Broccoli Cheese Soup

4.60 from 15 votes
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This broccoli cheese soup is a great way to easily add more veggies to your weekly meals. Rich and creamy, it’s loaded with big broccoli and cheddar flavor with the perfect hint of sweet paprika.

Overhead image of broccoli cheese soup in a soup pot with a ladle.


 

Comfortingly rich, this broccoli cheese soup is a bowl of veggie and cheesy goodness that’ll have everyone asking for seconds. It’s so good it outshines Panera’s version, no questions asked. Built on a base of sauteed veggies and aromatics, this creamy soup is made rich with a buttery roux, milk, and chicken broth. Broccoli florets are cooked in the rich soup, which is then blended into a smooth puree of comforting flavors. Shredded cheddar cheese is melted in just before serving, taking this heartwarming favorite over the edge.

Why You’ll Love This Copycat Panera Broccoli Cheese Soup Recipe

  • Panera copycat (but better). Ever tried Panera’s addictive broccoli cheese soup? Well, this one is better. Skip the restaurant and get all of the satisfaction and more in the comfort of your own home.
  • Smooth and creamy. I adore how this soup offers a rich, comforting blend of cheesy and creamy flavors.
  • More veggies. Trying to get the fam to eat veggies? This soup is a delicious, easy way to get the job done. Adults and kiddos alike will be gobbling it up.
Photo of all the ingredients used for making broccoli cheese soup.

Recipe Ingredients

  • Unsalted butter – You can use salted butter, just be sure to use less salt in the rest of the recipe.
  • Vegetables – Yellow onion, garlic (garlic powder would also work), and carrots.
  • Salt
  • Flour – Don’t use whole-wheat flour for this, only all-purpose. Also, don’t try to use cornstarch as a thickener. It won’t work the same way as the flour.
  • Milk – I prefer full-fat milk for the creamiest soup.
  • Low sodium chicken broth – Veggie stock would also work.
  • Bay leaf – You can leave the bay leaf out if you’d like.
  • Broccoli florets – Fresh or frozen broccoli is fine. If you use frozen florets, thaw and drain them before adding them to the soup.
  • Seasoning – Ground pepper, nutmeg, and sweet paprika (mild or smoked paprika would also do the trick).
  • Low-fat shredded cheddar cheese – You could use full-fat cheddar instead or really any other good melting cheese.

How to Make Broccoli Cheese Soup

  • Saute the veggies. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the veggies, season with salt, and saute for 5 minutes.
  • Make a roux. Add the rest of the butter to pot and allow it to melt before whisking in the flour.
  • Make it soup. Slowly whisk in the milk followed by the chicken broth and the bay leaf. Turn the heat to high and bring everything to a boil.
  • Add the broccoli. Stir in the broccoli, season with salt and pepper, reduce the heat to medium, and cook for 20 minutes.
  • Blend. Transfer the soup to a blender and blend until smooth. You could also use an immersion blender.
  • Make it cheesy. Return the soup to the pot and cook over medium heat for 1 minute before stirring in the cheese. Stir until the cheese has fully melted into the soup.
  • Season. Stir in the nutmeg and paprika and season with additional salt and pepper if needed.
  • Serve. Remove the soup from the heat and serve in bowls.
Overhead image of broccoli cheese soup in a soup pot with a ladle.

Tips For Success

This is an easy soup to throw together, but there are a few things you want to pay attention to in order to achieve the best result possible. Here are some tips from yours truly.

  • Keep things moving. When whisking the flour into the butter and sauteed veggies and then again when whisking the milk into the mixture, keep that whisk moving. If you don’t, the flour will clump up and you’ll find yourself with a lumpy soup.
  • Choose Fresh Broccoli: Fresh broccoli tends to provide better flavor and texture compared to frozen.
  • Careful with heat. Cooking with too much heat will result in a grainy soup. Keep things super smooth and creamy by cooking this soup over medium (or even medium-low) heat and stirring occasionally.
  • Remove the soup from the burner. Once the soup is done cooking, remove it from the heat. Overheating the soup or heating it for too long will cause it to separate.
Overhead image of broccoli cheese soup served in bowls.

Serving Suggestions

Serve this heartwarming soup as a main course along with a light, refreshing La Scala Chopped Salad. You could also serve it as a starter to my Stuffed Flank Steak or this Roasted Chicken Recipe. Regardless of whether you choose to serve it as a starter or a main, you must accompany this broccoli cheddar soup with a warm, crusty hunk of bread. I have been so excited about my Focaccia Recipe recently, but this Slow Cooker Bread With Basil Pesto is also to die for.

How to Store & Reheat Broccoli Cheddar Soup

  • To store. Allow the soup to cool completely before transferring it to an airtight container. You can store it in the fridge for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Transfer the leftovers to the fridge to thaw before reheating.
  • To reheat. Reheat the soup in a pot on the stovetop over medium-low heat until warm, stirring occasionally. If it’s too thick, just stir in a little milk or heavy cream. You can also microwave individual portions in 30-second intervals until heated through.
Overhead image of broccoli cheese soup in a bowl with a spoon.

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4.60 from 15 votes

Broccoli Cheese Soup

Broccoli Cheese Soup is the epitome of comfort food! It's wonderfully cheesy, incredibly rich and creamy, and loaded with fresh broccoli in every bite.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 6 servings

Ingredients 

  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter,, divided
  • 1 small yellow onion,, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic,, finely minced
  • 2 to 3 carrots,, sliced into thin rounds
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 to 3 cups low sodium chicken broth,, start with 2 cups and add more, if needed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 16 ounces broccoli florets,, thaw if frozen
  • 8 ounces low fat shredded cheddar cheese
  • ½ teaspoon sweet paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper,, to taste
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Instructions 

  • Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large saucepan or soup pot.
  • Add onion, garlic, carrots, and salt to the melted butter and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. Stir frequently to prevent burning.
  • Add the rest of the butter and melt.
  • Whisk in the flour and continue to whisk until incorporated.
  • Slowly add milk and whisk until everything is well combined and there are no clumps.
  • Whisk in the chicken broth, add the bay leaf, and turn up the heat to high; bring the soup to a boil.
  • Add the broccoli florets, season soup with salt and pepper, and cook the soup over medium heat for 20 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and pour batches of the soup into a high-powered blender or a food processor, and process until smooth. You can also use an immersion blender.
  • Return the soup to the pot; continue to cook over medium-low heat for 1 minute. Add in the cheese and stir until melted and completely combined.
  • Stir in the paprika and nutmeg. Taste the soup for salt, pepper, and seasonings, and adjust accordingly.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Ladle into soup bowls and serve.

Notes

  • Continuously whisk, where applicable, to avoid clumps and ensure a creamy soup.
  • Use medium or medium-low heat and stir occasionally for a creamy soup without graininess.
  • Remove soup from heat once cooked to prevent separation.
  • Store cooled soup in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days or freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge before reheating. Reheat on the stovetop over medium-low heat, adding milk or cream if too thick, or microwave in 30-second intervals until warm.

Nutrition

Serving: 1.5cups | Calories: 277kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.4g | Cholesterol: 43mg | Sodium: 334mg | Potassium: 592mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 6090IU | Vitamin C: 71mg | Calcium: 316mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.

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78 Comments

  1. Pam says:

    This looks delicious! One of my favorite soups. I’d like to make it keto – can I substitute almond flour and maybe almond milk?

    1. Katerina says:

      Hi! I have not tested this soup with an almond flour roux, but if you want to keep it keto, I’d suggest skipping the flour and, instead of milk, use heavy cream.

  2. LAURIE says:

    I love this soup! I did add three stalks celery with the veggies and augmented with more milk and broth as well as vermouth or white wine for added elegance. Delicious!

    1. Katerina Petrovska says:

      That’s great! I am very glad you enjoyed it! Thank you for chiming in! 🙂

  3. Linda says:

    I made this recipe once and it was so yummy, I’m getting ready to make again. Using fresh broccoli.

    1. Krys says:

      This recipe is a family favorite! Only one amendment; if you have an immersion blender, take the soup off the heat and use it to purée the cooked broccoli and liquid. Then put it back on the burner and stir in grated cheese. Saves a LOT of time and mess if you can skip transferring in batches to a blender or food processor.

    2. Rita Dalessio says:

      Made it with fresh broccoli delish will make again.

      1. Katerina Petrovska says:

        I am very glad you enjoyed it! Thank YOU! 🙂

  4. Olivia says:

    I just made this soup. I really like that this recipe uses milk instead cream or half and half. I actually used 1% milk, since that was what I had on hand. It is incredibly good! I would personally say it’s better than Panera’s. I’m so glad I doubled the recipe!

  5. Kathleen says:

    I’ve never had the Panera version, but I love this soup! I used fresh broccoli instead of frozen.

  6. Sherrie Schulz says:

    What is the WE points for the cheddar cheese broccoli soup. It looks so delicious. I tell everyone to go to your site because you always post the WE points. It is so helpful.

    1. Sherrie Schulz says:

      Should have said WW points not WE points.

    2. Katerina Petrovska says:

      OH you’re right! I’m so sorry!! I will update it right away. Thank you so much for letting me know! xo

      1. Sherrie Schulz says:

        Thank you Katrina. Love your recipes.

      2. Linda T says:

        Hi, I only had full fat cheese today when making this soup. Will it still be ok, except for the extra calories and fat?

        1. Katerina Petrovska says:

          Hi!
          Yep, that’s totally ok. 😊

  7. A_Boleyn says:

    Gorgeous bowl of soup.

  8. Courtney says:

    I can not wait to make this today! Mine and my husbands favorite!!!

  9. Joanne says:

    I would leave out the flour altogether as it was WAY too thick when I blended it, I had to add 2 cups more liquid. I originally used only one cup milk and 3 cups broth, but the flour was unnecessary, requiring more cups of broth. Next time I will leave the flour out and using immersion blender, it is plenty creamy. I make other veggie soups w/o flour and they are very creamy and w/o dairy or flour. Just sayin’. Very good with the ending addition of that cheddar cheese!

    1. Pam says:

      Great to know! I’d love to skip the flour, thanks for sharing!