Instant Pot Broccoli Cheddar Soup is a quick and easy soup recipe featuring perfectly cooked broccoli in an irresistibly rich, thick broth that is loaded with cheese.
This recipe for Instant Pot Broccoli Cheese Soup is a copycat version of Panera Broccoli Cheddar Soup, yet it can be yours for a fraction of the cost per serving from the comfort of your home!
If you love Broccoli Cheddar Soup, you are going to flip for this Instant Pot version.
Not only does this recipe for Instant Pot Broccoli Cheddar Soup deliver restaurant-quality results, but it is one of the fastest soup recipes.
Just like my recipes for Instant Pot Tomato Soup and Instant Pot French Onion Soup, this recipe for Instant Pot Broccoli Cheese Soup is ready from start to finish in under 30 minutes. But the results are phenomenal.
Made with wholesome ingredients (AKA no processed cheese), this recipe for Instant Pot Broccoli Cheddar Soup delivers the creamy, luxurious taste you love and crave in a good broccoli cheese soup, with minimal effort. And frankly, my entire family agrees that this soup is better than Panera's...by far (sorry Panera!)
Notes On Ingredients
- Broccoli: While you can substitute fresh broccoli florets for frozen broccoli florets, I much prefer the taste and texture when using fresh, not frozen broccoli. When chopping the head of broccoli, it is best to remove most of the stem from the broccoli, only leaving the florets. Shred the stem and add it to fried rice or the filling for vegetable eggrolls.
- Carrots: The carrots will add a nice color and slight sweetness to this rich soup. You can use finely grated or minced carrots, whichever you prefer. If mincing the carrots, just be sure to finely, finely dice them so that they cook in the same amount of time as the broccoli.
- Broth: Use low-sodium store-bought of homemade chicken stock or vegetable broth. If keeping this soup vegetarian-friendly, opt for vegetable broth. Otherwise, either option works well in this recipe.
- Cheese: Sharp cheddar cheese is a must to give Broccoli Cheddar Soup its signature flavor. Just like my recipe for Instant Pot Mac and Cheese, it is crucial to grate the cheese yourself, rather than using bagged shredded cheese to ensure an even, smooth melt.
- Onion: Use a yellow or white onion. If you have really picky eaters, feel free to omit the diced onion and instead add 1 teaspoon of onion powder to the soup for flavor.
- Half and Half: Half and half finish the soup with a rich, creamy finish. To lighten things up while still keeping this soup creamy, you can use whole milk in place of half and half. Alternatively, you can use heavy cream for a really rich soup.
- Cornstarch: Instead of using flour to thicken this soup, a cornstarch slurry is added to the soup at the end of pressure cooking, which prevents a burn notice from happening AND keeps this soup gluten-free. If you are allergic to corn, feel free to use arrowroot powder in its place.
- Butter/Oil: I prefer using a mixture of both for sauteeing the onions and carrots. The butter gives the soup additional richness, and the oil helps prevent the butter from burning. If you opt to skip sauteeing the onions and carrots, omit both.
How to Make Instant Pot Broccoli Cheddar Soup
This recipe is really quite simple to make, but if you are unfamiliar with your Instant Pot, be sure to familiarize yourself with my simple instructions on How to Use an Instant Pot, to ensure success with this and future recipes.
- To saute the onions and carrots, turn your Instant Pot to saute by hitting the saute button. Add in the butter and oil and let heat.
- Once the butter has melted, add in the onions and carrots and saute until the onions just begin to soften. This should only take a couple of minutes.
- Once your onions are just beginning to glisten, hit cancel on the Instant Pot to turn off the saute function.
- Add in the broth and use a wooden spoon or spatula to scrape up any browned bits off the bottom of the inner pot. This is crucial to prevent burn notice any time you saute anything in your electric pressure cooker.
- Season the broth with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Give everything a stir to combine.
- Add the broccoli on top of the broth.
- Place the lid on the inner pot and be sure the venting knob is pointed towards sealed. This soup has a cook time of only ZERO minutes! That simply means you are going to give the soup enough time to come to pressure, any longer the broccoli will turn to mush. To set the cooking time to zero minutes, hit manual or pressure cook and use the +/- buttons to adjust until it reads "0."
- Once the cooking time has elapsed, allow the pressure to release for exactly 5 minutes. Your Instant Pot will default to keep warm, and that is fine.
- Once the timer reads L005, that means 5 minutes have passed it is time to do a quick release of the remaining pressure. To do a quick release of pressure, use a long wooden spoon or spatula to knock the venting knob from the sealed to the venting position. Stand back, so as not to burn yourself.
- Open the Instant Pot lid, hit cancel, and then hit saute back on the Instant Pot so that we can add a cornstarch slurry to thicken the broccoli soup.
- In a small bowl whisk together ¼ cup of broth with the cornstarch until the cornstarch is fully dissolved. Add this mixture to the broccoli soup, whisking often, until the soup has thickened slightly. This will just take a couple of minutes. And it is normal for the broccoli to disintegrate slightly into the soup--this is what you want to happen.
- Once the soup has thickened, hit cancel to turn the Instant Pot off.
- Add in the shredded cheese and half and half at this point and stir to incorporate.
- Place the lid back on the pressure cooker and just let the soup sit for a couple of minutes, allowing time for the cheese to melt and the cream to warm through.
- After a couple of minutes, give everything a stir to combine and dish out this cozy broccoli cheese soup.
Instant Pot Broccoli Cheddar Soup makes a cozy lunch or a satisfying dinner, especially when paired with bread and salad.
I often pair this soup with a Copycat Panera Greek Salad and Homemade Italian Bread for a true knock-off of dining at Panera. Caesar Salad and homemade wheat rolls also pair well with this Broccoli Cheese Soup recipe.
Storing Broccoli Cheese Soup
Instant Pot Broccoli Cheddar Soup can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days in the refrigerator, after cooling slightly. I do not recommend freezing this soup, as the cream will separate after defrosting.
Instant Pot Broccoli Cheese Soup FAQs
I prefer the flavor and texture of the onions and carrots after they have been sauteed when making this Broccoli Cheese Soup. That said, you do not need to saute them if you are short on time. Simply omit both the oil and butter from the recipe and add the finely minced onion and carrots to the inner pot right before adding the broccoli.
I highly recommend using a food processor or box grater to grate the cheddar yourself. Pre-shredded cheese is coated in anti-caking agents, which prevent the cheese from melting uniformly into your soup. While you can use bagged cheese, your soup may have a gritty texture, which is not desirable.
If you would prefer the texture of a cream of broccoli soup, you can use an immersion blender to blend the soup before adding in the cornstarch slurry, cheese, and cream.
No problem! Follow my recipe for stovetop Broccoli Cheddar Soup for the same rich, creamy results without the need to use a pressure cooker.
More Instant Pot Vegetarian Soup Recipes
- Instant Pot Butternut Squash Soup
- Instant Pot Minestrone Soup
- Instant Pot Vegetable Soup
- Instant Pot Tomato Soup
If you tried this recipe for Instant Pot Broccoli Cheddar Soup, I would appreciate it if you would take the time to leave a star rating and comment below.
Instant Pot Broccoli Cheddar Soup
- ½ tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 small onion minced
- 1 medium carrot peeled and shredded
- 3 cups low-sodium chicken stock or vegetable broth divided
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt plus more to taste
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 4 cups fresh broccoli florets about 1 head of fresh broccoli
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 cups half and half
- 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese grated
- Turn the Instant Pot to saute. Add in the olive oil and butter and let the butter melt.
- Once the butter has melted, add in the onions and carrots and saute until the onions just begin to soften. This should only take 3-4 minutes. Hit cancel on the Instant Pot to turn off the saute function.
- Add in 2-¾ cups of the chicken broth (the remaining ¼ cup will be used later to dissolve the cornstarch) and use a wooden spoon or spatula to scrape up any browned bits off the bottom of the inner pot.
- Add in the salt, pepper, and garlic powder, stirring to incorporate. Add the broccoli florets to the inner pot.
- Place the lid on the inner pot and be sure the venting knob is pointed towards sealed. Set the cooking time to zero minutes. Hit manual or pressure cook and use the +/- buttons to adjust until it reads "0."
- Once the cooking time has elapsed, allow the pressure to release for exactly 5 minutes, and then do a quick release of the remaining pressure. To do a quick release of pressure, use a long wooden spoon or spatula to knock the venting knob from the sealed to the venting position. Stand back, so as not to burn yourself.
- Once the pressure has been released, open up the inner pot and turn the Instant Pot back to saute. While the soup is heating, mix together the remaining ¼ cup of broth with the cornstarch until the cornstarch is fully dissolved. Whisk the cornstarch slurry into the broccoli soup, whisking often, until the soup has thickened slightly. This will take just a few minutes. Once thickened, turn the Instant Pot off by hitting cancel.
- Stir in the cheese and half and half. Place the lid back on the inner pot and let it sit for 3-5 minutes, allowing it to heat through and the cheese to melt.
- Remove the lid, stir again, and dish up the Broccoli Cheddar Soup.