Hey guys, I’ve got a “cheat” recipes for you today. This Easy Cheesy Broccoli rice is what I make when I’m too impatient to make a full blown Broccoli Cheddar Casserole. This is what I make when I need food like, yesterday. It’s also the perfect side dish because it’s about half vegetable, half rice, and just enough cheese to trigger those endorphins without being too heavy. Plus, this is a great “base” recipe that you can use to customize into several different sides or meals.
What Type of Rice Can Be Used in Easy Cheesy Broccoli Rice?
You can use any type of rice that you like for this recipe, brown, white, wild, whatever (probably even quinoa). Just follow the cooking directions on the package for your particular type of rice and then start the recipe once you have a pot full of cooked rice (about six cups cooked, or two cups uncooked). If you want more flavor, try cooking your rice in chicken broth and reduce the added salt later in the recipe.
Make it a Meal
Want to make it a meal? Add some shredded rotisserie chicken or a soft boiled egg. Need to make this vegetarian? Sub the Parmesan (one of the few non-vegetarian cheeses) with nutritional yeast, and add more butter. You can even combine 3-4 cups of this rice with a whisked egg, shape it into cakes, and fry them up in a skillet. There are just SO MANY things you can do with this recipe.
But me, I like to just eat a big bowl of it and call it a day because I’m all about simple food. …But I might put a fried egg on top because that’s how I roll. #putaneggonit
Easy Cheesy Broccoli Rice
- 2 cups long grain rice ($1.32)
- 3 cups water ($0.00)
- 1 lb. frozen broccoli florets, thawed ($2.59)
- 2 Tbsp butter ($0.26)
- 1/2 tsp salt ($0.02)
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder ($0.02)
- 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (optional) ($0.02)
- Freshly cracked pepper ($0.05)
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan ($0.41)
- 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar ($1.25)
- Place the rice in a large pot and add 3 cups water. Place a lid on the pot and bring it up to a boil over high heat. Once it reaches a boil, turn the heat down to low and let it simmer for 15 minutes. After simmering for 15 minutes, turn the heat off and let the rice rest without removing the lid for an additional 5 minutes. (OR use your favorite method of cooking rice — rice cooker, Instant Pot, etc.)
- While the rice is cooking, chop the broccoli florets into tiny pieces.
- Once the rice has cooked, fluff it gently with a fork. Add the butter, salt, garlic powder, cayenne, and some freshly cracked pepper. Fold the butter and spices into the rice until fairly well combined (the butter should melt quickly in the hot rice).
- Add the chopped broccoli and gently fold it into the rice. The broccoli should bring the temperature of the rice down just to the point where it is hot/warm, but not so hot that the cheese immediately melts when stirred into the rice.
- Finally, add the Parmesan and cheddar cheeses, and fold to combine again. Taste and adjust the salt or butter if needed. Serve immediately.
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I’ve found this cheesy broccoli rice makes a great “all in one” side dish for main dish recipes like my Baked Chicken Drumsticks.
How to Make Broccoli Cheddar Rice – Step by Step Photos
You can use whatever method you like to cook 2 cups of rice (about 6 cups once cooked), but I like to do it in a pot on the stovetop. I add the 2 cups rice plus 3 cups water to a large pot, place a lid on top, and bring it up to a boil over high heat. Once it reaches a boil, I turn it down to low and let it simmer there for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes I turn off the heat and let it rest for another 5 minutes before lifting the lid and fluffing. Use a large enough pot to hold the broccoli and cheese later, or transfer the cooked rice to a large bowl after cooking.
While the rice is cooking, chop 1 lb. of thawed frozen broccoli florets into tiny pieces. I do not cook my broccoli any further. Frozen broccoli is blanched before freezing, so when it thaws it’s about halfway between cooked and raw, and for me that is the perfect texture. It still has tooth. If you need the broccoli more tender, you can steam it for a few minutes before chopping.
Just after the rice has cooked and it’s still piping hot, add 2 Tbsp butter (or more if you want it extra indulgent), 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp garlic powder, 1/8 tsp cayenne, and some freshly cracked pepper. Fold the butter and spices into the rice until the butter has melted and the spices are fairly well combined with the rice.
Next fold the chopped broccoli florets into the hot rice. This will bring the temperature of the rice down a bit, which I like because I don’t want my cheese to actually melt in. I want to taste the individual flavors in each bite. That’s also why I add the salt and spices AFTER cooking instead of cooking them with the rice. I like the little pops of flavor rather than one confluent flavor throughout.
Finally, add 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar and 1/4 cup grated Parmesan. Fold the cheese into the broccoli and rice mixture.
And that’s it! The Easy Cheesy Broccoli Rice is ready to devour. There should be just enough heat in the rice to warm the cheese and make it soft without making it all gooey. The reason I like it like this is the same reason you want to serve a cheese on a cheese board at room temperature rather than cold. Cheese tastes different at different temperatures. It tastes one way cold, another at room temperature or slightly warmed, and totally different once it’s melted. You can certainly heat it until the cheese is melted if you like, but this is the way I like it for this dish. :)
Need more help learning how to cook rice? Check out my guide on How to Cook Rice.