Broccoli Cheddar Soup

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Recreate Panera’s gloriously cheesy broccoli cheddar soup in your own kitchen with this quick and easy copycat recipe—perfect for a cozy evening at home.

broccoli cheddar soup in bowl on cutting board with sliced baguette

If you’re a fan of Panera’s broccoli cheddar soup, you’ll love this homemade version. Though broccoli gets top billing in the name, make no mistake — this soup is all about the cheddar. It’s gloriously cheesy with just the right amount of broccoli and other vegetables for texture and flavor. The soup is wonderfully easy to prepare, too. With only 15 minutes of cooking time and minimal prep work, it’s ideal for a warm and cozy weeknight dinner. You can enjoy it as is, or add homemade croutons or shredded chicken for more heartiness.

Pair broccoli cheddar soup with crusty artisan bread or dinner rolls for a cozy and satisfying meal.

“I made this soup during our snowfall here in Philly and it was extremely comforting and absolutely DELICIOUS!!”

Cashey

What You’ll Need To Make Broccoli Cheddar Soup

broccoli cheddar soup ingredients
  • Butter: Used for sautéing the onions and garlic, creating a flavorful base. It also helps form the roux, which thickens the soup.
  • Onion and Garlic: These aromatics are essential for building the soup’s foundational flavors.
  • Shredded Carrots: Added for a pop of color and a hint of natural sweetness. Pre-shredded carrots from the produce department are a great shortcut.
  • All-Purpose Flour: The key ingredient for making the roux, which thickens the soup and gives it a creamy texture.
  • Chicken Broth: Forms the liquid base of the soup, offering depth and richness to the overall flavor profile.
  • Broccoli Florets: The star vegetable of the soup, broccoli adds a vibrant color, a hearty texture, and healthy nutrients.
  • Heavy Cream: Used to thicken the soup further and add a rich and silky consistency.
  • Sharp Cheddar Cheese: Gives the soup its characteristic cheesy, tangy flavor.
  • Jump to the printable recipe for precise measurements

Step-by-Step Instructions

In large soup pot or Dutch oven, melt the 4 tablespoons butter over medium heat.

melting butter in pot

Add the medium chopped onion and cook until softened and translucent, about 3 minutes.

cooking onions in butter

Add the 3 cloves minced garlic and 1 cup shredded carrots (if using) and cook 1 minute more. Do not brown.

adding garlic and carrots to cooked onions

Add the ¼ cup flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.

adding flour to vegetables

Gradually add the 4 cups chicken broth, whisking constantly. Add the ½ lb broccoli florets, 1 teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper, and ¼ teaspoon nutmeg.

adding broccoli, seasoning, and broth to pot

Bring to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes.

simmering broccoli cheddar soup

Add the 1 cup cream and bring back to a simmer, uncovered.

adding the heavy cream to the broccoli cheddar soup

Gradually stir in the 2 cups cheese until completely melted.

adding the cheddar cheese

Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary. Ladle the soup into bowls and top with more cheese, if desired.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make this soup vegetarian?

Absolutely! Simply substitute the chicken broth with a high-quality vegetable broth.

How should I store and reheat leftover soup?

Broccoli cheddar soup is best enjoyed fresh, but leftover soup can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. To reheat, gently warm the soup over low heat on the stove, stirring occasionally. Avoid boiling the soup, as high heat can cause the dairy to separate.

Can this soup be frozen?

Unfortunately, broccoli cheddar soup does not freeze well due to all the dairy. Cream and cheese-based soups tend to become grainy when frozen and thawed.

What type of cheddar cheese do you recommend?

You don’t have to splurge on a fancy cheddar, but do choose a high-quality brand from the refrigerated cheese section of the supermarket. I personally love Cabot or Tillamook. (This also applies if you’re using pre-shredded cheese—a top-notch brand, like Tillamook thick-cut cheddar, is essential.)

broccoli cheddar soup in bowl on cutting board with sliced baguette

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Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Recreate Panera’s gloriously cheesy broccoli cheddar soup in your own kitchen with this quick and easy copycat recipe—perfect for a cozy evening at home.

Servings: 4 to 6
Prep Time: 25 Minutes
Cook Time: 15 Minutes
Total Time: 40 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped (1 heaping cup)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup shredded carrots (optional)
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • ½ lb broccoli florets, cut into bite-sized pieces (about 4 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 cups (8 oz) shredded sharp cheddar cheese, plus more for serving if desired

Instructions

  1. In large soup pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened and translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and carrots (if using) and cook 1 minute more. Do not brown. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Gradually add the chicken broth, whisking constantly. Add the broccoli, salt, pepper, and nutmeg and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes.
  2. Add the cream and bring back to a simmer, uncovered. Gradually stir in the cheese until completely melted. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary. Ladle the soup into bowls and top with more cheese, if desired.
  3. Note: This soup is best enjoyed fresh, but leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. To reheat, gently warm the soup over low heat on the stove, stirring occasionally. Avoid boiling the soup, as high heat can cause the dairy to separate. Freezing is not recommended due to all the dairy.

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (6 servings)
  • Calories: 461
  • Fat: 37 g
  • Saturated fat: 22 g
  • Carbohydrates: 18 g
  • Sugar: 6 g
  • Fiber: 2 g
  • Protein: 16 g
  • Sodium: 768 mg
  • Cholesterol: 107 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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Comments

  • This soup is delicious. I got distracted by guests and overcooked the soup! To my surprise it now tastes EXACTLY like Panera’s! Leftovers heat up great, with an extra splash of broth. Everyone loved it!

    • — Party of 7 on March 25, 2024
    • Reply
  • It really taste like Panera, but of course..better! Thank you for the recipe.

    • — Lisa on March 15, 2024
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  • Second time making this delicious soup..I used “Baby Broccoli and their stems chopped up… plus one cup of shredded carrots..even better and “sweeter” taste w/ baby broccoli😎

    • — Jeani Paulson on March 7, 2024
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  • What a winner! I got fresh broccoli at Aldi…1.5 pounds, and made this soup for my self and a neighbor, as my husband is a “ never broccoli” kinda guy…l love broccoli so I used all of it in this soup, pureeing half of the florets, and leaving half in the soup…outstanding! I used extra sharp cheddar…perfect! It’s hard to believe there is so much flavor from a very simple recipe!

    • — Gayann on February 23, 2024
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  • This broccoli soup is the best one I have ever made. Delicious! Also, I had most of the ingredients on hand and the recipe was so easy to come together. My family loved it. Will be making it again. Thanks for a great recipe!

    • — Cathy on February 21, 2024
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  • This was SO GOOD and will definitely make this again. I used about 5 cups of broccoli instead of 4 and felt like this recipe could even handle 1 cup more (6 cups total).

    The first time I try any recipe I’m pretty disciplined about sticking to it as written. With this soup, I felt like there wasn’t quite enough butter and flour to make a fully formed roux (I used exactly 1 cup of diced onion and just a tad under 1 cup of shredded carrots). My instinct for the next time I make this is to 1) increase the butter to 6 Tbsp from and then increase the flour to 1/3 cup from 1/4; 2) possibly increase the shredded carrots from 1 cup to 1 1/2; and 3) increase the garlic from 3 cloves to 4.

    I’m curious to hear what your thoughts are on this, Jenn.

    • — Jeffrey D / Minneapolis on February 15, 2024
    • Reply
    • Hi Jeffrey, so glad you enjoyed it! Regarding the roux you have to be careful not to add too much, as it can create a pasty texture. Also, you mentioned that you added an additional cup of broccoli – if you’re looking to make the soup a bit thicker, that actually could work against you as broccoli contains so much water. Please LMK if you have any other questions I can help with.

      • — Jenn on February 16, 2024
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      • Excellent point, Jenn. I’ll definitely keep that in mind when wanting to increase the amount of broccoli.

        I should have gone into a bit more detail in my previous post. After I had stirred the flour in with the onions and shredded carrots for a minute (and right before I added the stock) it looked as if they were merely coated by the roux and that there wasn’t enough of the roux itself to assimilate into the stock. It by no means looked bad. I’m just being a bit overanalytical – lol.

        In any event, I will definitely report back after I make this again. 😉

        • — Jeffrey D / Minneapolis on February 16, 2024
        • Reply
  • what can i use instead of heavy cream ?

    • — Jan on February 13, 2024
    • Reply
    • Hi Jan, the soup won’t be as thick, but you can use half & half in place of the cream. Please LMK how it turns out!

      • — Jenn on February 16, 2024
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  • I’ve tried several broccoli cheddar soup recipes over the years trying to find one as good as Panera Bread’s soup and by far this is the best one. I would say it does not taste exactly like Panera Bread’s soup but it is a little better. Thanks Jenn!

    • — Paul on February 10, 2024
    • Reply
  • Delicious recipe. Based on your comment to make the soup a little thicker, I did decrease the chicken broth to 3 cups. I increased the amount of broccoli to 12 oz. A hit of sriracha and a touch of lemon juice and Yum!! Thank you for your wonderful recipes.

    • — Shirley Christensen on February 1, 2024
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  • Panera who?? This soup was absolutely fabulous! Thank you for the delicious recipe!

    • — Mandy on January 26, 2024
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  • Made this for a friend – and she said its the best soup she’s ever had – better than any restaurant or purchased!! It was so easy – and I even made a mistake and added the cheese too early!! Only change I made was I used an immersion blender to make it smooth (friend had throat surgery) otherwise followed recipe exactly! Making another batch for her today at her request – lol. As always – the best recipes out there – you are my go-to!

    • — Kelly S on January 25, 2024
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  • excellent

  • Great recipe! My husband loved it which was a good surprise!!!

    • — Sandy on January 23, 2024
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  • Really good broccoli cheese soup. My twin boys love Panera broccoli cheese but think this is much better. I have to agree! Plus I know what’s going into it.

    • — Shawn on January 22, 2024
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  • This was so delicious. Thanks for another great recipe. What is the best way to reheat leftovers?

    • — Kathy on January 22, 2024
    • Reply
    • So glad you enjoyed, Kathy. I would reheat gently on the stovetop.

      • — Jenn on January 22, 2024
      • Reply
  • Jenn,
    Once I put the soup together, can I finish cooking it in a crock pot? What size crock and for how long? High or low temperature?

    • — Mary Ann on January 22, 2024
    • Reply
    • Hi Mary Ann, technically, you could finish this off in a crockpot, but considering the steps that you need to go through prior to putting it in one (up to the step where you simmer it for 10 minutes), I don’t think it makes much sense. That said, if you want to try it , you’ll need a crockpot that’s at least 5 quarts.

      • — Jenn on January 23, 2024
      • Reply
  • This soup was really easy to put together and tasted great!

    • — Stephanie on January 19, 2024
    • Reply
  • Delicious.Although we have not had Panera`s version this is most likely better.Next time will need to watch the time closer when adding the broccoli to make sure it stays crisp tender.Added the optional carrot and used Tillamook Sharp.

    • — lowandslow on January 18, 2024
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  • I just made this broccoli cheddar soup and it is the best I have ever tasted. I particularly like that it is not too thick and cheesy. The sauce enhances the broccoli, does not hide it. I cut the recipe in half since I’m only cooking for one but now wish I’d made the full amount. It’s wonderful, delicious and very easy to make. Thanks for providing this recipe. So perfect for a cool.day. I used Tillamook shredded cheddar and it melted beautifully.

    • — Susan on January 17, 2024
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  • Delicious!! Easy & quick . A hit with the entire family. Better than Panera’s.
    A Definite Keeper.

    • — Martha on January 16, 2024
    • Reply
  • Loved this soup….so easy and delicious…can I freeze the leftover?

    • — Jeani P on January 16, 2024
    • Reply
    • Hi Jeani, Unfortunately, because of all the dairy, this soup does not freeze well — sorry!

      • — Jenn on January 16, 2024
      • Reply
    • Was really easy and yummy!! Though I would cut the broccoli smaller than bite size.

      • — Millie on January 17, 2024
      • Reply
  • Omg I made this soup during our snowfall here in Philly and it was extremely comforting and absolutely DELICIOUS!! It definitely tastes EXACTLY like Panera bread and Subway’s cheddar and broccoli soup. Storing this recipe in my book😋

    • — Cashey Davis on January 16, 2024
    • Reply
  • This was delicious! I upped the broccoli and the cheese to make it thicker and it worked beautifully. Also a tiny bit more pepper to add extra zip. A wonderful soup for a cold and blustery day.

    • — Julie on January 16, 2024
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  • Loved this soup! Followed the recipe (almost exactly – probably used half the amount of butter). Will definitely make it again. Thanks so much for all your recipes!

    • — Debbie on January 15, 2024
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  • Delicious soup! I used an immersion blender briefly to break up some broccoli and carrots, while still keeping larger pieces.

    • — Melanie D on January 15, 2024
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    • Thanks this tip worked for me I also cut the brocolli up into smaller pieces . Tastes just like Panera I just wish it was a little thicker .

      • — Asra on January 16, 2024
      • Reply
      • Glad you enjoyed it, Asra. For a thicker soup, you’d need to use a bit less broth. You could also try adding some potato or using pre-shredded cheese, which is coated with anti-caking agents that will thicken the soup a bit more.

        • — Jenn on January 17, 2024
        • Reply
  • The broccoli Cheddar soup is just so delicious. I just made it for lunch and the flavours are spot on. So far all Jenn’s recipes for us have been 5 star, I recommend this to everyone.

    • — Linda Kennedy on January 15, 2024
    • Reply
  • I made this as soon as the recipe came in my email. It was easily done in under an hour. I added more broccoli than the recipe called for- it was probably closer to 12 oz. It was so good and I’ll definitely be adding this to the rotation! Thanks Jenn for another hit!

    • — Cindy on January 15, 2024
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  • Absolutely delicious! Quick and easy to make. A great recipe for a cold and snowy day 🙂

    • — Heather T on January 14, 2024
    • Reply
  • Hi Jen,
    That sounds delicious and I would like to make it for our next book club meeting. Do you think it would work with vegetable stock instead of chicken stock? Some of us are vegetarians.

    • — Diane on January 14, 2024
    • Reply
    • Yep 👍

      • — Jenn on January 14, 2024
      • Reply
  • My husband and I worked together to prep this. Put on a 70s playlist, and the soup was ready in no time. -17 deg in Chicagoland. Perfect choice for dinner. My other half can’t stop talking about how good it is!

    • — Linda on January 14, 2024
    • Reply
  • I love this but I use evaporated milk instead of cream. And I put the shredded cheese in the soup bowls. Then pour hot soup over the cheese.

    • — Susan on January 14, 2024
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  • Just made this! It’s super yummy, and very similar to Panera’s version. Not quite as thick. I used closer to 12oz of broccoli!

    • — DD on January 14, 2024
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  • Happy New Year Jen. Would this freeze well? It is too rich for the two of us to eat three nights in a row. I easily could, but… 🙂 Thanks.

    • — Chip on January 14, 2024
    • Reply
    • Hi Chip, Because of all the dairy, the soup doesn’t freeze well – sorry!

      • — Jenn on January 14, 2024
      • Reply
  • Can this be frozen?

    • — Christy on January 14, 2024
    • Reply
    • Hi Christy, Because of the cream and cheese, this soup does not freeze well. Sorry!

      • — Jenn on January 14, 2024
      • Reply
  • Can this soup be frozen with the cream and cheese?

    • — Sue Armstrong on January 14, 2024
    • Reply
    • Hi Sue, Yes it can be frozen before adding the heavy cream and cheese.

      • — Jenn on January 14, 2024
      • Reply
  • Hi – I have some leftover steamed broccoli. I am assuming I can use and just not cook as long? And will 2% milk work in this recipe? Thanks!

    • — Carolyn on January 14, 2024
    • Reply
    • Hi Carolyn, Yes I would add it for just a few minutes to warm up. 2% milk should work, but the soup won’t be as rich and creamy.

      • — Jenn on January 14, 2024
      • Reply
  • Do you think this would work with Swiss cheese (i .e. Gruyère or Emmental), or would the taste be too different?

    • — Anne on January 14, 2024
    • Reply
    • Hi Anne, I do think it would work. Please LMK how it turns out if you try it. 🙂

      • — Jenn on January 14, 2024
      • Reply
      • I made the recipe, and used rice instead of flour and added grated emmental in the bowl, on top of the hot soup, then some 1/2-1/2 cream. It worked great, and was delicious. No leftovers to freeze, but without the dairy it would have been ok 🙂

        • — Anne on January 19, 2024
        • Reply

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