Can you put raw broccoli in a casserole?

Yes, you can absolutely put raw broccoli in a casserole. Broccoli holds up well to cooking and casseroles provide enough moisture and heat to cook the broccoli thoroughly. There are a few things to keep in mind when adding raw broccoli to a casserole:

Should you pre-cook the broccoli?

You don’t need to pre-cook raw broccoli before adding it to a casserole. The broccoli will cook through as the casserole bakes. However, you may want to consider blanching or steaming the broccoli for 1-2 minutes if using a recipe with a shorter baking time. This helps ensure the broccoli cooks through and doesn’t end up crunchy.

Cut the broccoli into small, even pieces

Cutting the broccoli into bite-sized florets will help it cook evenly. Larger pieces may end up underdone in the center. Aim for florets no more than 1 inch across.

Consider the texture

Raw broccoli will soften but still retain some texture when cooked in a casserole. If you prefer very soft broccoli, you may want to steam it briefly before adding to the casserole. For a little crunch, use raw broccoli.

Add it towards the end

If cooking a casserole that requires a long baking time, add the broccoli during the last 20-30 minutes. This prevents it from getting overcooked and mushy.

Toss it with other ingredients

Coat the raw broccoli with a little oil or sauce before adding to the casserole. This will help the flavors stick to the broccoli and prevent it from drying out.

Season it

Season raw broccoli with salt, pepper, garlic powder, or other spices of your choice. The seasonings will rub directly into the broccoli and infuse it with lots of flavor.

Examples of casseroles with raw broccoli

Here are a few recipe ideas that use raw broccoli:

  • Broccoli cheese casserole – Add raw broccoli to a cheese sauce and bake until tender.
  • Broccoli chicken divan – Toss raw broccoli with chicken and a creamy sauce, top with cheese.
  • Broccoli rice casserole – Mix raw broccoli into rice, soup, cheese, and seasonings.
  • Broccoli ham casserole – Layer raw broccoli, ham, and cheese sauce in a baking dish.

What kind of broccoli works best?

Any type of broccoli can be used raw in casseroles, but here are a few varieties to consider:

  • Broccolini – The slender stems and small florets cook quickly.
  • Broccoli florets – Uniform pieces cook evenly.
  • Broccoli rabe – The more bitter flavor holds up to bold casserole ingredients.
  • Purple broccoli – Adds vivid color as well as nutrients like vitamin C.

Should other vegetables be precooked?

Most firm vegetables like carrots, cauliflower and sweet potatoes should be partially cooked before adding to a casserole. Softer vegetables like mushrooms, tomatoes and zucchini can be added raw.

Guidelines for common casserole vegetables:

Vegetable Raw or Cooked
Broccoli Can be added raw
Carrots Better if blanched or roasted first
Cauliflower Better if blanched or roasted first
Sweet potatoes Should be partially cooked first
Potatoes Should be partially cooked first
Mushrooms Can be added raw
Spinach Can be added raw
Zucchini Can be added raw
Tomatoes Can be added raw

Should you parboil other ingredients like pasta or rice?

Pasta and rice absorb a lot of liquid as they cook. Parboiling them before adding to a casserole helps ensure they don’t end up dry and overcooked.

Guidelines for cooking grains:

Ingredient Precooking Method
Dry pasta Boil for 2-3 minutes until pliable but not fully cooked
Fresh pasta No need to parboil
White rice Parboil for 5 minutes
Brown rice Parboil for 15 minutes
Barley Parboil for 10 minutes
Quinoa No need to parboil

What liquid is best for broccoli casseroles?

The liquid provides moisture to cook the broccoli as well as flavor. Some excellent options include:

  • Milk – Evaporated or regular milk adds richness and tenderizes broccoli.
  • Cheese sauce – A velvety cheese sauce coats broccoli wonderfully.
  • Broth – Chicken or vegetable broth provides moisture and savory depth.
  • Wine or beer – For grown-up casseroles, use white wine or beer as the cooking liquid.
  • Cream – Heavy or light cream makes a smooth, luscious base.

What seasonings complement broccoli?

Broccoli’s earthy, slightly sweet flavor pairs well with all kinds of seasonings. Some top picks include:

  • Garlic – Fresh or powdered garlic adds a powerful punch.
  • Lemon – Brightens up broccoli’s flavor.
  • Parmesan – A sprinkling of salty Parmesan takes broccoli to the next level.
  • Cheddar – Melty, buttery cheddar cheese makes broccoli irresistible.
  • Paprika – A pinch of sweet or smoked paprika enhances the natural flavor.
  • Red pepper flakes – A little heat goes a long way.

What are good mix-ins for broccoli casseroles?

In addition to broccoli, add extra flavor and nutrition by mixing in:

  • Shredded chicken
  • Crumbled bacon
  • Sauteed mushrooms
  • Sliced almonds
  • Caramelized onions
  • Diced ham
  • Melted cheese
  • Breadcrumbs or cracker topping

What are the best cheeses for broccoli casseroles?

Cheese adds a creamy, gooey factor to broccoli casseroles. The best options include:

  • Cheddar – Classic, crowd-pleasing cheddar is always a safe bet.
  • Monterey Jack – Melty and mildly flavored Monterey Jack blends beautifully.
  • Swiss – The distinctive nutty flavor complements broccoli’s earthiness.
  • Gruyere – For a sophisticated flair, use nutty, rich Gruyere cheese.
  • Fontina – Fontina’s piquant flavor and creamy melting texture make it a stellar choice.
  • Parmesan – Sharper, hard Parmesan adds a tasty punch of umami.
  • Mozzarella – Fresh mozzarella adds stretchy, ooey-gooey appeal.
  • American – Kids will love the classic melted American cheese and broccoli duo.

What are good casserole dishes for broccoli casseroles?

The casserole dish itself impacts the cooking process. Ideal baking dishes for broccoli casseroles include:

  • Ceramic – Distributes heat slowly and evenly for thorough cooking.
  • Glass – Allows you to see the browning on top as it bakes.
  • Cast iron – Retains heat very well for crispy edges and bubbly interiors.
  • Metal – Heats up rapidly but can lead to hot spots.
  • 9×13 dish – The large surface area means more crispy edges to enjoy.
  • Shallow 2 quart – Quickly browns the top but may dry out the broccoli.
  • Deep 3 quart – Takes longer to cook but keeps ingredients tender.

What are the keys to preventing soggy broccoli casseroles?

A few simple tips will help keep your broccoli casserole from turning into a watery mess:

  • Drain any excess liquid from cooked broccoli before adding to the casserole.
  • Pat down raw broccoli with paper towels to remove moisture.
  • Avoid overcrowding the dish, which inhibits evaporation.
  • Let casserole stand 5-10 minutes after baking to let moisture redistribute.
  • Bake uncovered or tent lightly with foil to allow steam to escape.
  • Stir in some breadcrumbs to absorb excess moisture.
  • Add extra cheese on top for a barrier against sogginess.

What are good substitutes if you don’t have broccoli?

If you don’t have broccoli on hand, try swapping in one of these tasty alternatives:

  • Cauliflower florets
  • Green beans
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Asparagus
  • Peas
  • Zucchini
  • Spinach
  • Kale

How can you make broccoli casseroles more nutritious?

Broccoli is already loaded with valuable vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Boost the nutrition even further by:

  • Adding nuts like almonds or walnuts for protein and healthy fats.
  • Mixing in whole grains like brown rice, quinoa or barley.
  • Swapping regular milk for unsweetened almond milk.
  • Using reduced-fat cheese and cream.
  • Seasoning with fresh herbs instead of salt.
  • Topping with panko breadcrumbs for extra crunch without fat.
  • Using Greek yogurt instead of sour cream.

What are some recipe hacks for the best broccoli casseroles?

Use these pro tips and tricks to take your broccoli casserole to the next level:

  • Toast the breadcrumbs or crumb topping for crunch.
  • Saute aromatics like garlic and onion before adding to the casserole.
  • Mix in a few squeezes of fresh lemon juice.
  • Add hot sauce or a pinch of red pepper flakes for a little kick.
  • Stir in some crisp cooked bacon for savory goodness.
  • Use a combo of cheeses like cheddar and Parmesan.
  • Fold in some sauteed mushrooms with the broccoli.
  • Top with buttery seasoned panko breadcrumbs before baking.


Raw broccoli can absolutely be used in casseroles with delicious results. Add it straight to the dish or give it a quick steam to help it cook through. Cut broccoli into small, even pieces for the best texture. Combine it with saucy ingredients like cheese, broth and seasonings to prevent dryness. Top and bake the casserole in a high quality baking dish until hot and bubbly. With a few simple tricks, you can enjoy tender, flavorful broccoli in your next hearty casserole.

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