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Traditional Broccoli Cheese Casserole with Ritz crackers gets a welcome update from a homemade creamy cheese sauce. 

Roasted Broccoli Cheese Casserole with Ritz Crackers | Neighborfoodblog.com

Back when I was a kid, the casserole rained supreme. It was the star of every potluck, holiday, and weeknight family meal. It seems like the casserole went out of style for awhile, but I’m thrilled to see it making a resurgence. On a recent stroll down memory lane, I stumbled on a recipe for Broccoli Cheese Casserole. As soon as I saw that cheese laden goodness, I knew I needed to bring it back, and I couldn’t think of a more perfect occasion than a Retro themed #SundaySupper.

As much as I love the casserole, I don’t necessarily long for a return of the days when a healthy vegetable side consisted of an unidentifiable veggie smothered in cans of condensed soup and covered in crackers. That’s why I decided to remake this classic recipe into a slightly healthier, made from scratch version.

Ritz Broccoli Cheese Casserole from Neighborfoodblog.com

Instead of canned soup, I made my own cheese sauce out of a very simple roux, milk, and cheese. The best thing about making your own cheese sauce is you can customize it to your tastes. Stick with a nice sharp cheddar for a classic take, or stir in a little pepper jack or gouda for a twist. My favorite version ended up being a combination of smoked Swiss and cheddar.

Even though I replaced the canned soup in this recipe, there was no way I was giving up that buttery Ritz topping. Ritz crackers make my world go round, and also cause me to consume two heaping portions of this casserole for lunch. It’s that good.

One more note about the broccoli. I made this once with steamed broccoli and once with roasted broccoli, and both the Mr. and I far preferred the roasted broccoli. It adds a depth of flavor that plain ol’ broccoli lacks. However, if you prefer a more classic flavor, feel free to stick to steamed or boiled broccoli.

From Scratch Broccoli Cheese Casserole with Ritz Crackers | Neighborfoodblog.com

Break out this remake on a simple classic and watch the casserole become the star of your table again. For more blasts from the past, check out all the retro recipes from my Sunday Supper friends below!

Roasted Broccoli Cheese Casserole with Ritz Topping
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Recipe by:
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 4 small to medium heads broccoli, florets only
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 3 Tablespoons flour
  • 1¼ cup milk
  • 1½ cups fresh shredded cheese of your choice (I like a blend of sharp cheddar and smoked Swiss)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 36 Ritz crackers (about 1½ sleeves)
  • ¼ cup melted butter
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spread the broccoli florets out on a baking sheet and toss them evenly with the olive oil. Give them a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper. Roast in the preheated oven for 18-20 minutes or until starting to brown on the tips.
  2. While the broccoli roasts, make the cheese sauce. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the flour and whisk together until smooth. Cook until bubbly, about 2 minutes. Slowly add the milk, whisking constantly to combine. The mixture may be a little lumpy at first, but just keep whisking. As the mixture cooks it will become smooth and thick. Remove the mixture from heat and stir in cheese until melted.
  3. To assemble, place the broccoli in the bottom of a greased casserole dish. Pour the cheese mixture over top and stir to coat. In a small bowl crush the Ritz crackers and stir them with the melted butter. Spread the mixture evenly over top of the broccoli. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until crackers are golden.

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  • Renee Dobbs March 8, 2015, 7:02 AM

    Oh the canned soup casseroles. I’m so glad to see updated ones these days with sauces made from scratch. So much better!

  • Hezzi-D March 8, 2015, 7:33 AM

    Broccoli is one of my favorites! This looks like a serious vegetable side dish I can’t wait to make!

  • Shelby March 8, 2015, 8:18 AM

    Ritz crackers, canned soup, and jello! Yes, those are ingredients of the 60’s and 70’s that I remember well! I even remember my mom making a mock apple pie with Ritz!

  • Liz Weber Berg March 8, 2015, 11:04 AM

    What a fabulous updated version of this classic! My version had (gasp) Cheez Whiz—the only time I ever bought the stuff. Yours is much more my style 🙂

  • Ala Shih March 8, 2015, 11:52 AM

    That’s so amazing! We NEVER had casseroles growing up (I think I had my first one in college at a friend’s potluck), and I was just telling my friend the other day that I wanted to try making my own broccoli cheese. I’m definitely saving this healthified version 🙂 thanks, girl! Happy Sunday!

    • Courtney @ Neighborfood March 9, 2015, 2:28 PM

      Sounds like you’ve got a lot of casserole eating to catch up on! 🙂 I hope you love this one!

  • Deanna Samaan March 8, 2015, 12:11 PM

    Casseroles were staples in my mom’s recipe box! This looks so good!

  • Diana @DandelionGreens March 8, 2015, 2:18 PM

    This looks delicious! And I’m with you and love roasted veggies! Sounds perfect in this dish.

  • Sue Lau March 8, 2015, 4:37 PM

    Roasted veggies will give this a great updated flavor appeal!

  • Tammi @ Momma's Meals March 8, 2015, 7:23 PM

    This is surly a classic! So much so I made one for this same theme 2 years ago! I love your version and love knowing that roasted broccoli gives it more depth.

  • Mary Ellen March 9, 2015, 2:45 AM

    I just printed this to try it this week. It’s such a good casserole!

  • Laura Hunter March 9, 2015, 3:45 AM

    Oh my goodness roasted broccoli is my favourite so the idea of having it in a traditional broccoli cheese casserole sounds incredible. Hubby was never a fan of it when we were living in the US but I think this would change his mind.

    • Courtney @ Neighborfood March 9, 2015, 2:25 PM

      Roasted broccoli is our favorite too! My husband doesn’t typically like this casserole either, but he agreed this version was great!

  • Jennie @themessybakerblog March 9, 2015, 8:07 AM

    We devoured many a casserole back in the day. I still love them. This recipe looks amazing. Girl, I love your new site design. Your logo rocks!

  • Cindys Recipes March 9, 2015, 1:32 PM

    Roasted broccoli sounds perfect for this casserole!

  • Lauren Everson March 9, 2015, 2:16 PM

    LOVE the recipe remix here. I didn’t like this as a kid but I sure do like it now, I’ll have to give your healthier version a try.

  • Valerie Cathell Clark March 10, 2015, 9:49 AM

    This looks so yummy! I could eat this as a meatless main! Great recipe!

  • cupcakekalechip March 12, 2015, 6:19 AM

    Roasted broccoli is my fave! I bet that really makes this casserole even more fabulous.

  • Julie @ Texan New Yorker March 14, 2015, 1:43 PM

    I love your from-scratch version, this looks and sounds soooo delicious!

  • Jen March 31, 2015, 3:33 PM

    I’d like to make this for Easter. Wondering if it can be prepared a day ahead and reheated.. or perhaps only the broccoli/cheese mixture and then top with ritz & bake before serving the following day. Thanks!

    • Courtney @ Neighborfood March 31, 2015, 4:23 PM

      I haven’t tried making it ahead, but I think it would work. I would just mix up the broccoli and cheese, place it in the casserole in the fridge over night and then top with Ritz and butter in the morning before baking!

  • CakePants April 29, 2015, 10:38 PM

    This looks fantastic!! My boyfriend loves broccoli cheese casserole but I’ve never made one – I love that this is made completely from scratch!

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