This Creamy Pepper Jack Broccoli with Bacon dish is a delicious recipe made with fresh broccoli, crispy bacon, and creamy pepper jack cheese sauce. Making it the ultimate low-carb, keto-friendly side dish to any meal.
CREAMY PEPPER JACK CHEESE
If you’ve tried and enjoyed my Cheesy Pepper Jack Roasted Brussels Sprouts recipe, then you’re in for a treat with this Creamy Pepper Jack Broccoli with Bacon recipe!
The broccoli and bacon are pan-fried and then baked in a creamy, garlic butter pepper jack cheese sauce – all in one pan. Which makes for an easy side dish or meal, followed by an easy clean up. Because no one enjoys a recipe that results in a sink full of dishes. Save those lengthily messy kitchen days for special occasions or holidays.
Simplify your long day with this easy Creamy Pepper Jack Broccoli with Bacon side dish. It is high in fat and low in carbs, which will help keep you feeling full. Not to mention completely comforted when you cozy up on the couch for movie night with your family after!
INGREDIENTS NEEDED FOR THIS RECIPE
Full recipe with directions can be found via the printable recipe card below. Simply scroll down! 🙂
- Bacon – turkey or pork
- Unsalted butter
- Half and half
- Minced garlic
- Fresh broccoli florets
- Freshly grated pepper jack cheese
- Parmesan cheese
- Cream cheese
COOKING TIPS AND SWAPS
- Bacon: can use regular pork bacon, turkey bacon, canadian bacon or ham! Ground turkey sausage is delicious, as well.
- Broccoli: swap for cauliflower, green beans, or brussels sprouts.
- Cornstarch: can swap for arrowroot, flour or sauce thickener of choice. If using heavy cream instead of half and half, you will not need a thickener. The sauce will thicken as it cooks down.
- Oven-safe skillet: use a pan that is oven-safe. If you do not own oven-safe cookware, spoon the Creamy Pepper Jack Broccoli with Bacon into an oven-safe baking dish when ready to go into the oven.
- Cheese: Please use freshly grated pepper jack cheese (or cheese of choice). Prepackaged, shredded cheese contains preservatives like potato starch and natamycin, which is used to keep the shreds of cheese from clumping together in the bag. These preservatives are what prevent the cheese from melting properly in a sauce. Prepackaged, shredded cheese may likely result in chunky sauce, rather than creamy.
The creamy pepper jack sauce is thickened with what is known as a cornstarch slurry (cornstarch mixed with water) to help thicken the half and half that is used. If you use heavy cream, you will not need to add cornstarch, flour or thickener, as it is creamy enough and simply needs cooked down slightly. If using half and half and flour, I recommend sautéing the broccoli first and removing from pan. Melt the butter and whisk in the flour until fully mixed. Then pour in the half and half. Add the broccoli back in.
To cut back on the prepping and cooking times, you can opt to use frozen broccoli. I would recommend allowing it to thaw completely prior to adding it to the pan to saute. You can always swap the broccoli out for your favorite vegetable. Any vegetable will do, as I don’t think there is a single vegetable out there that isn’t complimented well by creamy cheese being added!
MORE DELICIOUS SIDE DISHES TO TRY
- Easy Sautéed Teriyaki Bok Choy
- Maple Roasted Carrots
- Cheesy Hasselback Potatoes
- Mozzarella Parmesan Baked Tomato Slices
- Creamy Mashed Sweet Potatoes
- Roasted Balsamic Brussels Sprouts
- Crispy Garlic Parmesan Brussels Sprouts
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Creamy Pepper Jack Broccoli with Bacon
- 8 ounces bacon, (chopped)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic, (or 3-4 fresh cloves)
- 2 cups half and half,
- 3 cups fresh broccoli, (cut into small florets)
- 1 cup pepper jack cheese, (freshly grated and divided)
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, (freshly grated)
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch + 1 tablespoon water, (mixed)
- 4 tablespoons cream cheese, (softened at room temperature)
- salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Place a large, oven-safe skillet over medium heat. Cook chopped bacon for 3-4 minutes or until crispy.
- Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to a plate lined with a paper towel.
- Drain the bacon fat from the pan and add butter. Once melted, add the broccoli florets. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and stir as it cooks.
- Saute for 3-4 minutes. Add in the minced garlic and stir well. Saute 30 seconds, or until fragrant.
- Pour in the half and half, stir. Pour in half of the cornstarch slurry and whisk as the sauce simmers and continues to cook down.If the sauce is too thin to your liking, pour in the other half of the cornstarch slurry and stir as it simmers and thickens. Keep in mind, you will be adding 3 cheeses that will help thicken the sauce. So if you're unsure, hold off and add the rest of the cornstarch once the cheeses have melted and it has cooked down a bit.If the sauce gets too thick, simply pour in a splash or two of half and half to thin.
- Add the parmesan cheese, cream cheese, and 1/2 cup of pepper jack cheese.
- Reduce heat to low and allow to simmer for 3-4 minutes, stirring consistently until the cheeses have melted and the sauce is creamy. For softer broccoli, cover the pan with a lid and allow it to cook 3-4 minutes longer prior to adding bacon and placing into the oven.
- Add the bacon back to warm, top with remaining 1/2 cup of pepper jack cheese and place into the oven, uncovered, to bake for 10-15 minutes. Allow the cheese to melt.
- If preferred, switch the oven over to broil on low. Broil until the cheese is bubbling and brown. Keep an eye on the dish, as it won't take long to brown the cheese. 1-3 minutes depending on burnt preference.
- Remove, garnish with red pepper flakes, black pepper, and parmesan cheese, if desired.
- Bacon: Please note that my calculations are based on using Applegate Uncured Sunday Bacon, which is lower in calories, fat, cholesterol, and fat than traditional bacon. If using a different bacon, I recommend using an app, such as MyFitnessPal, to properly calculate the full nutrition of this recipe per serving. Keep in mind, the nutrition may increase using other bacon.
- Cornstarch: Add in half of the cornstarch slurry, whisk, and allow the sauce to cook down. If it's still too runny for your preference, add the second half of the slurry, whisk and allow to cook down and thicken to your liking.
- Half and half: if swapping with heavy cream, omit the cornstarch/thickener. Allow the cream to cook down to thicken naturally.
- Can use prepackaged frozen broccoli florets. Fully thaw before adding to the pan & decrease sauté time to 2-3 minutes.
- Cheese: Please use freshly grated pepper jack cheese (or cheese of choice). Prepackaged, shredded cheese contains preservatives like potato starch and natamycin, which is used to keep the shreds of cheese from clumping together in the bag. These preservatives are what prevents the cheese from melting in a sauce. Prepackaged, shredded cheese may likely result in chunky sauce, rather than creamy.
This looks really delicious, would be a perfect side for chicken and you can ever out the sauce on the chicken
Yes, you most definitely can! Or even serve it with chicken for a complete meal! 🙂
My wife made it Monday, it was delicious, looking forward to trying it with cauliflower or asparagus ?
So happy to hear! Thank you, Brian! Will be delicious with cauliflower or asparagus! Green beans work great, too! 🙂