This is an older recipe from the Diethood Archives, now updated with fresh content and photos. Original post/recipe published on 4/18/2011.
Broccoli Cheese Soup (Panera Copycat)
If you love Panera Bread’s Broccoli Cheddar Soup, you are going to be amazed with this copycat recipe!
Panera Copycat? You be the judge! Thick, rich, creamy, and cheesy. Just the way I LOVE it!
Hi-Ya, friends! Happy about-to-be-the-weekend! What are your plans? Any parties to attend?? I have a wedding to go to tomorrow night and a pre-party tonight, AND I couldn’t be more excited! I get to hang out with all my besties, eat cake and drink champagne! It’s a hard knock life. 🍰 🍻
Soooo, since I’ll be a bit tied up with trying to get my party dress on, and fixing my face, and getting my hair did – it’s going to be a busy 2 days – I thought this was the best time to share one of my recipes from the Diethood Archives. I posted this recipe for Broccoli Cheese Soup back in 2011, when Diethood was just a few months old. [[[[applause]]]] 😉
With that said, do you know what happens when you take two very very healthy vegetables, broccoli and carrots, and marry them with milk and cheese? You make them very very… delicious!! Actually, the taste is beyond delicious. This soup is seriously, SO GOOD!
One of the things I could not eat as a child was broccoli, but put a bowl of soup with it in front of me (with cheese), and I was game. This probably goes for most of you, too. Those green trees just weren’t very appealing back then. Even now, for some.
When we came to the States, and when I discovered that this bowl of deliciousness existed, I thought that soup couldn’t get better than this. Then, years later, I discovered Panera and its broccoli cheese soup – oh my bejesus! Now, for real, soup could not get better than that! Have you had their soup? I wanted to have it every day (and I did for about two weeks), so I had to find out how to make this at home.
During my long extensive search (Google couldn’t produce results for “Panera Broccoli Cheese/Cheddar Soup” in 1994), I ran into someone who swore that they had the recipe, and it couldn’t be any different than the real stuff. I took down the recipe, followed it to the “T”, and every dotted “i’”, and low and behold, this is it!
I believe it tastes just like it. But, you be the judge – give it a go, you’ll see.
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Broccoli Cheese Soup
- 5 tablespoons butter , divided
- 1 yellow onion , chopped
- 1 to 2 garlic cloves , finely chopped
- 3 carrots , sliced into thin rounds
- pinch salt
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 cups milk
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 bag (16-ounces) frozen broccoli florets, thawed
- salt and fresh ground pepper , to taste
- 1/8 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 8 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
- Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large saucepan or soup pot.
- Add onion, garlic, carrots, and pinch of salt; cook over medium-low heat for 5 minutes.
- Add the rest of the butter and melt.
- Whisk in flour; whisk until incorporated.
- Slowly add milk and continue to whisk until everything is well combined and there are no clumps.
- Whisk in chicken broth, add bay leaf, and turn up heat to high; bring soup to a boil.
- Add the broccoli florets, season with salt and pepper, and cook over medium heat for 20 minutes.
- Pour batches of soup into a blender or a food processor, and puree.
- Return soup to the soup-pot; continue to cook over low heat and add the grated cheese; stir until melted and completely combined.
- Stir in the paprika and nutmeg.
- Remove from heat.
- Taste for seasoning and adjust accordingly.