Traditional Broccoli Cheese Casserole with Ritz crackers gets a welcome update from a homemade creamy cheese sauce.
Back when I was a kid, the casserole reigned 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.
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.
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
- 4 small to medium heads broccoli, florets only
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- Kosher salt and pepper
- 3 Tablespoons butter
- 3 Tablespoons flour
- 1 1/4 cup milk
- 1 1/2 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 1 1/2 sleeves)
- 1/4 cup melted butter
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Feel free to use boiled broccoli for a more classic taste and flavor in this casserole. The cheese can be subbed out to suit your tastes as well. American makes a very creamy, mild sauce while cheddar is a little more assertive.
Bodacious Breakfasts and Appetizers:
- Classic Chex Party Mix from Peanut Butter and Peppers
- Healthy Green Goddess Dip from Bobbi’s Kozy Kitchen
- Homemade Doughnuts from Cosmopolitan Cornbread
Made in the Shade Main Dishes:
- Bacon Wrapped Individual Meatloaf from The Girl In The Little Red Kitchen
- Chicken ala King from Recipes Food and Cooking
- Chicken Rice Casserole from Curious Cuisiniere
- Chicken in a Basket from Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
- Chicken Parisienne from Carrie’s Experimental Kitchen
- Chicken Pot Pie from Whole Food | Real Families
- Creamed Chipped Beef on Toast from FoodieTots
- Creamy Baked Pork Chops from Culinary Adventures with Camilla
- Individual Beef Wellingtons from Small Wallet, Big Appetite
- Mom’s Chicken Pot Pie with Cheddar Biscuits from Simply Healthy Family
- Mom’s Shepherd’s Pie from Momma’s Meals
- Ravioli di Magro from Manu’s Menu
- Salisbury Steak with Onion Gravy from Webicurean
- Sweet and Sour Pork Meatballs from Palatable Pastime
- Tuna Noodle Casserole from Sew You Think You Can Cook
- Uptown Goulash from Family Foodie
Swell Side Dishes:
- Creamy Lime Gelatin Salad from Magnolia Days
- Harvard Beets from Take A Bite Out Of Boca
- Retro Crock Pot Crabby Soup from Seduction in the Kitchen
- Roasted Broccoli Cheese Casserole from NeighborFood
- Seven Layer Salad from Lifestyle Food Artistry
- Wedge Salad from Our Good Life
- Bananas Foster from The Redhead Baker
- Creamsicle Jello Mold from Cupcakes & Kale Chips
- Frosty Chocolate Dream Bites from Wallflour Girl
- Hummingbird Cream Cheese Cookies from Dandelion Greens
- Jello Poke Cake from The Life and Loves of Grumpy’s Honeybunch
- Mom’s Heath Bar Cake from Kudos Kitchen by Renee
- Old Fashioned Banana Pudding from Pies and Plots
- One, Two, Three Jello from That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Original Mayonnaise Chocolate Cake with No Cook Fudge Frosting from A Day in the Life on the Farm
- Pineapple Upside Down Cake from Eat, Drink and be Tracy
- Raspberry Crunch from Peaceful Cooking
- Tunnel of Fudge Cake from Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
The Bee’s Knees Beverages:
- Blood Orange Sidecar from Nosh My Way
- Crème de Menthe Parfait from Food Lust People Love
- Vanilla Bean Old Fashioned from The Texan New Yorker
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