Broccoli Mac and Cheese Bake Recipe photo by Taste of Home
Total Time
Prep: 25 min. Bake: 20 min.
Indulge in the ultimate comfort food with our broccoli mac and cheese, a delicious blend where gooey, melted cheddar meets tender broccoli, finished off with an irresistibly crunchy cracker topping.

Updated: Jul. 18, 2024

Are you in a comfort-food mood but want to add a twist of greens and a blast of flavor? This broccoli mac and cheese recipe is your ticket to a satisfying, creamy and downright irresistible meal that’s perfect for family dinners, potlucks or a cozy meal-for-one. Here, we take a classic favorite and elevate it with fresh broccoli and a golden cracker topping for a dish that’s not only comforting but brings a delightful texture and added nutritional value to the table. 

Whether you’re a longtime mac-and-cheese lover or looking for a special version of the dish, this recipe promises to allure you with its creamy, crunchy, cheesy goodness.

Ingredients for Broccoli Mac and Cheese

  • Elbow macaroni: The foundation of any good mac and cheese, elbow macaroni is perfect for holding the creamy sauce. Feel free to substitute with shells or penne for a twist on texture.
  • Broccoli florets: These green gems add a burst of color and a pleasant crunch, enhancing the dish’s nutritional value. Try substituting with cauliflower or Brussels sprouts for varying flavors and textures.
  • Butter: Butter serves as the base for the sauce, adding richness and depth.
  • All-purpose flour: The flour thickens the cheese sauce to creamy perfection. Gluten-free flour can be a suitable alternative for those with dietary restrictions.
  • Garlic and onion powder: These add a simple yet perfect flavor base that adds to the dish’s overall flavor without overwhelming it.
  • Evaporated milk: The evaporated kind brings a denser, creamier texture than regular milk, making for an indulgently smooth sauce. Whole milk or cream can be substituted for a lighter or richer sauce.
  • Shredded cheddar cheese: This is the heart of the dish, providing melty, cheesy goodness. Experiment with mixing different cheeses like Gruyere, Monterey Jack or smoked cheese for added flavor dimensions.
  • Cornbread-flavored crackers: This unique topping adds a crunchy texture and a hint of sweetness. Substitute with panko bread crumbs or crushed tortilla chips for a different kind of crunch.

Directions

Step 1: Prepare the pasta and broccoli

Prepare pasta and broccoliChristine Ma for Taste of Home

Cook the macaroni according to the package directions, adding the broccoli during the last three to four minutes of cooking. This ensures the broccoli is tender yet firm, adding a layer of texture and freshness to the dish. Drain the pasta.

Editor’s Tip: To keep broccoli vibrant and slightly crunchy, don’t overcook it. It should still have some bite to it after baking.

Step 2: Make the cheese sauce

Make the cheese sauceChristine Ma for Taste of Home

Preheat the oven to 375°F. In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the flour, garlic powder, onion powder, pepper and salt until smooth, then gradually stir in the evaporated milk. Bring the mixture to a boil and continue to cook and stir until it’s thickened, about two minutes. Remove from the heat, then blend in 2 cups of the cheese until smooth and velvety.

Editor’s Tip: Add cheese gradually while constantly stirring to ensure a smooth sauce without lumps for an even creamier texture.

Step 3: Layer and bake

Layer and bakeChristine Ma for Taste of Home

Layer half the macaroni and broccoli mixture in a greased 13×9-inch baking dish. Top with half the cheese sauce, then repeat the layers. Finally, sprinkle with cracker crumbs and the remaining cheese. Bake until the top is bubbly, 20 to 25 minutes.

Indulge in the ultimate comfort food with Taste of Home's broccoli mac and cheese.

Broccoli Mac and Cheese Variations

  • Add protein: Stir in cooked, shredded chicken or crispy bacon bits to give this broccoli mac and cheese bake an added protein boost.
  • ​​​​Give it a spicy kick: Mix some diced jalapenos or hot sauce into the cheese sauce for those who love heat.

How to Store Broccoli Mac and Cheese

Can you freeze mac and cheese with broccoli? 

Yes, it freezes well. Place it in a freezer-safe container and freeze it for up to two months. Thaw it overnight in the refrigerator before reheating. You can also refrigerate it for up to three days; just cool it completely before covering and refrigerating.

Broccoli Mac and Cheese Tips

Indulge in the ultimate comfort food with Taste of Home's broccoli mac and cheese.Christine Ma for Taste of Home

What pairs well with broccoli mac and cheese?

Broccoli mac and cheese pairs nicely with a protein like grilled chicken and a side of roasted vegetables.

Why is mac and cheese so popular?

Mac and cheese is popular because it’s a creamy, comforting dish that is easy to make and can be adapted with different toppings, mix-ins and fillings.

Why do broccoli and cheese go together?

Broccoli and cheese make a great pair. The earthy flavor of broccoli complements the rich, creamy taste of cheese, enhancing both their flavors when combined.

Broccoli Mac and Cheese Bake

Prep Time 25 min
Cook Time 20 min
Yield 12 servings

Ingredients

  • 3 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
  • 4 cups fresh broccoli florets
  • 1/2 cup butter, cubed
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cans (12 ounces each) evaporated milk
  • 2-1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1/2 cup crushed cornbread-flavored crackers (about 6 crackers)

Directions

  1. Cook macaroni according to package directions, adding broccoli during the last 3-4 minutes; drain.
  2. In a large saucepan, melt butter. Stir in the flour, garlic powder, onion powder, pepper and salt until smooth; gradually stir in evaporated milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir until thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat; stir in 2 cups cheese.
  3. Place half the macaroni and broccoli in a greased 13x9-in. baking dish. Top with half the cheese sauce. Repeat layers. Sprinkle with cracker crumbs and remaining cheese.
  4. Bake, uncovered, at 375° until bubbly, 20-25 minutes.

Nutrition Facts

3/4 cup: 335 calories, 21g fat (12g saturated fat), 61mg cholesterol, 331mg sodium, 25g carbohydrate (7g sugars, 1g fiber), 13g protein.

My husband made a version of this casserole for me on our first date. Over the 11 years we’ve been married, we’ve made several changes to the ingredients and now it’s even better than the original. —Lisa DeMarsh, Mount Solon, Virginia
Recipe Creator