February 29, 2024

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Recreate Panera’s gloriously cheesy broccoli cheddar soup in your own kitchen with this quick and easy copycat recipe—perfect for a cozy evening at home.

broccoli cheddar soup in bowl on cutting board with sliced baguette

If you’re a fan of Panera’s broccoli cheddar soup, you’ll love this homemade version. Though broccoli gets top billing in the name, make no mistake — this soup is all about the cheddar. It’s gloriously cheesy with just the right amount of broccoli and other vegetables for texture and flavor. The soup is wonderfully easy to prepare, too. With only 15 minutes of cooking time and minimal prep work, it’s ideal for a warm and cozy weeknight dinner. You can enjoy it as is, or add homemade croutons or shredded chicken for more heartiness.

“My husband and I worked together to prep this. Put on a 70s playlist, and the soup was ready in no time. -17 deg in Chicagoland. Perfect choice for dinner. My other half can’t stop talking about how good it is!”

Linda

What You’ll Need To Make Broccoli Cheddar Soup

ingredients to make broccoli cheddar soup

Find the printable recipe with specific measurements below.

  • Butter: Used for sautéing the onions and garlic, creating a flavorful base. It also helps form the roux, which thickens the soup.
  • Onion and Garlic: These aromatics are essential for building the soup’s foundational flavors.
  • Shredded Carrots: Added for a pop of color and a hint of natural sweetness.
  • All-Purpose Flour: The key ingredient for making the roux, which thickens the soup and gives it a creamy texture.
  • Chicken Broth: This forms the liquid base of the soup, offering depth and richness to the overall flavor profile.
  • Broccoli Florets: The star vegetable of the soup, broccoli adds a vibrant color, a hearty texture, and healthy nutrients.
  • Salt, Freshly Ground Black Pepper, Nutmeg: Salt and pepper are classic seasonings, while nutmeg adds a warm, nutty undertone.
  • Heavy Cream: Used to thicken the soup further and add a rich and silky consistency.
  • Sharp Cheddar Cheese: The star ingredient that gives the soup its characteristic cheesy, tangy flavor. You don’t have to splurge on a fancy cheddar, but do choose a high-quality brand from the refrigerated cheese section of the supermarket. I personally love Cabot or Tillamook. (This also applies if you’re using pre-shredded cheese—a top-notch brand, like Tillamook thick-cut cheddar, is essential.)

If you’re looking to save time, bagged fresh broccoli florets and pre-shredded carrots from the produce department are great shortcuts. They’ll help you get to the best part—enjoying this comforting bowl of cheesy goodness—even faster.

Step-by-Step Instructions

In large soup pot or Dutch oven, melt the 4 tablespoons butter over medium heat.

melting butter in pot

Add the medium chopped onion and cook until softened and translucent, about 3 minutes.

cooking onions in butter

Add the 3 cloves minced garlic and 1 cup shredded carrots (if using) and cook 1 minute more. Do not brown.

adding garlic and carrots to cooked onions

Add the ¼ cup flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.

adding flour to vegetables

Gradually add the 4 cups chicken broth, whisking constantly. Add the ½ lb broccoli florets, 1 teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper, and ¼ teaspoon nutmeg.

adding broccoli, seasoning, and broth to pot

Bring to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes.

simmering broccoli cheddar soup

Add the 1 cup cream and bring back to a simmer, uncovered.

adding the heavy cream to the broccoli cheddar soup

Gradually stir in the 2 cups cheese until completely melted.

adding the cheddar cheese

Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary. Ladle the soup into bowls and top with more cheese, if desired.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Make This Soup Vegetarian?

Absolutely! Simply substitute the chicken broth with a high-quality vegetable broth.

How should I store and reheat leftover soup?

Broccoli cheddar soup is best enjoyed fresh, but leftover soup can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. To reheat, gently warm the soup over low heat on the stove, stirring occasionally. Avoid boiling the soup, as high heat can cause the dairy to separate.

Can this soup be frozen?

Unfortunately, broccoli cheddar soup does not freeze well due to all the dairy. Cream and cheese-based soups tend to become grainy when frozen and thawed.

broccoli cheddar soup in bowl on cutting board with sliced baguette

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Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Recreate Panera’s gloriously cheesy broccoli cheddar soup in your own kitchen with this quick and easy copycat recipe—perfect for a cozy evening at home.

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped (1 heaping cup)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup shredded carrots (optional)
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • ½ lb broccoli florets, cut into bite-sized pieces (about 4 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 cups (8 oz) shredded sharp cheddar cheese, plus more for serving if desired

Instructions

  1. In large soup pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened and translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and carrots (if using) and cook 1 minute more. Do not brown. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Gradually add the chicken broth, whisking constantly. Add the broccoli, salt, pepper, and nutmeg and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes.
  2. Add the cream and bring back to a simmer, uncovered. Gradually stir in the cheese until completely melted. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary. Ladle the soup into bowls and top with more cheese, if desired.
  3. Note: This soup is best enjoyed fresh, but leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. To reheat, gently warm the soup over low heat on the stove, stirring occasionally. Avoid boiling the soup, as high heat can cause the dairy to separate. Freezing is not recommended due to all the dairy.

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (6 servings)
  • Calories: 461
  • Fat: 37 g
  • Saturated fat: 22 g
  • Carbohydrates: 18 g
  • Sugar: 6 g
  • Fiber: 2 g
  • Protein: 16 g
  • Sodium: 768 mg
  • Cholesterol: 107 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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