Broccoli Casserole

Velveeta Ritz Broccoli Casserole is the ultimate comfort food, combining fresh or frozen broccoli with creamy Velveeta cheese. Topped off with a crunchy layer of Ritz crackers, it’s an irresistible side dish perfect for weeknight meals, holiday dinners, or any time you’re in the mood for something warm and cheesy.

Side view of a pan of casserole.

If you’re looking for a quick side dish, consider making our Velveeta broccoli casserole. It’s perfect for a Thanksgiving side dish, to serve alongside a Christmas ham, or to make on a busy weeknight.

Our casserole is packed with fresh broccoli florets, plenty of creamy cheese sauce, and topped with a buttery Ritz cracker topping.

This is a dish the whole family will love! Even the pickiest of eaters will be asking for seconds.

Substitutions

  • Use Frozen Broccoli: Frozen broccoli makes a great substitute for fresh florets. Be mindful that frozen broccoli is more delicate than fresh broccoli, so you’ll want to take extra when mixing the ingredients. You’ll need about 32 ounces or enough to spread across a 9×13-inch pan.
  • Try Canned Soup: Instead of Velveeta try condensed cheddar soup and whole milk. The flavor will be slightly different, but the broccoli casserole will still taste amazing!
  • Use Cheez Whiz: Different variations of this recipe appear in many vintage cookbooks, and a lot of those recipes use Cheez Whiz! Instead of Velveeta, use a 15 ounce jar of Cheez Whiz.

Variations

  • Add Proteins: Mix in cooked chicken, turkey, or ham for a more filling dish.
  • Experiment with Vegetables: Try adding sautéed mushrooms, bell peppers, or caramelized onions for extra flavor and texture. These vegetables complement the broccoli and cheese beautifully.
  • Substitute Crackers: Although Ritz crackers are classic, you can experiment with other types of crackers or even seasoned breadcrumbs for a different topping texture and flavor.
  • Cheese Varieties: While Velveeta provides creaminess, mixing in other cheeses like Gruyère or smoked gouda can add more layers of flavor. I like to use sharp cheddar to cut through the creaminess of the Velveeta.
  • Make it Creamier: Incorporate a spoonful of sour cream or cream cheese into the cheese sauce for added richness and tang.
  • Tex-Mex Twist: Add Tex-Mex flavor with diced green chilies, a teaspoon of taco seasoning in the cheese sauce, and top with crushed tortilla chips instead of Ritz crackers.
  • Bacon Love: Mix cooked, crumbled bacon into the casserole or sprinkle on top for a savory, smoky flavor.
Side view of cheesy casserole on two plates.

Velveeta Ritz Broccoli Casserole Tips

  • Seasoning is Key: Don’t forget to season your dish. A little garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper add a lot of flavor to this casserole. A sprinkle of paprika also tastes great!
  • Pre-cook the Broccoli: Lightly blanch or steam the broccoli until it’s just crisp-tender. Overcooking will result in a mushy casserole. You want the broccoli to retain some bite for texture contrast.
  • Hand Mix the Filling: I prefer to mix the broccoli cheese filling by hand. The cheese sauce cools quickly and begins to firm up which can make it difficult to stir. Put on a pair of food-safe, kitchen gloves and gently combine the ingredients. Make sure the sauce is cool enough to handle!
  • Blot the Broccoli Dry: Use paper towels to blot the broccoli dry, so excess liquid doesn’t water down the casserole.

Storage

Refrigerator: Store leftover broccoli casserole in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Reheat it in the oven or microwave. If using an oven, cover it with foil to prevent the topping from burning.

Freezer: Allow the casserole cool completely before freezing. Consider dividing the casserole into individual portions for easier thawing and reheating.

Use a freezer-safe container or heavy-duty freezer bags. If using the original baking dish, wrap it in plastic wrap followed by aluminum foil. The casserole can be frozen for up to 2-3 months.

Thawing: Thaw the casserole in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.

Reheating After Freezing: When reheating, you may need to add a splash of milk or half and half to refresh the texture. Reheat in the oven or microwave until it reaches the desired temperature.

Remember, the quality of the casserole may change slightly after freezing and thawing, with potential changes in texture, especially in the Ritz cracker topping.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, frozen broccoli can be used, but it may change the texture slightly. Thaw, blanch, and drain it well before adding to the casserole to avoid excess moisture.

To ensure your casserole isn’t runny, make sure your cheese sauce is thick enough before combining it with the broccoli. Also, properly drain any cooked vegetables to remove excess water.

Absolutely. You can assemble the casserole a day in advance and refrigerate it. Add the Ritz cracker topping just before baking to keep it crispy.

Reheat it in the oven, covered with foil, at 350°F until warmed through. This prevents the casserole from drying out.

Pre-cooking the broccoli is recommended to ensure it’s tender but still has some firmness in the finished casserole. Raw broccoli may not cook evenly in the casserole.

Absolutely! Steamed broccoli works great.

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Velveeta broccoli casserole in a casserole dish.

Broccoli Casserole

4.8 from 5 votes
Print Pin
Author: Kim
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 5 Servings

Ingredients

For the Casserole Filling

  • 6 cups fresh broccoli florets, about 1 pound of florets
  • 16 ounces Velveeta, cut into small cubes
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or adjust to taste
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (optional)

For the Cracker Topping

  • 1 sleeve Ritz crackers, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F, and lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking dish.

Make the Filling

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook for 3-4 minutes, until crisp-tender. Transfer into a colander to drain.
    6 cups fresh broccoli florets
  • Heat a medium skillet over low-medium heat, and add the cubed Velveeta, butter, salt, garlic powder, and onion powder. Stir until smooth then remove from heat. Don't leave it unattended! The sauce burns very easily, so stir often.
    16 ounces Velveeta
    ½ cup unsalted butter
    1 teaspoon salt
    ½ teaspoon garlic powder
    ¼ teaspoon onion powder
    ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Make sure the broccoli florets are well drained then transfer them to the prepared baking dish. Pour the Velveeta mixture on top, and stir until well combined.

Make the Topping

  • In a medium bowl, mix the crushed crackers with the melted butter. Sprinkle shredded cheddar cheese (if using) and the cracker topping over the broccoli mixture.
    ½ cup sharp cheddar cheese
    1 sleeve Ritz crackers
    2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Bake

  • Bake, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes until the cheeses begin to bubble and the cracker topping is golden brown. Remove from the oven and serve immediately.
  • Scroll up and see the article for tips, answers to frequently asked questions, and storage options.

Notes

*The calories listed are an approximation based on the ingredients in the recipe card and a serving size of 1 cup of casserole. Actual calories will vary.
*This recipe makes about 5-6 cups once all the ingredients are combined and cooked. It’s enough for 5-6 (1 cup) servings or 10-12 (1/2 cup) servings.
*For more information, tips, and answers to frequently asked questions, please refer to the post.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cupCalories: 489kcalCarbohydrates: 19gProtein: 24gFat: 37gSaturated Fat: 23gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 110mgSodium: 2018mgPotassium: 668mgFiber: 3gSugar: 10gVitamin A: 2370IUVitamin C: 94mgCalcium: 659mgIron: 1mg

Nutrition Disclaimer

Kim and John Vargo of More Than Meat and Potatoes and its affiliates are not dieticians or nutritionists. Any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If preferred, use your favorite online nutrition calculator to double check the amounts. Calories and other nutritional values can vary based on brand and serving size.

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4 Comments

  1. I added minute rice to this casserole and used durkee fried onions in the casserole and on top for a crunchy top. I served with a garden salad for a great vegetarian meal.

    1. Thank you for sharing Blaine! Kim and I are glad you enjoyed the casserole. The rice sounds like a great addition and adding a salad to any meal is always a good idea. Have a great day!

  2. i steam the Broccoli with a steamer tray instead of Bolling it. it stays greener and keeps more of the vitamins and nutrients and you don’t have to strain it.