The first complete exploration was conducted by John Perring in 1837. In 1853, Auguste Mariette partially excavated Khafre's Valley Temple, and, in 1858, while completing its clearance, he managed to discover a diorite statue.

The temples of Khafre's complex survive in much better condition than Khufu's, this being specially true to the Valley Temple, which is substantially preserved. To the east of the Pyramid sits the mortuary temple. Though it is now largely in ruins, enough of it survives to understand the plan. It is larger than previous temples and is the first to include all five standard elements of later mortuary temples: an entrance hall, a columned court, five niches for statues of the pharaoh, five storage chambers, and an inner sanctuary. There were over 50 life size statues of Khafre, but these were removed and recycled, possibly by Ramses II. The temple was built of megalithic blocks (the largest is an estimated 400 tonnes).

A causeway runs 494.6 metres (541 yd) to the valley temple, which is very similar to the mortuary temple. It is built of megalithic blocks sheathed in red granite. The square pillars of the T-shaped hallway were made of solid granite, and the floor was paved in alabaster. The exterior was built of huge blocks, some weighing over 100 tonnes. Though devoid of any internal decoration, this temple would have been filled with symbolism: two doors open into a vestibule and a large pillared hall, in which there were sockets in the floor that would have fixed 23 statues of Khafre. These columns have since been plundered. The interior, made of granite of the Valley Temple, is remarkably well preserved. The exterior made of limestone is much more weathered.