The Best Broccoli Cheese Soup (Better-Than-Panera Copycat)

This is the best broccoli cheese soup.

Not only that, it’s some of the best soup I’ve ever tasted, period.

The Best Broccoli Cheese Soup (Better-Than-Panera Copycat) - Make the best soup of your life at home in 1 hour! Beyond words amazing!!

If you like Panera’s broccoli cheddar soup, this blows the pants off it.

It’s an easy soup to make and is ready in 1 hour. It’s absolutely perfect comfort food and I couldn’t stop eating it. I ate it for lunch and dinner for a couple straight days until it was gone. I loved this soup beyond words.

The Best Broccoli Cheese Soup (Better-Than-Panera Copycat) - Make the best soup of your life at home in 1 hour! Beyond words amazing!!

MY OTHER RECIPES

I kept the soup vegetarian by using low-sodium vegetable stock rather than chicken stock, and made it healthier by using fat-free half-and-half.

But you’d think that it was made with heavy cream based on how thick, rich, and truly decadent it tastes.

The Best Broccoli Cheese Soup (Better-Than-Panera Copycat) - Make the best soup of your life at home in 1 hour! Beyond words amazing!!

I love broccoli and used plenty because I prefer big chunks of broccoli in every bite but you can use less. I also used some stalks to make use of the entire head and not waste any, but you can use florets only if preferred. Even people who ‘don’t like broccoli’ should love broccoli when it’s bathed in a creamy, cheesy broth.

There’s a few optional spices like smoked paprika, mustard powder, and cayenne pepper. They’re not mandatory if you don’t keep them on hand, but they do add extra depth of flavor, albeit subtle. The cayenne doesn’t make the soup hot in the least, it makes it not taste boring.

The Best Broccoli Cheese Soup (Better-Than-Panera Copycat) - Make the best soup of your life at home in 1 hour! Beyond words amazing!!

Use a high-quality cheddar cheese that you grate yourself. Don’t use the cheapest cheese you can find because the flavor just isn’t there.

I prefer extra-sharp, although sharp may be used. Pre-grated cheese in ziptop bags is resistant to melting and won’t incorporate well.

The Best Broccoli Cheese Soup (Better-Than-Panera Copycat) - Make the best soup of your life at home in 1 hour! Beyond words amazing!!

Read the recipe at least twice before beginning because while it’s a simple soup, there are a few fast-moving stages. While one thing is simmering, you need to be chopping for the next stage, while stirring the simmering pot intermittently between chopping.

You’ll be rewarded with the best, creamiest, richest, and most amazing soup.

The Best Broccoli Cheese Soup (Better-Than-Panera Copycat) - Make the best soup of your life at home in 1 hour! Beyond words amazing!!

The Best Broccoli Cheese Soup (Better-Than-Panera Copycat)

This is the best broccoli cheese soup. Not only that, it’s some of the best soup I’ve ever tasted, period. If you like Panera’s broccoli cheddar soup, this blows the pants off it. It’s an easy soup to make and is ready in 1 hour. I kept the soup vegetarian by using low-sodium vegetable stock rather than chicken stock, and made it healthier by using fat-free half-and-half. I love broccoli and used plenty because I prefer big chunks of broccoli in every bite but you can use less. I also used some stalks to make use of the entire head and not waste any, but you can use florets only if preferred. There’s a few optional spices like smoked paprika, mustard powder, and cayenne pepper. They’re not mandatory if you don’t keep them on hand, but they do add extra depth of flavor. Use a high-quality cheddar cheese that you grate yourself. Read the recipe at least twice before beginning. You’ll be rewarded with the best, creamiest, richest, and most amazing soup.

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon + 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 small/medium sweet yellow onion, diced small
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced finely
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups low-sodium vegetable stock (chicken stock may be substituted)
2 cups fat-free half-and-half (regular half-and-half may be substituted; whole milk or 2% milk will work but soup won’t be as creamy)
2 to 3 cups broccoli florets, diced into bite-size pieces + 1 cups stems, optional (I used 3 cups florets and 1 cup stems as not to waste them)
2 large carrots, trimmed, peeled, and sliced into very thin rounds, about 1/16th-inch
3/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika or regular paprika, optional and to taste
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard powder, optional and to taste
pinch cayenne pepper, optional and to taste (doesn’t make soup spicy and serves to enhance flavor)
8 ounces grated high quality extra-sharp cheddar cheese, with a small amount reserved for garnishing bowls

Directions:

  1. In a small saucepan, add 1 tablespoon butter, the diced onion, and sauté   over medium heat until the onion is translucent and barely browned, about 4 minutes. Stir intermittently.
  2. Add the garlic and cook about 30 seconds, stirring constantly so it doesn’t burn. Remove from heat and set pan aside.
  3. In a large heavy-bottom pot (I use this Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast-Iron 6-3/4-Quart Oval French (Dutch) Oven) add 4 tablespoons butter, flour, and cook over medium heat for about 3 to 5 minutes, whisking constantly, until flour is thickened. You are making a roux and it’s very important the mixture is thick or soup will never thicken properly later.
  4. Slowly add the vegetable stock, whisking constantly.
  5. Slowly add the half-and-half, whisking constantly.
  6. Allow mixture to simmer over low heat for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until it has reduced and thickened some. Whisk intermittently to re-incorporate the ‘skin’ that inevitably forms, this is normal.
  7. While mixture is simmering, chop the broccoli and carrots. After simmering 15 to 20 minutes, add the broccoli, carrots, and the onion and garlic you previously set aside.
  8. Add the salt, pepper, optional paprika, optional dry mustard powder, and optional cayenne. If you don’t have these seasonings on hand, it’s okay, but they do add subtle depth of flavor. Stir to combine.
  9. Allow soup to simmer over low heat for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until it has reduced and thickened some. Whisk intermittently to re-incorporate the ‘skin’ that inevitably forms, this is normal.
  10. While soup simmers, grate the cheese. It’s important to use a high-quality cheese (not the cheapest thing you can find) because the flavor of the soup depends on it. Do not use pre-grated cheese in ziptop bags because that cheese is resistant to melting and won’t incorporate well. After simmering about 20 to 25 minutes, add most of the cheese, reserving a small amount for garnishing bowls. Stir in the cheese until melted and incorporated fully, less than 1 minute.
  11. Transfer soup to bowls, garnish with reserved cheese, and serve immediately. Soup will keep airtight for 5 to 7 days in the fridge. Reheat gently in the microwave. I find the soup is less likely to ‘break’ or separate when reheated in the micro rather than on the stovetop, but do what you think is best. I don’t recommend freezing the soup because I feel like the cheese and half-and-half will not do well upon thawing and soup could break, but I haven’t actually tried freezing it.
Only Eats

Related Recipes

Creamy Tomato Soup (vegan, GF) – Panera copycat that’s fast, easy, and healthy!

Creamy Tomato Soup (vegan, GF)

Roasted Carrot and Red Pepper Peanut Soup (vegan, GF) – Thick, rich, and loaded with smoky flavors!

Roasted Carrot and Red Pepper Peanut Soup (vegan, GF)

Immune-Boosting Vegetable Soup and Broth (vegan, GF) – Easy soup that’s healthy, nourishing, and keeps you healthy! Bye-bye germs!

Immune-Boosting Vegetable Soup and Broth (vegan, GF) - Easy soup that's healthy, nourishing, and keeps you healthy! Bye-bye germs!

Creamy Vegan Corn and Red Pepper Blender Soup (gluten-free, soy-free, no added salt) – Ready in 5 minutes and packed with flavor!

Creamy Vegan Corn & Red Pepper Blender Soup (gluten-free, soy-free, no added salt) - Ready in 5 Minutes and Packed with Flavor

Sweet Potato Red Pepper and Coconut Milk Soup (vegan, GF) – Ready in 10 minutes and so thick and satisfying!

Immune-Boosting Vegetable Soup and Broth – (vegan, GF) – Easy soup that’s healthy, nourishing, and keeps you healthy!  Bye-bye germs!

Immune-Boosting Vegetable Soup and Broth (vegan, GF) - Easy soup that's healthy, nourishing, and keeps you healthy! Bye-bye germs!

432 comments on “The Best Broccoli Cheese Soup (Better-Than-Panera Copycat)”

  1. Soup is delicious, but I strongly recommend pre-cooking the broccoli and carrots a little bit. Took much longer than25 minutes to cook them, and I had to up the temperature to medium-low.

    • All stoves have different strengths, the BTU rating it’s called, and for me I definitely don’t need to or want to pre-cook the veggies because they would get mushy but do what’s right for you of course given your preferences and stove.

  2. We make this at least twice a month. Absolutely love it! I’m horrible at following directions. I know how to but usually choose not to. ☺ It’s great though because then I figure out that it’s even better with about 3 pinches of the cayenne pepper. (We like it a bit spicy!)

  3. Should you use a lid?

  4. Has anyone tried putting this in a crock pot on warm after it is all prepared? I want to triple the recipe for a family get together.

  5. My oh my, what a tasty soup! And being a cheese lover I know what I’m talking about :)
    My only change: I didn’t bother sautéing onions separately. I sautéd them in the pot and then added flour and smoked paprika, thus making a roux.
    Thank you! :)

  6. Just making this soup and did the taste test. Mmmmm, really good. Just a couple of changes, I added some celery to the onion and garlic. Since I didn’t have enough chicken broth, I added 1 cup of beef stock. I liked the addition of the spices. This is really really good soup.

  7. hey,
    I was wondering, would it be possible to replace the broccoli with cauliflower? Mostly because I have a lot of it on hand. Anybody try that?

  8. Made this using oat flour, oat milk, and aged sharp white cheddar. Family loved it, I loved it. Will make again. Freezes well.

  9. I make the broccoli and cheddar soup often and cannot eat enough of it. I am curious about trying the cauliflower replacement. I use cauliflower to make my pizza crust and mashed like potatoes. I think the the cauliflower might get mushy compared to the brollocli. I would like to hear a response if you end up using it.

    • I think that cauliflower definitely will get mushier faster than broccoli so if you are trying it, I would recommend adding it later in the game than you would with broccoli. Glad you love this soup!

  10. Made this soup tonight. It was so delicious and creamy! The only problem was everyone wanted seconds and there was not quite enough to go around. Next time I will double the recipe.

  11. Made this today. Also added celery along with the onion, and just added the roux ingredients to that. Skipped cooking the roux, just added everything after my butter and flour were blended. Didn’t have any half and half, so used half milk half heavy cream. Simmered for about 10 minutes till my broccoli was tender. Was DELICIOUS!!! Will make again and double the recipe!! Thank you for a yummy soup.

  12. This soup of is delicious but I wouldn’t call it low carb as it has 22 grams per serving.

  13. I’m excited to try this recipe. I don’t have a dutch oven though, will it work in just a regular large pot?

  14. I made this soup last night, but found after I added the vegetables, it turned into more of a thick dip than a soup. I ended up adding around a cup more of milk and it thickened up nicely while keeping a soup consistency. Maybe I added too much broccoli, but it was an easy fix.

    • I think you added a bit too much broccoli, yes, but as you said an easy fix. That’s the great thing about soups – if they get a little thick you can always add more broth.

      • I couldn’t help it, we like broccoli!

        The soup was a big hit with my wife, who had texted me earlier in the day asking for broccoli cheese soup, kind of like Panera. I had never before made this kind of soup, so your recipe made me look very good!

  15. Do you have a suggestion on how to make this in the crock pot?

    • I haven’t ever done it that way but there are a ton of recipes out there for this soup as a slow cooker version. You could cross reference those with the ingredients used in mine.

      For me, being that the soup is ready in under 30 minutes, it’s actually easier to just do it on the stove than in the slow cooker but I know everyone is different.

  16. I made this with gluten free 1 to 1 flour and instead of fresh broccoli I used the frozen bag we already had on hand. I also used the bagged shredded cheese because that’s also what we had, and it worked great (no pun intended, LOL). This recipe was a MAJOR hit with my celiac daughter. She kept saying, “This is really good!” Thank you so much for the amazing recipe! I’m going to have to double the recipe next time so I can send some home with my other daughter who is out of luck in getting any from this batch. The leftover is going for work lunches tomorrow. I give this recipe 5 out of 5 stars!

  17. I made this recipe with just a couple of tweaks and it is EXCELLENT! I add Worchestire sauce, prepared spicy or dijon mustard instead of the powdered, and a touch of nutmeg. Thank you for sharing this Averie. This is my go-to for sure from now on. We had tried to make cheesy broccoli three times and had nearly given up. This taste real. The processed nature of most of these types of soups turn me off. NICE JOB!

  18. I made this today for my sister who just had surgery. She loved it! My nephew loved it as well. I don’t like broccoli but tried a bite and thought it wasn’t bad. 😊 I’ve never made a cream soup like this before and it was definitely very easy to make. Thank you for the great recipe, I’ll be making it again I’m sure.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *