The Best Broccoli Cheese Soup Recipe

The Best Broccoli Cheese Soup is a thick, rich and creamy soup with chunks of tender broccoli pieces, shredded carrots and a hint of nutmeg all cooked together in melted sharp cheese! The perfect comfort soup for the colder months!

Soup is the comfort of the soul! If you love soups try this Slow Cooker Pasta e Fagioli Soup, Creamy Zuppa Toscana or Creamy Chicken Broccoli Soup.

broccoli Cheese soup

Our Recipe is Better Than the Broccoli Cheese Soup Panera has to Offer

With the colder weather moving a nice warm soup is just what to look forward to at dinner time.

This Panera copycat broccoli cheese soup hits the spot perfectly.

And let me tell you it is the BEST broccoli cheese soup that I have had!

Adding this soup to a bread bowl makes it even more fantastic.

This broccoli cheese soup recipe is so creamy and I love the vegetables inside.

They are so tender and add so much thickness to this broccoli cheese soup.

It is just what you need for a cold. snowy day outside.

You will be making this broccoli cheese soup again and again!

What you need to make broccoli cheese soup

This is a simple broccoli cheese soup that is perfect for the colder months to come.

Sitting by the fire and warming up with this creamy and thick soup is not only comforting but keeps you warm throughout.

Top you soup with extra cheese, crumbled bacon or ham and some chives for a full broccoli cheese soup experience.

Hollow out a round loaf of bread and add a scoop of broccoli cheese soup for a combination MUST.

A creamy and delicious soup that tastes just like Panera Bread if not better!

  • Butter: melted butter that will go along with sautéing an onion.
  • Onion: medium sized onion, chopped and then sautéed in onion.
  • Butter: more butter… but for good reason! This will make a simple roux with flour. 
  • Flour: this is you thickener to go along with your flour.
  • Half-and-half cream: makes you broccoli cheese soup ultra thick, rich and creamy!
  • Chicken stock: adds flavor and the liquid that you need.
  • Broccoli: fresh is better than frozen and chopped up into pieces.
  • Carrot: cut into short, thin strips.
  • Nutmeg: secret ingredient that adds so much flavor!
  • Sharp cheddar cheese: cheese is good!
  • Salt and pepper: just a pinch!

How to make broccoli cheese soup

Start your broccoli cheese soup with a roux of butter and flour for a more thicker recipe.

Later your cheese will be creamed for a thick and creamy cheese.

For a more thick and rich texture just continue to add more flour and butter combination.

Enjoy your broccoli cheese soup with cornbread, miracle no knead bread, perfect baked potato recipe or apple bacon brussel sprout salad for a complete meal.

  • Making the roux: Sauté the onion in 1 tablespoon melted butter and set aside. In a large pot whisk together the melted butter and flour over medium heat for about 3-4 minutes.
  • Whisk together liquid: Slowly whisk in the half and half and chicken stock. Let it simmer for about 20 minutes.
  • Cook in vegetables: Add the broccoli, carrots, and onions. Let them simmer on medium low for about 25 minutes until the broccoli and carrots are tender.
  • Add seasonings and cheese: Add nutmeg, salt and pepper and sharp cheddar cheese. Let the cheese melt and then serve. For a smoother soup puree it in a blender… but I love the chunks!

Variety of cheeses

You can’t go wrong with cheese!

There are so many fun flavors and types of cheese that this broccoli cheese soup can be mixed up in.

We love to try a mixture of cheeses when we make this broccoli cheese soup!

All of these cheeses tastes so good. Mix and match and have several ways of making this broccoli cheese soup recipe.

  • Cheddar cheese: creamy, milk flavoring.
  • Colby cheese: soft, moist and milder.
  • Jack cheese: rich, sharp and slightly nutty.
  • Swiss cheese: a mild cheese.
  • American cheese: smooth and creamy texture.
  • White cheddar cheese: mild, spicy and compliments other cheeses.
  • Fresh parmesan cheese: fruity and nutty with a harder texture.

Tips for making broccoli cheese soup better than Panera

Panera by far makes the best broccoli cheese soup.

With these tips and my recipe you will not only love my broccoli cheese soup recipe but it will be even better than Panera!

Enjoy these upgrades today for a thicker, richer and creamier broccoli cheese soup!

  • The smaller the pieces of vegetables cut up the quicker the broccoli cheese soup will cook.
  • Fresh broccoli is preferred by frozen broccoli will also work. Frozen tends to cook faster because it is already blanched.
  • If you are wanting to make it vegetarian or don’t have chicken broth, vegetable broth also works well.
  • To make it a little more healthy, low sodium chicken broth works well too.
  • Want some heat! Add in a pinch of cayenne or red pepper flakes into the broccoli cheese soup recipe.
  • You can substitute the half and half for a heavy cream or even whole milk. Each milk base will give it a different consistency.
  • Stay away from low fat or fat free milk. You will want the fat from the milk to make it thick, rich and creamy!
  • To make a thicker broccoli cheese soup, create a cornstarch slurry. Whisk 2 to 3 tablespoons water or cold chicken broth and cornstarch. Slowly add a little at a time to reach your desired consistency. Add an additional 10 minuets. The cornstarch will be your thickener.
  • Adding more cheese also helps to thicken the soup.
  • Cream cheese melted also is a great thickener for a soup texture.
  • When adding the milk, add it very slowly and stirring continuously at the same time. Mixing milk and the heat will sometimes cause the milk to curdle.
  • This will be the same with the cheese. When adding your cheese turn your heat down to low and slowly sprinkle your cheese in to avoid it clumping in your soup mix.
  • If you can shred your cheese yourself this is a great way to make sure it will melt evenly compared to pre-shredded cheese.
  • For a more creamier texture use an immersion blender or puree the soup to make it as smooth and creamy as possible.
  • Make this broccoli cheese soup recipe with shredded chicken or leftover rotisserie for extra protein.

How to make broccoli cheese soup in the slow cooker

Sometimes a slow cooker is just the trick.

You can get a few extra things done while the slow cooker does most the work.

Set yourself a little bit of time to get started and then a little after. Let the slow cooker do the rest!

This broccoli cheese soup recipe warms up well in a slow cooker.

  • Making the roux: Whisk together the butter and flour.
  • Add ingredients and stir: Add all of the ingredients to your slow cooker, leaving out the cheese, milk and broth. Gently stir in your chicken broth.
  • Slow cooker time: Cook on high for 3 to 4 hours or on low for 5 to 6 hours.
  • Stir in dairy ingredients: About 20 to 30 minutes before your broccoli soup is done, slowly pout milk and sprinkle cheese in to the slow cooker. Cook another 20 to 30 minutes, stirring it occasionally. Ready to serve once the cheese is all melted through!

broccoli cheese soup in a bowl

Storing broccoli cheese soup

This broccoli cheese soup is so delicious hot, fresh and right off the oven.

Add some croutons and extra cheese and you have a delicious meal.

Unfortunately, dairy does not do the greatest when frozen.

When reheating, it becomes grainy or the texture of the broccoli cheese soup can change slightly.

It can be done; however, there may be a little change to taste and texture when reheating in the microwave or on the stovetop.

Enjoy this soup as often as you can this fall and winter season! This soup will warm you up in minutes!

  • Making Ahead: I love a fresh and hot soup with the steam coming off of it once it is poured into your bowl. Making ahead can be tricky but leaving it on the stove top or in a slow cooker will be best, stirring occasionally. Eat within 4 to 6 hours of making it.
  • Refrigerating: This broccoli cheese soup can last in the refrigerator for about 4 to 5 days long. Let your soup cool completely. Then place in an airtight container to store.
  • Freezing: If you are planning to freeze, let your broccoli cheese soup cool completely. Add it to a freezer ziplock bag. Lay your soup flat in the freezer for easy stacking and saving space in the freezer, This will last in the freezer for about 1 month.
  • Freezing without dairy: Dairy does not freeze well. It is best if you leave out the milk and cheese until you are ready to warm it up. Even undercooking your broccoli can help when reheating your frozen broccoli cheese soup recipe.
  • Reheating: To reheat your broccoli cheese soup place in a saucepan over low to medium heat for about 4 to 5 minutes or microwaved 1 to 2 minute increments. Stirring slowly each time until it is warmed through.

    broccoli cheese soup with cheese and broccoli on topHere are more recipes with broccoli in them

Copycat Panera Broccoli Cheese Soup


Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Author Alyssa Rivers
Servings 8 people

The Best Broccoli Cheese Soup is a thick, rich and creamy soup with chunks of tender broccoli pieces, shredded carrots and a hint of nutmeg all cooked together in melted sharp cheese! The perfect comfort soup for the colder months!

Course Appetizer, Dinner, Main Course, Side Dish, Soup
Cuisine American
Keyword Broccoli and cheese soup, Broccoli and cheese soup recipe, Broccoli cheese soup keto, Broccoli cheese soup like panera, Broccoli cheese soup low carb, Broccoli cheese soup nutrition, Broccoli cheese soup panera, Broccoli cheese soup recipe, Easy broccoli cheese soup, The best broccoli cheese soup, What to serve with broccoli cheese soup

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • 1/2 medium chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups half-and-half cream
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 lb fresh broccoli about 1 cup
  • 1 cup carrot julienned
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 8 ounces grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Sauté the onion in 1 tablespoon melted butter and set aside. In a large pot whisk together the melted butter and flour over medium heat for about 3-4 minutes.
  2. Slowly whisk in the half and half and chicken stock. Let it simmer for about 20 minutes.
  3. Add the broccoli, carrots, and onions. Let them simmer on medium low for about 25 minutes until the broccoli and carrots are tender.
  4. Add nutmeg, salt and pepper and sharp cheddar cheese. Let the cheese melt and then serve. For a smoother soup puree it in a [url:2]blender[/url]... but I love the chunks!

Recipe Notes

Updated Post on October 27, 2019

Original Post on January 13, 2014

Nutrition Facts
Copycat Panera Broccoli Cheese Soup

Amount Per Serving
Calories 311 Calories from Fat 216
% Daily Value*
Fat 24g37%
Saturated Fat 15g75%
Cholesterol 73mg24%
Sodium 371mg15%
Potassium 320mg9%
Carbohydrates 12g4%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 12g24%
Vitamin A 3569IU71%
Vitamin C 27mg33%
Calcium 292mg29%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

 

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Alyssa Rivers

I am Alyssa and the blogger behind The Recipe Critic. I started my blog in June of 2012 as a place to share my passion for cooking. I love trying new things and testing them out with my family.

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Categories
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Comments

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  1. Every once in a while, you run across a recipe that is just wonderful. I found that with this one. I made it tonight for the first time. First, thank goodness for all the comments. I replaced the nutmeg with salt, garlic powder (I didn’t have any season salt), 1/2 tsp. dry mustard, and 1/2 tsp. paprika as recommended, and about 4 cups of brocolli.
    I make my own stock, but forgot to label some of it so it was either vegetable or mushroom. I used about half the cheese in the soup, and the rest on top. The recipe says 4 servings which was just enough for my wife and I. She absolutely loved this soup as did I. This is definitely a keeper. ( I have a note book so I copy and print off the recipe so I can print in in a larger font which makes it easier for these old eyes to read easily). I highly recommend this one. I

  2. Do you cook the broth and cream for 20 minutes then add broccoli for another 25 minutes like you have posted. If so then the cook time should be listed as 45 minutes not 30 minutes. And total time should be 1 hr not 45 minutes. I plan on trying this due to I love this soup.

  3. Thank you so much!! I have Celiac and can no longer have Panera Soup and I LOVED it. I made this last night and it was fabulous! Gluten free flour was the only sub and who would ever notice with the great blends they have these days. This was a real treat!

  4. Greet recipe for high fat, low carb eaters like me. I just replaced the flour with almond flour. Plenty of full fat cheese really brought this soup home…thanks for posting.

    1. Yep! I have before. Just cook everything including the veggies in chicken broth first and then add the cheese and heavy cream at the end.

  5. I made this for lunch today. Really good. I took a large ladle full out after step 3, used an immersion blender to puree the rest, put the ladle full back to the pot and finished. I also added a couple of sprigs of Thyme only because I had it in the fridge. It was very thick. I will add a little extra broth next time. Excellent recipe. I will add this to my “yummy”‘ recipes and make again. Thank you

  6. Thanks for this delicious recipe. My family agrees with me that it tastes even better than Panera! I cheated and made pizza dough breadbowls, but as soon as I get a hold on some good sourdough, I’m making this again.

    1. That is AWESOME! I do love Panera but having this soup in my pajamas on a cool night, is perfection!! I love the idea of pizza dough bread bowls! I will have to try that soon!! Thanks for sharing! XOXO

  7. I definitely want to follow you! I love Broccoli & Cheese Soup, so I will be trying this soon & look forward to whatever you post next!

  8. BETTER THAN PANERA! This recipe was great – everyone loved it. I only made a couple tweaks which was doubling the chicken stock and omitting the nutmeg (I don’t like the taste).

  9. This is what dreams are made of…serving this soup makes me look like a good cook!!! Only thing I did was add a little bit of garlic powder. Simple and easy to follow – spot on = Panera’s recipe! Thanks for sharing!

  10. I wanted to like this soup. I loved Panera’s Broccoli Cheese soup so I was excited to make this. Here are some of my personal thoughts on the process and results..

    – 1 cup of Broccoli almost disappears in the soup. My feeling is 2 cups is necessary if you actually want to experience much Broccoli. I also used a WHOLE onion of a small/medium size.

    – 8z of cheese is also not enough in my opinion. I ended up adding 16oz total because the soup just didn’t taste like anything to me with only 8oz. And even then, I used some spices to try to bump up the flavor. A bit of Harissa to lend a smokiness and some light “heat”, but it didn’t really come through and didn’t want to add too much

    – If I make this soup again, I will NOT use the Sharp Cheddar, but a Medium Sharp. I found the sharp gave the soup a funky finish. Since I was using a good local brand (Tillamook) I know it wasn’t the quality of the cheese. I’m a cheese lover and no stranger to strong cheeses, but I feel the sharp just lends a sourness to the soup that I didn’t like. My adult daughter felt the same.

    I appreciate the recipe since now I have a guideline. Was thinking of sauteing a minced Serrano chili with the onion for some real zing. next time. Wanted to give 3 stars, but all 5 lit up when I put my cursor over them and I couldn’t make it change.

  11. I have made this soup twice now. The first time my changes were (1) using a combination of 2 cups Tillamook’s white sharp cheddar, 1.5 cups mozzarella and 1/2 cup Romano; and just cooked the onions in all of the butter – I didn’t bother melting it first. From then I followed the recipe as written. I’m guessing you adapted your recipe from this one since the instructions are pretty close?: https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/235874/copycat-panera-broccoli-cheddar-soup/ I noticed with the Allrecipes version, though, they call for celery. I’m not sure how they made that work without sauteeing the celery. Anyway, even though I thought it was strange simmering the milk/cream as you instructed, I did it anyway and it was delicious. My husband asked me to make it again two days later and I decided to add celery but forgot to saute it early in the recipe with the onion. So I had to simmer the soup post-cream/milk addition about 10 minutes longer. I also added garlic. It was still amazing even with the milk and cream simmering all that time. However, my next try I’m going to saute the veggies first, then add the flour, then the broth, then cream, and once hot enough, add the cheese just to see how it turns out. Thanks for sharing this devine recipe!

  12. I didn’t have nutmeg so I read you can substitute it with cinnamon. Do NOT put either in it. It all tasted like cinnamon. Thanks consistency & everything else was fine.

  13. This was delicious. My four year old is licking her bowl as I type this. I’ve made variations on this recipe for a few years but I think this is the only recipe that got the roux right. I followed the recipe completely. The only difference is that I think the 1 cup of broccoli is off. I used 2 cups. Thanks for the rainy night dinner idea. It’s going to be bookmarked from now on.

  14. This soup was great!!! I had to hack it because I had no half and half so I used 2% milk, and it was still delicious. I doubled for my family of 8 and it was just enough, next time I will triple so we have leftovers. Thank you so much 🙂

  15. would I just follow recipe to triple the recipe? Making the soup for school luncheon and want to have enough.
    Also, I like it thick but what would you recommend using to thin the soup?

  16. sheridan
    This soup was excellent!!!!, my family enjoyed it, we had no left over for the 1st time ever!!!. Thanks for sharing

  17. I just had this soup from Panera yesterday. I don’t think there are carrots in this. I didn’t see or taste any.

  18. Wonderful recipe! I don’t know if it is anything like Panera’s, since I don’t eat there, but I imagine it is even better. After reading all of the comments, I did make a couple of tweaks. The first was with the broccoli. I used my scale to measure out 8 ounces, and my broccoli was very light. It came out to 3 or so cups when packed down. We love garlic, so I added a couple of cloves chopped up with the onions. My roux worked really well, so I thinned it out with an extra cup of chicken broth. I was skeptical about the nutmeg, but went ahead and put it in (I’m glad I did). I know cheddar cheese can vary, but I found an 8 ounce package of Kraft extra sharp cheddar was perfect. I made bread bowls from frozen dinner roll dough, and then topped them with crumbled bacon strips.

  19. Love this! I made it in my instant pot with riced broccoli. Added just a little extra white cheddar with the original. Amazing!!!

  20. A new family favorite! Next time I am going to add dry mustard to my flour and butter mixture like I do with my Mac n cheese. I also think that I will only use HALF a package of grated cheese. Loved having the chunks of broccoli. My daughter asked for more and more. I was able to feed myself, husband and 11 yr old daughter with enough for another small bowl leftover. Very flavorful and inexpensive to make on a chilly fall night!

  21. I literally never comment on anything. However, I feel I need to on this. This recipe has been saved on my Pinterest for several months, waiting for it to be soup season.
    The ONLY changes I made were:
    1. I chopped up a whole head of broccoli to use because I didn’t feel like 1 cup of broccoli would be enough. I also didn’t want to have part of a head of broccoli left over.
    2. I ended up adding some additional sharp cheddar cheese due to the increase of broccoli.

    I was skeptical about adding nutmeg, because I’m typically not a fan of the flavor. I don’t even like it in pumpkin pie. However, I figured the recipe is cheap enough to make so if it was nasty, I could dump it and start over without the nutmeg, but I didn’t have to because it was literally perfect!!! It’s the best broccoli cheese soup I’ve ever had. I made a baked potato and poured it over the top.. Will definitely be making this one again and again.

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