Pimiento Cheese Chicken-Broccoli Casserole

Pimiento cheese and a casserole? That's one Southern match.

Pimiento Cheese Chicken-Broccoli Casserole
Photo: Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Rishon Hanners; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis
Active Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
40 mins

If there's one thing that we know for sure about Southerners, it's that our love for casserole runs deep—as does our love for pimiento cheese. This recipe mimics the flavors of pimiento cheese in a casserole, which makes it an instant winner in our books. Casseroles often get a reputation for being heavy, but this lightened-up Pimiento Cheese Chicken-Broccoli Casserole will leave you feeling great.

Chicken, broccoli, and pimiento cheese? Sounds dreamy. Extra-sharp cheddar cheese melts beautifully in this pasta bake, mixing with the pimiento peppers to channel the flavor of our favorite cheese dip, minus the mayo. The peppers bring little pops of color to this pasta-based casserole, as well as adding a little tanginess to the creamy cheese sauce. Buttery Ritz crackers make for an ideal topping.

In addition to this spinoff recipe, we have four additional variations that you can mix and match with as much as you like. Try our Original Chicken-Broccoli, Crispy Onion-Parmesan, Mushroom-Thyme, and Buffalo Ranch versions. Or take the topping from one, the cheese from another, the grain from another and completely customize the casserole to your tastes.


  • cup all-purpose flour

  • 4 cups 2% reduced-fat milk, divided

  • 8 ounces whole-grain penne pasta (cooked to al dente)

  • 3 cups fresh broccoli florets 

  • 3 cups shredded cooked chicken (from 1 large rotisserie chicken)

  • 6 ounces reduced-fat extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded (1½ cups)

  • 1 (4-oz.) jar diced pimiento peppers (drained)

  • ½ teaspoon onion powder

  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt

  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

  • ½ cup crushed whole-grain crackers (such as Ritz)

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil 


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F with rack 6 inches from heat source. Whisk together flour and 1 cup of the milk in a small bowl until smooth. Bring remaining 3 cups milk to a boil in a large broiler-safe skillet over medium-high, stirring often. Reduce heat to medium, and gradually whisk in flour mixture until smooth. Return to a boil over medium-high. Boil, stirring constantly, until thickened, 2 to 3 minutes.

  2. Stir penne pasta and broccoli into milk mixture until combined. Cook over medium-high, stirring occasionally, until broccoli is bright green, about 2 minutes.

  3. Add chicken, Cheddar, pimiento peppers, onion powder, salt, and pepper to pasta mixture; stir until cheese is melted. Remove from heat. Stir together crushed whole-grain crackers and oil in a small bowl; sprinkle evenly over chicken mixture.

  4. Bake in preheated oven until casserole is bubbly, about 15 minutes. Increase oven temperature to broil (do not remove skillet from oven). Broil until top is golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from oven, and let cool 5 minutes before serving.

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