Broccoli and Cheese Sauce
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The best, quick, easy broccoli and cheese sauce recipe, homemade with simple ingredients in one pot in 20 minutes over stovetop. A classic side dish, where steamed broccoli is loaded with a rich, smooth and creamy cheddar cheese sauce.
This is truly one of the best ways to enjoy broccoli and so much better than the store-bought bags in the freezer aisle. That remarkable cheese sauce takes a boring old veggies over the top that no one can refuse.
Even though it’s typically served over steamed vegetables, I like them with roasted vegetables such as Oven Roasted Broccoli (One Pan) too because the contrast in textures between the crispy veggies and creamy cheese sauce is amazing.
How to make cheese sauce?
- Add cheese, evaporated milk, cornstarch, salt, pepper, garlic, mustard in a pot or saucepan.
- Cook until smooth.
How to make broccoli and cheese sauce?
- Steam broccoli in microwave or stovetop.
- Season it with salt, pepper and other herbs of your choice.
- Pour cheese sauce on top.
What to serve with broccoli and cheese recipe?
Serve this as a side dish with baked, grilled or pan-fried chicken, fish or steak.
Instead of broccoli, the cheese sauce can be poured on top of many other steamed vegetables like cauliflower, green beans, carrots e.t.c. I have also poured it over roasted vegetables like Whole Roasted Cauliflower (One Pan) and these Oven Roasted Asparagus (One Pan).
It can also be used in nachos, mac and cheese, soups, baked potatoes. You can also use it as an appetizer or game day dipping sauce for fresh veggies, potato wedges, fries, onion rings.
Tips and Techniques
Use nonstick pot- Because this prevents burning and sticking.
Use dissolved cornstarch- Because this prevents any lumps from forming in the cheese mixture. Also, whisk often to prevent lumps.
Can I make broccoli and cheese in microwave– I have done this a couple of times but I don’t recommend it. You need to make sure to heat in 30 second increments and whisk often to get a smooth consistency. However, the stovetop version always has a smoother, creamier and better overall texture. Also, it takes about the same amount of time to make this on stovetop as it does in a microwave.
Adjust seasonings- Not a lot of spices or herbs are used in this recipe. I use some salt, pepper, garlic powder and mustard. You can also add a little paprika to give it a subtle smoky flavor or a dash of red chili flakes to make it spicy. You can also change the quantities of spices to suit your preference or omit altogether, if you want it very simple and bland.
How to thicken cheese sauce? Cook uncovered for longer until excess liquid evaporates and sauce is reduced. Alternatively, if sauce is too thick, thin it out by adding a little more milk.
What is a good substitute for evaporated milk? Can I use regular milk? I have tried various milks and the best results come from evaporated milk. Regular milk does not work well. The only other alternative would be half and half.
Can I just melt cheddar cheese on top of the broccoli? Yes, but it won’t have the same creamy sauce texture and that’s what makes all the difference.
Use full-fat ingredients- No low fat cheese or fat free evaporated milk. Everything must have full for maximum richness and creaminess.
Use freshly grated cheese– This is very IMPORTANT because the pre-grated cheese packages are coated in additives that don’t melt well and add an odd grittiness. Use a high quality block of cheddar cheese and freshly grate it for optimal flavor.
What cheese to use? The classic, traditional choice is always cheddar but you can use a combination of various cheeses like mozzarella, parmesan, monterey jack e.t.c. Use cheeses that melt easily and quickly and remember that they should be freshly grated.
More Broccoli Recipes
One Pot Broccoli with Cheese Sauce
- In a large nonstick pot, add milk, cheese, dissolved cornstarch, salt, pepper, garlic, mustard.
- Cook over low heat, whisking often, until cheese has fully melted into a thick, smooth sauce.
- If sauce is too thick, thin it out by adding a little more milk. If it’s too thin, cook uncovered for longer until excess liquid evaporates and sauce is reduced.
- Pour this over steamed broccoli (I used roasted). Season with more salt and pepper, if you like.
- Serve immediately and enjoy!
- Read all my tips above.
- Tastes best when served immediately but leftovers can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for up 2 days. However, it will be thicker and grainy, when reheated.
Happy cooking everyone!