They might not be the prettiest things in the world (I won’t even say what my boyfriend said they looked like), but who cares? We’re talking about CHEESE SAUCE. A really easy cheese sauce, chock full of broccoli (so you can feel good about yourself) poured over perfect crispy-skin baked potatoes. These Broccoli Cheddar Baked Potatoes are, IMHO, the perfect half way point between comfort food and good-for-you food. I like compromise.
This is yet another great “base” recipe that you can customize to fit your wallet and taste buds. This original version is so good that it made my feet wiggle, but if you want to add more you could always do something like bacon bits or grilled chicken, jalapeños or sriracha if you like it spicy, or maybe something simple like sliced green onion. Empty out the fridge and use up leftover ingredients as toppings. Anything that is good on a loaded baked potato would probably also be good on these, so that might give you a place to start experimenting.
Oh, and FYI, they reheat really well in the microwave. I just reheated one for second breakfast and it was AWESOME. (“Second Breakfast” is to early birds what “fourth meal” is to you night owls.)
Broccoli Cheddar Baked Potatoes
P.S. Always check the prices of larger blocks of cheese compared to the smaller blocks. At my local store they’re almost always just about the same price per ounce, but this week the large 16oz. block was only $3.88, which is a GREAT deal. The large block can be cut into smaller chunks and stashed in the freezer. Just make sure to wrap them tightly to prevent freezer burn.
- 4 russet potatoes (2 lb. total) $2.99
- 1 Tbsp olive oil $0.16
- Salt $0.02
- ½ lb. frozen broccoli florets $0.85
- 3 Tbsp butter $0.23
- 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour $0.03
- 3 cups whole milk $0.93
- ½ tsp salt $0.03
- ¼ tsp garlic powder $0.02
- 6oz. medium cheddar, shredded $1.46
- Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Take the broccoli out of the freezer and allow it to thaw as the potatoes bake. Once thawed, roughly chop the broccoli into small pieces and then set aside until ready to use.
- Wash the potatoes well, then dry with paper towel or a clean dish towel. Use a fork to prick several holes in the skin of each potato. Pour the olive oil into a small dish, then use your hands to coat each potato in oil. Place the oil coated potatoes on a baking sheet, and season generously with salt. Bake the potatoes for 45-60 minutes, or until tender all the way through.
- Towards the end of the baking time, begin to prepare the cheese sauce. Add the butter and flour to a medium sauce pot, then place the pot over a medium flame. Whisk the butter and flour together as they melt. Allow the mixture to begin to bubble and foam, whisking continuously. Continue to cook for one minute to remove the raw flour flavor, but do not let the flour begin to brown.
- Whisk the milk into the butter and flour mixture. Bring the milk up to a simmer, whisking frequently. When it reaches a simmer, it will thicken. Once thick enough to coat a spoon, turn the heat down to the lowest setting. Season the white sauce with the salt and garlic powder.
- Add a handful of the shredded cheddar to the sauce at a time, whisking until it has fully melted before adding the next handful. Once all of the cheddar has been melted into the sauce, stir in the chopped broccoli. Leave the sauce over a low flame, stirring occasionally, to keep it warm.
- When the potatoes are finished baking, carefully slice them open. Use a fork to slightly mash the insides of the potatoes. When ready to serve, place each potato on a plate and ladle the broccoli cheese sauce over each potato. Garnish with extra shredded cheddar, if desired.
Step by Step Photos
Begin by preheating the oven to 400ºF and preparing the potatoes to bake. Wash the potatoes well, then use a paper towel or clean dish towel to dry them off (they’ll still be a bit damp, just remove the excess water). Use a fork to prick several holes in each potato. Pour 1 Tbsp olive oil into a small dish, then use your hands to smear the oil over the surface of each potato. Place the potatoes on a baking sheet, then season liberally with salt. Bake in the preheated oven for 45-60 minutes, or until they’r tender all the way through.
Take 1/2 lb. frozen broccoli out of the freezer when the potatoes begin to bake so they’ll be thawed by the time the potatoes finish. Once they’re thawed, roughly chop the broccoli into smaller pieces.
Towards the end of the baking time, begin the cheese sauce. Cheese sauce begins with a roux, which is basically melted butter and flour. Add 3 Tbsp butter and 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour to a medium sauce pot. Place the pot over medium heat and whisk the butter and flour together as the butter melts. It will begin to bubble and foam, continue to whisk and cook for one minute. This cooks out the raw flavor of the flour, but do not let the flour begin to brown.
Whisk in 3 cups whole milk. Keep the pot over medium heat and let it come up to a simmer, whisking frequently. Once it begins to simmer, the milk will begin to thicken. Once it’s thick enough to coat a spoon, turn the heat down to low. Season the “white sauce” with 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp garlic powder.
Now begin to add the shredded cheddar, a handful at a time. You’ll want to add 6oz. total medium cheddar to the sauce. Make sure each handful is fully whisked in and melted before adding the next handful.
And then you’ll have a deliciously thick cheddar cheese sauce!
Finally, stir in all that chopped broccoli. Keep the pot over low flame, stirring occasionally, to keep the sauce warm.
When the potatoes are finished baking, carefully cut them open and use a fork to slightly mash the insides. The combination of the oil and salt on the skin helps make them extra crispy! Yum!
To serve, simply ladle the rich and creamy broccoli cheese sauce over the open potatoes. 😍😍😍
Heeeyyyyyyy. ;) ;) ;)
If you have any extra shredded cheddar, it makes a nice garnish. Now DIG IN, cuz if you don’t eat these Broccoli Cheddar Baked Potatoes I will.