Easy Broccoli With Cheese Sauce

Easy broccoli cheese recipe

The Spruce / Chosen Posture

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 12 mins
Total: 22 mins
Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
219 Calories
14g Fat
12g Carbs
12g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 219
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 14g 18%
Saturated Fat 8g 40%
Cholesterol 46mg 15%
Sodium 839mg 36%
Total Carbohydrate 12g 4%
Dietary Fiber 3g 9%
Total Sugars 6g
Protein 12g
Vitamin C 49mg 246%
Calcium 837mg 64%
Iron 1mg 6%
Potassium 428mg 9%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This simple cheese sauce transforms everyday broccoli into a glorious side dish. You'll have it ready in no time, and your whole family will love it, kids included, because who can resist a creamy cheese sauce? 

You can use either frozen or fresh broccoli spears or florets. Frozen broccoli often comes in spears, which consist of the florets with a section of the stem.

The recipe gives you the choice of steaming the broccoli or boiling it. You can steam broccoli in a pan, a steamer basket, or in the microwave. Steaming broccoli is a more gentler method than boiling because it is removed from the boiling water and not immersed in it. Steaming broccoli also retains its crisp texture and brighter color better than boiling. 

If you are using fresh broccoli, make sure that you cut or break the broccoli into evenly sized pieces or sections. If you don’t want to use the broccoli stems, there is no need to throw them out. Peel them and use them for another dish, such as a stir-fry.

This recipe calls for American cheese, a super performer when it comes to melting. This is because American cheese contains emulsifiers that prevent the milk proteins from separating from the milk fat when the cheese is heated. It is a processed cheese with a very low melting point, and that’s why it is often the first choice for grilled cheese sandwiches or cheeseburgers. In this recipe, it only takes a few minutes and a little extra milk for American cheese to melt into a thick, smooth cheese sauce.

The use of onion powder in this recipe is not only convenient—it saves you chopping the onion and possibly tearing up—but it is also a way to get a subtle onion flavor into the dish without risking rejection by picky young eaters who don’t like little bits of onion in their food. If you are someone who likes to make things from scratch, you can also make your own onion powder

For a little added heat, add a pinch of cayenne pepper or a dash of hot sauce to the cheese sauce, but that’s optional. 

Serve the broccoli and the cheese sauce separately so everyone at the dinner table can spoon as much sauce over the broccoli as they like.


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  • 1 pound fresh broccoli spears, or florets

  • 12 ounces shredded or cubed American cheese

  • 2/3 cup milk

  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder

  • Kosher salt, to taste

  • Freshly ground black pepperto taste

  • Dash ground cayenne, or hot sauce, optional

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Steam or boil broccoli following package instructions. 

  3. If using fresh broccoli, steam in a covered saucepan over simmering water for 4 to 5 minutes, just until tender. 

  4. In a medium saucepan or saucier over medium heat, combine cheese, milk, and onion powder. Heat, stirring frequently, until cheese is melted, and mixture is smooth, about 7 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste, plus ground cayenne or hot sauce if desired.

  5. Pour sauce over broccoli arranged on a serving platter or in a bowl, or serve sauce separately.