This Panera broccoli cheddar soup recipe is rich and flavorful. Made in 30 minutes, it features broccoli florets, shredded carrots, and cheddar cheese. Just like the restaurant version, it’s served in a sourdough bread bowl.
WHY WE LOVE BROCCOLI CHEDDAR SOUP
There are so many reasons why this is one of our favorite vegetable soups. Even kids who don’t normally like veggies have requested this equally as often as baked mac and cheese, and state fair corn dogs.
- QUICK EASY RECIPE: This 30-minute meal is a great way to get dinner on the table fast. It’s hearty enough to satisfy the largest appetites. Busy families can double the recipe and save half for later.
- MADE WITH SIMPLE INGREDIENTS: This cozy recipe comes together with simple low-cost ingredients found at any supermarket.
- PANERA-QUALITY SOUP: With this copycat recipe you’ll enjoy the same comforting flavors at a fraction of the cost of ordering it from Panera.
- YOU CHOOSE THE TEXTURE: You can leave the soup chunky, or use an immersion blender to make it as smooth as you’d like.
- HEALTHY MEAL: This feel-good recipe is perfect as a full meal or side. Want to make this soup even healthier? Use the tips provided in the “Recipe FAQ Section” of this post.
- Olive Oil: Is used to sauté the onion. If you don’t have this on hand, use another neutral cooking oil like vegetable, canola or corn oil.
- Onion: Is a classic addition for broccoli cheddar soup. It adds rustic flavor and moisture with a slight touch of sweetness.
- Garlic Cloves: Add enhanced earthiness and a bit of nutty flavor.
- Butter: Along with flour, it’s used to create a roux that provides a rich delicious mouthfeel.
- All-purpose Flour: We use it for thickening the soup. Cooks who can’t use flour often use xanthum gum instead.
- Kosher Salt: This seasoning enhances the flavor of the other ingredients. For this recipe it’s best to add it late in the cooking process to make sure the broccoli cheddar soup is not over-salted.
- Ground Black Pepper: Has a complex flavor profile. It adds a peppery essence (light heat) and depth of flavor.
- Paprika or Turmeric (optional): Adds both flavor and color.
- Chicken Stock: Adds flavor, color and richness. But if desired, you can use chicken broth or vegetable stock instead.
- Broccoli: This healthy veggie is the star of our Panera broccoli cheese soup. We use only the florets, not the stems. For this recipe it’s best to use fresh broccoli instead of frozen.
- Carrots: For easy prep, use store-bought shredded carrots. Look for a bag in the fresh produce section. But if using diced carrots, cook them along with the onion to make sure they get nice and tender.
- Heavy Cream: Adds rich moisture and creaminess to the soup.
- Cheddar Cheese: I prefer Tillamook medium cheddar cheese. But feel free to use sharp cheddar cheese. I highly recommend grating the cheese from a block so it will melt more smoothly.
KITCHEN SMARTS: Pre-shredded cheese has additives to keep the pieces from sticking together. These additives prevent the cheese from melting smoothly which can give this soup a gritty texture. I recommend grating the cheese by hand.
📖 RECIPE STEPS
RECIPE NOTES: For this broccoli cheddar soup you can use small broccoli florets, or finely chop them up. It just depends on the final texture you desire for the soup. And for a smoother soup, use an immersion blender.
- STEP 1: Heat a large Dutch oven or stockpot over medium heat. Add olive oil and onion. Cook 4 to 5 minutes, or until the onion is tender and fragrant. Add the garlic and butter. Once the butter has melted, add the flour. Stir constantly for 1 minute to create a roux.
- STEP 2: Slowly pour in the chicken stock while continuing to stir. Scrape down bottom and sides of the pot well to make sure all of the roux is fully incorporated.
- STEP 3: Add broccoli and carrots to the pot. Optional: sprinkle in paprika or turmeric.
- STEP 4: Bring the soup to a gentle simmer and cook, stirring frequently, until the broccoli and carrots are tender (about 15 minutes).
- STEP 5: For broccoli cheddar soup with a smoother texture, use an immersion blender right in the pot to puree the soup as desired (optional). Or just leave it chunky. It’s a matter of preference.
- STEP 6: Add heavy cream and cheddar cheddar cheese to the pot. Stir until the cheese has fully melted. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- STEP 7: Ladle the soup into bowls and enjoy immediately.
- STEP 8: (Optional) For the look and taste of Panera broccoli cheddar soup, serve it restaurant style – in small sourdough bread bowls.
🤔 RECIPE FAQ
These are the most commonly-asked questions for the BEST broccoli cheese soup and the most helpful answers for recipe success.
To make this soup healthier, reduce the amount of butter and flour for the roux by half. Substitute heavy cream with half-and-half. Replace regular cheddar cheese with reduced-fat cheddar cheese.
Use 1/2 teaspoon Bob’s Redmill Xanthan Gum. It’s gluten free. Just blend it into the liquid by stirring it around. Another option for thickening is 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons arrowroot starch/flour.
Tillamook medium cheddar cheese is a favorite. But feel free to use your favorite brand in mild, medium or sharp. You can also switch things up by using Colby Jack or Gouda cheese instead of cheddar.
Let the soup shed heat or come to room temperature. Transfer it to an airtight container. Place a piece of plastic wrap over the surface. Lightly press down so it’s touching the surface. This will block out air and help prevent a skin from forming. Store in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Reheat in a saucepan over medium heat, or microwave the soup stirring every 30 seconds until completely warm.
Yes. This soup can be frozen. Allow it to cool to room temperature. Transfer soup to an airtight container or freezer bags, and label with the date. Freeze for up to 3 months. When ready to enjoy, thaw the soup in the fridge overnight before reheating.
😋 MORE DELICIOUS SOUP RECIPES
A great soup is healthy, comforting and delicious. Serve it as a first course, or as a full meal. You can also pair it with a half sandwich or a side salad.
- Minestrone Soup
- Alphabet Soup
- Creamy Asparagus Soup
- Yellow Squash Soup
- French Lentil Soup
- Creamy Cauliflower Leek Soup
- Instant Pot Stuffed Pepper Soup
- Chicken Noodle Soup
- Italian Wedding Soup
- Wonton Soup
RATE THIS RECIPE ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Flavor testers rated this the BEST broccoli cheddar soup recipe. Even better than Panera. They loved the delicious flavor, creamy consistency, and satisfying mouthfeel. They also appreciated how quick it is to make.
If you agree this is the perfect soup to add to your meal-plan rotation, give it a 5-star rating in the comments. Then be a recipe hero. 📌 Pin it to Pinterest.Print
This healthy broccoli cheddar soup is a Panera Bread copycat recipe. It has a rich creamy base with chunks of fresh broccoli florets and crisp carrots. It comes together in 30 minutes!
Broccoli Cheddar Soup
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small white onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 4 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
- 3 cups small broccoli florets, finely chopped
- 1 cup shredded carrots
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika or turmeric (optional)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, or to taste
- 3 cups freshly-shredded cheddar cheese, lightly packed
For Serving (optional)
- 6 small rounds sourdough bread, for bread bowls
- Additional shredded cheddar cheese, for garnishing
- Croutons, if desired
RECIPE NOTES: You can use small broccoli florets, or finely chop them up. It just depends on the final texture you desire for the soup. If using diced carrots instead of shredded carrots, sauté them with the onion in Step 1 of the recipe.
- Heat a large Dutch oven or stockpot over medium heat. Add olive oil and onion. Cook 4 to 5 minutes, or until the onion is tender and fragrant.
- Add garlic and butter. When the butter has melted, sprinkle flour over the top. Stir constantly for 1 minute to create a roux. Slowly pour in the chicken stock while continuing to stir. Scrape down bottom and sides of the pot to make sure all of the roux is fully incorporated.
- Add broccoli and carrots to the pot. Optional: sprinkle in paprika or turmeric. Bring the soup to a gentle simmer and cook, stirring frequently, until the broccoli and carrots are tender (about 15 minutes).
- For broccoli cheddar soup with a smoother texture, use an immersion blender right in the pot to puree the soup as desired (optional). Or just leave it chunky. It’s a matter of preference.
- Add heavy cream and cheddar cheddar cheese to the pot. Stir until the cheese has fully melted. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Ladle the soup into bowls. If desired, garnish with more shredded cheese.
OPTIONAL: For the look and taste of Panera broccoli cheddar soup, serve it restaurant style – in small sourdough bread bowls.
To make this soup even healthier: Reduce the amount of butter and flour by half. Substitute heavy cream with half-and-half. Replace regular cheddar cheese with reduced-fat cheddar cheese.
Grate the cheese by hand: Pre-shredded cheese has additives that keep the pieces from sticking together. Those additives prevent the cheese from melting smoothly and can leave this soup with a gritty texture. Whenever possible, grate cheese by hand.
- Prep Time: 10 Minutes
- Cook Time: 20 Minutes
- Category: Soup
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: Broccoli Cheddar Soup, Broccoli Cheddar Soup Recipe, Panera Broccoli Cheddar Soup
BROCCOLI CHEDDAR SOUP 👉🏻 JOIN THE CONVERSATION
Have you ever experienced the joy of eating this soup at Panera? Are you excited to have this copycat recipe to make it at home? Will you serve yours in soup bowls or bread bowls? Share your thoughts below.