Easy Cheesy Broccoli Rice

$5.94 recipe / $0.99 serving
by Beth - Budget Bytes
4.89 from 18 votes
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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. 

A big bowl of Easy Cheesy Broccoli Rice on a marble countertop

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

Close up of a spoonful of Easy Cheesy Broccoli Rice

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Easy Cheesy Broccoli Rice

4.89 from 18 votes
This Easy Cheesy Broccoli Rice is a fast and flavorful side when you don't have time to make a classic Broccoli Cheddar Casserole. 
This Easy Cheesy Broccoli Rice is a fast and flavorful side when you don't have time to make a classic Broccoli Cheddar Casserole. BudgetBytes.com
Servings 6 1.5 cups each
Prep 10 mins
Cook 20 mins
Total 30 mins

Ingredients

  • 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)

Instructions 

  • 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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Notes

You can probably make this recipe for a lower cost than I did today. I used jasmine rice because that's what I had on hand, which tends to be quite a bit more expensive than regular long grain white rice. The frozen broccoli I bought today was also on the pricy side.

Nutrition

Serving: 1ServingCalories: 372.23kcalCarbohydrates: 54.25gProtein: 12.03gFat: 11.72gSodium: 486.03mgFiber: 3.1g
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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.

Front view of a bowl of Easy Cheesy Broccoli Rice

How to Make Broccoli Cheddar Rice – Step by Step Photos

Cooked Rice in the pot

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.

chopped broccoli

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.

Add butter and seasoning to rice

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.

Chopped broccoli folded into 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.

Add Cheeses to broccoli and rice

Finally, add 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar and 1/4 cup grated Parmesan. Fold the cheese into the broccoli and rice mixture.

Finished Easy Cheesy Broccoli Rice

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. :)

Close up of the pot full of Easy Cheesy Broccoli Rice

Need more help learning how to cook rice? Check out my guide on How to Cook Rice.

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Comments

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  1. cheesy, buttery, full of veggies….. perfect. I did the suggested substitution of nutritional yeast + more butter instead of the parmesan and think it works great. ♡

  2. I made this for dinner tonight with some chicken parm sausage I needed to use up thrown in after being browned, and Oh My Word, I think I’ve found my new go-to bulk-preparation meal.

  3. totally amazing quick food, that I made on a late-night when I didn’t want to cook. I used a rice cooker and threw everything in there. my ONLY problem was that I added too much pepper and made it spicey. too spicey. but that’s my fault, overall such great food in a quick time limit!

  4. Looks and sounds delic! Want to make ahead and then reheat next day, any suggestion to prevent it from being overcooked or mushy?

    1. With a dish like this, there isn’t really anything you can do to stop texture changes upon reheating. I would think that a creamy, cheesy casserole dish like this would actually be *better* the next day, but I guess it all just comes down to personal preference. :)

  5. I made this tonight as a quick side dish with chicken. It was so good and so quick. Everyone loved it.

  6. I prepared this and it was basically done and then got an idea to throw it from the pot to a casserole dish, add a can of cream of mushroom soup and a splash of milk. mixed it all up. Shredded more sharp cheddar on the top and threw it in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes. Total comfort food. I would enjoy this both the original way and my last minute experiment way. Totally delicious! Definitely a keeper.

  7. I love this recipe.  If any leftover from supper I fry and egg put it on top with some sriracha sauce for breakfast. 

  8. Hey there!
    I only have fresh garlic, would you suggest  adding it in with the other spices or should I sauté it separately then mix it in? 

    1. I would probably sauté it first to take that raw edge off and get more of that deep garlic flavor. :)