Creamy Broccoli and Cheese Soup that’s quick, easy, and entirely from scratch! This homemade Panera Bread copycat is filling and flavorful and is always met with a request for seconds (and thirds!) by my family and friends.
Last week I threatened promised that I’d share one last soup recipe from my soup-a-palooza recipe testing. You can pretend to be surprised, but I’m banking a few of you stopped by today for that very thing. The rest of you took off running.
Come back I love you!!!!
Since downing a big bowl of the stuff at Panera last week, I haven’t been able to get broccoli and cheese soup off my mind.
It also happens to be one of Paul’s favorites and has been requested non-stop since the temperature began to drop outside. I did a quick google perusal of homemade broccoli cheddar soup recipes and almost fell over.
Oodles and oodles of additive-rich canned cheddar soup, cream of broccoli soup, and an ever-present smorgasbord of velveeta “cheese product.” Oh the franken-foods! I nearly slid off my chair when the faux-cheesiest of them all had bajillions of 5 star reviews.
Come on kids! We’re better than that!
Sketch-Free Broccoli and Cheese Soup
This creamy Broccoli and Cheese Soup is quick, easy, and made entirely from scratch!
An easy peasy homemade Panera Bread copycat, its filling and flavorful and is always met with a request for seconds (and thirds!) by my family and friends. It’s music to my ears!
I tested this soup 5 times. Five. And then made it a few dozen times more for good measure. This one was the BEST!
Thick, creamy, cheesy, broccoli-y (pretend that’s a proper adjective!) and positively swoon-worthy. Not to throw my own confetti or anything. Hah!
This soup is quick and easy (30 minutes or so and it’s good to go!) but I included uber-detailed instructions to help you out in the kitchen. Hopefully you don’t mind!
Broccoli and Cheese Soup
Pinned over 800,000 times and rocking over 100 rave reviews, this soup is a total crowd-favorite!
Broccoli and Cheese Soup
- one bunch of fresh broccoli (enough for a few cups of chopped tops)
- 2 cups vegetable broth (or chicken broth)
- 1/2 cup freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese plus extra for topping
- 1 cup freshly grated gouda cheese (not smoked)
- 1 cup shredded carrots or extra, to taste
- 1 small white onion (about 2/3 cup or 1 cup chopped)
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 cup half and half (or heavy cream) room temperature
- 3 TBSP all purpose flour
- 3 TBSP butter
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/8 tsp allspice
- 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp dried basil
- 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/8 tsp salt (will vary based on salt content of your stock/broth)
- a few cranks of freshly ground black pepper to taste
- First ze veggies: Chop em! Dice the onions super small, mince the garlic, an shred the carrots if you didn’t buy pre-shredded. This can all be done ahead of time and stored in the fridge for later. For the broccoli, chop 2/3 of it into tiny florets [just cut off as much stem as you can and it’ll fall apart in the pot] and then take the remaining 1/3 and give it a rough chop so you have a few large pieces to add to the soup. Totally optional!
- Add your veggie broth to a pot on medium-high heat, add your 2/3 of your broccoli [about 2 cups of florets] as well as your onion, garlic, carrots, and bay leaf. Simmer on medium, covered, for about 15-20 minutes or until the veggies are tender.
- Once the broth is done, start your roux: In a large pot, melt 3 tablespoons of butter on medium heat, whisking constantly. Once melted, slowly add 3 tablespoons of flour as you continue to whisk.
- For a thicker soup, use an extra tablespoon of each. I skipped it. Remove from heat and slowly pour in the broth from your veggie mixture [its okay if some of the veggies jump in along side it!] and stir to incorporate.
- Next pour in the veggies and slowly stir in 1 cup of room temperature half and half.
- Return to the burner on very low heat, uncovered.
- Spoon out the bay leaf and season with the above herbs and spices, adding a little extra of whichever you like to taste. I personally adore the pinch of nutmeg in this soup but feel free to leave it out if it’s just not your cup of tea! The soup is great both ways! Depending on the saltiness of your broth, you might skip the salt entirely or prefer to add a bit more. Taste and tweak as needed after adding your cheese.
- Oh yes: the cheese! Once the soup has warmed back up, stir in the grated cheeses [slowly and in small batches] and remove from heat immediately. I won’t tell if you sneak extra cheese in your soup =)
- That extra broccoli you left on the side? Blanch in boiling water, steam in your microwave, or basically cook it however you’d like, then stir that green goodness into your completed soup for great texture and an extra burst of broccoli.
- Garnish with a little extra grated cheddar and a sprinkle of parsley and even a pinch of spicy red pepper flakes if you’d like! Anything goes!
Feeling fancy? garnish with red pepper flakes, parsley, and extra sharp cheddar.
Gluten-Free Broccoli Cheese Soup
To make this soup gluten-free you can use pureed potato to thicken the soup without using a flour-based roux or use sweet rice flour in place of all purpose flour.
I’ve also used an all-purpose gluten-free flour blend in place of the conventional flour in the recipe with great results!
Soup-er Tips and Tricks
Cheese-based soups and sauces are a bit tricky, since cheese has a borderline multiple personality.
It starts out solid, begins to melt, then thickens, then (if the temperature is too high) jumps right back into solid territory by curdling.
Best way to avoid that last little quirk? Use full fat dairy products for your cream base (they stand up to heat much better than lowfat dairy), add your dairy products towards the end of the cooking process on a lower heat setting, and also combine sharp cheeses with creamy ones, for better melting and texture.
For this recipe, I chose higher quality, full-fat cheeses to ensure maximum flavor and melting. The result? Pure creamy deliciousness!
You’ll wind up with two BIG bowls of the stuff or four appetizer-sized portions to pair with sandwiches or salads.
Ooh! It also reheats like. a. champ.
I often have my lunches solo so I’ll have a bowl the first day and then reheat a leftover bowl of broccoli cheese goodness the next day to scarf at my desk while working. Love it so!
Instant Pot Pressure Cooker Broccoli Cheese Soup Instructions:
This sassy soup cooks up AMAZINGLY in the pressure cooker! It’s wicked fast too! Prep and measure your ingredients first.
WITH ROUX: Set an electric instant pot to sauté function and make your roux. Next add broth, carrots, onion, garlic, broccoli, and seasoning as written in above recipe. Hit cancel/off to turn off your sauté function, then set IP to HIGH pressure for 5 minutes. Once it beeps, quick release the valve at the top of the pressure cooker. Add your half and half and freshly grated cheeses and stir until the cheese has melted into the soup. Enjoy!
WITHOUT ROUX: You can also choose to skip the flour for a thinner but equally tasty broccoli and cheese soup that’s gloriously gluten-free. If skipping this step, quickly sauté your onion and garlic in the butter. Turn off sauté setting and add broth, carrots, broccoli, and seasoning as written in above recipe. Hit cancel/off to turn off your sauté function, then set IP to HIGH pressure for 5 minutes. Once it beeps, quick release the valve at the top of the pressure cooker. Add your half and half and freshly grated cheeses and stir until the cheese has melted into the soup. Enjoy!
so… how was it?
Comfort in a bowl! I’m hopelessly in love with this broccoli and cheese soup!
Need to round this baby out into a full meal? Add a piping hot veggie and cheese panini, grilled cheese, or even serve up the soup in a bread bowl. A cold chickpea salad sandwich would also be a rockin’accompaniment.
You could also serve this easy cheesy soup alongside a simple leafy green side salad if you’d like.
Am I allowed to swoon now? I’m swooning. Considering this soup has over 870k pins on Pinterest currently, I think it’s safe to say you’re swooning too.
Hope you adore this bowl of yum as much as we do!