I am in an all-out lovefest with Instant Pot Broccoli Cheese Soup. It’s rich and creamy, made almost entirely of vegetables. I feel fantastic after I eat it, and on top of all of those tasty qualities, it’s easy to make too!

A bowl of Instant Pot broccoli cheese soup with bread

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Finding a broccoli cheese soup recipe that’s healthy and easy and tastes as good as the broccoli cheese soup against which all broccoli cheese soups are measured (hi, Panera!) is more complicated than it sounds.

Despite its straightforward promise to be warm, comforting, and make you feel all cozy and happy inside, most from-scratch broccoli cheese soup recipes are fussier than they appear.

Back when I was working on this Slow Cooker Broccoli and Cheese Soup, I discovered that the majority of homemade broccoli cheese soup recipes required me to start by making a roux-based white sauce which, while tasty, defeated the easy factor I was seeking.

The recipes that didn’t involve a roux were for an Instant Pot broccoli potato cheese soup, or they called for thickening the soup with a certain uncomfortably orange “cheese,” which defeated the healthy factor I wanted for my soup.

While I came up with a solution I was fairly happy with for my slow cooker version, I must say, today’s Instant Pot broccoli cheese soup does it better.

Not only is it quick to make thanks to the speed of the pressure cooker, but the overall texture, flavor, and comfort factor are the best of any broccoli cheese soup I have tasted anywhere, Panera included.

Healthy Instant Pot broccoli cheese soup

5 Star Review

“My family kept going back for seconds and thirds this recipe was so good! Even the baby loved it!”

— Chuente —

The secret to an easy Instant Pot broccoli cheese soup that’s healthy too? For the big reveal, let’s turn to the source of the recipe, my friend Megan’s cookbook The Fresh and Healthy Instant Pot Cookbook!

My only changes to the recipe were to start by sautéing the onions directly in the Instant Pot, based on personal preference.

I like the deeper, more mild flavor of sautéed onions versus raw. If you are in a hurry or don’t mind a stronger onion taste, you can certainly skip that step and make the recipe just as Megan has written it.

A cookbook on a kitchen towel

How to Make Healthy Instant Pot Broccoli Cheese Soup

To make broccoli cheese soup from scratch, we’re utilizing an array of veggies, flavor enhancers, and cheese. While the combination of ingredients makes this Instant Pot broccoli cauliflower cheese soup nutritious, I promise that it’s anything but boring.


The Ingredients

  • Broccoli. A can’t-miss ingredient in broccoli cheese soup! Broccoli is rich in antioxidants and vitamins and pairs wonderfully with the cheesy goodness in this soup.
  • Cauliflower. The creamy secret weapon! When the final soup is blended, the taste of the cauliflower goes unnoticed, but it gives the soup incredible texture and body.

Tip!

For more soups that use cauliflower as a healthy thickening agent, don’t miss these recipes: Creamy Broccoli Cauliflower Soup, Cauliflower Chowder, and Instant Pot Cauliflower Mac and Cheese.

  • Carrots. I tossed in carrots for their added nutrition and sweet taste. Carrots are packed with vitamins and fiber.
  • Spicy Brown Mustard. Tangy and full of spices, spicy brown mustard makes the soup pop.

Substitution Tip!

The spicy brown mustard can be swapped with a blend of Dijon and regular stone-ground mustard.

  • Sharp Cheddar Cheese. Forget Instant Pot broccoli cheese soup Velveeta-style, real sharp cheddar cheese is the key to a legit cheesy flavor.
  • Parmesan. A little Parmesan is a perfect complement to the sharp cheddar cheese.
  • Milk. Milk helps create the soup’s scrumptious creamy texture. You can use any unsweetened milk you have on hand.

The Directions

  1. Sauté the onion in the Instant Pot.
Vegetables in a pressure cooker
  1. Add the remaining vegetables, mustard, salt, and liquid. Cook on HIGH for 3 minutes, then immediately vent. Puree the soup.
  2. Stir in the cheeses, milk, and pepper. DIG IN!

Why is My Broccoli Cheese Soup Grainy?

Broccoli cheese soup can become grainy if it gets too hot, causing the cheeses to separate and clump. To fix broccoli cheddar soup that is clumpy, you can run it through a strainer or try to puree it further.

Storage Tips

  • To Store. Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight storage container for up to 4 days.
  • To Reheat. Rewarm soup in a Dutch oven 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 Plan Tip

Up to 1 day in advance, chop the vegetables and refrigerate them in separate storage containers.

A bowl of Instant Pot broccoli cheese soup with carrots

What Goes Well with Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe

  • Instant Pot. Ideal for making this Instant Pot broccoli cheese soup.
  • Immersion Blender. It makes pureeing soups like this one easier (and safer) than transferring the piping hot soup mixture to a blender or food processor in batches.
  • Ladle. Perfect for transferring the soup to bowls and storage containers.

The Best Instant Pot

An Instant Pot shaves oodles of time off of recipes that typically take hours. It’s easy to use and clean!

Healthy Instant Pot Broccoli Cheese Soup. Rich, creamy, and better than Panera! This easy pressure cooker soup recipe is ready in 30 minutes and is low carb, vegan friendly, and gluten free.

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Let me know what you thought!

Leave a rating below in the comments and let me know how you liked the recipe.

Healthy Instant Pot Broccoli Cheese Soup. Rich, creamy, and better than Panera! This easy pressure cooker soup recipe is ready in 30 minutes and is low carb, vegan friendly, and gluten free.

Instant Pot Broccoli Cheese Soup

5 from 15 votes
An easy, healthy recipe for Instant Pot Broccoli Cheese Soup. Rich, creamy, gluten free and made with simple ingredients. Ready in 30 min and so delicious!

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 8 mins
Total: 35 mins

Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion chopped
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 carrots peeled and chopped
  • 1 pound broccoli cut into florets (about 6 cups)
  • 1 very small head or ½ large cauliflower cut into florets (about 3 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard (I used 1 tablespoon grainy brown mustard and ½ tablespoon Dijon)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • ½ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • ¼ cup finely grated Parmesan
  • ½ cup unsweetened almond milk or milk of choice
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Instructions
 

  • Turn the Instant Pot to SAUTE and add the olive oil. Once hot, add the onion and cook, stirring often, until beginning to soften and brown, about 3 minutes. Splash in some of the water and scrape a spoon along the bottom of the pan to remove any stuck-on bits. Add the carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, brown mustard, and salt. Add the remaining water.
  • Close and seal the lid. Cook on HIGH pressure (Manual) for 3 minutes. When the cooking cycle is complete, immediately vent to release the remaining pressure. Carefully open the lid. With an immersion blender, puree the soup, leaving it as creamy or as chunky as you like. Alternatively, you can transfer the soup to a blender or food processor and puree it in batches, then return it to the Instant Pot. (Be careful not to overfill, as hot soup will splatter.)
  • Stir in the cheddar, Parmesan, almond milk, and black pepper. Taste and season with salt and pepper as desired. Enjoy hot (with a bonus sprinkle of cheddar if you feel so called!).

Notes

  • TO STORE: Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  • TO REHEAT: Rewarm soup in a Dutch oven on the stovetop over medium-low heat or in the microwave. 
  • TO FREEZE: Freeze the soup for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating. 
  • TO MAKE VEGAN: Omit the cheese and stir in ¼ cup nutritional yeast and 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice with the almond milk. (You may want to add more salt, as Parmesan is typically salty.)

Nutrition

Serving: 1of 4, about 1 ½ cupsCalories: 218kcalCarbohydrates: 21gProtein: 13gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 19mgPotassium: 940mgFiber: 7gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 5992IUVitamin C: 174mgCalcium: 320mgIron: 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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66 Comments

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  1. Time and time again Erin, your recipes are “spot on”. Cheesy Broccoli Soup is no exception. I have long struggled with getting cheesy soup recipes to work without using the “V” ingredient. I tried this recipe and was amazed. Never buying a block of “V” stuff ever!5 stars

      1. Hi, looking forward to trying this today!! Where does the 6 g of sugar listed in the nutritional information come from? Thanks.

  2. Made this last night as my first instant pot recipe and I’m sold on the soup and the instant pot!! I added some diced ham for my farmer husband and it was DELISH! So easy too. Thank you for sharing!5 stars

  3. I want to make this! But, unfortunately don’t have my instant pot just yet. Any tips for making it on the stove top?

    1. Hi Christy, you can make this on the stovetop! Just cook until the vegetables are soft before continuing to the puree step. You may need to add a little additional liquid to get the consistency right since there will be more evaporation.

    1. Hi Lucinda, there are notes in the blog post and in the recipe notes (below the directions) about the adjustments to make this vegan!

    1. Hi Mary! I don’t have a 3 quart so I don’t know for sure, but I think you could safely do 3/4 of the recipe. If you decide to experiment, I’d love to hear how it goes.

    1. Cilka, water will work in the recipe, but chicken broth has more flavor. Taste the soup and season with a little more salt and pepper as needed. I hope you like it if you try it!

  4. Erin, I really like the recipe. But my soup was very green. I may have been conditioned by Panera. What did I do wrong? How do I make it orange?

    1. Ernie, it really is green from the broccoli! It’s totally natural color. As long as you like the taste, that’s what matters!

  5. Made this for a quick lunch! added garlic, chicken broth instead of water, dash of hot sauce. Delicious! Can you double this recipe in the instant pot or would it be too much liquid for a 6 quart?5 stars

    1. Hi Audrey, I am afraid it would be too much. You could try a little bit extra of each vegetable until you reach the fill line, then add more almond milk at the end to reach your desired consistency.

  6. My daughter-in-law gave me this recipe because she loves this soup! I just made it and we loved it too!  Thank you!
    I have an 8 quart instapot.  If I double the recipe do I need to add more water or adjust the cook time?5 stars

    1. Jennifer, I’m so so happy to hear how much you enjoyed this recipe. You shouldn’t need to do anything other than doubling. It will take the pot longer to come to pressure, but no other changes are needed.

  7. My family kept going back for seconds and thirds this recipe was so good!  Swapped out chicken broth for water and heavy whipping cream for almond milk and also added garlic to the saute’d onions. Even baby loved it!5 stars

  8. Hi-I know you say cauliflower is the secret ingredient but I don’t have any on hand.  Do you think I could sub potatoes?  Thanks!

    1. Elizabeth, you could play around with that! The texture and flavor will be different and the potatoes will probably end up chunky unless you really puree it completely. If that’s OK with you, you can certainly experiment. Be sure to season to taste; you might want more salt at the end. If you decide to test this out yourself, I’d love to hear how it goes.

      1. Thanks for the tip Erin!  I made this last night, subbed 3 medium red potatoes for the cauliflower and it came out AMAZING!  Maybe not as creamy as if I’d used cauliflower but saved me a trip to the store.  My only regret is not making a double batch.  Yum!  Thanks again.5 stars

    1. Hi Marie! I have not tried the recipe this way, but I believe it should be fine. I recommend thawing it and patting it dry before starting the recipe. If you decide to experiment with it, I’d love to hear how it goes!

  9. Awesome recipe! Making it for the second time in two weeks. So nice to find a healthy version of this soup without flour and corn starch, etc..

    I sautéed two stalks of celery with the onion and liked the additional flavor. I also added a lot of garlic : )

    We did 1/4 cup of parm, 1/4 cup of cheddar, and 1/4 of nutritional yeast and turned out amazing. So flavorful! Thanks again5 stars

  10. Made this as an appetizer for Thanksgiving, 2019, and it was a hit!  Made tonight for Chad and me… talk about YUM!  No Almond milk here, so subbed a can of cream of celery soup  and snuck in extra Cheddar. Thank you so much for this fantastic recipe. ❤️5 stars

    1. Hi Mandy! You can certainly double this recipe as long as all the ingredients fit into your Instant Pot without going over the max fill line. I hope this helps!

    1. Hi Pardeep! I have not tried the recipe this way, but I believe it should be fine. I recommend thawing the veggies and patting them dry before starting the recipe. If you decide to experiment with it, I’d love to hear how it goes!

  11. I was really hoping to find a soup recipe that uses water as the base that could actually hold up in the flavor department and I’m happy to report that this one does! I used shallot instead of onion and dairy milk instead of almond milk, since that’s what I had on hand. I also used frozen broccoli (1 bag) + frozen cauliflower (1/2 bag), so I made up for that by decreasing to 3.5 cups water. It worked out great — no defrosting required! Amazing flavor, and very filling. Thanks, Erin!5 stars

    1. I’m so pleased to hear that this recipe was a hit, Jasmine! Thank you for sharing this kind review!

  12. I made this last night and my husband and I really enjoyed it! I used whole cow milk, and I added a little extra cheese and salt at the end; otherwise followed the recipe. Yum!!5 stars

  13. Broccoli soup has always been my son’s favorite meal. He is now a young adult and started
    trying eat healthier. This soup is as good if not better than the creamy cheesy one he enjoyed as a child. It was so quick and easy. Thank you! We will be making again!5 stars

    1. Hi Kristy! Unfortunately, I’m not familiar with calculating Weight Watchers points, so I’m not sure what this recipe would be. I hope you enjoy the soup if you try it!

  14. We tried this recipe tonight. Easy peasy.
    Two suggestions…add a tbsp of chicken bouillon to the water, and, at my very able wife’s suggestion, a teaspoon of hot curry powder (we used  Sharwoods) oh, and a little dash of dried hot pepper flakes
    THe results were awesome.5 stars

  15. Not really any flavor. Healthy, so tastes nothing like the Panera soup we love. Uses water and broccoli, and basically tastes like that, broccoli water.

    1. I’m sorry to hear that this recipe wasn’t to your tastes, Kimberly. I (and many other readers) enjoyed this healthier take, so I truly wish it would’ve been a hit for you too!

  16. Wonderful recipe! I want to share it with my mother who does not have an instant pot. Will it work just as well to soften the veggies in the boiling water over the stove?5 stars

    1. I’m so happy that you enjoyed it, Elissa! Thank you for sharing this kind review! You can make this on the stovetop. Just cook until the vegetables are soft before continuing to the puree step. You may need to add a little additional liquid to get the consistency right since there will be more evaporation.

  17. I’ve made this a few times now and it’s so easy AND healthy. I love that has “hidden veggies” i.e. cauliflower and not a crazy amount of cheese or milk. I add in a bay leaf when cooking in the Instant Pot (remove it before blending) and also sub dijon mustard for brown. I also use broth in place of water. Sometimes I mix in cooked rice for a heartier one-pot meal.5 stars