Cheese Sauce for Broccoli Recipe

Wanna know my favorite way to get kids to love broccoli? Cheese Sauce for Broccoli! It’s creamy, delicious and so easy to make. Your family will be fighting for seconds!

An image of a white pot pouring cheese sauce over a bowl of broccoli with a blue towel behind it.

Try some other delicious recipes featuring broccoli and cheese including Broccoli Mac and Cheese, Broccoli Cheddar Quiche and Cheddar and Broccoli Twice Baked Potatoes.

Cheese Sauce for Broccoli

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Growing up, I had always heard that some people don’t like broccoli. This was always baffling to me because I love broccoli and so do my kids! It makes an appearance at least once per week in our dinner rotation and was a main stay in my childhood as well. My favorite way to turn people into broccoli believers is broccoli with cheese.

This is actually my Grandma Eve’s recipe. It’s a pretty simple and quick recipe but it does require a little love. but trust me when I say, your efforts will be well rewarded!

A Fork dipping broccol into a white ramekin of homemade cheese sauce with broccoli behind it.

Tips for how to make cheese sauce and broccoli

  • In general, when you do anything involving milk on your stove top, you’ll want to give it a good amount of attention, stirring constantly so as not to scald the milk. Also, make sure you don’t cook it over anything higher than medium heat.
  • To make the roux whisk melted butter and flour. Cook the flour mixture whisking often for a couple minutes to get rid of the floury flavor- this will thicken your cheese sauce. Once you add the milk, it will thicken into a béchamel sauce which is a creamy white sauce, which is the perfect sauce to add the cheese into.
  • Turn off the heat before you whisk in the shredded cheddar cheese.
  • Be sure to cut your broccoli florets to a similar size for evenly cooked steamed broccoli.
  • A good way to tell that the milk has thickened enough to add the cheese is by sticking a spoon into it. Once it coats the back of a spoon you’re ready for cheese.
  • If you find that its too liquidy, you can make a little more roux (flour and butter mixture) and add it to the sauce over medium low heat until it thickens a bit more.

An overhead image of cheese sauce on steamed broccoli in a grey bowl on a blue towel with a broccoli floret above it.

Can you substitute cheese?

Sure- feel free to change up the cheese. I wrote this out as a cheddar cheese sauce recipe (sharp cheddar cheese is my fav!) but it would taste fantastic with a different cheese subbed in.

How do I make sure my cheese sauce is smooth?

If you can shred cheese yourself, that always melts better but if not, the pre-shredded stuff will also work. And also, full-fat cheeses melt easier than low fat (so indulge a little!).

How do you store cheese sauce?

I’ve found that this is best served right away, as the cheese sauce coagulates in the refrigerator. That said, it can be stored for up to 3 days covered in your refrigerator and can be heated in the microwave (give it a stir half way through). If it feels too thick, whisk in a little milk.

Can you freeze cheese sauce?

I would probably avoid freezing it.

What to serve with cheese sauce?

This is an excellent side dish for many different meals and a great way to get kids interested in the vegetable you serve it with! I can remember many delicious dinners where this cheese sauce was served over cauliflower. I’d imagine it would be a great with any other steamed veggies as well as a quick option for the sauce part of mac and cheese as well. Add some jalapeños or Rotel for a tasty queso or drizzle over baked potatoes. This is always great for dipping soft pretzels!

A fork holding a piece of broccoli that had been dipped in the white bowl of cheese sauce below it and broccoli in the background..

Ingredients for cheese sauce

  • Salted butter
  • Flour
  • Milk
  • Garlic powder
  • Black pepper
  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Steamed broccoli

Ingredients to prep ahead:

  • Shred cheese
  • Cut broccoli

Helpful tools:

  1. Measuring cup
  2. Measuring spoons
  3. Whisk
  4. Saucepan

A bowl of broccoli with cheese sauce on a blue towel with broccoli florets in the background.

5 from 1 vote
A square image of a white pot pouring cheese sauce over a bowl of broccoli with a blue towel behind it.
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
15 mins
Wanna know my favorite way to get kids to love broccoli? Cheese Sauce for Broccoli! It’s creamy, delicious and so easy to make. Your family will be fighting for seconds!
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cheese sauce for broccoli
Servings: 6 servings
Author: Jessy Freimann, The Life Jolie
  • 2 Tablespoon salted butter you can use unsalted, but you may want to add a little salt if you do
  • 2 Tablespoon of flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder optional
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese or any other shredded cheese that you like
  • Steamed broccoli florets
  1. Melt butter in a medium size pan over medium heat. 

  2. Sprinkle in the flour and whisk until combined. 

  3. Let it cook for a minute or two. 

  4. Add milk, garlic powder and pepper. 

  5. Cook until thickened stirring often, about 10 minutes. 

  6. Whisk in your cheese until well combined and serve immediately over the broccoli or the vegetable of your choice.

If you tried this recipe please comment and rate it 🙂 I love hearing your feedback and answering your questions!

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  • Reply
    November 9, 2015 at 9:02 am I made a similar sauce last week, with corn starch and slightly less cheese as the liquid in scalloped potatoes. It was soooo good!
    • Reply
      November 9, 2015 at 10:23 am That sounds amazing!!
  • Reply
    November 9, 2015 at 10:35 am With cheese is the only way I can get my kids to eat broccoli. Like the ease of your recipe, going to try it!
    • Reply
      November 9, 2015 at 11:06 am I hope you all enjoy it!
  • Reply
    Nicole R Thien
    November 13, 2015 at 11:40 am This recipe looks delicious! I will definitely be trying this at our house!
    • Reply
      November 16, 2015 at 11:18 am Thank you- I hope you enjoy it!
  • Reply
    Aspen Jay
    November 16, 2015 at 12:53 pm Hi Jessy, Yummmmm! Nothing like broccoli and cheese! Thanks for sharing this recipe with us at Talented Tuesday. Cheers, AJ
    • Reply
      November 16, 2015 at 4:33 pm Thank you :)
  • Reply
    Amber Chavez
    March 10, 2019 at 9:31 pm I made this sauce for the 1st time ever. I love it so does my husband. I added 1/2 cup more cheese just to use it up. . So good. Thank you!
    • Reply
      Jessy Freimann
      March 17, 2019 at 11:50 pm Thanks Amber- I'm so glad you loved it! Extra cheese is ALWAYS a good idea :)
  • Reply
    February 25, 2020 at 11:58 pm Does the cheese keep in the fridge if you don’t use it all?
    • Reply
      Jessy Freimann
      February 26, 2020 at 9:25 am Hi Hilary- This is definitely best enjoyed right away as the cheese tends to coagulate once it cools. That said, if you end up saving it then I'd encourage you to heat it over medium heat and whisk in a little more milk to try and make it creamier. Hopefully that works- please let me know how ti turns out!
  • Reply
    August 4, 2020 at 5:08 pm Okay... I’m not patient- haha!! We are gluten and soy and lactose.... I used 2 and a half tablespoons of almond flour and lactose free milk - worked perfectly like a charm.... only I get like it took forever to get thick but I was stirring as my barely walking baby was grasping onto on my legs and pulling my shorts almost off.. as my 9 year old was crying as she was scared of practicing with her EPI PEN. Real life y’all- added it instantly to our broccoli with chicken. Yuuuuum!
    • Reply
      Jessy Freimann
      August 8, 2020 at 12:58 pm Haha I feel you there, Mama! Wouldn't it be great if milk (even dairy free) could warm up over higher heat without scalding? I wish! Either way, I'm glad you enjoyed it :)

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