This Broccoli Cheddar Soup is even better than Panera’s! It’s loaded with six cups of vegetables, is ultra thick and creamy, and full of flavor. Serve it with a slice of artisan bread because you’ll want to soak up every last drop!
Broccoli Cheddar Soup is the best way to enjoy broccoli. I mean, how can you not love that green tree-like vegetable when it’s soaking in a thick, creamy, cheesy sauce?! For more amazing broccoli recipes, try Broccoli Bacon Salad, Crunchy Asian Broccoli Slaw, and Pasta con Broccoli.
Copycat Panera Broccoli Cheddar Soup
I grew up in St. Louis where Panera Bread Co. all began. (There it is still called “St. Louis Bread Co.”) My very favorite things to get there are the pumpkin muffies, Frontega Chicken Sandwich, and Broccoli Cheddar Soup. I have so many fond memories eating that yummy food there with family and friends. Now, I make this amazing Broccoli Cheddar Soup and create new memories with my little family!
Ingredients for Broccoli Cheese Soup:
- Butter– The butter is used to cook the vegetables as well as combines with the flour to thicken and stabilize the soup.
- Broccoli– This needs to be cut in pretty small pieces so that it is easy to pick up with a spoon and so that it cooks quickly. You’ll be using the stems as well which reduces waste and increases your vegetable intake. Win-win!
- Celery– This is used for flavor. I like to cut it very tiny so that it gets nice and soft and you don’t notice it.
- Onion– Onion adds lots of flavor. Again, I like to chop this very fine so that they get very tender and so there aren’t noticeable large pieces.
- Garlic– This adds lots of flavor. Fresh crushed is the best!
- Flour– All-purpose flour is used to thicken the soup by cooking it with equal parts fat to make a roux.
- Cream– Use heavy cream or half-and-half. This will add to the thick and creamy texture of the soup.
- Milk– Use whatever percent milk you have on hand. The higher the fat, the better!
- Chicken Broth– Use broth, homemade stock, or water mixed with Better than Bouillon.
- Carrots– These can be cut larger but I like to grate them so that the attention of the soup is on the broccoli.
- Cheese– For the best flavor, use extra sharp cheddar cheese. Freshly shredded melts the best.
- Seasonings– Paprika, nutmeg, and dry ground mustard give this soup delicious flavor. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
How to make Broccoli and Cheese Soup:
Time needed: 45 minutes.
- Sauté Vegetables
Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add broccoli, celery, and onions and cook until tender (7-8 minutes). Add the garlic and cook another 30 seconds.
Mix in the flour and seasonings and cook for 2-3 minutes while constantly stirring. Mix in the cream a little at a time until smooth and then add in the milk and chicken broth. Bring to a simmer, reduce to low and simmer for about 20 minutes until thickened (stirring occasionally).
- Add Broccoli & Cheese
Add the broccoli florets and carrots and simmer for 7-8 minutes or until tender. Remove from heat and stir in the cheese until melted and smooth.
- Serve & Enjoy!
Serve soup in a bread bowl or with a slice of crusty No-Knead Bread.
Sautéing the vegetables in butter gives more flavor to the soup as the vegetables caramelize. Boiling them in broth works too but you won’t get the same amazing flavor.
This can be caused by cooking the soup at too high of a temperature and/or using pre-shredded cheese. To prevent your creamy soup from becoming grainy 1) Cook it at a simmer, not a rolling boiling. 2) Freshly shred your own cheese! The pre-shredded kind has a fibrous coating making it not melt down as well. 3) Remove the pot from the stove top BEFORE adding the cheese in so it doesn’t get too hot and curdle.
Broccoli turns an unappetizing green color when over cooked. To prevent this from happening in your soup, be sure to cook the soup at a simmer (not a full boil!), stay close by, and test the broccoli for doneness.
A slice of fresh Crusty Bread is the best side to a big bowl of Broccoli Cheese Soup! This thick soup is also great in a bread bowl.
TOOLS USED TO MAKE BROCCOLI SOUP:
- Knife Set– I got this when I got married over 10 years ago. I use them multiple times a day and they’re still going strong!
- Cutting Board– I love having various sizes of cutting boards and these are awesome because they won’t slip and slide around on the counter.
- Garlic Press– Fresh garlic tastes best and this is the garlic press I’ve been using for the last 8 years. I love it and it’s easy to clean.
- Cheese Grater– This has been my very favorite cheese grater! It’s sharp, sturdy, has two sizes of holes, and is easy to clean.
LOOKING FOR MORE CREAMY SOUP? CHECK OUT THESE:
- Chicken Gnocchi Soup
- Chicken Pot Pie Soup
- Zucchini Soup
- Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili
- Creamy Potato Soup
Panera Copycat Broccoli Cheddar Soup
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup broccoli stems, finely diced
- 1 stalk celery, finely diced
- 1 small onion, finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon dry ground mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 1/2 cups half-and-half cream
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 3 cups broccoli florets, cut into small florets
- 1 cup carrots, grated
- 2 cups extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- Melt 4 T. butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add 1 c. broccoli stems, 1 stalk diced celery, and diced onion and cook until tender (7-8 minutes). Add the 2 cloves minced garlic and cook another 30 seconds.
- Mix in the 1/4 c. flour and seasonings (1 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. pepper, 1/4 tsp. dry ground mustard, 1/4 tsp. nutmeg) and cook for 2-3 minutes while constantly stirring.
- Stir in the 1 1/2 c. cream (a little at a time!) until smooth and then add in the 1 1/2 c. milk and 2 c. chicken broth. Bring to a simmer, reduce to low and simmer for about 20 minutes until thickened.
- Add the 3 c. broccoli florets and 1 c. grated carrots and simmer for 7-8 minutes or until tender. Remove from heat and stir in the 2 c. shredded cheese until melted and smooth.
- Serve soup in a bread bowl or with a slice of crusty bread.