Broccoli gratin with blue cheese. Ooooh baby, this is how we like our broccoli. Buried in a not-too-rich sauce with a hint of heat from cayenne and ample oomph from pungent blue cheese. The make-it-in-advance trick doesn’t do anything to dissuade us, either.
The broccoli is first steamed until tender, then cloaked with cheese sauce and topped with buttery crumbs for baking. You can steam the broccoli and prepare the sauce in advance, then finish and bake the dish just before serving.
Why Our Testers Loved This
What’s not to love about broccoli smothered in a blue cheese sauce and topped with crispy bread crumbs? Our testers were singing the praises of this outstanding broccoli au gratin recipe, particularly that it’s an “easy side dish”, and that the tang of blue cheese really elevates the tender broccoli.
Notes on Ingredients
- Broccoli–Choose medium-sized heads here; about 14 ounces (400 g) each.
- Unsalted butter–If you need to substitute salted butter, cut back the salt in the recipe to 1/4 teaspoon.
- Bread crumbs–If you prefer a crunchier topping, you could substitute panko for the bread crumbs.
- Blue cheese–A mild, creamy blue cheese works best in this recipe.
How to Make This Recipe
- Heat the oven to 350F. Coat your baking or gratin dish with butter.
- Steam the broccoli. Cook the broccoli until tender, then rinse under cold water, and chop.
- Toast the bread crumbs. Cook the bread in butter until golden and crisp.
- Make the blue cheese sauce. Make a roux with the butter, flour, and milk, then stir in the blue cheese until melted.
- Assemble the gratin. Combine the broccoli and blue cheese sauce, then arrange in the baking dish and top with the toasted bread crumbs. Baking until bubbling and golden.
A gratin is a vegetable or pasta dish that is made with a cheese sauce and is sometimes topped with crispy bread crumbs. Potato gratin is the most common, but gratins can be made with almost any vegetable, like this butternut squash gratin, Belgian endive gratin, or zucchini gratin with fresh herbs and goat cheese.
Steam the broccoli, rinse, drain, and chop. Toast the bread crumbs and let them cool. Make the blue cheese sauce.
Store the broccoli and sauce separately in sealed containers in the fridge, and keep the bread crumbs in a bag or container at room temperature for up to 24 hours before baking. When ready to bake, assemble the broccoli gratin and pop it in the oven.
This process helps to preserve the vibrant color of the broccoli and also allows it to cook partially so that it’s fully tender after baking.
This creamy cheesy side dish is excellent alongside roasted or braised meats such as maple bourbon braised short ribs, roast pork tenderloin with paprika, roast chicken, or your Thanksgiving turkey. A crisp salad like this apple, fennel, and orange salad would round out the meal nicely.
- To save time, buy pre-chopped broccoli. Two regular bags (or one Costco-sized bag) is about the same as the 3 chopped broccoli heads.
- Leftovers can be stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. We don’t recommend freezing this broccoli gratin.
More Great Broccoli Recipes
Write a Review
If you make this recipe, or any dish on LC, consider leaving a review, a star rating, and your best photo in the comments below. I love hearing from you.–David
This was excellent. I scaled it to 1/3 and it was perfect for two people as a side dish to short ribs. I will make this again!lynn
Broccoli and Blue Cheese Gratin
- 3 heads broccoli
- 3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for the baking dish
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh bread crumbs
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose (plain) flour
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Pinch cayenne pepper
- 1 1/2 to 2 ounces blue cheese, preferably Bleu d’Auvergne or Gorgonzola, crumbled
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (176°C). Lightly butter a gratin or 8- or 9-inch baking dish.
- Trim and discard the thick stalks from the broccoli. Cut each head in half lengthwise.
- Place the broccoli in a steamer rack set over boiling water, cover, and steam until easily pierced with a fork, 7 to 12 minutes or so, depending on the size. Drain and rinse the broccoli under cold running water, then coarsely chop it. Drain it again, then transfer it to a bowl.
- Meanwhile, in a skillet over medium heat, melt 1/2 to 1 tablespoon of the butter. Add the bread crumbs and cook, stirring, until golden, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, transfer to a plate, and set aside.
- In a saucepan over medium-high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. When the butter has melted, remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the flour until smooth.
- Return the pan to low heat and slowly pour in 1/2 cup of the milk, whisking constantly. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 5 to 7 minutes.
- Slowly whisk in another 1/2 cup of milk. Add the salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. Continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the mixture has thickened again, about 5 minutes.
- Whisk in the remaining 1/2 cup milk and simmer until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 5 minutes longer. Stir in the blue cheese and cook, stirring, just until melted, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat.
- Pour the sauce over the broccoli and turn gently to mix. Spoon the mixture into the prepared gratin dish, smooth the surface, and top with the buttered bread crumbs. Cut the remaining butter into bits and dot the top.
- Bake until bubbling around the edges and golden on top, about 20 minutes. Serve hot.
- Make it in advance–Steam the broccoli, toast the bread crumbs, and make the blue cheese sauce up to one day in advance. Keep the sauce and broccoli in separate containers in the fridge and assemble just before baking.
- Save time–Purchase pre-cut broccoli. Two regular-size bags (or one bulk-sized bag) is equivalent to the 3 chopped heads.
- Storage–Leftovers can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Do not freeze.
Williams-Sonoma Entertaining with the SeasonsBuy On Amazon
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
This broccoli gratin with blue cheese was very nice. You can never go wrong with broccoli and a cheese sauce.
The blue cheese added great flavor but was not overpowering. The sauce was creamy with a hint of heat. The bread crumbs were a fantastic touch. Excellent.
This broccoli and blue cheese gratin made a fairly easy side dish for our family dinner. I love the tang from the blue cheese and the crunch from the bread crumbs. They both added more interesting tastes and textures than some other vegetable gratins that exhaust your taste buds with so much richness.
First off, last summer, some friends of mine were in Iowa and brought us back gifts for housesitting. These gifts included La Quercia prosciutto and an entire wheel of Maytag blue cheese. (Yeah, I know, these are really good friends!) Anyway, we’d been slowly getting through the blue cheese when this broccoli au gratin recipe popped up, and all I can say is, killer!
The dish came out of the oven creamy, slightly pungent, and super tender. I do have to point out one small beef I had with the recipe. What, really, is a head of broccoli? The broccoli at the farmers markets tends to be much larger than the stuff at the grocery store, so I guessed and used 2 bags of Trader Joe’s florets, which, IMHO, should be used anyway since it saves so much time.
Other than that the recipe works fine as written. We ended up eating the whole pan for dinner, it was that good.
I have never combined broccoli with blue cheese but this duo works incredibly well! The bechamel rounds out the piquant flavors of the gorgonzola but we’re still left with that spicy finish from the cayenne.
The recipe works well, but I wonder if we could have made the sauce in fewer steps by adding the milk all at once? And also, I’m a huge fan of using the broiler, so I would definitely finish this gratin under a direct flame for a few minutes to get that wonderful crispness.
Overall, a hearty yet robustly flavorful veggie side dish.