Transform five simple ingredients into the yummiest one-pan dinner with this Cheesy Broccoli Rice recipe. It works as a vegetarian main dish or as a side dish—and is so easy to reheat for a quick meal!

Cheesy broccoli rice in two white bowls.

After years of making my go-to Cheesy Rice with cauliflower, I wanted to share this version with broccoli since it is just as good. And the classic combo of broccoli and cheese is one that always goes over well in my house—well usually, anyway!

With nutrients, creamy texture, and ultimate cheesiness, this one-pan dish is a great vegetarian main or an easy side dish. You can make cheesy broccoli rice ahead of time and heat it up in the moment. You can use short grain brown rice like I do, or you can use another type of rice. And there is an option to use water as the base (which is my preference) or to add more flavor by using chicken broth or Vegetable Broth.

This ranks up there as one of my favorite easy toddler meals…though it’s of course delish for every age!

(You may also like Broccoli Fritters and Creamy Broccoli Pasta.)

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Ingredients You Need

Below is a look at the ingredients you need to make this cheesy broccoli rice so you know what to have on hand and ready to go.

Ingredients for cheesy broccoli rice on countertop.
  • Short grain brown rice: I prefer the taste and texture of short grain brown rice and count it as one of my pantry staples. But you will see variations in the recipe to use the kind you have on hand or prefer—including white rice and long grain rice. I know we all buy different types!
  • Broccoli: Since we mince up broccoli to add to the rice, it’s easier to use fresh broccoli to be able to easily chop it up. If you don’t mind having larger pieces of broccoli in the rice, you can use frozen broccoli and skip the chopping.
  • Butter: Unsalted butter adds richness to the cheesy rice, so we use it here. And then we can adjust the salt levels to our own liking.
  • Cheddar cheese: I prefer to use cheddar cheese in this recipe but it’s super flexible so you can use another type of shredded cheese if you prefer.
  • Garlic powder (optional): Feel free to add more flavor to this dish as you like. My go-to is garlic powder, but you can experiment.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Here’s a preview of the cheesy broccoli rice recipe process so you know what to expect. You only need one pan and much of the cooking time is hands off (so you can go about your day).

How to make cheesy broccoli rice, step 1.

Step 1. Simmer the rice in water until almost cooked. There will still be a little liquid.

How to make cheesy broccoli rice, step 2.

Step 2. Add the broccoli, stir, and cover. Cook a little longer until the broccoli is soft.

How to make cheesy broccoli rice, step 3.

Step 3. Stir in the cheese, butter, salt, and garlic powder, if using.

How to make cheesy broccoli rice, step 4.

Step 4. Turn off the heat, let sit for a minute or two, and serve cooked rice mixture warm.

TIP: I once tried a serving of this for myself with a fried egg on top and it was delish!

Frequently Asked Questions

How to make broccoli cheese rice?

You can make a simple dish by cooking rice until almost tender, then adding broccoli to finish the cooking process. Stir in cheese and spices and serve.

Can you make this in a rice cooker?

Follow the directions for cooking rice and add minced broccoli for the last few minutes of cooking. Stir in the cheese and spices and serve.

How can I make broccoli cheese rice without dairy?

You can stir in mashed avocado for creaminess or sprinkle with nutritional yeast for cheesy flavor. Or, simply use dairy-free cheese.

Cheesy broccoli rice in silicone freezer container.

How to Store

Store leftover cheesy broccoli rice in the fridge for 3-5 days in an airtight container or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge and serve warm.

My favorite Freezer Containers can help if you need an easy way to store leftovers.

Serving Suggestions

We usually have this cheesy broccoli rice as a vegetarian main dish, but it can also be a side dish. Some foods that pair nicely with it include:

Hands holding cheesy broccoli rice in white bowl.

Best Tips for Success

  • To make a version of this idea without dairy, you can replace the butter with olive oil or coconut oil and use mashed avocado instead of the cheese to help the rice hold together.
  • To make this with a different type of rice, use the recommended cooking time and water amount on the package and add 1 cup water.
  • To make this with frozen broccoli, skip the chopping step and add it in. The texture will not be as uniform, but it works similarly.
  • Adults may like their portions topped with cracked black pepper, crushed red pepper, hot sauce, fried eggs, or fresh herbs such as basil or parsley. Slivers of green onion could be nice too.
  • Swap cauliflower rice in for the broccoli if you prefer.
  • Use sharp or mild cheddar cheese.

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Cheesy broccoli rice in two white bowls.

Cheesy Broccoli Rice

Transform five simple ingredients into the yummiest one-pan dish with this Cheesy Broccoli Rice recipe. It works as a vegetarian main dish or as a side dish.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Cuisine American
Course Dinner
Calories 187kcal
Servings 6

Ingredients

  • cups short grain brown rice
  • 2 cups finely chopped broccoli florets
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder (optional)
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Instructions

  • Place 5 cups water in a large pot and bring to a simmer over medium heat, covering partially. (Covering partially traps some of the heat in to speed up cooking, but allows some steam out of the pan to prevent overboiling.) Add the rice and cook for about 20 minutes, or until mostly tender and some of the liquid remains.
  • Add the broccoli, stir, and cover. Cook for 6-8 more minutes until the broccoli is tender and the liquid is absorbed.
  • Stir in the butter, cheese, salt, and garlic powder, if using.
  • Turn off the heat, cover, and let sit for 5 minutes. Serve warm.

Notes

  • Store leftovers in the fridge for 3-5 days in an airtight container or in the freezer for up to 3 months. I like to freeze in a freezer container or tray in individual portions. I place a frozen portion into a heat-safe bowl, cover with a plate, and warm in 30 second increments in the microwave until warmed through. Stir each time you stop for even heating.
  • To make this with a different type of rice, use the recommended cooking time and water amount on the package and add 1 cup water.
  • To make a version of this idea without dairy, you can replace the butter with olive oil or coconut oil and use mashed avocado instead of the cheese to help the rice hold together.
  • To make this with frozen broccoli, skip the chopping step and add it in. The texture will not be as uniform, but it works similarly.
  • Adults may like their portions topped with cracked black pepper, crushed red pepper, hot sauce, fried eggs, or fresh herbs such as basil or parsley. Slivers of green onion could be nice too.
  • Swap cauliflower rice in for the broccoli if you prefer.
  • Use sharp or mild cheddar cheese.

Nutrition

Calories: 187kcal, Carbohydrates: 16g, Protein: 7g, Fat: 11g, Saturated Fat: 6g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 3g, Trans Fat: 0.2g, Cholesterol: 29mg, Sodium: 260mg, Potassium: 158mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 488IU, Vitamin C: 26mg, Calcium: 154mg, Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Rate in the comments and tag @yummytoddlerfood on IG!

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5 from 2 votes

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Thank you for this recipe! Prepped it today with my 6 yo (who rarely eats a veggie) and she started munching on the broccoli we were dicing. Now she says she likes broccoli and she loved the dish too. We used DF cheese and it was very tasty. Our whole family enjoyed it for lunch. This will become a staple for our house as it works as a meal or a side dish too!

    1. I haven’t but I suspect you could add the minced broccoli to the rice at the start of cooking with a smidge more liquid and it will work similarly.