This quick Cheese Sauce for Broccoli is a low-carb, healthy side dish to add to any meal! The creamy 6-ingredient sauce is mild, ready in 15 minutes, and the perfect topping for veggies.
How do you get even the pickiest eater to enjoy their veggies? You serve it with a creamy homemade cheddar cheese sauce of course! Broccoli and cheddar is a fantastic combo that is a staple in our household. In the winter Broccoli Cheddar Soup is a weekly staple. In the summer these amazing foil packs are on repeat. This simple side dish is one that you will find yourself coming back to time and time again. Steamed broccoli is paired with a simple 6 ingredient cheese sauce that is pure comfort food. This sauce is so versitle and pairs perfectly with other meats and vegetables!
Why you’ll love this recipe:
- Versatile – This is the perfect basic cheese sauce! It goes with anything… Steamed broccoli, roasted veggies, pretzel bites, burgers, spaghetti squash… So many opportunities! You could even add different spices to fit different cuisines better (maybe taco seasoning for nachos or pepper blends for a spicy kick).
- Quick & Easy – The sauce itself takes about 10-15 minutes depending on your preferred consistency and flavor! There are no expensive ingredients, special appliances, or complicated steps. The sauce requires just a small pot and a heating source!
- Low-carb, Keto, Nut-free, & Gluten-Free – A serving of the sauce has 123 calories, 10.7 grams of fat, 2.3 grams of carbs, and 4.3 grams of protein. For keto folks who rely on good doses of fat for energy, this is a great addition to meals!
Cheese Sauce Ingredients
Here’s a quick overview of what you’ll need for the recipe. Scroll down to the printable recipe card for the exact measurements.
- Half-n-half and Unsalted butter – This makes the base of the creamy sauce. If you only have salted butter, you may not need to add any with your seasonings.
- Dijon mustard, Garlic powder, Onion powder, Salt (to taste) – General, all-purpose flavor. Feel free to add some paprika for a little kick if you’d like.
- Shredded cheddar cheese – If you shred it from a block of cheese, you’ll save a little in carbs and have a smoother melt. If you wanted some spice, you could replace half with pepper jack.
- Broccoli – I used fresh broccoli because we love the texture, but you could use frozen broccoli instead (it may require an extra minute of steaming, check that it’s fork-tender). This sauce is also great with cauliflower, green beans, asparagus, and more!
How to Make Cheese Sauce for Broccoli
In addition to the ingredients listed above you will just need a sauce pot and spatula. This easy, cheesy side dish is super easy and quick! Here’s a step-by-step guide for making this cheese sauce recipe.
Place the broccoli in a steamer basket and set it inside a pot filled with 2 inches of water. Bring to a simmer and cover for 7-8 minutes. When the broccoli has reached your desired tenderness remove from heat and set aside. Remember, the cooking times may vary depending on the size of your florrets.
While the broccoli is steaming, heat a medium-sized pot or saucepan on medium heat. Add heavy cream cream and butter, then warm for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add Dijon mustard, garlic powder, and onion powder, then stir until combined. Finally, pour in the cheese and stir continuously until the cheese is melted. Taste and add salt if needed.
Once the sauce is smooth and broccoli is fork-tender and bright green, we’re ready to serve! Remove the broccoli from the steamer basket and serve with the cheese sauce either on the side or drizzled all over.
How to serve cheese sauce
This easy cheese sauce is great as a topping or a dip! Serving in little cups with the broccoli lets everyone decide how much cheese they prefer, but drizzling it all over the broccoli is easy and super delicious! We love this as a side with Air Fryer Salmon or Garlic Butter Steak Bites for a quick, low-carb meal ready in about 20 minutes. It also goes perfectly with Crock Pot Ribs and Mashed Cauliflower!
More veggies that go with cheese sauce:
- Air Fryer Green Beans (4.8 net carbs)
- Keto Roasted Radishes (1.3 net carbs)
- Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower (3.5 net carbs)
- Crispy Keto Fries (6.1 net carbs)
Both the cheese sauce and the broccoli can be kept in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 5 days, but they should be stored separately for the best texture.
Can I freeze cheese sauce?
Yes, this cheese sauce can be frozen up to 3 months! It’s best to store in an airtight container (make sure to leave some extra room so it can expand without breaking your jar). You’ll get the best texture if you defrost the sauce overnight in the fridge, then reheat using the directions below.
For the best texture, I like to reheat the broccoli and sauce separately. To reheat the sauce quickly, microwave at 50% power in 20-second increments, stirring between each blast for even reheating. Broccoli can be air fried (350 degrees, 2-5 minutes), baked (350 degrees 5-8 minutes), or microwaved (about a minute… but beware, it makes the scent super strong).
If you love this healthy side dish, check out these easy keto recipes!
- Broccoli Cheddar Muffins – The BEST side dish with some low-carb tomato soup or as a breakfast or snack! These are easy to freeze and reheat, too.
- Crispy Smashed Brussels Sprouts – This comes with an amazing aioli dipping sauce, but it’s great with queso, too!
- Air Fryer Squash – We LOVE how easy this is! Just a few ingredients and about 10 minutes, and you have a delicious, healthy side dish.
- Bacon Cheddar Cauliflower Tots – Crispy, tender, and just the right amount of salty for the perfect snack!
- Cheesy Bacon Wrapped Asparagus – These are great as an appetizer or side dish! The everything bagel seasoning adds a great twist on an old favorite.
Broccoli and Cheese Sauce FAQs
Absolutely not! You could use the air fryer or roast it in the oven if you prefer crispier broccoli. The cheese sauce is so good, it would even be a great dip for raw broccoli!
No, this cheese sauce has a lovely smooth texture. There’s no flour or cream cheese, so any “clumps” in the sauce are simply shredded cheese–This means all you need to do is continue to warm and stir until it’s completely smooth!
Note: If you freeze the sauce, then reheat it too quickly (like in the microwave), that could cause the texture to become separated and less smooth. See the reheating section for the correct way to reheat the sauce.
- 3 cups broccoli florets
- ½ cup half n half
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ¼ tsp onion powder
- ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
- Salt to taste
- Place the broccoli in a steamer basket and set it inside a pot filled with 2 inches of water. Bring to a simmer and cover for 7-8 minutes, until broccoli is tender and bright green.
- Meanwhile, make the cheese sauce. Add the cream and butter to a medium pot or saucepan and heat over medium for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add the Dijon mustard, garlic powder, and onion powder and stir until combined.
- Add the shredded cheese and stir continuously until the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth. Taste and add salt to taste.
- Remove the broccoli from the steamer basket and serve with the cheese sauce, either on the side or drizzled all over!
- I found this recipe was really good without any added salt, my husband liked it better with ¼ tsp of salt added. Either way, it’s delicious!
- Leftovers should be stored with broccoli and cheese sauce separate in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave in 15-second increments so as not to burn or overcook the sauce. If you like crispy broccoli, reheat it in the air fryer.
- This sauce would make a great dip for pretzels or even as a mac n cheese sauce!
- The sauce thickens slightly as it cools, just heat it up gradually if needed to get it back to pouring consistency.
- Nutrition values for cheese sauce + broccoli: Calories: 146 grams, Total Fat: 11 grams, Cholesterol: 32.2 milligrams, Sodium: 166.4 milligrams, Carbohydrates: 6.8 grams, Fiber: 1.8 grams, Sugar: 2.5 grams, Protein: 6.2 grams, Net Carbs: 5 grams
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1/4th of sauce only (see notes for nutrition values including broccoli)
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 123Total Fat: 10.7gCholesterol: 32.2mgSodium: 143.9mgCarbohydrates: 2.3gNet Carbohydrates: 2.2gFiber: 0.1gSugar: 1.3gProtein: 4.3g