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Nutritious, rich, and creamy, this is the best Broccoli Cheddar Soup recipe! It’s ultra cheesy, comes together quickly, and is packed with veggies. Move over, Panera!

best broccoli and cheddar soup in a bowl topped with cheddar cheese

Why You’ll Love This Cheesy Broccoli Soup Recipe

  • Feel Good Food. This healthy version of broccoli cheddar soup (and Instant Pot Broccoli Cheese Soup and Slow Cooker Broccoli Cheese Soup) is inspired by the famous Panera Bread broccoli cheddar soup recipe. However, this recipe is wholesome and loaded with good-for-you ingredients like broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, and onion.
  • Comfort for the Whole Family. When it comes to family-friendly comfort food favorites, nothing satisfies like a cozy soup (Chicken Wild Rice Soup is another family favorite). This creamy broccoli cheddar soup is for toddlers, older kids, and adults. Anyone who loves cheese will enjoy it!
  • Budget-Friendly. This is a copycat Panera broccoli cheddar soup that costs less than going out. This means that you can enjoy all the scrumptious broccoli cheddar flavor you love for a fraction of the cost right at home!
  • EASY. This easy broccoli cheddar soup skips the fuss of making a roux. Instead, the creaminess comes from cauliflower, which thickens soups without adding many calories or carbs (try it in Cauliflower Chowder too). The other trick I borrowed from Cheese Fondue. Tossing the cheese shreds with cornstarch prior to adding them to the soup thickens it, without heavy cream.
Healthy broccoli cheddar soup in a bowl

How to Make the Best Broccoli Cheddar Soup Recipe

The Directions

Onions in a pot
  1. Melt the Butter. Cook the onion in it with salt and pepper.
Vegetables in a pot for making a broccoli cheddar soup recipe Panera-style
  1. Stir in the Vegetables. Cook until the broccoli is bright green.
Broccoli cheddar soup ingredients in a pot with broth
  1. Pour in the Broth. Bring to a simmer.
Vegetables in a pot with broth
  1. Simmer. Cook until the vegetables are tender.
An immersion blender in a pot
  1. Puree. Puree to your desired consistency.
Milk being stirred into broccoli cheddar soup
  1. Heat the Soup. Over low heat, stir in the milk, mustard, nutmeg, and cayenne (if using).
Cheese coated in cornstarch
  1. Prepare the Cheese. Toss the cheddar with cornstarch.
A bowl of broccoli cheddar soup with cheese on top
  1. Add the Cheddar. Stir in the Parmesan. DIG IN!

Storage Tips

  • To Store. Refrigerate soup in an airtight storage container for up to 5 days.
  • To Reheat. Rewarm leftovers in a pot on the stovetop over medium-low heat or in the microwave.
  • To Freeze. Freeze soup in an airtight, freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

Meal Prep Tip

Up to 1 day in advance, shred the cheese and chop the vegetables. Refrigerate each ingredient in a separate airtight storage container until you’re ready to finish the recipe.

The best broccoli cheddar soup served in a bowl with bread

What to Serve With Broccoli Cheddar Soup

  • Dutch Oven. Perfect for making this cheesy broccoli soup.
  • Immersion Blender. Easily blend soups without having to transfer them from the pot.
  • Cheese Grater. Use this tool to easily grate your own cheese for healthy broccoli cheddar soup.

Recipe Tips and Tricks

  • Add the Cheese Slowly. As with Instant Pot Mac and Cheese, if you add too much cheese to this soup at once, it will curdle, lump up, and refuse to melt.
  • Don’t Let the Soup Boil. To avoid that dreaded grainy broccoli cheese soup texture, don’t let it get too hot too fast once you’ve added the cheese.
  • No Preshredded Cheese, Please. While convenient, pre-shredded, bagged cheeses contain a powdered coating to keep them from clumping. It also keeps them from melting. Grate the cheese yourself from the block. It’s worth it!
  • Use Caution When Blending. Whether you’re using an immersion blender or transferring the soup to a blender, know that hot liquids and blenders love to splatter.
  • Don’t Skip the Cauliflower. It gives the soup a nice, thick texture. Once you try it, you’ll want to make my Broccoli Cauliflower Soup next!

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

4.90 from 37 votes
This cheesy, creamy broccoli cheddar soup tastes like Panera and is made with healthy ingredients! The perfect comfort food.

Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 45 minutes
Total: 1 hour 15 minutes

Servings: 4 (to 6) servings

Ingredients
  

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 small yellow onion finely chopped
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 carrots scrubbed and cut into 1/2 to 3/4-inch pieces
  • 8 cups broccoli florets about 2 heads
  • 3 cups cauliflower florets about 12 ounces or 1 small head
  • 2 cloves garlic minced, about 2 teaspoons
  • 4 cups low sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup 2% milk whole milk, or half-and-half (the higher the fat, the richer the soup)
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard to taste (I use 2)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Pinch cayenne pepper optional
  • 4 ounces extra sharp cheddar cheese shredded (about 1 cup), plus additional for serving, do not use pre-shredded cheese, which does not melt as smoothly
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan or 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast

Instructions
 

  • In a large Dutch oven or similar large, sturdy soup pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion, salt, and black pepper. Cook until the onion softens and begins to turn translucent, adjusting the heat as needed so it becomes tender but does not brown, about 5 to 8 minutes.
  • Add the carrot, broccoli, cauliflower, and garlic. Cook until the broccoli is very lightly sautéed and bright green, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the broth. Bring to a simmer over medium-high.
  • Reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook, stirring periodically, until the vegetables are completely tender, about 15 minutes.
  • Puree the soup, either in batches in a blender (be careful not to overfill it—blenders love to splatter) or directly in the pot with an immersion blender. Leave the soup as chunky or as tender as you like.
  • Heat the pot over low. Stir in the milk (or half-and-half), mustard, nutmeg, and cayenne.
  • Place the cheddar in a bowl and sprinkle the cornstarch over the top. With your fingers, toss to coat the shreds evenly.
  • Working only 1 small handful at a time, add the cheese very slowly to the soup, stirring constantly and allowing the cheese to melt completely before the next addition. Stir in the Parmesan. Taste and adjust the seasoning as desired. Enjoy warm with crusty bread and additional cheese sprinkled on top.

Video

Notes

  • TO STORE: Refrigerate soup in an airtight storage container for up to 5 days.
  • TO REHEAT: Rewarm leftovers in a pot on the stovetop over medium-low heat or in the microwave.
  • TO FREEZE: Freeze soup in an airtight, freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

Nutrition

Serving: 1(of 4)Calories: 363kcalCarbohydrates: 30gProtein: 22gFat: 20gSaturated Fat: 11gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0.3gCholesterol: 51mgPotassium: 1261mgFiber: 8gSugar: 9gVitamin A: 9322IUVitamin C: 203mgCalcium: 428mgIron: 2mg

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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58 Comments

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  1. This was the best Broccoli Cheddar Soup we have ever had. The Dijon mustard, Nutmeg and Cayenne kicked the flavor to a new height for us. I blended my veggies smaller as I prefer a smoother consistency. I used Cabots Serious Cheddar Cheese to enhance the cheese flavor. We enjoyed this so much!!! I will be making this again and again.5 stars

  2. I never met a soup I did not like. This Broccoli 🥦 Cheddar soup is so delicious 😋 creamy and dreamy. I never made a soup with Dijon mustard. Dijon mustard is not just for dressing and sauces – it is a great addition to soup! I will make it again and again. I posted it on my Instagram too for extra credit for the February challenge @agi19715 stars

  3. So good! I used whole milk instead of 1/2 and 1/2. We didn’t feel it needed extra cheese on top. I served it with salad and bread. Whole family loved it!5 stars

  4. Can this be made with frozen broccoli and cauliflower? The fresh is really expensive right now, but I am craving broccoli cheese soup.

    1. Hi Sue, I haven’t tried it myself but you probably could. It might make it a little more watery than intended so you may need to simmer a little longer. If you decide to experiment, I’d love to know how it goes!

  5. The whole family enjoyed this recipe! Make sure to cut the veggies small so you can blend them sooner…we started too large and had to add some cook time. The kids loved dunking their bread in the soup..5 stars

  6. We do love Panera’s broccoli cheddar soup so had to give this recipe a try. You are so right, it is amazing. Our whole family loves it!5 stars

  7. I loved that this was healthy, vegetarian, and high in protein! I may have added too much mustard, though, and didn’t really care for the mustard flavor in the soup. My husband, however, raved about it!!4 stars

  8. Loved this broccoli cheese soup. It reminded me of Panera’s soup! It did take awhile to make, but homemade soup is worth it!

    #wellplatedcookingchallenge

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