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Roasted Broccoli and Homemade Cheese Sauce

Broccoli with cheese sauce is a delicious, homemade, and healthy way to get this reformed picky eater to enjoy roasted broccoli.

broccoli with cheese sauce

Growing up, I hated broccoli.  I also hated pretty much most veggies except carrots, celery, and peas.  Of all the veggies I hated, broccoli was the king. The top of the hit list. The persona non grata of greenness.

Well, I’ve grown up a bit, I’ve matured, and I’ve realized my parents served this veggie hating kid vegetables in the worst possible ways.  We had things steamed, or even worse, frozen vegetables that were then microwaved.  Thank god our family dog liked vegetables because that made life bearable for me.

Had my parents simply built a time machine and were able to see into the future that someday their daughter would love vegetables roasted in a cast iron skillet, why I think life might have been easier for everyone.

The good news is, you don’t need a time machine.  You have this knowledge now.  Hopefully, you also have a cast iron skillet. And if you come across a sad cast off skillet at the thrift shop, consider refurbishing it back to its intended glory.

We roast so many dang vegetables in the Cook household that I even created The Ultimate Guide to Roasting Frozen Vegetables. We love the convenience and how affordable cooking with frozen vegetables is!

I have also included air fryer instructions for those of you who love your air fryer like I do. I will happily make this broccoli with cheese sauce in the skillet or the air fryer depending on the day and the toddler’s level of persnicketiness. Opening my oven when he is feeling adventurous is always a gamble, so I lean towards the air fryer on those days. When he is willing to be chill and stay out of the kitchen when I’m cooking, using the oven on a cold day is a delight.

Every single person in my family prefers their broccoli cooked to a different doneness. Jack, wants it raw. Whatever, I don’t need to battle over broccoli. If he is willing to eat it, he can have it however he wants. Bennett prefers it slightly crispy, Troy wants it a bit crispier, and I want mine nearly burnt. Using either a cast iron skillet or the air fryer allows you to remove individual portions during the cooking process to fit everyone’s’ preferences.

Most days, I prefer my broccoli plain; just roasted with olive oil and a pinch of salt. I don’t make homemade cheese sauce every time I serve broccoli, but from time to time it is a fun treat.

I can’t go back and change the childhood battles I had over eating “little trees”, but I can save you the hassle.  PS, your kids might secretly “pin” Broccoli With Cheese Sauce on your board “Things My Kids Wish I Knew They Liked”.

broccoli with cheese sauce

broccoli with cheese sauce
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Broccoli With Cheese Sauce

Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time20 mins
Broccoli with cheese sauce is a delicious, homemade, real food, and healthy way to get this reformed picky eater to enjoy roasted broccoli.



Cheese Sauce

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk, warmed
  • 1 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese extra sharp gives the best flavor


Skillet Instructions

  • Preheat your cast iron skillet on the stove over medium heat. 
  • Once the skillet is hot to the touch, add the sliver of butter and let it melt completely.
  • Add the broccoli, olive oil, and salt (to taste). Stir to combine, and place in the oven on the top rack with the broiler on high. Set the timer for 5 minutes. 

Cheese Sauce Instructions

  • Meanwhile, put a small saucepan on the same burner where you had the cast iron skillet, and melt 2 tbsp of butter until small bubbles appear. 
  • Add the flour, and whisk quickly to incorporate. Stir often, while letting the butter and flour brown until it becomes a light caramel color.
  • Add a tiny bit of milk, and whisk quickly to combine. Once the milk is fully incorporated, add the rest of the milk slowly, whisking the whole time. Allow it to cook for a few minutes, whisking occasionally.
  • Add the shredded cheese to the pot, and stir to combine. Once the cheese has melted, remove the pan from heat, and continue stirring for another minute. By this time, the oven timer should be about ready to go off. Stir the broccoli, and set the timer for another 5 minutes. 
  • When the broccoli is nice and crispy, remove from the oven. Plate it, and drizzle with cheese sauce. 

Air Fryer Instructions

  • Set the air fryer to 390 degrees.
  • In a medium bowl, toss the broccoli with the olive oil and salt.
  • Add the broccoli to the air fryer basket and set the timer for 10 minutes. Shake the fryer basket after 10 minutes and check for your preferred level of crispiness. If you’d like it crunchier, return basket to air fryer and check every 3 minutes until it meets your “crunchy” standards.


Nutrition Facts
Broccoli With Cheese Sauce
Amount Per Serving
Calories 279
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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11 comments on “Roasted Broccoli and Homemade Cheese Sauce”

  1. I love broccoli plain. But it’s ALWAYS better with cheese!5 stars

  2. Worth a shot. If it could make green stuff go into my 3-year-old’s mouth, it would be worth finding out how to get the shrimp smell out of my cast iron skillet. How in the world do you do that without soap and reseasoning?!?

  3. My hubby and daughter prefer their veggies steamed. Of course, I usually only steam till the veggies are warm because soggy veggies are awful.
    For me, the worst was canned peas. Barf.
    And yes, my cast iron skillet should probably get a raise with how much I use it. At a minimum once a day, but usually more like two or three times a day. Love them!

    • I like a select few veg steamed, but roasted is usually where its at!

      I think we should do a whole “ode to cast iron” week around here. I once had someone comment on my skillet saying it was the “bad” kind of skillet because it wasn’t vintage and it had a bumpy bottom. I thought, “this person has no idea what he is talking about. This skillet gets used almost daily, and food never sticks to it”! “Bad” cast iron is still good cast iron in my opinion.

  4. When we were younger, my mother used to cook fish in the most horrifying manners for a kid. A whole fish, head, teeth and eye and all? Floating fish pieces on disgusting tasting soup? Spines?!! I remember that us eating fish, me and my siblings would watch out for one another and make sure none of us choked and died because a fish spine got stuck in our throat. Yeah, we hated fish… it wasn’t until I moved to the US and started working at a hotel that I opened up to fish. It’s expensive and spoils too fast for me to use more than once every few months, but I wont turn down a well cooked fish.

    • Teeth???? Oh my, I dare say that would never fly in my house.

      Jack isn’t a seafood fan, which I find crazy because I loved it so much growing up. That being said, would catch almost all of it ourselves. I can’t tell you how much time my sister and I spent out in the dingy with my dad checking the crab pots.

  5. My mother used to boil the crap out of frozen broccoli, brussels sprouts and cauliflower. Of course I hated them! Who willingly chooses to eat mushy food???

  6. I don’t know if this counts as eating broccoli, more like cheese sauce with a side of green stuff.