I love finding meals with foods all mixed together that the kids will actually eat. And this Cheesy Rice master recipe, with four options to add in veggies, is a healthy twist on this classic comfort food! It’s easy, can be made ahead, and is almost endlessly versatile.
I love this collection of recipes because each one is easy for kids (and adults!) to eat, the veggies are soft and a nice texture, and there’s just enough cheese to help it be creamy—without going overboard in the richness department. It has a full cup less cheese than many other cheesy rice recipes, but is still so delicious and rich.
Cheesy Rice with Broccoli
I’ve discovered that once you know the basics of how to make Cheesy Rice, you can vary it in all sorts of ways—adding in broccoli for a classic combo, or going with shredded carrots, corn, or even cauliflower crumbles. They’re all pleasantly mild to enjoy as a side dish or as a vegetarian main.
What’s the best rice for Cheesy Rice?
I love them all! Actually, I love using a white rice for cauliflower Cheesy Rice since it blends right in, but I also love using brown rice or sprouted rice blends (Trader Joes’ has a good one) for the other versions. It really works well with any kind of rice, though you’ll get more nutrition from fiber and B vitamins from the whole grain brown rice options.
You will need to adjust the amount of water used to cook the rice depending on the package directions and which vegetable you add, so keep that in mind as you get ready to make this recipe.
How to Make Cheesy Rice Step-by-Step
Here’s a look at how to make Cheesy Rice with Broccoli, and then we’ll get into how to vary it to use other veggies!
- Gather ingredients. (photo 1)
- Place water in a large pot and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add the rice and cook until tender. Turn off the heat, cover, and let sit for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, steam the broccoli. Drain well. (photo 2)
- Stir in the broccoli, butter, salt, garlic powder and cheese. (photo 3)
- Serve warm. (photo 4)
Ingredients in Cheesy Rice
To make any of these Cheesy Rice recipes you’ll need rice, butter, salt, garlic powder, shredded cheddar cheese and one of the following: broccoli florets, cauliflower crumbs (or florets), carrots, or sweet corn.
Cheesy Rice with Hidden Cauliflower
To make Cheesy Rice with cauliflower, pick up a bag of cauliflower crumbs (or “rice”) or chop up cauliflower florets in the food processor to measure 2 cups. Add it to the pot with the rice, add one cup more water than the package says, and cook according to the package directions on the rice.
Stovetop Cheesy Rice
This method of Cheesy Rices is so easy since the rice and the veggies cook together on the stove top. And the cauliflower blends in so seamlessly that it’s almost impossible to even tell that it’s there!
Cheesy Rice with Carrots
You can do the same thing with carrots, cooking them right along with the rice. Add finely shredded or grated carrots it to the pot with the rice, add one cup more water than the package says, and cook according to the package directions on the rice.
Healthy Cheesy Rice
I used store bought shredded carrots, but ground them into smaller pieces in my food processor. This way, the carrot is about the same size as the rice, making for a really nice overall texture. And the addition of the carrots mean that you get extra nutrients in each bite.
Cheesy Rice with Corn
You can also simply stir in thawed frozen sweet corn to the rice, seasonings, and cheese. My kids love this variation and I find that it makes an excellent base for burrito bowls!
What’s the best way to store leftover Cheesy Rice?
Simply store it in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days. Or in a freezer safe container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge and serve warm.
Is there anyway to make non-dairy Cheesy Rice?
I’d love to hear your feedback if you try this recipe so please comment below!Print
Choose one veggie to add to your rice according to what you have on hand or what your family likes best.
- 1 1/2 cups short grain brown rice, sprouted rice, or other white rice
- 2 cups finely chopped broccoli florets, steamed OR 2 cups cauliflower crumbs (or “rice”) OR 2 cups shredded carrots, OR 2 cups thawed frozen corn
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (optional)
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- Place 4 cups water in a large pot and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add the rice and cook for about 20-25 minutes, or until tender. Turn off the heat, cover, and let sit for 5 minutes.
- To make Cheesy Rice with Broccoli, steam the broccoli in a separate pot and stir it into the rice with the butter, salt, garlic powder, and cheese. Serve warm.
- To make Cheesy Rice with Cauliflower, add it to the pot with the rice. Cook the rice as directed on the package, adding 1 cup additional water, until tender. Turn off the heat, cover, and let sit for 5 minutes. Stir in the butter, salt, garlic powder, and cheese. Serve warm.
- To make Cheesy Rice with Carrots, add it to the pot with the rice. Cook the rice as directed on the package, adding 1 cup additional water, until tender. Turn off the heat, cover, and let sit for 5 minutes. Stir in the butter, salt, garlic powder, and cheese. Serve warm.
- To make Cheesy Rice with Corn, cook the rice as directed on the package or until tender. Turn off the heat, cover, and let sit for 5 minutes. Stir in the corn, butter, salt, garlic powder, and cheese. Serve warm.
Store leftovers 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.
When making the cauliflower one, I like to use white rice so the rice and the cauliflower blend together well.
You could also stir in chopped spinach to the cooked rice with the cheese to make a leafy greens version.
Use whichever rice you prefer, adjusting the cooking time according to the directions on the package.
Let the kids eat with a spoon or their hands.
Serve as a vegetarian main dish or with your favorite protein main.