Perfectly cooked broccoli is an amazing side, especially when you drape it in a gorgeous cheese sauce, right? Well, this Cheesy Broccoli Casserole takes that up yet another notch, by adding bacon! You’ll love this drool-worthy casserole that comes together in a snap!
AN EASY BROCCOLI CHEESE CASSEROLE – WITH BACON!
Everyone loves a warm and classic side like broccoli with cheese, which is why I created my crowd-pleasing Broccoli-Cheese Casserole recipe. So why a second version, you ask? Well, because I realized that there’s one ingredient – maybe five – that could really put the broccoli-cheese combo over the top: bacon! Plus pork rind crumbs, and more cheeses, with an added dash of butter. 😉
That’s right, this amazing version has all the easy, creamy, cheesiness, along with the smokiness of bacon and a touch of tartness from feta cheese. Plus the crunchy crumb topping is total comfort food!
WHAT’S IN THIS CASSEROLE?
For the Casserole:
- Broccoli Florets
- Half & Half
- Flour: This thickens the sauce beautifully.
- Gruyere and Feta Cheeses: Creamy Gruyere balances the tart feta perfectly.
- Bacon, Cooked and Crumbled: Thick-cut bacon works especially well, but you can use any style and flavor of bacon in this recipe.
For the Topping:
- Pork Rind Crumbs or Gluten Free Panko: For a lower carb option, use the pork-rind crumbs. But, you can use any Panko crumbs, or whatever breadcrumbs you prefer.
- Salt and Pepper
- Fresh Chives: Try snipping the chives with kitchen scissors, rather than chopping.
HOW TO MAKE BROCCOLI CHEESE CASSEROLE WITH BACON
- Blanch the Broccoli: Bring a pot of lightly-salted water to boil, add the broccoli (make sure it’s washed, first), and cook for 2 minutes. Drain, run under cold water, and set aside.
- Make the Cheese Sauce: Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Whisk in the flour and cook for a couple minutes. Then whisk the Half & Half into the flour mixture, simmering the sauce until thickened. Whisk in the cheeses and adjust the salt and pepper.
- Place Ingredients in Baking Dish: Gently toss the broccoli, cheese sauce, and bacon to combine, and pour the mixture into a greased casserole dish. Top with additional cheese. Mix together the crunchy topping ingredients in a bowl, and sprinkle that mixture over the casserole as well.
- Bake, Cool, and Serve: Bake for 25 minutes at 375°F until browned and bubbly. Allow to stand at room temperature for about 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
TIPS FOR SUCCESS
Follow these tips for the best results!
- Drain and Dry: If you don’t drain your broccoli well, your casserole may end up watery instead of creamy. Try draining the broccoli in a colander or strainer over a large mixing bowl. You can also spread the broccoli out on a cookie sheet or platter lined with paper towels, and press with additional paper towels before mixing with the cheese sauce.
- Take Shortcuts with Caution: If you need to use frozen broccoli instead of fresh, blanch it lightly (or thaw it overnight in the refrigerator) and dry it well. The texture of the final casserole may be somewhat different.
- Try Cheddar: If Gruyere and feta aren’t on your menu, you can also try making this casserole with cheddar cheese. And adding ½ a teaspoon of prepared mustard makes cheddar-based sauces extra tasty!
WHAT GOES WITH THIS CASSEROLE?
- Broccoli and cheese both pair nicely with seafood, as does bacon! Try serving up this casserole alongside my Lemon Garlic Shrimp for a yummy contrast in flavor and texture.
- This casserole also makes a yummy side to complement a simple protein, like my Roast Turkey, Juicy Garlic Butter Pan-Fried Chicken Breasts, or sizzling Grilled 7-Up Pork Roast.
- You can also serve this casserole as a satisfying vegetarian entree! Add Light Skillet Cornbread and a surprising salad, like Very Berry Avocado Salad, to complete the meal.
HOW TO MAKE AHEAD
- Prepare the casserole, but do not bake. Cover it tightly with plastic wrap and then a layer of foil. Refrigerate for up to 24 hours.
- When ready to bake, remove from the fridge about 30 to 40 minutes ahead of time to bring to room temperature.
- Bake as directed.
HOW TO STORE AND REHEAT LEFTOVERS
- Store leftovers in tightly-covered containers, or in individual portions sealed in plastic food-storage bags, for up to 5 days.
- It’s not recommended to freeze this casserole, because the sauce may separate when thawed.
- You can reheat leftovers in the oven or microwave. The oven is recommended because it will re-crisp the topping, but the microwave is also fine. For the oven, place leftovers in an ovenproof dish and bake at 350°F for 10-20 minutes, or until heated through. For the microwave, place in a microwave-safe dish and heat on medium for increments of 1 minute, until heated through.
More Broccoli Recipes
- Chicken Broccoli Shells and Cheese
- Broccoli Bacon Macaroni and Cheese
- Creamy Broccoli with Cheese and Bacon
Cheesy Broccoli Casserole with Bacon
- 2 pounds broccoli florets
- 4 slices thick cut bacon, cooked to a crisp, and crumbled
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups Half & Half
- 2 cups shredded Gruyere cheese, (you can also use whatever shredded cheese you have on hand; pepper jack and sharp cheddar work well)
- 1 cup crumbled feta cheese, divided
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1 1/2 cups pork rind crumbs, (or any dried breadcrumbs)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons fresh chives, snipped
- Preheat oven to 375˚F.
- Lightly spray a 3-quart baking dish with cooking oil and set aside.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
- Add broccoli to boiling water and cook for 2 minutes.
- Drain the broccoli; rinse with cold water until completely cooled.Transfer broccoli back to the pot where you cooked the broccoli. Set aside.
- Melt butter in a large saucepan set over medium heat.
- Whisk in the flour to combine; cook for 2 minutes.
- Slowly whisk in the Half & Half; cook and whisk until the mixture starts to thicken.
- Remove from heat and whisk in the gruyere cheese, ½ cup feta, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Whisk and stir until it's completely combined and melted.
- Pour the cheese sauce over the broccoli; add in the crumbled bacon, and toss to coat.
- Transfer broccoli to previously prepared baking dish; sprinkle with remaining feta, and set aside.
- In a mixing bowl stir together melted butter, crumbs, salt, pepper, and chives.
- Sprinkle over the broccoli.
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until top is browned and mixture is bubbly.
- Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes before serving.
Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.