Put on your comfy sweats and wool socks and enjoy a hot bowl of classic broccoli cheddar soup. Made in one pot for easy clean-up, this simple creamy wholesome soup is made in just 20 minutes!
Cozy up with a bowl of broccoli cheddar soup and allow the flavors and textures to warm you to the bones. I love a good hearty soup, in fact, I’m a firm believer there is no such thing as too many soup recipes, especially ones that are creamy, comforting, and cost-effective like this Instant pot cauliflower soup or creamy tortellini soup!
Soups are great for serving a crowd, and there’s usually enough to make leftovers the next day. Whether you’re having it as a main or a starter, a good soup is one of my all-time favorite things to make throughout the winter and fall.
This one-pot cheddar and broccoli soup is a thick, full-bodied soup with loads of texture, but can be made to the consistency that you prefer. Some like leaving the broccoli florets as is, and some prefer blending them a bit more. The balance of textures between the rich creamy broth and the tender broccoli is only matched by the flavor of the sharp cheddar and paprika seasoning.
There is something so wonderful about a recipe that uses such basic and simple ingredients and yet they come together in such a way that it truly is a flavor explosion. Broccoli and cheese together are so good which is probably why my broccoli mac and cheese is so popular.
This recipe for broccoli cheddar soup rivals the ever-popular version Panera bread offers. So, skip the line, save your money and make this homemade version from scratch in 20 minutes!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- It’s a super easy one-pot meal. It can be ready in a pinch and easy clean-up is just a bonus!
- Made with ingredients you’ve already got in your kitchen. If you’ve got broccoli to use up, now’s the time.
- Your kids will love it! It’s a trip watching them ask for seconds on anything with broccoli in it.
- It’s brimming with flavor. Not only is it warm and cozy but it’s delicious! It will become a family favorite in no time.
- Budget-friendly. The ingredients inexpensive and you can make a lot at a time and have it again throughout the week, saving you time and money.
Here’s what you’ll need to make it:
- Unsalted butter – Using unsalted allows you to control the amount of salt you use in this recipe a bit more than you would when using salted butter. An alternative to butter would be to use olive oil instead. It acts as a fat the same way butter does for the roux, but a lighter option.
- Aromatics – Onion and garlic sautéed in butter provides the perfect base for the roux. There is nothing quite like the aroma of garlic and onion cooked in butter.
- All-purpose flour – Used to make a roux which is what is the base of the creamy sauce. When combined with melted butter it goes from raw flour to a nutty brown paste.
- Milk – I used low fat, but you can use what you have. It’s one of the liquids that gets added to the roux making it into a soup base.
- Stock – To keep it vegetarian, use low sodium vegetable stock. You can also use chicken stock if you prefer. Again, using low sodium will help control the amount of salt.
- Broccoli – Can use fresh or frozen florets. Fresh broccoli will give you the best texture.
- Paprika – A touch of paprika adds a wonderful slightly smoky hint just enough to give it a welcome depth of flavor.
- Heavy cream – Gives way to the signature rich, creamy soup base.
- Cheddar cheese – Freshly grated is what I use and what you should use too. Grating your own from a block will give you a better tasting, easier melting cheddar. Anything pre shredded from a package comes with anti-clumping agents which gives it an odd taste and won’t melt as easily.
- Salt & pepper – To taste. Here’s where you can adjust the amount of salt to your preference.
Make sure the florets are chopped small enough, not only for a more pleasant bite but also to make sure they are cooked evenly by the time the soup is done.
Complete list of ingredients and amounts can be found in the recipe card below.
How to Make Homemade Broccoli Cheddar Soup
- Cook onions and garlic. Using a large soup pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter and add onion and cook until translucent before adding the garlic.
- Make the roux. Add the flour and constantly stir for about a minute until you notice it become a light brown and give off a nutty aroma.
- Add the liquids. Slowly whisk in milk and stock making sure to incorporate the roux.
- Stir in broccoli. Drop in the florets and season with paprika. Continue to stir and bring to a boil until the roux and liquids form a thick soup base. Lower the heat to simmer until the broccoli is perfectly tender.
- Add cream and cheese. Stir until the cheese has melted then season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve. Best enjoyed immediately with an extra sprinkling of cheddar cheese on top.
If you want to make the soup thicker, use a cornstarch slurry. It’s a flavorless way of thickening up the soup.
Tips & Tricks
- Creamier consistency. If you prefer your soup puréed with fewer broccoli florets for texture, use an immersion blender. Alternatively, if you don’t have an immersion blender, you can use a regular blender in batches (be careful with this one as the soup will be very hot).
- Make a slurry. To thicken up your soup, if needed, make a slurry using a mix of cornstarch and cold water or you could even use broth instead. Mix together until fully blended then add it to the soup.
- Freshly grated. As mentioned above, using a block of cheddar and grating your own is a much better way of getting cheese that melts easily. It also tastes better if you ask me.
- Fresh or frozen broccoli. As with any soup with broccoli, using frozen will come with a bit more water, diluting the soup a little. It will change the texture of your soup, but with a little finessing you can definitely work around it.
- Storing suggestions. If you’re lucky enough to have leftovers, keep them stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Enjoy all over again for lunch or dinner the next day!
- More veggies. Use both broccoli and carrots in this soup for added texture and loads of flavor. Broccoli and carrots work so well together, you’ll love this option.
- Omit the broccoli. Enjoy it as a cheddar soup instead. When using a different cheese, or a combination of cheeses, it’ll go from cheddar soup to cheese soup in a jiff.
- Omit the cheese. Going in the opposite direction, omit the cheese! Cream of broccoli soups are one of my favorite ways to get my kids to eat an entire serving of veggies that they look forward to.
- Seasoning swap. Ground nutmeg is a great alternative to paprika. They each have their own distinct flavor but they are both amazing. Nutmeg is notorious in cheese sauces, it has a warm earthy note.
Frequently Asked Questions
I don’t recommend it. Cream-based soups aren’t known for their ability to freeze well. They typically separate eventually and change the consistency of the soup upon thawing. It’s not very pleasant.
Absolutely! You’ll definitely want to use olive oil instead of butter for this one. Cook the onions, garlic, and any added veggies and seasonings before adding the flour to make the roux. Use just the broth at this point and cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours. At this point, you’ll then add the cream/milk and cheese and stir until the cheese has melted.
Another yes! One of the healthiest and easiest Instant Pot broccoli cheddar soup recipes is definitely worth checking out if you’re interested in using a pressure cooker.
In a bread bowl: If you really want to outdo Panera, serve it in a bread bowl! If you can get your hands on a loaf of boule bread (or any sturdy round bread), cut a hole out of the top and remove the inside crumb to make room for the soup. Use the insides to make homemade croutons!
Broccoli cheese soup is a great time saver for busy families on the go. Juggling work, school, and activities is made easier when you know what to make for dinner. Don’t forget to share this recipe so other busy families can get a head start too!
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 yellow yellow onion finely diced (about 1 cup)
- 2 cloves garlic finely minced
- ½ cup all purpose flour
- 3 ½ cups milk I used low fat
- 14.5-ounce can low sodium vegetable stock or chicken stock, 430ml, 1¾ cups
- 3 cups small broccoli florets about ½ inch each
- ¼ teaspoon paprika
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 3 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese plus more for serving
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- In a large Dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat.
- Add the diced onion, cook for 2-3 minutes or until it is soft and translucent. Add the garlic, and cook for 30 seconds while stirring constantly.
- To make roux, add the flour, and cook for 1 minute. Keep stirring. (cooking the flour is very important, you don’t want any raw flour flavor in your soup).
- While whisking slowly add the liquids to the roux (milk and stock).
- Stir in the broccoli florets, add the paprika, keep stirring and cook until the soup starts to thicken. Reduce the heat to low, and allow to simmer for 5-6 minutes or until the broccoli becomes tender.
- Stir in the heavy cream and cheese, and stir until the cheese has melted. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm with extra shredded cheddar cheese.
- This soup does not freeze well. Store in the fridge for up to 3 days.
- Frozen broccoli can be used, but fresh broccoli florets will give you the best texture.
- Pre-shredded cheese does not melt very well, I recommend buying a block of cheese and using a grater.
- If you want to make the soup thicker, use a cornstarch slurry to thicken it.
- This soup can be pureed (if desired) using an immersion blender to reach the desired texture.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.
© Little Sunny Kitchen