Broccoli Mac and Cheese – One Pot!

This ONE POT Broccoli Mac and Cheese recipe is so creamy and easy to make! Serve it as a savory side dish or add chicken and make it a meal!

Other easy additions include bacon, pulled pork, sausage, ham, hot dogs, and more!

A spoon scooping up creamy broccoli mac and cheese from a saucepan.

It’s hard to believe that a recipe this delicious can be so quick & easy. The perk of making this recipe as a One Pot Meal (aside from having fewer dishes to clean), is that the pasta cooks in chicken broth, which makes it super flavorful. The pasta also releases starch into the sauce as it cooks, which makes the sauce stick right onto it.

There are a ton of different cheese combinations you can use, vegetables and meat choices you can add, and even different pasta options. Let’s get into it:

Ingredients

The bottom of this post also contains recipe card with ingredients and full instructions.

  • 4 Tablespoons Butter
  • 4 Tablespoons Flour
  • 2 cups Milk, any kind
  • 2 cups Half and Half
  • 2 cups Chicken Broth
  • 12 oz. (3/4 lb.) Cavatappi Pasta, see below for other pasta options
  • 2 ½ cups Broccoli Florets
  • 4 cups Sharp Cheddar Cheese, shredded from a block. I use Heluva Good! Sharp Cheddar.

Optional seasoning: [1/4 teaspoon each]: Onion Powder, Garlic Powder, and Paprika.

You may consider using unsalted butter and/or reduced sodium chicken broth in this recipe.


How to Make It

Shred the cheese from a block and set aside.

Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour until golden, about 5 minutes.

Making a roux to make broccoli mac and cheese.

Whisk in the half and half/milk a bit at a time. Add the chicken broth. Bring to a boil.

Adding milk to a dutch oven to make broccoli mac and cheese.

Add the pasta and decrease heat slightly to allow it to boil gently. Stir occasionally, uncovered, for about 7 minutes.

Add broccoli and stir to combine. Cover and cook for 4 more minutes or until pasta is cooked through.

Adding pasta and broccoli to a milk sauce for broccoli mac and cheese.

Remove from heat and gradually sprinkle in the cheese. Use a silicone spatula to gently stir until creamy and combined. Serve!

Stirring cheese into a pot of broccoli mac and cheese.

Make-Ahead Method

  • Cook the pasta until just under Al Dente. 
  • Transfer to a 9 x 13 casserole dish and let it cool completely. Refrigerate for 1-2 days.
  • Let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes prior to baking.
  • Cover and bake for 350° for 30 minutes.
  • Optional: Uncover and top with crushed Ritz crackers or melted butter + breadcrumbs. Bake for an additional 7 minutes.

Substitution Options and Optional Additions

Shred the cheese from a block, it won’t melt well if it’s pre-shredded from a bag. Allow it to come to room temperature prior to mixing into the sauce. This is the secret to an ultimate creamy consistency.

Pasta Options: Medium Shells, Elbow Macaroni, Rotini, Fusilli/Bow Tie Pasta may also be used, just note that the cooking times may vary slightly.

Cheese Options: A combination of  Smoked Gouda, Monterey Jack, Gruyere, Fontina, and Mozzarella may also be used. Note that extra sharp cheddar or aged cheeses won’t melt as well.

Meats to Add

Cooked Chicken, Ham, Pulled Pork, Bacon, Buffalo Chicken, Sausage, Kielbasa, and Hot Dogs.

Vegetables to Add

Corn, Peas, Mushrooms, Spinach, Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Caramelized Onions, Green Onions.

Using all Milk

You can use all milk instead of incorporating half and half, just note that it won’t be as thick. I recommend using whole milk and tempering it in the microwave until warm to ensure it doesn’t curdle when heated.


Storage

Store in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 4 days or freeze for up to 4 months.


What To Serve with Mac and Cheese

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A casserole dish filled with creamy broccoli mac and cheese.

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A spoon in a dutch oven filled with broccoli mac and cheese.

Broccoli Mac and Cheese

5 from 5 votes
This ONE POT Broccoli Mac and Cheese recipe is so creamy and easy to make! Serve it as a savory side dish or add chicken and make it a meal!

Ingredients

  • 4 Tablespoons Butter
  • 4 Tablespoons Flour
  • 2 cups Milk, any kind
  • 2 cups Half and Half
  • 2 cups Chicken Broth
  • 12 ounces Cavatappi Pasta, see below for other pasta options
  • 2 ½ cups Broccoli Florets, fresh or frozen
  • 4 cups Sharp Cheddar Cheese, shredded from a block.

Optional seasoning: [1/4 teaspoon each]: Onion Powder, Garlic Powder, and Paprika.

    Instructions

    • Note: If using frozen broccoli, thaw it and pat it dry prior to adding it to the pasta.
    • Shred the cheese and set aside. It should be near room temperature when added to the pasta. I use Heluva Good! Sharp Cheddar. It melts well and the flavor is great.
    • Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Gradually whisk in the flour. Continue to whisk for about 5 minutes, until it turns golden.
    • Slowly half and half/milk a bit at a time, whisking as you do so. Add chicken broth and optional seasonings.
    • Bring to a boil and stir in the pasta. Reduce heat to a gentle bubble. Stir occasionally, uncovered, for about 7 minutes. Add broccoli and stir to combine. Cover and cook for 4 more minutes or until pasta is cooked through.
    • Remove from heat. Gradually sprinkle in the shredded cheddar. Use a silicone spatula to gently combine as you do so. Serve!

    Notes

     
    Other pasta options include Medium Shells, Elbow Macaroni, Rotini, Fusilli/Bow Tie Pasta. Just note the cooking times may vary slightly.

    Good cheese combinations include Smoked Gouda, Monterey Jack, Gruyere, Fontina, and Mozzarella. Note that extra sharp cheddar or aged cheeses won’t melt as well.
    If Necessary, 

    Make Ahead Method:
    • Cook the pasta until just under Al Dente.
    • Transfer to a 9 x 13 casserole dish and let it cool completely. Refrigerate for 1-2 days.
    • Let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes prior to baking.
    • Cover and bake for 350° for 30 minutes.
    • Optional: Uncover and top with crushed Ritz crackers or melted butter + breadcrumbs. Bake for an additional 7 minutes.

    Nutrition

    Calories: 771kcal, Carbohydrates: 57g, Protein: 33g, Fat: 46g, Saturated Fat: 28g, Cholesterol: 137mg, Sodium: 905mg, Potassium: 595mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 7g, Vitamin A: 1642IU, Vitamin C: 40mg, Calcium: 756mg, Iron: 2mg