Filled with tender chunks of broccoli and rich, cheesy broth, this easy recipe for Broccoli Cheddar Soup is made in one pot and ready in less than 30 minutes. And while it tastes extremely decadent, it is much lower in fat and calories than Panera's Broccoli Cheese Soup.
Looking for an Instant Pot version of this soup? Try my ultra-rich and creamy recipe for Instant Pot Broccoli Cheddar Soup.
Like many of you, I love many of Panera's dishes. But my wallet does NOT appreciate the cost.
From Copycat Panera Greek Salad to Instant Pot Egg Bites to Puff Pastry Egg Tarts to this Broccoli Cheddar Soup, I have made it my mission to recreate some of our favorite Panera recipes at home! This recipe for Broccoli Cheddar Soup is a great example of just how easy it can be to create restaurant favorites at home.
Reasons to Love Broccoli Cheddar Soup
- Quick & Easy Recipe. This Broccoli Cheese Soup is made in one pot and in less than 30 minutes from start to finish.
- Healthier Version. Panera's Broccoli Cheddar Soup is extremely high in fat and calories. This recipe uses JUST enough butter and swaps out the heavy cream for evaporated milk to keep this version of broccoli cheese soup creamy and rich, yet lower in fat and calories.
- Family-Favorite Recipe. Watch your picky eaters devour broccoli when you serve up this cozy soup! The velvety, cheesy broth makes it irresistible.
Notes on Ingredients
You will find the quantities used, along with the full cooking instructions in the recipe card at the bottom of the post.
- Butter: Use unsalted butter for best results.
- Flour: Use all-purpose flour to thicken the soup. Alternatively, you can replace the flour with a 1:1 Gluten-Free flour blend to keep this Broccoli Cheddar Soup gluten-free.
- Onions: Use a white or yellow onion, not a red or sweet onion.
- Carrots: Use shredded carrots or finely minced carrot to ensure it softens fully during the cooking process.
- Broccoli: This soup can be made using fresh broccoli florets, or defrosted frozen broccoli florets.
- Broth: Use low-sodium storebought or homemade vegetable broth or chicken stock.
- Seasoned Salt: Homemade seasoned salt adds a nice flavor to the soup, as it is a combination of salt, paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder. Feel free to use kosher salt in its place.
- Nutmeg: Nutmeg may sound like an odd addition, but it helps to bring out the flavor in any cream-based soup or sauce. However, it is only best if you use whole nutmeg grated with a Microplane. If you only have ground nutmeg, omit it, as it will overpower the soup with its flavor.
- Evaporated Milk: Instead of heavy cream, use evaporated milk. Evaporated skim milk is a great low-fat swap for heavy cream or half and half, as the evaporated milk has been condensed, giving it a rich flavor without the fat. That said, if you would rather use whole milk or half and half, go for it!
- Cheese: I use a combination of extra sharp cheddar cheese and freshly grated Parmesan cheese, as both are extremely rich in flavor. That means a little goes a long way and you can use less cheese while retaining that cheesy flavor.
∗ important to remember ∗
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.
Serve your Copycat Panera Broccoli Cheddar Soup with a Copycat Panera Greek Salad or a Copycat Panera Turkey Sandwich for a hearty meal completely made at home! Or pair your soup with some crusty dutch oven bread. Talk about a cozy meal!
Storage & Reheating Instructions
Leftover Broccoli Cheese Soup will keep for up to 3 days in an airtight container. I do not recommend freezing this soup, as the milk can separate when thawed.
To reheat the soup, keep in mind you may need to add a bit of stock or milk to thin it slightly and whisk the soup well to fully incorporate everything together.
More Vegetarian Soup Recipes
- Potato Corn Chowder
- Instant Pot Tomato Soup
- 30-Minute Loaded Baked Potato Soup
- Instant Pot Vegetable Soup
- Slow Cooker Minestrone Soup
- Instant Pot Lentil Soup
If you tried this recipe for Broccoli Cheddar Soup, I would love for you to leave a review and comment below.
Broccoli Cheddar Soup
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ½ medium onion finely minced
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup shredded carrot
- 3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth or chicken stock
- 12 ounces evaporated skim milk or half and half
- 2 cups fresh broccoli florets chopped
- ¼ teaspoon freshly grated whole nutmeg optional
- ½ teaspoon seasoned salt
- 4 ounces grated sharp cheddar cheese
- ¼ cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
- Over medium-high heat, melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed soup pot.
- Once the butter has melted, add the diced onion and saute for about 5 minutes or until the onion begins to soften and become translucent.
- Sprinkle the flour over the onions and butter and whisk together to form a thick paste or a roux. Cook for 1 minute, allowing the flour to toast lightly.
- Slowly add the broth, whisking well to incorporate. Bring the mixture to a boil, whisking often. Once lightly boiling, add in the carrots, broccoli, seasoned salt, and nutmeg. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and let cook for about 10 minutes, or until broccoli is cooked through.
- Once the broccoli is tender, remove the lid, and whisk in the cheese and evaporated milk. Allow the soup to cook over low heat for an additional 2-5 minutes, to let the cheese melt, stirring constantly.
- Remove the soup from the heat, taste, and add salt and pepper as needed. Serve warm.