When mid-November rolls around, it’s a given that the kitchen is about to become a whole lot busier as you and your family start churning out countless Thanksgiving recipes, from every type of turkey and dressing to a wide array of casseroles. Who doesn’t love a good Thanksgiving casserole? While a whole bird might be the wow-factor centerpiece, humble casseroles will always be the star of the show in their own way. Not only can you make them ahead of time, but the options are endless.
While the recipes that grace everyone’s Southern table may differ based on family recipes that have been passed down through generations, we can all agree that there are a few casseroles that typically make an appearance in some form, including sweet potato (marshmallow, pecan topped, or both?), green bean, squash, and mac and cheese.
You may assume that one of these famous homemade dishes is the most searched for Thanksgiving casserole in the South, but think again! Hint: It doubles as a weeknight favorite.
What Makes Broccoli Cheese Casserole So Good?
The most searched Thanksgiving casserole in the South is Broccoli Cheese Casserole. If you’re wondering how this potluck and weeknight staple landed itself on a holiday menu, there’s a lot to love about this cheesy, veggie-packed dish that makes it worthy of a spot on your Thanksgiving table.
We have plenty of broccoli casseroles, but this one is especially special-occasion-appropriate. The ultra-creamy consistency comes from our homemade sauce. Rather than using store-bought soup as the base, our recipe calls for sharp cheddar cheese and whole milk, which is then thickened with a flour-and-butter roux. The addition of onion, garlic, mayonnaise, and Dijon mustard jazz things up in the flavor department.
Covered in the cheesy mixture, the broccoli florets perfectly soften without becoming mushy as the dish bakes. And the buttery-cracker topping adds a crunchy finishing touch.
Why Readers Love This Broccoli Cheese Casserole
Thanks to the relatively simple ingredient list, this crowd-pleaser works just as well as a busy Wednesday dinner as it does accompanying a well-dressed turkey on the Thanksgiving buffet. One reader said, “I made this for Thanksgiving and it was a huge hit. I was looking for the quintessential deep South, church potluck broccoli casserole and this fit the bill.”
Made this as a side dish – I’d purchased the broccoli and had to cook it. I was really unenthused about the broccoli but this turned it into an amazing dish. The family loved it. Highly recommend.
Easy substitutions. You can easily adjust the recipe according to what ingredients you already have on-hand or to your taste. It calls for fresh vegetables, but if you already have frozen florets in the freezer, use those. Not a fan of sharp cheddar? Swap for regular cheese—yellow or white works the same.
Mix it up. The best part is you can also choose your own cracker adventure—Ritz crackers, Club crackers, or even flavored ones for extra pizazz. Panko or gluten-free bread crumbs can also be substituted as needed. One reader even suggested adding a little spice saying, “The only change I would make is to give it a little heat with some red pepper flakes.”
Make it ahead. Lastly, this is a great recipe to make a day ahead of time. Just prepare it as directed, cover with aluminum foil, and refrigerate until ready to bake.