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