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Copycat Velveeta Broccoli Mac + Cheese

Amazingly creamy and comforting, this Copycat Broccoli Mac + Cheese is what every childhood dream is made of and is the true nostalgic dish!

Copycat Velveeta Broccoli Mac + Cheese

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.

Copycat Velveeta Broccoli Mac + Cheese

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links via Amazon for products that I wholeheartedly love.

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.

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.

How to Make Copycat Velveeta Broccoli Mac + Cheese

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.

What is Velveeta Cheese?

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.

Is Velveeta Cheese Real Cheese?

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.

How Do You Elevate Velveeta Mac + Cheese?

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.

Copycat Velveeta Broccoli Mac + Cheese

INGREDIENTS

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!

  • Short-cut pasta. You can use a different short noodles if you like also, however, I love using Pipe Rigate, Shells, Elbow Pasta, or Lumache for a nice texture and switch up from the usual. For a gluten-free option, sub with GF-friendly pasta.
  • Butter. Use unsalted butter. For a vegan option, sub with vegan butter.
  • Milk. I like avoiding too much dairy, so I like to use dairy-free milk (make sure that it's unsweetened) in this mac and cheese. However, regular cow's milk will also work well, if preferred.
  • Heavy cream. I love the rich, creamy, + velvetiness that heavy cream adds to this mac + cheese, however, you can sub with Half & Half, if preferred. For a vegan option, sub with full-cat coconut milk/cream.
  • Mozzarella + Sharp cheddar. It's important to use several different varieties of cheese for the best flavor and texture in your Mac + Cheese dish. These two are my go-to's for most cheese-based dishes, however, you can use your faves!
  • Smoked paprika. This adds just a hint of spice and color to the dish.
  • Ground mustard powder. This is also mostly for its tanginess.  You can omit the mustard powder if you don't have it or substitute with regular dijon mustard.
  • Seasonings. I like to add flavor to my mac + cheese by using garlic powder, onion powder, parsley, salt, black pepper, + a bit of cayenne pepper.

REASONS WHY YOU’LL LOVE THIS VELVEETA MAC + CHEESE!

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:

  • It’s absolutely delicious—-light + flavorful. I always try to ensure that my pastas are just that----delicious! So, using ingredients like high-quality unsalted butter, cheeses, heavy cream + milk helps to achieve this best!
  • Super easy to make and quick! I literally love making the most delicious weeknight meals that don't take a ton of time and effort and this recipe is it! Plus, no crazy clean-up! Can we say–Everything in a pot and skillet?
  • Full of layered flavor + well seasoned! (The best reason). This by far is one of my biggest reasons for making this pasta. I enjoy adding spices + herbs to create a bold flavor profile that works with this mac + cheese dish and all layers of the dish are seasoned.
  • Perfect for any time of day—Dinner, Lunch, Breakfast (if that’s your thing), whatever! Most of all, this is my biggest plus! I love mac + cheese during anytime of the day, especially whenever there are leftovers. The good thing is that this mac + cheese reheats nicely once done over the stovetop or in the oven---slow and warmed through and can be enjoyed with SO many foods!

Copycat Velveeta Broccoli Mac + Cheese

My Top Tips to Making the Creamiest Mac + Cheese

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.

Copycat Velveeta Broccoli Mac + Cheese

What to Serve with Broccoli Mac and Cheese

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.

SHOP MY FAVORITE BAKEWARE ITEMS AND ACCESSORIES FOR THIS MAC + CHEESE!

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!

Copycat Velveeta Broccoli Mac + Cheese

Best Types of Cheese for this Copycat Velveeta Broccoli Mac + Cheese

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:

  • Fontina
  • Monterey Jack
  • Gouda
  • Mild cheddar
  • American cheese
  • Havarti
  • Parmesan cheese

Why Won't My Cheese Melt in my Mac + Cheese?

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.

Copycat Velveeta Broccoli Mac + Cheese

Can I Make this Mac + Cheese Vegan or Gluten-Free?

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.

How To Store Leftover Copycat Velveeta Broccoli Mac + Cheese

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.

Other Comforting Recipes You’ll Love!

My Copycat Velveeta Broccoli Mac + Cheese is a smash hit, so if you like this one, you will love these recipes!

MADE OUR RECIPE(S)?

If you make this Copycat Velveeta Broccoli Mac + Cheese, be sure to tag me on Instagram @orchidsandsweettea!

Copycat Velveeta Broccoli Mac + Cheese

Copycat Velveeta Broccoli Mac + Cheese

Copycat Velveeta Broccoli Mac + Cheese

5 from 2 votes
Amazingly creamy and comforting, this Copycat Broccoli Mac + Cheese is what every childhood dream is made of and is the true nostalgic dish!
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
Total Time: 30 mins
Serves: 6 servings

Ingredients

MAC + CHEESE:

  • 1 (16 oz.) pacakge Your favorite short-cut pasta, organic (I love using pipe rigate, shells, elbow pasta, or Lumache)
  • 2 cups organic broccoli florets, cooked (You can steam, boil, or roast them; See Notes!)
  • 2 Tbsps unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbsps organic all-purpose flour (See Notes!)
  • 1 ¼ cups organic heavy cream (You can use sub with Half & Half)
  • ½ cup Almond milk, unsweetened (You can sub with whole milk or your fave plant-based milk)
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon dried parsley (You can also use fresh chopped parsley)
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon mustard powder
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 2 cups organic Sharp Cheddar, grated or shredded
  • 1 cup organic Mozzarella cheese, grated or shredded

Instructions

BOIL THE PASTA:

  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil with a pinch of salt and add your favorite short-cut pasta and cook according to packaging, about 8-10 minutes in most cases. Once cooked, drain, and lightly toss in olive oil (to prevent sticking together), cool and set aside.

MAKE THE CHEESE SAUCE:

  • In a large dutch pot or deep skillet over medium-high heat, add butter and let it melt. Once melted, add flour, salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, parsley, smoked paprika, mustard powder, and cayenne pepper, whisking until combined and "paste-like".
  • Slowly pour in the heavy cream and milk, whisking frequently until lump-free, about 2-3 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add in the freshly-grated (or shredded) Sharp Cheddar and Mozzarella cheeses, stirring (using a wood spoon or spatula) until fully melted and smooth, about 4-5 minutes.
  • Add in the cooled pasta and cooked broccoli florets and stir together until coated, combined, and creamy!
  • Serve immediately with your favorite side and main dishes.
  • Bon Appetit!

Tips & Tricks

  • STORAGE: 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. 
  • FLOUR: If you don’t want to use all-purpose flour, feel free to substitute with regular starch or arrowroot starch, tapioca flour, which all act as a thickening agent.
  • VEGAN OPTION: 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.
  • VEGGIES: If preferred, you can always use broccolini instead of broccoli or add other greens to the mix for additional flavor such as Spinach, Kale, or Collard Greens.
  • SPICES/HERBS: If desired, you can reduce the amounts slightly. Please know that this recipe is bold in flavor, so feel free to adjust based on your tastebuds.
  • EQUIPMENT: 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!

Nutrition

Calories: 217kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 66mg | Sodium: 235mg | Potassium: 63mg | Fiber: 0.3g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 929IU | Vitamin C: 0.4mg | Calcium: 62mg | Iron: 0.3mg

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Copycat Velveeta Broccoli Mac + Cheese

Shanika

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  1. This has become a weekly staple in my house. My children LOVE IT. I have to make double so they can take some to school for lunch the next day. It is super easy and quick to make. Thank you for sharing your gift

    • Hi LaToya! OMG! That makes me SO happy to hear! I truly appreciate you choosing to try my recipe! 🙂