Panera Bread Cheddar Broccoli Soup {Copycat}

Panera Bread Cheddar Broccoli Soup {Copycat}  – Rich and creamy cheddar broccoli soup, inspired by the well known Panera Bread restaurant!

{Copycat} Panera Bread Cheddar Broccoli Soup

My mother makes a mean cheddar broccoli soup. It’s my favorite soup that she makes, always has been. When I was younger and my mother would make her cheddar broccoli soup, she’d always serve it in bread bowls. Have you tried soup in a bread bowl? Wait, you don’t know what a bread bowl is?? Unthinkable! A bread bowl is made from a round loaf of bread with a crispy outside and a soft and fluffy inside. You cut off the top, scoop out the fluffy inside (kind of like pumpkin carving) and fill the bread “bowl” with your favorite soup! It’s delicious. The bonus is dipping the fluffy bread from inside into my soup. How about a how-to on bread bowls? I think I’ll put that on my to blog list.

{Copycat} Panera Bread Cheddar Broccoli Soup


Unfortunately, I’m a grown gal and don’t live with my mother anymore so I can’t get her delicious cooking at any old time I desire to have it. Fortunately there is take-out from restaurants that have dishes to remind me of my mother’s cooking. Have you been to Panera Bread?? It’s amazing! One of those soup-salad-sandwich places that I completely adore. One of my absolute favorite items from their menu is their Cheddar Broccoli Soup. I’ve created a copycat version so I can make it whenever I want right at home! This recipe is easy peasy and deliiiiiiish. I ate this soup all week long last week and I’m wishing I had more. A second batch is happening very soon!

{Copycat} Panera Bread Cheddar Broccoli Soup

Panera Bread Cheddar Broccoli Soup {Copycat}
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Rich and creamy cheddar broccoli soup, inspired by the well known Panera Bread restaurant!
Recipe type: Main Dish-Vegetarian
Serves: 6
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • ½ medium onion diced
  • 3 cups water
  • 3 teaspoons beef bouillon (or 3 beef bouillon cubes) OR veggie broth for a vegetarian version
  • ¼ cup butter (4 tablespoons)
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 1½ cups fat free half & half (or regular)
  • 3 cups chopped broccoli florets
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste - I like it with about 1½ teaspoons)
  • ½ teaspoon white pepper
  • 2 cups mild cheddar cheese
  1. In a small pan sauté 1 tablespoon butter and onions over medium heat until onions are translucent. Remove from heat and set aside. In a small sauce pan bring water to a boil, add beef bouillon and whisk until combined. Remove from heat and set aside. In a deep pan or soup pot melt ¼ cup butter over medium heat. Slowly whisk in flour until mixture clumps up or forms a "ball". Add beef bouillon/water mixture and stir to combine. Slowly whisk in half & half and continue to stir until smooth. (If large lumps remain, mash them out with a rubber spatula)
  2. Add broccoli florets and onions and bring soup to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and allow to simmer 15-20 minutes or until broccoli is tender and easily pierced with a fork. Stir in salt, white pepper, and cheddar cheese. Stir until cheese is melted. Serve hot and top with additional cheese if desired.
I love my cheddar broccoli soup thick and chunky with big pieces of broccoli, but if you prefer it smooth simply toss it in the blender after the cheese has been added and melted. Pulse for a minute or two until desired consistency is reached!

 More of my most popular soup recipes!

Slow Cooker Tomato Basil Parmesan Soup

Slow Cooker Tomato Basil Parmesan Soup


Slow Cooker Cheeseburger Soup

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This is the best soup at Panera hands down. Thanks so much for posting a recipe! Now I can get my fix whenever I want :).

Looks perfect and warm. Especially on this cold chilly morn. Pinning.

Thank you so much for getting back to me so quickly. It has been so cold that I’ve been wanting to make soup and this will be perfect. Thanks again!

I included this recipe on my Meal Plan this week on my blog! It was delicious! Thanks for sharing!

I make bread bowls with Rhodes rolls. Just have to think ahead. Super easy and delicious. Panera’s broccoli cheese soup is my daughters fav. Can’t wait to make it for Christmas Eve. She will be so excited.

    I’ve never tried them with Rhodes but that’s brilliant! I LOVE this soup and it’s perfect for Christmas Eve, I hope your daughter loves it as much as we do!

Just made this today- it turned out so delicious and was so easy to make! Thanks for posting! 🙂

    Oh I am so glad this soup worked well for you! We absolutely love it, it’s a regular thing now at our house! Thanks Nicole!!

I can’t wait to make this, but it isn’t vegetarian if you are adding beef bouillon. I’ll add vegetable bouillon so that it really is vegetarian.

    Oh I’m so sorry, the recipe is supposed to be beef broth OR veggie broth for vegetarian, I’m so sorry for the mix up! I’ve updated the recipe to fix this. This soup is by far one of our very favorites I hope you love it Rita! 🙂

I have to be somewhere right up until dinner time tonight. Do you think I could make this ahead of time and let it sit in the crock pot on warm?

    Absolutely! This recipe is definitely crock pot adaptable!!

I made this last month and it was absolutely amazing! Even my kids gobbled it up. I had some broccoli cheese soup from Paradise Bakery (I believe Panera owns them now) the other day and it was awful. Too much cream and just no flavor. This recipe is by far better. I’m making it again tonight for some girlfriends who are coming over for some crafting:) Thanks for sharing it!

    I’ve tried many recipes for Cheddar Broccoli Soup, and ordered it at many restaurants, but this recipe is by far my favorite! The flavors are all just perfect, the cheddar isn’t too strong, the broccoli isn’t overpowering, and it isn’t so rich that I feel sick, but rich enough to make me keep coming back for more!! Thanks so much Katie!! 🙂

I made this tonight and it was delicious! Better than Panera’s, I’d say, and theirs was my favorite! My husband went crazy for this and has declared that this is now his favorite meal of all time. haha. So, thank you! 🙂

    Okay I am so glad someone agrees with me… this soup is BETTER than Panera Bread’s right?! I wanted so badly to call it “Better than Panera Bread’s Cheddar Broccoli Soup” but I was worried I’d have all sort of hateful comments coming in!! So just between you and me, that’s it real name. 😉

Hi! This sounds delish! Can I throw this in the crock pot after mixing everything together and let it cook on low for 4-5 hours? Thanks! 🙂

    Absolutely! This recipe does great in the crockpot!

so eager to try your cheddar broccoli soup.I want to make it tomorrow, but before I do, I need to know if you used a white or yellow onion?
Table salt,sea salt, or kosher salt?

Thank you

    Hi Kitty! This is one of my ALL time favorite soup recipes! I always prefer white onion over yellow but either will work in this recipe. Also, I used sea salt, but table salt will also work just fine!

I have never made this type of soup before, and was wondering if the recipe will double? I want to make this recipe for a school function!! Thanks for your thought! 🙂

I have never made this type of soup, and was wondering if the recipe can be doubled? I want to make this recipe for a school function!! Thanks for your thoughts! 🙂

    Although I haven’t doubled this recipe myself, I think there shouldn’t be a problem! 🙂

Great!! I’m going to try it! I’ll let you know how it goes! 🙂

It was a big hit last night!! I no leftovers!! I will definitely be using this recipe again!! by the way I didn’t double the recipe I tripled it and it worked out great!! Thanks so much for sharing this recipe! I’m very glad that I chose this one!

    I am so thrilled to hear that this tripled well! And even more excited that you loved it!! Few things make me prouder than this soup 🙂

      I made this tonight exactly as written and it turned out VERY salty. I even used unsalted butter.:( I am headed to the store to buy more half and half and make a second batch. Praying that if I add another batch it will even out the salt!:/

        Hi Joanna, I haven’t heard from any of my other commenters that this recipe is too salty… however, it is up to individual taste to say for sure. As a rule of thumb I always use low sodium broths as well. Hope this helps!

Wonderful, but a tad bit too salty. I would cut back on the Sally to maybe 1/2 tsp

I made this soup tonight for dinner, and it was delicious! I only used 8oz of cheese, and it still was amazing! Thank you so much for posting this recipe!

    This recipe is a huge hit with my boyfriend! He says it’s the best soup he’s ever had, better than restaurants! I was wondering if you could substitute half&half for milk instead?

      Oh thanks so much Erica! My husband goes nuts for this soup every time I make it – we never order it when we go out to restaurants anymore because we like this so much better! So glad you love it too! 🙂

I’m gonna try and make this tonight, I’m so excited!

Made this for the first time last night. It is SO good!! I made it with the veggie broth to make it vegetarian. So delish! And easy! I highly recommend this recipe! Thanks for posting!

    I came back to say that I made this again (It is SO GOOD!) and actually had some leftover. I took it for my lunch and it reheats in the microwave very well! Just in case anyone is wondering 😉

I like using low sodium chicken broth in a ready to serve carton.

can you use gluten free flour instead of regular? I wonder if it would change the consistency or taste…

    Hi Amy! I haven’t worked much with gluten free flour so I can’t say from experience that it will work, but the purpose of flour in this recipe is a thickening agent so I think there’s a good chance that gluten free flour could do the trick. If you do try it, please let me know how it turns out so I can share that information with my other readers! 🙂

      Just used gluten free flour and it turned out AMAZING! I actually had to add a little extra flour to make somewhat of a ball (kinda looked more like shiny mashed potatoes lol), but the consistency of the end product is wonderful! I may add a little extra half and half to thin it out a hair, but the flavor is definitely not lacking! Thanks for sharing this recipe! I have a feeling it may now be a rainy day staple 😉

    I have used Robin Hood gluten free flour it still tastes great but it is more of a brown colour

Panera uses julienned carrots. I added 1/4 a cup to this recipe. Best one I’ve tried yet!

you used to have an amazing recipe for both non slow cooker broccoli cheddar soup. I can’t find the regular–non slow cooker one! Help!

    Hi Erin, this panera bread cheddar broccoli soup copycat is the non-slow cooker version! 🙂

This was a big hit! The first time I made it I used 3 cubes of chicken broth but it came out way too salty!! But the second time I made it I used 1 & 1/2 and it was delicious, couldn’t get enough. Thank you for sharing 🙂

This was my third recipe I have made of yours. Delicious! So glad I found you.

TIffany, I have stopped by Panera to get a takeout order for just this soup, alone. It is so delicious! Today I have published a post of 25 of the greatest copycat recipes and your soup is one of them! Hope you can stop by 🙂

Every time I go to Panera, it is for the Broccoli Cheddar Soup. Thank you for this wonderful opportunity to have this lovely soup at home.

Hello! Do we use 2 cups of cubed or shredded mild cheddar cheese? Thanks!

    It’s shredded. 🙂

Tiffany!!!! Omg This Soup Is soooo delish!! I just made iT and my family went nuts over it!! They weRe asking why didnt i make more!!! I will certainly be making this again soon!! I followed the reciPe exactly! Well i didnt have white pepper so i use regular black pepper. No difference!! FounD this recipe Just in time for the chicago winter!! Thank u so much for sharing!! Im so glad i found u!!!

    Hi Jackie! Thank you so much I’m thrilled your family loved this recipe as much as we do!! Happy holidays!! 🙂 🙂