This Broccoli and Cheese Casserole with Ritz crackers is a staple in many homes during the holidays. Loaded with creamy Velveeta cheese and topped with buttered Ritz crackers, it’s an easy way to get kids to eat their vegetables all year round.
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Holidays were always crazy for us growing up. Lots of family members to visit, and often during the same day. We did Christmas at home, one set of Grandparents for lunch, and the other set at dinner. As families grew, so did the food choices.
But there was one dish that remained the same, my Grammy’s Broccoli Cheese Casserole. Myself, my sister, and my mom can all remember the first time my grandmother made it. A little put off at first sight, we were quickly converted to being broccoli lovers. Of course, as a kid, I totally thought my grandmother came up with this recipe herself. Thanks now to Google I can only assume she got it out of a magazine such as Homes and Garden since the internet wasn’t around then. Shocker to all you youngin’s I know.
But regardless of who invited it, that Christmas began a new tradition for our family and a new recipe my grandmother would always be remembered for. And I’m excited to share it with you today.
How to Make Broccoli and Cheese Casserole
This recipe comes together in a gif with as little as four ingredients. It’s got a bit of a cook time due to the frozen broccoli florets, but it is super simple to make.
Broccoli Cheese Casserole Ingredients
Preheat the oven to 350F. If using fresh broccoli, cut into florets and place in a microwave safe bowl with 1/4 cup of water. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave for a minute on high. Whether using fresh or frozen, transfer the broccoli to a 12-inch deep skillet . If the broccoli is frozen, cover with tinfoil and bake for 40 minutes. This allows the broccoli to thaw slowly and be steamed at the same time. If your broccoli is fresh and already partly steamed, it’ll only need 20 minutes in the oven to get nice and warm.
Next is the cheese. You have two options: use all Velveeta or a mixture of Velveeta and cream cheese. If using Velveeta only, dice into cubes and top the broccoli with the 16 ounces Velveeta. If using Velveeta and cream cheese, use a hand mixer to cream together 8 ounces of cream cheese and 8 ounces of Velveeta. Top the broccoli with the cheese mixture. Return to the oven for 15-20 minutes stirring occasionally to work in the cheese and ensure all the broccoli is covered.
While the cheese is melting, melt the stick of butter and combine in a bowl with two sleeves of crushed Ritz crackers. Toss to coat evenly. Once the casserole is all cheesy and melty, spread the crackers on top of the casserole and back into the oven for a final 5-10 minutes. Just until the crackers get golden brown and crunchy. Allow the casserole to sit for about 10 minutes before serving. This will help the cheese to thicken up.
Kids in the Kitchen
- The holidays are the perfect time of year to get kids involved in the kitchen and the process. It might seem chaotic, but choosing a simple recipe like this that kids of all ages can help with makes it fun for everyone.
- For kids ages 3-9, they can help by opening the bag of frozen broccoli, running the hand mixer, cutting florets and cheese with adult supervision, and of course crushing the crackers.
- Add cooked bacon to the cracker topping.
- Add shredded smoked cheese for another layer of cheesy flavor.
- Add additional vegetables such as carrots and onions for nutritional value.
You can make this dish ahead of time to bring with you in a 9×13 casserole dish. Complete the recipe except for the cracker topping. On the day you plan to travel, bring the casserole, crackers, and butter with you. Reheat in the oven for about 20 minutes and add the crackers with butter proceeding as normal. This keeps it fresh, crunchy, and warm for serving time.
Got leftovers? This casserole is great up to 5 days in the refrigerator or 2 months frozen. Reheat in the microwave or oven with a fresh topping of Ritz crackers for crunch.
What to Serve with Broccoli Cheese Casserole
Serving this as a side dish at the holidays is a no-brainer, but what if it isn’t the holidays? This dish will pair well with Shredded Chicken, Venison Heart, Skillet Fried Potatoes, Pork Chops, Skillet Beef Pot Pie, and Spiral Ham to name a few.
Broccoli Cheese Casserole Recipe
- 2 pounds frozen broccoli florets
- 16 ounces Velveeta cheese
- 2 sleeves Ritz Crackers
- 1/2 cup butter melted
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Add the frozen broccoli to a large microwave safe bowl with 1/4 water. Microwave on high, covered with plastic wrap for 1 minute to thaw and steam the broccoli.
- Add the steamed broccoli to the skillet, minus any liquid, and top with pads of Velveeta cheese. Place in the oven for 20 minutes, tossing occasionally to ensure broccoli gets evenly covered in melted cheese.
- Crush the Ritz crackers into a medium bowl and pour the melted butter over. Toss to ensure coated.
- Top the casserole with the Ritz crackers and return to the oven for 10 minutes until the top is golden brown and crunchy.
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