan?

I have not tried making this casserole recipe vegan, so it would be an experiment. In addition to using vegetable broth rather than chicken broth, vegan swaps would need to be made for the milk, butter, cheese, and Greek yogurt. If you decide to play around with the recipe to make a vegan broccoli rice casserole, I’d love to hear your results.

Related Recipes

More crowd-pleasing, healthy, and delicious side dish recipes:

Did you try this recipe?

I want to see!

Follow @wellplated on Instagram, snap a photo, and tag it #wellplated. I love to know what you are making!

You May Also Like

Free Email Series
Sign Up for FREE Weekly Meal Plans
Each includes a grocery list, budget, and 5 healthy dinners, helping you save time, save money, and live better!
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

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!

Learn more about Erin

Leave a Comment

Did you make this recipe?

Don't forget to leave a review!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




46 Comments

Leave a comment

  1. Since I do not like yogurt, can I omit it in this dish or would it come out too dry? Would adding more milk be ok?

    1. Hi Patty! Leaving out the Greek yogurt would definitely cause the dish to be more dry. I haven’t experimented with adding milk, but you could give it a shot. If you like sour cream, you could try that too.

    1. I’m so happy to hear that you enjoyed this recipe, June! Thank you for taking the time to share this kind review!

  2. Although this dish was somewhat labor intensive.. it was a labor of love! This dish was delicious and my family loved it. I added some grilled chicken in when combining the rice with the sauce and it turned out great!5 stars

  3. Well, I’m new to this website and I’m already breaking the “rules”. I haven’t completed making the recipe yet but I still wanted to leave my thoughts here:

    Everything about this recipe appealed to me- I had been seeking a recipe for Broccoli Rice & Cheese casserole for several days and was having a hard time finding one that found a healthy AND yummy way of getting around the ‘cream of ___’ canned soup ingredient. I’m a vegetarian – though not a vegan- so for me this dish is an entree, not just a side so it HAD to have a good strong nutrition/ healthy bend to it. (I was delighted to see that brown rice had a co-starring role to play!) I made the following adjustments due to lack of foresight on my part:
    to compliment my carrot under-supply , I used some lightly sauteed yams I had from another recipe; I love plain old Dannon lowfat yogurt but greek yogurt not so much, so I used about 1/8th C. of low fat yogurt (all that was left) and then added light sour cream to make up the other 6 -eighths, as you had suggested to someone else at odds with yogurt). Lastly, with my inclination for messing with spices, I added 1/2 tspn. each of chili powder and cumin to the cooked veggies before adding the flour. From the sampling I’ve done at various points in preparation of this casserole, it seems like it’s on track to be pretty dang delish once the finished product is out of the oven- I keep going over to the oven to sniff the aroma and watch out for the panko topping over-cooking! I will let you know how it went but in the meanwhile, THANKS A BUNCH for posting this great recipe.5 stars

  4. Growing up in Texas I ate a lot of different examples of this casserole. All grown up, living in California, and cooking for myself, I got hungry for it and went googling for a recipe. Almost all of the recipes call for canned cream of chicken or cream of mushroom soup (!). Or even processed cheese brick (I will avoid saying the brand name). California has had a big influence on my cooking — more fresh food, fewer packaged conveniences. Now I’m almost afraid to ask my mother and grandmother what they put in theirs. I kept googling, I wanted a recipe where you build the sauce up yourself, and there it was. Like someone said, it’s labor-intensive but awesome. Lightening the fat without losing the creaminess by using Greek yogurt is a great idea. The mustard is a nice touch (spicy brown is what I had), and the topping really makes it. I left out the carrots because for me, carrots have a very specific flavor that can overpower a dish. For some pops of saltiness and color I added a couple of ounces of diced ham steak like you’d see in a Denver omelet, but mixed in right before baking so the hamminess did not flavor the whole dish. I used a 9″x13″ so there’d be more surface area to brown. After one serving I decided this would be dinner, not a side dish, and went back for more. This one’s a keeper.5 stars

  5. This recipe was excellent; I first thought it would be too much food, but in this self-q time it was PERFECT!! Side dish and main course through the week. And delicious! A little prep time to do the broccoli and carrots, but well worth the outcome!5 stars

  6. 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!

  7. 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

  8. 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!

  9. 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!

  10. This recipe is delicious and very simple to make. I made this for Thanksgiving, and all 3 of my kids asked if I could make it again soon!5 stars

  11. My family loved this recipe! It was pretty quick to prepare, and very simple. An easy way to get some extra veggies in, this casserole is so flavourful and cheesy. I didn’t have brown rice, so I used white rice instead and it turned out perfectly. And the leftovers the next day are even better! Simple ingredients, easy to make and very delicious. I highly recommend trying this recipe.5 stars

  12. This is a wonderful healthy broccoli, brown rice and cheese recipe. I love that combination, but others recipes are not very healthy. I am trying to lose weight and my husband is diabetic 1. Your recipe is delicious and perfect for us. I did substitute light sour cream for the yogurt and it worked well.
    Thank you!5 stars

  13. Super yummy meal and very easy to make! I don’t think you can go wrong with any of her recipes.5 stars

  14. Just tasted this before I put in oven and it is amazing. I can’t wait to serve it for dinner tonight. You have to try it!5 stars

  15. This made a delicious meatless entree! The touch of Dijon mustard in the background was delicious. I used white whole wheat flour to make the sauce. Your recipes turned me on to that product and I love it.5 stars

  16. This. Was. DELICIOUS! I served it at a family dinner and wow was it a hit! My family said “this is the way we should always eat it!”

    Notes: Thanks for the substitution suggestions! I used regular brown rice (cooked with tomato sauce) and sour cream instead of yogurt. Instead of panko topping, I used fresh Parmesan.5 stars

    1. Hi Jiffy! So glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thank you for this kind review and feedback!

  17. Loved this dish ! It was our main meal and very filling. All the ingredients melded together perfectly for a memorable taste.
    Thank you
    Terri5 stars

  18. In an impulse I bought a 3 lb bag of broccoli florets………for 2 of us. After broccoli salad, steamed lemon broccoli and roasted broccoli I am left with still another pound, perfect for this casserole! I have made this countless times over the last 3 or 4 years and was astounded that I hadn’t commented yet. It is absolutely delicious! A true from scratch classic. I don’t keep instant rice, so cooked my rice and broccoli separately as you recommended to another commenter. You have a number of recipes which use plain Greek yogurt in place of higher fat alternatives, which is inspired! I also enjoy that bit of Dijon mustard which really adds that bit of something extra. True , it requires a bit more labor, especially if you use regular rice; but oh, it is sooo worth it! You’ll never go back to the canned soup recipe again! Thanks, Erin5 stars