Broccoli-Rice Casserole (No Canned Soup)

broccoli rice post

Seems like “retro week” here on Salad in a Jar. In addition to Ice Cream Balls with Hot Fudge Sauce for dessert, we need a vegetable side dish for Easter dinner. This is one of my oldest son’s favorite dishes so this recipe is for my lovely-both-inside-and-out daughter-in-law if she chooses to accept the task. My son will be excited to see it on the buffet…and I think you will be pleased with it too, especially if you are a broccoli fan. I’m guessing many people go for it judging from its frequent appearance at potlucks in these parts.

ingredient storyboard

You may be familiar with the version using cream of mushroom, celery or chicken soup. Some call for Cheese Whiz too. Yikes! Not my style–although I’m not averse to keeping a few cans of soup in the pantry for emergencies. I wanted a recipe that was fresh all the way. By making the sauce from scratch, I could control the fat and salt content. (Don’t worry–it’s not hard.)

A few side notes:
1. If you are feeding reluctant broccoli eaters, chop the broccoli finely. Personally, I like bigger pieces for textural interest.
2. Add milk or cream a tablespoon at a time to broccoli-rice mixture if it seems too thick before you bake it.
3. Any kind of rice will work. Jasmine is my favorite.

Besides cleaning and chopping the broccoli (you can substitute frozen–cooked and drained), the sauce is the most labor-intensive step. I make sauces in my microwave so I don’t have to worry about burning or sticking. But for those of you who would rather stand over a hot stove, I’ve included instructions both ways.

In regards to the microwave, I would love to know your opinion. I know many chefs and restaurants are negative about them but I personally think they are a modern miracle for the home cook WHEN USED CORRECTLY AND CAREFULLY. In fact, I have two of them in my kitchen. They are one of my skinny secrets because they help make healthy eating convenient–a very important principle for me.


broccoli storyboard

Before and after cooking

cream sauce storyboard

Making sauce in microwave. Last picture compared to making in a skillet

Broccoli-Rice Casserole (No Canned Soup)
Recipe type: Side
Serves: 10
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Traditional Broccoli-Rice Casserole with mushrooms but no canned soup
  • 4 cups (10 ounces) fresh broccoli florets and stems, chopped (stems should be VERY finely chopped)
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • ¼ cup chopped onions
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ¾ cup minced mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 12-ounce can 2% or regular evaporated milk
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon white pepper
  • 2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese (can use any cheese you like here, I like to use some smoked Provolone or Gouda if available)
  • 1¼ cup cooked rice
  1. Steam or microwave (about 3 minutes on HIGH) chopped broccoli and stems until tender but still bright green. Squeeze lemon over broccoli.
  2. Melt butter in skillet. Add onions, garlic, celery and mushrooms and saute until softened. Stir in flour and cook about one minute to take away the raw flour taste. Whisk in milk and continue whisking until slightly thickened. Season with salt and pepper. Add 1½ cup cheese and stir to melt.
  3. [Microwave directions for Step 2] Add butter, onions, celery and mushrooms to 2 quart batter bowl. Cover and microwave on HIGH for 5 minutes. Add flour to vegetables and stir. Whisk in milk and cook uncovered on HIGH for 6-7 minutes. Whisk after 4 minutes and once a minute thereafter to even out the cooking. Season with salt and pepper. Add 1½ cup cheese and stir to melt. Sauce will thicken more as it sits.
  4. Combine broccoli, rice, and cheese sauce. Turn into 1½ quart greased casserole dish. Sprinkle with remaining ½ cup cheese. Bake at 350 degrees F until bubbly.
If this is going to be sitting for any length of time before baking, add at least ¼ cup of milk (maybe more) to make up for all the moisture the rice absorbs.


Amount Per Serving
Calories 259
Calories from Fat 114
Total Fat 12.7g
Saturated Fat 7.8g
Cholesterol 40mg
Sodium 324mg
Total Carbohydrates 25.7g
Dietary Fiber 1.4g
Sugars 4.4g

baked broccoli-rice

 Related Posts:

Cilantro Hominy Rice

Southwestern Jasmine Rice

Cheesy Rice Pilaf

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{ 60 comments… read them below or add one }

Kristi March 16, 2012 at 2:51 am

I just made this last night, using the stovetop directions. I was able to use twice the amount of rice, and it turned out tasty. I used regular evap milk for the first time, and won’t do that again, as I realized it is quite high in fat. Has anyone tried this using regular milk? Next time I think I will use brown rice, and cover the dish while baking for at least half the time, as the cheese got quite brown before the rice was completely hot.


Valeria March 6, 2012 at 7:57 am

Thanks for this recipe. “No can soup” Looking forward to making it


Betsey March 6, 2012 at 7:16 am

That looks really good! And I love your photo montages. : )


Scarlett February 15, 2012 at 11:36 am

I just subscribed to your website. Ha, I don’t even know the right terminology- but let’s just say I am excited about it!!! I made this casserole last week and made it again today. I buy broccoli florets from Schwann’s (because they have only florets and are top quality). They come in steamable baggies. Well…usually I have leftover- and usually trash them after a day or two. WELL, then I found your recipe. I modified it only slightly (leaving out the mushrooms because I didn’t have any on hand). It is wonderful! THANK YOU!


Paula February 16, 2012 at 4:53 am

Glad to hear from you. My mom used to buy from Schwann’s when I was a kid. They had the best ice cream. Didn’t know they had good broccoli. Anyway, glad you like the casserole. It’s adaptable as you have already figured out. paula


Scarlett February 7, 2012 at 12:19 pm

This is amazing!!!!!


Karen February 4, 2012 at 9:41 pm

I made it gluten free by using corn starch instead of the flour. You will need to boil the milk then add the cornstarch mixed with a little liquid. I also used almond milk instead of the milk and american/swiss/provolone for the cheese.


Paula February 6, 2012 at 10:09 am

Karen, Thanks for your suggestions to make this gluten-free. I always have almond milk in the house, too, so will try that. Thanks for writing. pr


Tami February 2, 2012 at 6:12 am

P.S. Pinning this recipe on Pinterest!


Tami February 2, 2012 at 6:08 am

I too, am so happy to find your recipe for BRC without the soup! We’ve had this dish at family gatherings for over 35 years…all with soup! Ha! So, needless to say, I’m anxious to give this a go. I also love that the sauce can be made in the micro. I always make custard from scratch, mind you, in the microwave. I mix the milk, sugar, corn starch and egg yolks in a bowl and nuke it at one minute intervals, stirring with a whisk after every minute. In about 10-15 minutes I have a lovely smooth custard for puddings or pies. (amazing what you can get done in between those minute intervals!) Anyway, thanks for the recipe! –Tami


Vinita January 25, 2012 at 4:37 pm

Delicious, healthy and easy! What more could I ask for? Just made it and loving it-hoping the kids love it at dinnertime too! Thanks!


Janet January 18, 2012 at 9:57 am

Hi Paula,
Thanks for the good advice..I also eat plenty of fruit and salads…..and I absolutely love your website, thank you for sharing your knowledge and experience with all who venture outside the box (or soup can). Looking forward to all of your future postings.

yer fren


Paula January 18, 2012 at 6:57 am

Hi Janet, Perhaps you read my previous comment on this post to another reader so I won’t go over it again. I would just say in response to your question about enzymes….frankly, I’ve got better things to worry about. For me, I eat plenty of fresh fruit and veggies (like salad in a jar) and avoid eating out too much. If I lose a few enzymes, I don’t really care. The microwave actually allows me to eat much healthier in general. Because it is so fast, I can make my own food from scratch that most people buy already processed in the store or just go out to eat because the stove-top method is too difficult or time-consuming. I could go on about the inconsistencies of most people in their diet choices but I’ll stop since I have several myself. We’re complicated, aren’t we? Thanks for writing.


Janet January 17, 2012 at 3:01 pm

Paula, It’s so nice to find a recipe without canned soup in it…you are so right about eliminating the heavy sodium by making the soup base yourself. I DO NOT have one can of soup in my pantry….it’s easier to make than driving to the mega mart to buy it…BUT, I wanted to tell you that I have read that microwaves not only destroy vitamins (but so does cooking conventionally) but it also destroys ENZYMES….tell me what you know about that so I don’t have to feel guilty for using my microwave.
Love your website
sincerely yer nu fren Janet….(I didn’t misspell that, I’m from the Ozarks)


soma July 14, 2017 at 7:16 pm

Anything cooked hotter than 115 degrees kills enzymes. to avoid killing vitamins and killing enzymes you need to go on a raw food diet


Beverly January 10, 2012 at 5:47 pm

Although convenient, the problem with microwaves is that they destroy most of the nutrients…especially in vegetables. Steaming is still best.


Paula January 10, 2012 at 6:17 pm

Hi Beverly, Thanks for dropping by. As you can imagine, I disagree with your stance on microwaves from several angles but we each have to study and read to discern who to believe on the issue since few of us have the resources or knowledge to actually determine the risks and benefits ourselves. Since my degree is in Home Economics, i have completed several nutrition courses which does not make me a scientist but does make me leary about a lot of things I see, hear, and read, epecially on the internet. I could get on my soapbox but I have a feeling we may have to agree to disagree on this one. Cordially, paula


Tina December 9, 2011 at 2:55 pm

I’m so thrilled to find a recipe that’s NOT using processed foods!!! I’m making this as part of our Christmas dinner!!! Can’t wait!!


Lynda November 24, 2011 at 1:10 am

Thank you for posting. I was looking for a “by scratch” casserole for Thanksgiving. My sister-in-law normally makes the broccoli casserole, but she is out of town this Thanksgiving, so I volunteered. This is my first attempt at making the casserole and was so disappointed to see all the canned food in most recipes. Happy Thanksgiving!


Amanda November 18, 2011 at 12:46 pm

Ha! Nevermind, I just realized that it was the microwave/stove versions, sorry!


Amanda November 18, 2011 at 12:42 pm

I’m confused. It says to add flour and 1 1/2 cups of cheese to the onion and garlic, etc. Then it says to add it again later in the recipe in the microwave. So the ingredients don’t match up with the amount in the recipe!!! Was something repeated twice by accident?


julie November 14, 2011 at 5:55 am

looks delish! what is the serving size for the nutritional info?


Carol November 3, 2011 at 2:13 pm

The only thing that’s a faster turn-off for me than canned soup in a recipe is Cheez-Whiz. I’m so tickled to find a broccoli-rice recipe that doesn’t use either. Thanks for sharing – I’m making this tonight!


Melody June 19, 2011 at 11:34 am

This looks great. Will make it this week for dinner but will sub in Quinoa for rice to add more protein to the meal.


Eryka June 2, 2011 at 2:22 pm

This sounds great. Would you happen to know the nutritional information for this recipe?


Paula June 4, 2011 at 8:24 pm

Eryka, I have added nutritionals for this dish. Serving size is everything, of course.


Katie April 17, 2011 at 4:19 pm

Turned out great!


Sheri April 11, 2011 at 8:55 am

Hey I love this! My husband and I are on salt resticted diet, so this is perfect! I can just adjust the amount of salt for us! I love using the microwave for whatever I can!! I am just starting to cook again after cooking very little when my 4 kids left home! I can actually cook something and no kids to complain!!


Betty April 5, 2011 at 3:00 pm

I am so excited to try this recipe. I do not like cooking with canned soup so this is great. Thanks for sharing.


augusta February 28, 2011 at 6:32 pm

Great idea!!! So yummy, another website for me to be obsessed with 🙂


Emily February 25, 2011 at 7:49 am

Yum Yum! Thank you for posting a recipe using natural ingredients (sans Cheese Wiz & condensed soups)!!! My husband and I really enjoyed it & our 17 month old even ate a few bites!


Susan H February 10, 2011 at 4:49 pm

I love that you added a microwave recipe! I too use my microwave instead of my oven as much as possible, and unless I tell people they never know the difference; Even the ones who swear they hate the taste and texture of microwaved foods. It’s all about knowing what works and what doesnt.

I haven’t tried this recipe, but I make something similar and was looking for a sauce recipe- and this one looks great! Thanks again!


Laura February 1, 2011 at 8:53 pm

Ok! the family loved this. Made a few small changes due to what was in the pantry…subsituted 1/2 cup chicken broth for 1/2 cup milk. No mushrooms (hubby’s request) and added gf bread crumbs to the top instead of extra cheese. The kids, 6 and 3 both had seconds. Thanks so much. This one’s a keeper.


Paula February 2, 2011 at 3:36 pm

The changes you made sound wonderful. Will try them myself–except for the mushrooms which I love. But I’m sure there are many people like your husband regarding the little fungi.


Laura February 1, 2011 at 4:46 pm

Thanks so much for a homemade version of this casserole. I try to serve gluten free; fresh dinners and all the other recipies use canned soup which contain wheat. Trying it tonight, Thanks!


Janis January 16, 2011 at 2:10 pm

Thanks for this. I loved this as a kid, but when I grew up and read the ingredient list I’ve never made it. Now, I’m very excited to try! Thanks!!


Mike Hirsch December 15, 2010 at 7:48 am

I am going to cook this at DOG (Dutch Oven Gathering) for our Christmas Party on Sunday. I will do it all in our cast iron dutch ovens using charcoal to fuel them. I hunted until I found a recipe without canned soups. And I am very much with Shirley Binner (Posting from 12/14) in that I do not use microwaves very much for the same reasons she has completely eliminated hers. I occasionally warm some butter in mine or heat up a quick leftover but our microwave runs less than 5 minutes a week I would think.


Shirley Binner December 14, 2010 at 12:55 pm

A few years ago I started cooking about 95% organically, I had been using fresh & homemade for a long time–avoiding preservatives and artificial ingredients. I used to cook everything in the microwave–from baking hams to cooking rice. Then my friend pointed out the controversy over microwave cooking destroying nutrients. After some internet research, I decided to stop microwaving completely, even to boil water or warm up food. That was almost two years ago, and I don’t “miss” my microwave at all. I keep my two year old granddaughter, and I don’t want to risk losing nutrients for her (or my husband and I). Thanks for the recipe, and I love that you have a Bible verse posted. Christmas blessings to you!


Sarah November 2, 2012 at 10:44 am

I haven’t used my microwave in a year after finding the same information. I agree, the microwave is convenient, but not a good idea if you are trying to be healthy.


Minnie P January 17, 2013 at 4:50 pm

I tossed my microwave right after college. Four years later and I don’t miss or regret it. In fact, it’s opened me up to so many different cooking styles and methods; it also forces me to plan my meals in advance as I can’t do a quick defrost. Love it. But, I definitely get weird looks when people find out. I think some people think it’s a judgment and are waiting for me to “attack” when I mention it. No judgment, here — just personal preference. 🙂


Paula January 18, 2013 at 8:16 am

Hi Minnie,
Love your attitude. Not everybody is as tolerant. Enjoy cooking without a microwave and I’ll enjoy using mine and we’re both happy. Thanks for writing.


Hayleigh November 3, 2010 at 8:34 pm

Thank you! I usually cook broccoli casserole at Thanksgiving, and I’ve been on the hunt down for a canned soup-less, velveeta-free recipe. I can’t wait to try this!

I also love that you included microwave directions. I’ll be living in a dorm for the next two years, and have been looking for some things I can cook without a stove or oven. It seems like everyone thinks college kids are meant to live off of Ramen and Easy Mac.


Ann Baker October 10, 2010 at 8:40 am

Can anyone please tell me approximately how many adults this would serve as a side dish? We are having a dinner party for 8 this weekend and were planning on serving this as part of our “70’s” theme night. Thrilled to find a version of this recipe that doesn’t use canned soup and processed cheese!


Paula October 10, 2010 at 12:17 pm

I would plan on it serving 6-8. Kinda depends how much other food you have. If it’s a party with lots of food. It would easily feed 10.
Hope you enjoy.


diana June 23, 2010 at 1:11 am

good post….nice recipe….looks yummy…..i’ll try it soon.


Jessica May 10, 2010 at 5:26 pm

Thank you so much! I have terrible food allergies- (soy, corn, yeast, etc.) all of which are in those “cream of…” soups in a can. But this is one of my favorite dishes, and I’ve been missing it. Now I can make an even better version! Yea!


Desa May 1, 2010 at 2:40 pm

This looks great. I have been looking for a recipe that does not have canned soup!! I will br trying the recipe today. Thanks for the post


Susan April 3, 2010 at 8:55 pm

Looks fabulous! We love broccoli here and I can’t wait to try this for dinner one night.


Amanda April 2, 2010 at 2:41 pm

This looks marvelous! LOVE that there’s no condensed soup 🙂


Susie April 2, 2010 at 1:38 pm

sounds yummy! i will have to give this a try sometime. for now, i’ll enjoy yours on easter! 🙂


Melissa April 1, 2010 at 6:35 pm

I like the idea of using the microwave for as much as possible, but it’s definitely not a method of cooking that I would first think to use. I’m learning from you though, and trying to incorporate more microwave use into my meal prep.

Having not utilized the microwave for anything other than reheating leftovers until I began frequenting your site, I don’t have much cookware well suited for microwave use (Love your glass batter bowl with lid, I need to find one of those).

For example, I’ve started making your greek yogurt at least twice a week (God bless you for sharing that recipe, by the way!!!!!!!!!!) and I always use one of my big ceramic mixing bowls (covered with cling during the incubation stage in the oven). But, the bowl is really too tall in the microwave to be able to reach a spoon into it and stir. I think I’d enjoy using the microwave a bit more if I found a few pieces of suitable cookware.


Romaine April 1, 2010 at 5:57 pm

You can make this ahead then refrigerate or freeze. Wrap well. Just be careful not to overcook the broccoli in the beginning.


Rebecca April 1, 2010 at 3:34 pm

Could you make this ahead? I too am having Easter dinner after church – will be cooking the potatoes when i get home – thought I could have this made up and cook at the same time. How well do you think it would hold up in the fridge over night? Or is it quick enough to make when we get home using the microwave instructions?


Sue April 1, 2010 at 8:42 am

Broccoli is my favorite vegetable – so I’m looking forward to trying this, without the gloppy and heavy-sodium canned soup!
I’ve never practiced using my microwave to actually cook most foods, so I don’t have a lot of confidence. I do love it for steaming veggies, melting chocolate & butter, heating leftovers, etc. I enjoy seeing instructions for using the microwave and the bread machine. Both are very under-used in my kitchen.


Gina April 1, 2010 at 8:18 am

This looks good, I’ll have to try it – it looks like something Allen would really enjoy. For some reason, I prefer cooking on the stove rather than in the microwave, although I should probably try more microwave cooking. I do cook sweet potatoes in the microwave, and last week cooked potatoes in the microwave for potato salad. I also make tapioca pudding in the microwave. Other than that, I generally use it for reheating food.


justine April 1, 2010 at 7:09 am

I really like the idea of not used canned soup- it’s always sad (and gross) to see soup come out in a glop. Also I definately use the microwave to cook because I live in a dorm at school and the only time I have access to a stove/oven is at home!


Michelle @ Italian Mama Chef April 1, 2010 at 6:15 am

This looks and sounds great. I detest those cream soup recipes and have been searching for a suitable alternative. Thanks for posting this.


Aileen April 1, 2010 at 5:57 am

Very nice ! Always nice to leave out the ‘processed’ – makes things taste so much better 🙂


Brandie April 1, 2010 at 2:02 am

This looks fabulous! I’m definitely gonna give this a try soon.


mike April 1, 2010 at 1:34 am

A great dish and a great post! I love broccoli, although I’ve never had the cheesey-broccoli Campbell’s soup. 🙂 This looks like a terrific side dish (and not just for Easter). I need to try some rice milk – that will be a first! My microwave is a beast – it has 2 oven racks and a myriad of cooking buttons. I heat water for espresso, melt chocolate (on low – otherwise I burn it), warm potatoes, defrost frozen egg whites, defrost chicken (and a pair of icy gloves once). I’ve never actually cooked a dinner (per se) in it though…. I need t look at the manual. Oh – it makes GREAT pastry cream!


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