Broccoli Cheddar Soup

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Creamy and delicious broccoli cheddar soup made in ONE POT on the stovetop. This soup is easy to make and full of flavor (the “secret” to this soup is in the spices!).

Serve this broccoli cheddar soup recipe with this Italian Salad, Roasted Vegetables, and/or a crusty loaf of bread!

Up close photo of finished broccoli cheddar soup recipe

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Soup is a popular meal choice in our home especially when it’s cold outside. Grey could eat this tomato basil soup every meal of the day if I let him and Bentley inhales this creamy vegetable soup. One of my all-time favorite soups? Cheddar Broccoli! When we lived in Cleveland, we were right next to a Panera Bread, and I always ordered their broccoli cheddar soup. 

Since there isn’t a Panera near me anymore, I’ve had to create my own broccoli cheddar soup and I’m thrilled with this recipe. I’d say it’s even better PLUS you’ll know exactly what the ingredients are in your soup (which you can’t say the same for Panera’s broccoli cheddar soup).

Process shots of cheddar broccoli soup being made -- thickened and vegetables added and cheese added

Quick FAQS

  • Can you use frozen broccoli? Unfortunately no. Frozen broccoli really doesn’t hold up well in flavor or texture for this soup. I highly recommend fresh broccoli
  • Can you freeze this broccoli cheddar soup? This soup actually doesn’t freeze very well because of the dairy in it. If you’re worried about having too much, I’d recommend halving the recipe!
  • How do I reheat this soup? I recommend reheating this soup on the stovetop over low heat, stirring frequently. (Boiling may cause ingredients to separate.) Soup is best within 1-3 days. More info here.
  • Can you make this soup vegetarian? Yes! Very easily 🙂 Swap out the chicken stock for vegetable stock (or broth) and you’ll have a vegetarian broccoli cheddar soup!
  • How can I make a healthy broccoli cheddar soup? You can use whole milk instead of the fat free half and half, but it will be a lot less thick and creamy. While this soup does have half & half cheese, it is healthier because we’re using REAL ingredients (no velveeta here!)

 

Finished shot of copycat panera broccoli cheddar soup in a pot with spoon lifting up some

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Cheddar Broccoli Soup

4.79 from 19 votes
Creamy and delicious broccoli cheddar soup made in ONE POT on the stovetop
Print Recipe

Cheddar Broccoli Soup

4.79 from 19 votes
Creamy and delicious broccoli cheddar soup made in ONE POT on the stovetop
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Keyword broccoli cheddar soup
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 511kcal
Author Chelsea

Ingredients

  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, separated
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced (1 cup)
  • 2 small cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • Fine sea salt and pepper
  • 6 tablespoons white flour
  • 1 container (32 ounces (about 4 cups)) low-sodium chicken stock (or broth) (use vegetable stock for a vegetarian version)
  • 3 cups fat free half and half
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 cups chopped broccoli crowns (~4 large crowns)
  • 2 cups matchstick/shredded carrots
  • 12 ounces high quality extra sharp cheddar cheese (don't use pre-shredded -- it doesn't melt well in this soup)
  • Optional: crusty bread OR bread bowls (we love serving this soup in sourdough bread bowls!)

Instructions

  • Add 1 tablespoon butter and olive oil to a large heavy bottomed stock pot/dutch oven over medium heat. Add the diced onion and saute, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 3-5 minutes. Add the minced garlic, paprika, mustard, cayenne pepper, and pepper (I add 1 teaspoon, but add to preference) to the pot. (I like to add the salt AFTER the stock to gauge how much more it needs.) Cook for another 45 seconds to 1 minute stirring constantly until fragrant.
  • Add in remaining 6 tablespoons butter and melt. Once melted, add in the flour and whisk to combine. Cook for 2-4 minutes, whisking constantly, until the flour is thickened (don't rush or your soup won't properly thicken/taste right).
  • Gradually add in the chicken stock, whisking constantly. Once all the stock has been added, gradually add in the half and half, again whisking constantly as you add. Reduce heat to medium low, add in the bay leaf, and allow to simmer for 15 minutes or until thickened a bit. (Whisk every few minutes as you chop the broccoli!)
  • Meanwhile, chop the broccoli and shred the cheese. Add the chopped broccoli florets and matchstick/shredded carrots (give carrots a quick chop in half if they are super long) to the soup.
  • Allow soup to simmer over low heat for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until broccoli is crisp tender (or tender to your preference!) Stir occasionally. Season to taste with salt (I add about a teaspoon here). (You can blend some of the soup or use an immersion blender here if desired. We like it chunky, but blend to preference if desired)
  • Add in the cheese and stir until melted. Again taste for seasoning. Serve immediately in bread bowls or regular bowls with a side of bread for dipping!

Video

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 511kcal

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Nutrition Facts for Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Creamy & delicious broccoli cheddar soup made in ONE POT on the stovetop. This soup is easy to make and full of flavor (the
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Recipe Rating




59 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Made this soup tonight and it was delicious. Very tasty! I had a question and another was my mishap. I wanted to ask you how much flour you add as it was not in the recipe, or I missed it? The other issue I had is there was some curdling in the soup along the way. The taste was still very good but I was not sure if it was shocking the soup with the cold half and half might have caused it or I did, unfortunately, let it get to a boil. What might you think caused it to happen as I do want to make it again, without the curdles ;-). Thanks for a delicious soup.

    1. I know it’s a year later, but I wanted to share a little. Something I learned years ago from another recipe, aside from making sure the milk products are mixed well, is that adding cheese should always happen off of heat. Get things well ready, then start slowly sprinkling in the cheese after taking it off the burner. If you use gas, this isn’t a problem, but with element burners, mostly electric, you get residual heat that adds to curdling.

  2. 5 stars
    This is delicious! I need to double the recipe sometime! I used heavy whipping cream, left out the carrots, and roasted the frozen broccoli with olive oil sprayed on top for 25 min. on 400 degrees before adding it to the soup (because I didn’t have fresh broccoli). I paired it with toasted sourdough bread with Kerrygold butter on top…ahhhmazing…thank you for sharing this recipe with everyone!

    1. 5 stars
      Aaaahhhhmazing! My whole family loved this soup. I doubled the recipe and didn’t have quite enough cheese, but it worked fine. I also used 2% milk in place of the half and half (I’m dieting). The spice combination is divine, thank you for this recipe. Definately going in my recipe box!

      1. Am I missing something here? Why would you use 2% milk because you’re dieting, when the recipe calls for ‘fat free half and half’ ?? Makes no sense.

  3. 5 stars
    I live in the mountains in Japan so this soup is not available anywhere. This soup was so delicious and just what I was looking for. My family came in from work/school and the cheese had barely melted before they started eating and they loved it. Thank you for this recipe. Will definitely be making it again and again.

  4. 5 stars
    I made this for supper tonight as I continue to experiment with different meals for supper, and myself, my husband and 3 of my kids (even my pickiest!) LOVED this soup and devoured it right up! I’ll be making this again for sure – thanks so much for this delicious recipe!! Note: I did the recipe exactly like you have it and didn’t blend it and it tasted perfect!

    1. So sorry to hear that. How could I make the directions more clear? I’d love to fix any issues I can with the recipe!

        1. Mine curdled as well. But using a blender usually solves the curdling part. The taste of this soup is one of the best!

  5. 5 stars
    Made this today and it came out fantastic! I omitted the cayane pepper (didn’t have it) and used whole milk since I didn’t have enough half and half. Really creamy, cheesy, and delicious!

  6. Just made this! Really delicious! I felt it was slightly thin, I realize the bottle of half and half (regular not fat free) I used was shy of the 3 cups.. could this have caused this? I also didn’t have a proper whisk so not sure if that influenced it. I’m debating adding a little more flour next time but worry about it not mixing. I didn’t use my immersion blender but will that help thicken? Thanks!

    1. I’d guess more than anything your roux might not have properly set up (without a whisk, a lot can get missed and not properly thicken). You can use an immersion blender for an even thicker soup as well.

        1. Awesome! 🙂 There are less calories in the half and half than using heavy cream, but also when using heavy cream it was a bit too rich and thick for us; we liked half and half best! Feel free to use either 🙂

  7. 5 stars
    It’s Fall in Florida…only 83 degrees today…and I was craving soup. This soup was AH-mazing! The only change I made was to add a bit more broth since mine was super thick (probably miscounted the flour). Not a problem though because it just gave us more of this deliciousness! Thanks for a great recipe…definitely a keeper and saved to Pinterest.

  8. 5 stars
    I made this tonight because I LOVE broccoli/cheddar anything. It did not disappoint! In the winter I could live on hardy soups. It’s comfort food in a bowl. Getting some bread tomorrow to eat with the soup and drizzle bits at the bottom of the bowl. This ranks as #1 for my go to winter soup!

  9. Made soup today for lady Im cargiver to. Cut recipe in half, turned out just like pic. Next time I will try it w veg broth, for myself

    1. I’m not sure without personally testing that, but I do think it would slightly change the flavor to be a little nuttier.

  10. 5 stars
    Just made this soup. Super easy and delicious. Used full fat half and half and it wasn’t too thick at all. Should’ve cut the broccoli florets a bit smaller. Will be making it again and again.

  11. Tried this for second time. Since I added thick coconut milk instead of half and half the soup came out really well. And goat cheese cheddar brings better taste. Thanks

  12. 5 stars
    I love this soup! The base has excellent flavor. I followed the recipe and it turned out perfect. Next time I’m going to add mushrooms, cauliflower, and celery, only because I love vegetables in my soups. Thanks!

  13. I made the soup today, it was so wonderful I don’t have everything due to the coronavirus, so I compromised with what I had in my pantry and fridge. I did use shredded cheese It was a blend of Colby and Monterey Jack. I did my thicken with the broth before I added evaporated milk half-and-half water and evaporated. The soup was so so so good thank you very much for this recipe. Stay healthy

  14. 5 stars
    Having made this soup many times now, I just wanted to say THANK YOU. I absolutely love this soup–one of my all time favorites to make and to eat. This recipe is perfection.

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