Sheet-Pan Broccoli Cheese Rice Casserole

March  4, 2021
28 Ratings
Photo by Julia Gartland. Food Stylist: Kate Buckens. Prop Stylist: Brooke Deonarine.
  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 1 hour
  • Serves 4 to 6
Author Notes

For my family down in Georgia, broccoli cheese rice casserole is air. We inhale it every Thanksgiving and live off the leftovers for days. It's the best kind of dish; you've got all your major food groups: broccoli (veg), cheese (protein), and rice (love) ... or at least that's what we tell ourselves. Anyway, we only make it once or twice a year for the holidays, which is probably why it's so precious to us. This year, I thought I'd take my Aunt Anne's original recipe and spread it out onto a sheet pan for extra crisp and chew (those are the best parts). Broccoli cheese rice casserole is easily one of the most comforting side dishes to go alongside everything else, and it could even replace the stuffing should you be so bold as to do that. Or if you're like my family, for whom rice is king, then this may supersede the turkey as your table's centerpiece. —Eric Kim

Test Kitchen Notes

Featured in: The Unlikely Star of My Family's Thanksgiving Table. —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 4 ounces bread, such as brioche, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 2 cups cooked, short-grain white rice
  • 20 ounces frozen broccoli florets
  • 8 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 8 ounces sour cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • Olive oil, for greasing pan
  • 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
  • Parmesan, for grating over
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Melt the butter in a large nonstick skillet, then sauté onion with a pinch of salt and teaspoon of sugar for a good 15 to 20 minutes, until caramelized. Add bread to the buttery onions and sauté for another 10 minutes, until slightly toasted. Set aside.
  3. In a very large bowl, toss together the rice, frozen broccoli, cheese, sour cream, milk, 2 teaspoons salt, and buttery onion-bread mixture until well mixed. Spread into an olive oil–greased half sheet pan, then sprinkle top with panko and a light dusting of Parmesan.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes, or until bubbly and slightly browned at the edges.
  5. Do Ahead: You can prep the casserole completely in advance and freeze it or fridge it. Just add a few minutes to the bake time when you're ready to cook it.

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Eric Kim was the Table for One columnist at Food52. He is currently working on his first cookbook, KOREAN AMERICAN, to be published by Clarkson Potter in 2022. His favorite writers are William Faulkner, John Steinbeck, and Ernest Hemingway, but his hero is Nigella Lawson. You can find his bylines at The New York Times, where he works now as a writer. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @ericjoonho.

44 Reviews

Kathy July 15, 2023
Sounds great! Can’t wait to try this. Here is what I love to do with leftover broccoli rice. Heat some in a skillet the next day and scramble an egg in it. Truly next level comfort food.
Burton July 4, 2022
Very nice recipe, will definitely make again. I don't really see the advantage to making the casserole in a sheet pan - the pan does provide a lot of area for the panko to crisp up, but truthfully the panko/parm didn't get that crispy anyway, and the sheet pan was much fussier to clean and serve out of than a normal casserole dish would have been. But other than that, no complaints. Also, you can save even more time if you have a bunch of frozen pre-caramelized onions ready to go, which I typically do, since I make them in big batches in the crockpot, and cooked with them a little bit at a time.
Erika L. February 29, 2024
Sorry, but I just can't resist this reply: "Well aren't you special?" Frozen, pre caramelized onions? Really? I already have enough cooking experiments going bad in my freezer as it is. Are you a chef or something?
Sarah H. June 1, 2022
This recipe is amazing and is such a dream to meal prep and put in the fridge. It’s a great addition to a summer BBQ.
Jamieleigh77 February 28, 2022
I love this! I’ve only ever had the velveeta/cheese wiz version at potlucks. Your version is EVERYTHING! Thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe:) I will be making again. Often!
Robyn December 27, 2020
Made this for Thanksgiving and Christmas this year - that good! Prepped the day before and froze for the next day to pop in the oven, so easy and huge hit.
jencordes December 20, 2020
Loved it! Can’t wait to make it again. Tip...when they say to toss in a large bowl, they aren’t lying. It’s very difficult to toss frozen broccoli, plus the other ingredients. Get the largest bowl imaginable! :)
LisaDima November 15, 2020
I asked my dad if he had any requests from last Thanksgiving and he answered “that delicious broccoli rice thing”! This was a huge hit last year (we were all sad when the leftovers were finished) and will be a favorite again this year. I prepared it the day before and kept it uncooked in the fridge, then popped it in the oven while we let the turkey rest.
Molly October 12, 2020
This was SO GOOD. I love how crispy it was - not your usual soggy casserole. I added some ham, and should've reduced the salt in the rest of the dish, but we ate it (and leftovers) anyway. Will definitely make it again!
Gini August 23, 2020
This sounds delicious. My husband is allergic to cows milk so I'm wondering if I could sub goat milk yogurt for the whole milk and sour cream. and how would I change proportions if I did that. If necessary I can probably find some goat milk also. I know I can find goat milk cheddar. Thanks in advance for any advice.
Cheryl December 22, 2019
Oh my, so very, very hard to stop eating. Made it vegan with vegan butter and cheddar, homemade hemp milk, cashew-based creme fraiche instead of sour cream. No parm on top. Used the bread I had, Ezekiel's Sesame. Next time, would just use 1 tsp salt. Enjoy!
Cheryl January 21, 2020
Yes, 1 tsp salt was better. Blanched fresh broccoli and I liked that better too.
Tobie L. December 18, 2019
Made it tonight for the first time and it was delicious. Even my very picky daughter loved it!
Eric K. December 20, 2019
I'm so glad. Warms my heart to know that other people are eating this insanely delicious thing.
lindamettler December 1, 2019
Made this for Thanksgiving and it was a big hit. I had to double the recipe and made it in a lasagna pan, but followed the recipe exactly, just omitting the parmesan much cheese already!
Eric K. December 3, 2019
Funny, I actually omitted the Parm this year, too! (But because I forgot.) Loved the cleaner taste, honestly.
Sandy November 29, 2019
Tried this recipe for the first time last night (Thanksgiving 2019) and it was a HIT!!! Great alternative to the mushy broccoli casseroles from years past. I used fresh broccoli florets and blanched them quickly before assembling and baking. So, so good! Even my daughter, who would never eat casseroles, ate a big portion claiming it was "as good as macaroni!!!" Thanks for such a great recipe, Eric!!!
Eric K. December 3, 2019
I'm so glad, Sandy, and honored to have been on your table this year.
Sierra S. November 29, 2019
Hey-o! What a great new addition to our Thanksgiving table. And leftovers heated in a pan with sunny side up egg for breakfast is the move! Thanks for sharing your family recipe.
Eric K. November 29, 2019
I'm so glad; thank you for making it. I, too, will be enjoying it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner over the next few days, hah.
J. November 28, 2019
Is it 2c of cooked rice? So cook about 1/2c uncooked rice to use? Or cook 2c rice for about 8c rice total?
Eric K. November 28, 2019
2 cups of cooked rice, yes.
Cmannix559 November 27, 2019
Hi, making this right now for a Thanksgiving side. It looked really good before going in oven. Can't wait to have some tomorrow at dinner. Thank you for putting up the recipe.

Eric K. November 28, 2019
Can't wait for you to taste it. Happy Thanksgiving, Chris.
Cmannix559 November 28, 2019
Eric, it was a hit for our Thanksgiving dinner. Great recipe shared it with all my family. Very tasted dish. Thank you for sharing recipe. Happy Thanksgiving!
Eric K. December 3, 2019
Yay! That makes me so happy. Thanks for trusting the recipe. Hope you had a great holiday. x
mal A. November 18, 2019
A question--always frozen broccoli? Do you ever use fresh?
Eric K. November 18, 2019
Hi! We never use fresh, but you certainly could. I'd just blanch it a couple minutes before adding to the mixture and baking.
Lyn November 18, 2019
I made this today (Australia) and it was really really tasty and lovely, actually perfect!
I substituted some precooked little cubes of sweet potato as I had no bread. Still used the same amount of milk though and it was perfect. Will try the brioche next time. Will definitely be making this regularly! Thank you for the recipe
Eric K. November 18, 2019
That's so great to hear. Thanks for sharing, Lyn; the sweet potato sounds delicious.
Kim November 17, 2019
I look forward to trying this recipe, thank you for sharing it. Question regarding the bread component: you suggest using brioche which can be quite soft and typically sweet. Is this intentional - to add a sweet element to the mix?
Eric K. November 18, 2019
Hi Kim, the soft sweetness of brioche is definitely a preference of mine, and something I always have on hand. But the bread is really just a filler here, so you can use whatever kind you like. If it helps, my aunt used regular ol' white sandwich bread and it always tasted great.
Nancy W. November 17, 2019
I swear, every time I read one of your articles Eric, it's always, somehow, exactly what I needed to hear. I have some leftover rice at home, and I was trying to think of what to do with it. Eric to the rescue once again. Thank you for your extraordinary writing.
Eric K. November 17, 2019
This is PERFECT for leftover rice, exactly. Thank you so much for the kind words, Nancy.