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This copycat Panera Bread Broccoli Cheese Soup is a thick, rich, and creamy soup with tender broccoli, shredded carrots, and a hint of nutmeg, all cooked together with melted cheese. It’s so delicious and easy to make!

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

A pot of broccoli cheese soup with a ladle serving some,

Copycat Broccoli Cheese Soup Recipe

With the colder weather moving in, a nice warm soup is just what to look forward to at dinner time. This Panera Bread copycat broccoli cheese soup hits the spot perfectly. And let me tell you, it is the BEST broccoli cheese soup I have had! The only thing that makes it a little better is serving it up in a bread bowl. Or you can serve it up with some delicious dinner rolls instead!

I might be biased, but I truly think that this is better than the Panera Bread broccoli cheese soup that they are so famous for. This one is creamy, packed with delicious veggies, and the best part is… You can make it from home! That means you save time and money. It’s a win-win!

Ingredients in Broccoli Cheese Soup

This soup is so easy and delicious. Try topping your soup with extra cheese, crumbled bacon or ham, and some chives for a full broccoli cheese soup experience.

  • Butter: I used unsalted butter in this recipe.
  • Onion: You can use a white or yellow onion for this soup.
  • Flour: The flour is used along with the butter to create a roux. The roux is what will make your soup thick and creamy.
  • Half-and-halfThe half-and-half makes your broccoli cheese soup ultra-thick, rich, and creamy. You can also use heavy whipping cream instead.
  • Chicken Stock: This adds flavor to the base of the soup.
  • Broccoli: I use fresh broccoli for this recipe. If you use frozen, cook it in the microwave first and add it to the soup once the veggies are done sauteing.
  • Carrot: I buy shredded carrots to save myself time!
  • Nutmeg: This secret ingredient adds so much flavor!
  • Sharp Cheddar Cheese: This adds color and flavor to this classic soup.
  • Salt and Pepper: Just a pinch is enough.

How to Make Broccoli Cheese Soup

This broccoli cheese soup comes together super easily, and it’s a great meal to make ahead of time and eat for lunch or dinner.

  1. Make a 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.
  2. Whisk: Slowly whisk in the half and half and chicken stock. Let it simmer for about 20 minutes.
  3. Add Vegetables: 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 Seasonings and Cheese: Add nutmeg, salt, pepper, and sharp cheddar cheese. Let the cheese melt, and then serve. For a smoother soup, puree the soup.
4 pictures showing the process of making the soup.

Can I Use Different Cheeses

Yes! You can try out all sorts of varieties of cheese in this recipe, depending on your taste preference. Here are a few that I recommend:

  • Cheddar Cheese
  • Colby Jack Cheese
  • Swiss Cheese
  • American Cheese
  • White Cheddar Cheese
  • Velveeta Cheese
  • Parmesan Cheese

Variations and Substitutions

This copycat Panera Bread Broccoli Cheese Soup is so delicious, and there are ways to change it up to fit your needs!

  • Fresh or Frozen Broccoli: Fresh broccoli is preferred, but frozen broccoli will also work. Frozen tends to cook faster because it is already blanched.
  • Change the Broth: If you want to make this recipe vegetarian or don’t have chicken broth, vegetable broth also works well.
  • Want some heat? Add in a pinch of cayenne or red pepper flakes to the broccoli cheese soup recipe.
  • Cream Substitute: You can substitute the half and half for heavy cream or even whole milk. Heavy cream will make the soup a bit thicker, and whole milk will make it a bit thinner.
  • Shred Cheese from the Block: Pre-shredded cheese has a coating on it that makes it more difficult to melt. When you shred your cheese directly from the block, it gives the soup a very creamy and smooth consistency with no lumps.
A top view of the soup in a bowl.

Can I Make Broccoli Cheese Soup in the Slow Cooker?

Yes! Sometimes, this is the best option when you aren’t around to make this right away. The soup can heat up, and it’s ready to serve whenever you need it to be!

  1. Make a Roux: Make a roux by whisking together the flour and butter.
  2. Combine: Add all of the ingredients to your slow cooker but leave out the cheese, and milk.
  3. Cook: Cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 5-6 hours.
  4. Add in Dairy Ingredients: About 20 minutes before the soup is done, add in the milk and cheese to the slow cooker. Cook everything together for about 20 minutes. It’s ready to serve when the cheese is all melted.
A close up of the broccoli cheese soup in a bowl with a spoon scooping some out.

Storing Leftovers

Leftover broccoli cheese soup is so delicious (almost better!) the next day. Here is how you can properly store it to last as long as possible.

  1. In the Refrigerator: Let your soup cool, and then place it in an airtight container and store it in your fridge. It will last 4-5 days.
  2. In the Freezer: Let the soup cool and pour it into a ziplock bag. Label it with the date and lay the soup flat in the freezer. It will last about one month.
  3. Reheating: To reheat your broccoli cheese soup, place it in a saucepan over low to medium heat for about 4 to 5 minutes or microwave it in 1 to 2-minute increments. Stirring slowly each time until it is warmed through.

Serve it with Bread

Serve up your delicious broccoli cheese soup with any of these breads. They are perfect for dipping and then you have the most delicious meal for any cold, wintery day!

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Copycat Panera Bread Broccoli Cheese Soup

4.88 from 39 votes
By: Alyssa Rivers
This copycat Panera Bread Broccoli Cheese Soup is a thick, rich, and creamy soup with tender broccoli, shredded carrots, and a hint of nutmeg, all cooked together with melted cheese. It's so delicious and easy to make!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 8 people



  • 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.
  • Slowly whisk in the half and half and chicken stock. Let it simmer for about 20 minutes.
  • Add the broccoli, carrots, and onions. Let them simmer on medium low for about 25 minutes until the broccoli and carrots are tender.
  • Add nutmeg, salt, pepper, and sharp cheddar cheese. Let the cheese melt and then serve. For a smoother soup puree the soup.



Updated on September 19, 2023
Originally Posted on January 13, 2014


Calories: 420kcalCarbohydrates: 15gProtein: 16gFat: 33gSaturated Fat: 19gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0.3gCholesterol: 96mgSodium: 537mgPotassium: 387mgFiber: 1gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 3785IUVitamin C: 23mgCalcium: 420mgIron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Appetizer, Dinner, Main Course, Side Dish, Soup
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @alyssa_therecipecritic or tag #therecipecritic!


About Alyssa Rivers

Alyssa Rivers is the author of 'The Tried and True Cookbook', a professional food photographer and experienced recipe-developer. Having a passion for cooking, her tried and true recipes have been featured on Good Morning America, Today Food, Buzzfeed and more.

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Recipe Rating


  1. This was delicious! I omitted the nutmeg, added parsley and chicken, and topped it with scallions. Perfect with a crusty bread for dipping. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Thank you for this recipe. I think a half pound of broccoli is way more than a cup though so I would go based on weight as a cup of broccoli would not be enough. I doubled the recipe and used an immersion blender right in the pot before adding the cheese because I was too lazy to julienne the carrots beforehand and thought my broccoli pieces were too large. Next time I will julienne the carrots as the broccoli breaks up a lot more than I expected. I didn’t have any dry mustard to add as other have suggested, so used a dollop of Dijon instead. I plan to freeze individual portions for lunch. I have frozen vegetable soups with cream in them many times with no issues. The cheese may affect the texture afterwards though. We’ll see! Thanks again!

  3. Delicious! Made this for the first time tonight.did’nt have enough half n half so subbed half whole milk. Used paprika, dry mustard and seasoned salt. I’ll make again soon. Thanks for the recipe.

  4. This was really really really good! I love that it is so fresh and easy to make. I doubled the recipe and made it for Sunday dinner for my whole family and they loved it. Thanks so much for posting this. Two thumbs up.

  5. I loved this recipe! So delicious, but my only complaint is that it was extremely thick. We felt like we were eating sauce. The taste was spectacular but I was wondering how to thin it out a bit. It was also very easy and quick! I will definitely make it again!

  6. I made the broccoli and cheese soup following the recipe to a T and it is soooo delicious!!!! I think even better than Panera Bread’s!!

  7. This was a HIT in my house. There only ended up being 2 servings for my SO and Daughter. I didn’t even get any LOL

  8. Made this today without reading comments first (computer issues). I only put in 1/2 the nutmeg because it sounded strange to go in a soup. Glad I did because you can definitely tell there’s nutmeg in it. Still very good though! Next time I’ll try it with some of the substitutions others listed. Or 1/4 of the called for nutmeg since it does add something to it. And I’ll probably add even more brocolli for extra veggies! Otherwise love the recipe! Thank you! 🙂

  9. I’m vegetarian and I have had Panera Bread’s broccoli cheese soup several times not knowing it contained chicken stock. Time and again, I have tried to recreate it in my kitchen. I think this soup is even better made at home. I did not follow this recipe to the T — I steamed and roughly mashed the broccoli prior to adding it to the soup, I substituted veggie broth for chicken stock and I skipped the half and half and carrots. I still got a thick enough soup that was delicious if not restaurant quality. Also, I usually do not follow recipe measurements, I eyeball almost every ingredient and follow only the method. Weird, I know. Next time, I’ll also skip the nutmeg and add mustard and garlic powder instead. My husband and I had this tonight along with roasted potatoes and green beans. Yum!

  10. I made this for my husband tonight (it’s his favorite!) and it was delicious! Thanks – amazing recipe!

  11. I made this soup it was yummy! I used more broccoli, substitued whole milk for half and half and only used 2 1/2 cups of milk, i used onion powder, garlic powder, paperika, seasoned salt and I only had regular mustard so that is what i tried. Our family loves sharp cheddar cheese so I used 2 pkgs of it and it was delicious! I have used a few recipes for broccoli and cheddar soup this is by far the best one yet! Loved it thanks!

    1. Nancy, all those seasonings you added sounds like it makes the soup that much better. Do you mind sharing how much you used of each??

  12. I am so happy to find your blog!! I was looking for a broccoli/cheese recipe, and when I read you are in Utah, I know it has to be the one. Why? Because it’s darn cold here!!!!! Looking forward to trying this recipe today.

  13. We are seniors and order this soup whenever we stop at Panera’s. My wife has dementia and is struggling in the kitchen so I’ve begun doing the cooking (she helps with the prep and clean up). I’m learning a lot so thanks for the nice recipes and helpful comments from everyone.
    I tried this soup without the nutmeg. Very tasty, but very thick and very cheesey…. maybe did too much simmering. I’ll try it again, but with half the cheese, more broccoli, and I’ll try milk instead of the 1/2 and 1/2 (and closely watch the simmering). We did love the taste so I don’t want to make too many adjustments.
    Thanks again.

  14. I made this as stated last Thursday night. It’s fantastic! We had house/pet sitters over the weekend. Told them that there was home made Spinach Quiche and Broccoi Cheese fridge for there enjoyment. The Broccoli Cheese Soup was GONE!! I’d say that sums up the Rating!