Instant Pot Broccoli Cheddar Soup is loaded with broccoli and cheese in an irresistibly rich and cheesy broth. This cozy soup is reminiscent of Panera's Broccoli Cheese soup and only takes minutes of prep!
No Instant Pot? Try out my stovetop recipe for Broccoli Cheddar Soup.
Reasons to Love Instant Pot Broccoli Cheddar Soup
- Restuarant-Quality Soup. This recipe for Instant Pot Broccoli Cheese Soup is a copycat version of Panera Broccoli Cheddar Soup, yet costs a fraction of the price! It is rich, creamy, and loaded with shredded carrots, broccoli, and sharp cheese.
- Kid-Friendly Recipe. What better way to entice picky eaters to eat their veggies, than adding cheese into the mix? This broccoli cheddar soup is a great way to entice kids
- No Processed Cheese. Instead of using processed cheese or condensed soup, this recipe is made using freshly grated cheddar cheese to deliver the richest, cheesiest broccoli soup.
- 30-Minute Soup Recipe. 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.
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.
- 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: To keep this soup vegetarian, use low-sodium vegetable broth. If you aren't vegetarian, feel free to use low-sodium store-bought or homemade chicken stock.
- Cheese: Sharp cheddar cheese is a must to give Broccoli Cheddar Soup its signature flavor. 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. Feel free to replace the cornstarch with arrowroot powder.
- 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.
Tips for the Best Instant Pot Broccoli Cheddar Soup
The following tips are provided to help you achieve perfect results. You will find the detailed instructions in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
- Saute the carrots and onions. While you can certainly skip sauteeing the carrots and onions, taking a few minutes to do this will help to bring out the natural sweetness of the onions and carrots and add incredible depth to the Broccoli Cheddar Soup. If have the time, it is worth the minimal extra effort.
- Use precise cooking time. In order to ensure your broccoli doesn't overcook, you want to set the pressure cooker to cook for zero minutes with exactly five minutes of natural pressure.
- Use freshly grated cheese. For the smoothest melt and creamiest soup, you want to grate the cheese yourself rather than using bagged shredded cheese. Pre-shredded cheese has been coated with anti-caking agents and can make your soup have a gritty texture.
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.
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.
More Instant Pot Vegetarian Soup Recipes
- Instant Pot Butternut Squash Soup
- Instant Pot Minestrone Soup
- Instant Pot Cabbage Soup
- Instant Pot Vegetable Soup
- Instant Pot Tomato Soup
- Instant Pot White Bean and Kale Soup
- Instant Pot Pasta Fagioli
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 - Panera Copycat
- 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. No need to stir in the broccoli.
- 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. You can expect the broccoli to break down when stirred. 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.
- Once the cheese has fully melted, serve the Broccoli Cheddar Soup.