And we’re back with Cast-Iron Broccoli and Cheese, another broccoli and cheddar original! Y’all know it’s my favorite combination. If you haven’t tried them already, give my Cheesy Baked Chicken and Broccoli Rice and my Broccoli Chicken and Cheese Hand Pies a whirl.
When I was working on this I was going for the nostalgic flavors and textures of the frozen Jolly Green Giant broccoli and cheese boxes I used to love to see going in the microwave when I was young – that cheesy liquid running all over the plate and dripping from each piece of broccoli included.
This Cast-Iron Broccoli and Cheese tastes pretty much exactly as I remember, with the added bonus of some nice, crispy roasted bits. Tender broccoli florets swimming in a cheesy sauce that runs all over your plate and flavors the rest of your food with broccoli-cheesy goodness?! What’s not to love? If you’re like me at least, and really enjoyed frozen broccoli in your formative years.
I would sometimes make a bag for an afterschool snack, like I was obsessed OK! (Fun fact: I didn’t eat fresh broccoli until I was a teenager, I had only ever had frozen!)
I digress! You’re here for food, not fodder! You can find a video tutorial for this recipe below and on my YouTube channel.
Cast-Iron Broccoli and Cheese Ingredients
Feel free to jump to the full recipe, but here are useful notes about the ingredients and tools you will need to make this Cast-Iron Broccoli and Cheese recipe:
- Fresh Broccoli: I can’t see why frozen broccoli wouldn’t work, but I’m honestly not sure. I like to buy heads of broccoli and slice off the florets, myself. I started with 2 1/2 lbs of broccoli heads for the video and photos accompanying this recipe.
- Extra Sharp Cheddar, Medium Cheddar, Aged Parmesan: I mentioned that I was going for a particular flavor. I played around with a few combinations before I decided this one was perfect.
- Heavy Cream: This, along with melted cheese and the moisture that the broccoli will release as it cooks makes up the zesty cheese sauce the broccoli drowns in.
- Shallot, Garlic: Flavor boosters! You can substitute 1/4 C of minced onion for the shallot if needed.
- Cayenne pepper, kosher salt, cracked black pepper: What’s a savory dish without seasonings? The cayenne doesn’t make it hot, it just gives it a bit of zing. Trust me, don’t omit it if you don’t have to.
- Equipment: 10-12″ Cast Iron Pan or Braiser. You don’t HAVE to use cast-iron, but you should if you can. Here’s all of the equipment I use when I make this recipe in my home:
How to Make Cast-Iron Broccoli and Cheese
Full instructions are included in the recipe below, but here is a basic overview of what you’ll need to do, along with some important tidbits to help you make the most of this recipe:
- Sautee the aromatics. Heat some oil and butter in your cast-iron pan over medium-high heat, and saute the shallot until it starts to become translucent. Reduce the heat to medium, then stir in the garlic. Cook until the garlic is fragrant.
- Season and saute the broccoli. Add the broccoli florets, season to taste with kosher salt – and anything else you want to add – and stir. The broccoli will start to become vibrantly green – that’s when you move on to the next step.
- Add the cream and cheese. Sprinkle in 3/4 of the cheddar cheeses and pour in all of the heavy cream. Stir to combine. This sauce is not thick. It’s not like a sauce you’d pour over anything. Once all of the cheese has melted, remove it from the heat – unless you like soft broccoli. If that’s the case, let it continue to cook for about 5-7 minutes, just until the buds are beginning to wilt.
- Top and bake. We used cast-iron partially so these broccoli and cheese could be transferred to the oven easily. Make sure the broccoli is in as even a layer as it can get. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top, followed by the parmesan. Crack some black pepper on that bad boy and bake it! Or roast it, rather, at 425°F for 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese is browned on top and bubbling at the edges.
Switch it Up
There are endless variations that you can make with this Cast-Iron Broccoli and Cheese recipe, so please feel free to customize yours to taste! For example, you could…
- Crunchy Topping: Think what some people do to their macaroni and cheese: breadcrumbs, crushed Ritz crackers, even fried onions!
- Thicken it Up: If you’d like a thicker sauce, whisk a tablespoon of cornstarch into the heavy cream (it’s easiest to measure out about 2 tablespoons of the heavy cream + mix it with the cornstarch).
- Cheese: Maybe your tastebuds aren’t nostalgic, maybe you just don’t like cheddar cheese. It’s cool! Swap it out for a different one. I’d recommend something sharp, rather than mild tho.
Come back and rate this recipe if you try it! Here’s a graphic for Pinterest:Print