In just 30 minutes, you can have a delicious and healthy broccoli cheese soup on the table. Inspired by Panera's Broccoli Cheddar Soup, this soup is every bit as delicious than the original, but lightened up a bit.
Save money and calories by making your own version of Panera's Broccoli Soup at home. Filled with tender chunks of broccoli, tons of sharp cheese, and a rich creamy broth, this Broccoli soup hits the spot on a cold day. It is perfect served with crusty dutch oven bread and a side salad with ranch dressing.
Copycat Panera Broccoli Cheddar Soup
My husband is in love with Panera's Broccoli Cheddar Soup. He will even order it in 100 degree summer weather--he just can't resist the creamy, cheesy soup.
And while my husband may want to eat Panera Broccoli Cheddar Soup every day, our wallet and his waist-line will not allow that indulgence.
I made it my mission to make a Healthy Broccoli Cheese Soup that he would love. My husband, who is my toughest critic, said I nailed it, with this recipe.
While this soup tastes like Panera's Broccoli Cheddar Soup, it is NOT as high in fat or calories. And it does NOT take over an hour to make--only 30 minutes!
It is still rich, creamy, and cheesy and full of tender broccoli florets. It flavorful, comforting, and downright delicious!
This Broccoli Cheese Soup is kept lower in fat and lighter in calories by making the following adjustments.
- Instead of a whole stock of butter, only 2 tablespoons is needed.
- Instead of heavy cream, use evaporated milk. Evaporated skim milk is a great low-fat swap for heavy cream or half and half in this Broccoli Cheddar Soup recipe. The milk has been condensed and so it still has a rich flavor, just with zero fat.
- Use extra sharp cheddar cheese and freshly grated Parmesan cheese, as both cheeses are extremely rich in flavor--so a little goes a long way! Therefore, less cheese is needed, but the cheesy flavor remains!
How to Make Broccoli Cheese Soup
Heat a large heavy bottomed casserole dish over medium-high heat. Add the butter and melt.
- Once the butter is melted add the diced onion and saute, until onion begins to soften and become translucent--but not browned.
Add the flour and stir into the onions and butter to form a roux. Be sure to let this mixture cook for a minute or so to remove the raw flour taste from the soup. This mixture will be thick and gooey.
Slowly add the chicken stock, whisking well as you add the liquid. I add in ½ cup at a time and whisk until well incorporated. This helps prevent lumps from forming in the soup.
Bring to a boil and add in the carrots, broccoli, seasoned salt, and nutmeg. Nutmeg may sound like an odd addition, but it helps to bring out the flavor in in any creamy based soup or sauce. However, it is only best if adding freshly grated nutmeg. If you use ground nutmeg, it may overpower the soup with it's flavor.
Reduce to a simmer, cover and let cook for about 10 minutes, or until broccoli is cooked through.
Whisk in the cheese and evaporated milk and allow to cook for an additional 2-5 minutes, to let the cheese melt, stirring constantly. Pro-Tip: Use FRESHLY grate your cheese from a block of cheese, as it will melt more evenly into your soup.
Taste and adjust seasonings if need be.
More Vegetarian Soup Recipes
- Tortellini Soup
- Potato Corn Chowder
- Baked Potato Soup
- Instant Pot Vegetable Soup
- Slow Cooker Minestrone Soup
- Instant Pot Lentil Soup
I hope you prepare this broccoli soup the next time you are craving something warm and creamy! And be sure to leave a comment, as I love to hear from you.
Copycat Panera Broccoli Cheddar Soup
- 2 tablespoons butter
- ½ medium chopped onion
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 cup carrot shredded
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 12 ounce can evaporated skim milk or half and half
- 2 cups fresh broccoli florets chopped
- ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon seasoned salt
- 4 ounces grated sharp cheddar cheese
- ¼ cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
- Heat a large heavy bottomed casserole dish over medium-high heat. Add the butter and melt.
- Add the diced onion and saute for about 5 minutes, until onion begins to soften and become translucent.
- Add the flour and stir into the onions and butter and cook for 1 minute.
- Slowly add the chicken stock, whisking well as you add the liquid.
- Bring to a boil and add in the carrots, broccoli, seasoned salt, and nutmeg. Reduce to a simmer and cover and let cook for about 10 minutes, or until broccoli is cooked through.
- Whisk in the cheese and evaporated milk and allow to cook for an additional 2-5 minutes, to let the cheese melt, stirring constantly.
- Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.
- Feel free to use 1 ½ cups of half and half or heavy cream in place of the evaporated milk, keeping it mind this will increase the calories and fat content of the soup.
- To use frozen broccoli florets, either defrost and add them in soup as you would fresh florets OR steam the broccoli florets and add them in with the cheese and milk near end of the cooking time.
- To make this Gluten Free Broccoli Cheddar Soup, use 1:1 Gluten Free Flour Blend in place of the traditional flour.
- Only use freshly grated nutmeg. If you only have ground nutmeg, it is best to omit altogether.
- Be sure to freshly grate the cheese yourself for this soup instead of using pre-grated cheese. Pre-shredded cheese is often coated in an anti-caking agent, making it not melt as evenly into your soup.
- Broccoli Cheese Soup will keep for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.
- Broccoli Cheese Soup does not freeze well.