Make the best Copycat Velveeta Broccoli Mac and Cheese that’s creamy, delicious, and has hints of herby flavors. This one is definitely comfort food at its best! A true family favorite! Made using your fave short-cut pasta, heavy cream, milk, cooked broccoli florets, Mild cheddar, and Mozzarella cheese-----comfort food at its best! Vegan + Gluten-Free options.
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Mac and cheese is the definition of comfort in a bowl. I literally remember being in absolutely love with Mac and cheese growing up, especially a box of Velveeta! While the classic version was an absolute delicious option, i always would scurry the aisles of the grocery store for the broccoli version. There was something about those bits + pieces of broccoli that added a nice balance between all that creaminess---which is why I've decided to make this Copycat Velveeta Broccoli Mac + Cheese for a healthier, nostalgia moment. Plus, this Easy KFC Mac + Cheese Bowl [Copycat] is truly something special!
This Broccoli Mac and cheese is by far the most creamiest, easy pasta that I enjoy making for my family that can act both as a main dish or side. It just depends on how you're feeling that night. Haha.
I had to of course make it my own twist with the mix of cheeses and ultra smoothness + gooeyness. It's just a MUST. Besides, you can enjoy this vegan or gluten-free if you need to. It's purely indulge worthy for the entire family----kids + adults like!
But if you're very into baked mac + cheese, I have you covered with this Southern Baked Mac and Cheese with Breadcrumbs also! It's SO good and SO easy.
If you're used to making mac and cheese on the stovetop, this recipe will be pretty much the same process, unless of course, there aren't particular ingredients that you are accustomed to using. Once you boil + drain the pasta, you'll start things off by sautéing the butter, flour, and seasonings a bit together so that once you pour in the heavy cream and milk, you can whisk everything to a thickened, smooth consistency for a good base.
Then, you'll add in the grated cheeses (they melt better; see further notes on this throughout the post), stir until melted and then add in the cooked pasta and broccoli. Stir, stir, and wallah! Enjoy.
Basically, Velveeta cheese is an American cheese product made by the Kraft Foods company and it consists of a blend of cheese and dairy products. In addition, it contains emulsifying salt which causes the cheddar to hold together and retain it's smoothness when melted and also helps with the product's shelf life.
According to the FDA, in all actuality, Velveeta isn't real cheese. It's considered a "processed" cheese product, which is why I enjoy making my healthier homemade cheese sauce at home. Haha.
When it comes to elevating the taste and flavor of Velveeta mac and cheese or ANY mac and cheese for that matter, it's all about the seasoning. I love adding herbs + seasonings for added flavor and it usually consists of salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, mustard powder, parsley, and cayenne pepper. Just by adding these handful of seasonings, you're guaranteed to be satisfied.
The ingredients for this Copycat Velveeta Broccoli Mac + Cheese is pretty standard (besides the cheeses), and you may have most of them at home right now!
First and foremost, the flavors in this simple and easy Copycat Velveeta Broccoli Mac + Cheese is enough to convince anyone, however, here are a few more reasons why you’ll love this pasta dinner:
If you want to ensure that you make the creamiest Copycat Velveeta Broccoli Mac + Cheese (and Mac and Cheese in general) every time, I've gathered a few of the tricks + tips that I've learned along the way that can help you to achieve this:
Use cream. While I like to use Heavy cream + Almond milk as the base for most of my recipes, if you're not restricted to dairy-free, then feel free to use a creamier base like half + half and whole milk.
Add a bit of yogurt. You'll need a plain creamy yogurt and adding just a few dollops to your sauce can add extra creaminess.
Use premium, high-quality cheeses. This is my major tip! Using high-quality cheese is super imperative and as I've stated before, using brick cheeses that you grate yourself creates the best results opposed to pre-shredded packaged cheese.
Boil your pasta in milk. This one is such a simple tweak but it does wonders to create fluffier and softer pasta shells. Plus, the starch in the pasta helps to thicken the milk, which you can later use for the base of your sauce.
Always carefully add your flour and butter. I like to start with the lower end of the amount of flour to be used and then add a pinch more to the maximum amount. In doing so, you ensure that your roux isn't too thick which will make your sauce not the creamiest.
You can serve this creamy broccoli mac + cheese pasta as an entree all on its own (with a tall glass of Traditional Southern Iced Sweet Tea) or treat it like a side dish. It’s great with Southern Hot Honey Fried Chicken or Braised Apple BBQ Braised Ribs and Flaky Honey Buttermilk Biscuits and an Ultimate Summer BBQ Chopped Kale Salad.
Of course, if you're looking to keep things entirely meatless----these BBQ Cauliflower Wings or Crispy Buffalo Cauliflower Wings/Bites or this Jerk Veggie Farro Bowl work as the perfect mains for this Mac + Cheese also.
Here, I’ve curated a list of cooking + baking essentials that I use to achieve my favorite baked goods or cooked meals, especially with this Copycat Velveeta Broccoli Mac + Cheese. Everything from my fave dutch pot/oven, wooden spoons, immersion hand-blender, mixing bowls, and more. SEE THEM HERE!
Even though this Copycat Velveeta Broccoli Mac + Cheese is based on using Sharp and Mozzarella cheeses, you can also switch things up and add a new flare in their flavor profile by adding any of the following grated cheeses:
It's so important to use freshly-grated cheddar cheese for the creamiest results in your mac + cheese, in general. While you can use shredded cheese, it won't melt as seamlessly because it has a special "coating", which prevents it from melting smoothly. NOTE: If you only have shredded cheese, then I recommend adding it to the mac + cheese right after adding the pasta and let it simmer, stirring until melted.
Absolutely! To make this Mac + Cheese vegan, simply substitute cheeses with dairy-free shreds, substitute heavy cream with full-fat coconut milk/cream, and use vegan butter. Also, check out my Vegan Mac + Cheese recipe.
GLUTEN-FREE OPTION: To ensure that this recipe is GF, be sure to use GF-friendly pasta and flour.
Leftovers can be stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days and reheated when ready to serve. To re-heat, add each serving to the oven, microwave, or stovetop until warmed through.
My Copycat Velveeta Broccoli Mac + Cheese is a smash hit, so if you like this one, you will love these recipes!
If you make this Copycat Velveeta Broccoli Mac + Cheese, be sure to tag me on Instagram @orchidsandsweettea!
Copycat Velveeta Broccoli Mac + Cheese