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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. 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!

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

  3. 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.

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

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

  6. 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?

  7. 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 🙂

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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?: 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!

  11. 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.

  12. 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!