You’re only 30 minutes away from eating the best broccoli cheddar cheese soup and it all starts with some fresh broccoli, sharp cheddar cheese, and a handful of pantry ingredients. This is the only cheesy broccoli soup recipe you’ll ever need!
A lot of restaurants have broccoli cheese soup on their menus and, while it’s delicious, it’s also not that great for you and I know I can make a better version of just about anything at home, where I can control my own ingredients.
Although creamier soups tend to have more fat and not be, well, as healthy for you, I actually prefer this version with the fat free half and half. And as for the broccoli — the smaller the pieces, the better. You want to get little pieces of broccoli in every bite, you know?
Why This Recipe Works
Broccoli – That’s a no-brainer, right? Of course there would be no easy broccoli cheddar soup without broccoli, but the point here is that you can use any kind! I will cut up my own if I have the time, but you can also use frozen, chopped broccoli in a pinch. Or purchase broccoli pre-cut in the produce section of the grocery. A lot of times it’s easier to throw in something that’s already been pre-cut for you.
Panera Bread copycat – I am all about the copycat recipes and this broccoli cheese soup recipe is JUST like the yummy version they sell at Panera Bread – and healthier too!
Easy – It’s so very easy to make this soup. Just 30 minutes is all you need to have a hearty bowl of broccoli cheddar soup ready for you on those cold evenings when nothing but soup will do.
Freezes well – Are you the type of cook that likes to make big batches of everything and freeze for those dinners you don’t want to cook or are on the go? Me too! And this easy broccoli cheddar soup recipe is perfect for freezing. Let the soup cool completely before transferring to freezer-safe containers. When you’re ready to eat it, thaw in the fridge and then reheat in a stock pot. Be sure to stir often while it’s reheating to mix all the ingredients back together.
Here’s How You Make It
Making this broccoli cheese soup recipe couldn’t be easier!
- First, melt the butter and then add the garlic in a large stock pot. Sauté the garlic for 1-2 minutes or until it begins to brown slightly (make sure it doesn’t burn). Then, add the onion powder and flour and stir until the mixture clumps together and there are no more streaks of white flour.
- Now add the broth in slowly, whisking as you go. Then do the same with the half and half. Bring the soup to a boil, then add the broccoli and continue to boil till the broccoli is tender.
- Finally, stir in the pepper, salt, and both cheeses. When these are melted, taste and add more salt and pepper if you like. Serve with more cheese on top!
How to Cook Broccoli
Steamed. There are three ways to go about steaming broccoli. The first is purchase one of the steam-in-bag microwaveable bags of broccoli and follow the directions on the bag. The second is to put it in a microwave-safe dish, with a lid. Add a couple tablespoons of water to the broccoli and steam it in the microwave on high for about 3-4 minutes. Check for doneness, stir, and microwave in 1–2-minute increments until you’ve reached desired doneness.
Or you can steam it on the stovetop. Add about half a cup of water to the bottom of a large sauce pot. Put the chopped broccoli into a steamer basket and put the basket into the pot. Cover and steam for 5-7 minutes, or until desired doneness is achieved.
Sautee. Add cooking oil to a stainless steel or cast-iron skillet or wok and turn the burner on high. Add your broccoli and toss, until they start to turn brown. Add in your favorite sauces or deglaze with white wine, stock, lemon juice, or vinegar, etc. until the broccoli is tender yet still a little firm.
Roasted. Add cut broccoli to an oven-safe baking dish or cookie tray (the ones with sides). Preheat oven to 425. Coat your broccoli with oil, spices, and an acid, like I did in this Roasted Lemon Garlic Broccoli & Cauliflower. Add your veggies in one layer to your pan or tray. Sprinkle with Parmesan, if desired, and cook for 15-20 minutes until the broccoli can be pierced with a fork and starts to brown.
Puree. This method is great for soups that call for pureed veggies. First, cook your broccoli in chicken or vegetable broth until it’s nice and tender. Add the broccoli and broth to a blender (be sure to leave an opening in the lid and cover loosely with a towel when blending) or use an immersion blender to puree the mixture until it’s nice and creamy.
- Grate cheese from a block! Cheese that comes pre-shredded is tossed in a powdered coating that causes it to melt differently than fresh-grated cheese and will give your soup a gritty texture. Freshly grated cheese is the way to go.
- I love using fat free half and half, but if you want a richer soup, swap out 1 cup of half and half for 1 cup of heavy cream.
- Keep your broccoli in the fridge in a loosely tied plastic bag. Don’t wash it until it’s ready to use. It should stay fresh for about 3-5 days. If you’ve purchased pre-cut broccoli or cut it yourself, you can keep it in the fridge for up to 2 days.
More Recipes You’ll Love
Cheesy, warm, hearty soups are one of my favorite ways to keep warm this winter! For more delicious soups, try my recipes for Roasted Cauliflower Soup, Olive Garden Chicken Gnocchi Soup, Creamy White Chicken Lasagna Soup, and Slow Cooker Cream Cheese Chicken Chili.
- Roasted Broccoli
- Chicken and Broccoli Coconut Curry
- Slow Cooker Broccoli Beef
- Chicken and Broccoli Skillet
- Chicken and Broccoli Stir Fry
- Slow Cooker Broccoli Cheese Soup
Did you try this cheesy broccoli soup? You rock! Please rate the recipe below!
Best Ever Broccoli Cheese Soup
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 3 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ½ cup flour
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 4 cups half and half - I use fat free, see note
- 4 cups fresh broccoli florets - finely chopped
- 2 tespoons salt - or to taste
- ½ teaspoon black pepper - or to taste
- 2 cups freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese - see note
- ½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese - see note
- In a large stock pot, melt butter then add garlic and saute for 1-2 minutes until browned. Add onion powder and flour and stir until mixture clumps together and there are no more streaks of flour.
- Gradually whisk in chicken broth, followed by half and half. Bring to a boil, add broccoli and boil until broccoli is tender.
- Stir in salt, pepper, cheddar cheese, and parmesan cheese. Once cheeses are completely melted, taste and add salt and pepper if needed, then serve.