Oh la la. This is not your grandma's broccoli cheese casserole.
Ever since Christopher Kimball challenged people to Google broccoli casserole, insisting they would be disappointed with what they found, I've been meaning to post a killer easy broccoli casserole. And dear readers, this is it.
An Easy Broccoli Casserole That Tastes Amazing
The ingredients? Broccoli of course, then bacon, flour, milk, cream, eggs, cheddar cheese, a little Dijon, salt, and lots of freshly cracked black pepper.
The tricks to this broccoli cheese casserole are to:
- Pre-cook the broccoli florets a bit so they cook up tender in the casserole.
- Use bacon because bacon makes everything taste better.
- Spice it up with black pepper. Just simple freshly cracked black pepper. Use as much as you can stand; it will make your broccoli cheese casserole sing.
Many thanks to the love of my culinary life, Dorie Greenspan, who provided the inspiration and basic structure for this broccoli cheese casserole recipe with a fabulous cauliflower gratin in her cookbook Around My French Table (hint, buy this book for yourself and all your friends, it's stunning.)
Frozen vs. Fresh Broccoli
Fresh broccoli is best in the recipe, but you can use frozen broccoli. Cook frozen broccoli florets in the microwave for half the time the package directions instruct. They'll continue cooking with the rest of the casserole.
How to Store and Reheat This Dish
Store this casserole tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Reheat individual slices in the microwave, or reheat the remainder in the casserole dish covered with foil at 350°F for 20 to 30 minutes, or until completely heated through.
How to Freeze Broccoli Cheddar Casserole
To freeze a fully cooked whole casserole: If you know you'll be freezing the entire cooked casserole, line the baking dish with foil, bringing the foil up over the sides. Assemble and cook the casserole. Allow it to cool completely. Cover the casserole in the baking dish in foil. Freeze until just completely frozen through. Remove it from the freezer and pop the casserole out of the baking dish. Keep the foil on it, wrapping it around. Add a second layer of foil and freeze for up to 3 months.
To thaw, unwrap the top layer of foil. Pop the frozen casserole back in its original baking dish. Thaw in the refrigerator. Once it's completely thawed, reheat at 350°F for 20 to 30 minutes, or until completely heated through.
To freeze slices of cooked casserole: Wrap individual slices of broccoli cheddar casserole in a layer of plastic wrap and then a layer of foil. Freeze for up to 3 months.
Thaw in the refrigerator. Reheat in the microwave or in the oven at 350°F for 20 to 30 minutes, or until completely heated through.
Can't Get Enough Broccoli and Cheese? Try These Recipes
- Broccoli Cheddar Mac and Cheese
- Broccoli Cheddar Soup
- Broccoli and Cheddar Quesadillas
- Broccoli Cheddar Bites
Broccoli Cheese Casserole
Prep your ingredients while you are heating the blanching water to save time.
Save your broccoli stems! You can use vegetable peeler to peel them, then slice and eat like celery.
This recipe calls for baking in a 2-1/2 quart casserole dish. If that dish is shallow, the baking time will be faster. If it's deep, the casserole will need more baking time.
2 pounds (900g) broccoli, stems removed and crowns cut into florets (about 8 cups broccoli florets)
2 strips thick-cut bacon (about 2 ounces), cut crosswise into 1/4-inch wide strips
5 large eggs, beaten
1/3 cup (43g) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (118ml) heavy cream
1 cup (236ml) whole milk
2 to 3 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper (1 to 2 teaspoons if using fine ground black pepper)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
8 ounces (225g) cheddar cheese, grated
Blanch the broccoli florets:
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil (1 tablespoon salt for 2 quarts of water). Add the broccoli florets and boil for 3 to 5 minutes or until just tender enough so that a fork can easily pierce the floret, but still firm. Strain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking.
Cook the bacon:
While the water in step one is coming to a boil, cook the bacon pieces on medium heat in a frying pan until lightly browned, but not crisp. Remove to a plate lined with paper towels to absorb the excess fat. Set aside.
Preheat the oven and prepare the dish:
Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C). Butter a 2 1/2-quart casserole dish.
Make the egg mixture:
In a bowl, whisk the eggs into the flour, then whisk in the cream and milk. Add the black pepper (more or less to taste), salt, and mustard. Mix in about a third of the cheese.
Assemble the casserole:
Place the blanched broccoli florets in the casserole dish, sprinkling about a third of the cheese over the broccoli florets as you lay them down. Sprinkle the bacon pieces over the broccoli.
Pour the egg, cream, milk, cheese mixture over the broccoli, moving the broccoli pieces a bit so that the mixture gets into all the nooks and crannies. Sprinkle the casserole with the remaining cheese.
Bake until the casserole is set, 25 to 40 minutes depending on the depth of the casserole dish. Once the top has browned, you may want to tent with aluminum foil to keep from burning.
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 35g||45%|
|Saturated Fat 18g||90%|
|Total Carbohydrate 31g||11%|
|Dietary Fiber 9g||32%|
|Total Sugars 7g|
|Vitamin C 162mg||811%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|