The Best Broccoli Cheese Soup (Better-Than-Panera Copycat)

This is the best broccoli cheese soup.

Not only that, it’s some of the best soup I’ve ever tasted, period.

The Best Broccoli Cheese Soup (Better-Than-Panera Copycat) - Make the best soup of your life at home in 1 hour! Beyond words amazing!!

If you like Panera’s broccoli cheddar soup, this blows the pants off it.

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It’s an easy soup to make and is ready in 1 hour. It’s absolutely perfect comfort food and I couldn’t stop eating it. I ate it for lunch and dinner for a couple straight days until it was gone. I loved this soup beyond words.

The Best Broccoli Cheese Soup (Better-Than-Panera Copycat) - Make the best soup of your life at home in 1 hour! Beyond words amazing!!

I kept the soup vegetarian by using low-sodium vegetable stock rather than chicken stock, and made it healthier by using fat-free half-and-half.

But you’d think that it was made with heavy cream based on how thick, rich, and truly decadent it tastes.

The Best Broccoli Cheese Soup (Better-Than-Panera Copycat) - Make the best soup of your life at home in 1 hour! Beyond words amazing!!

I love broccoli and used plenty because I prefer big chunks of broccoli in every bite but you can use less. I also used some stalks to make use of the entire head and not waste any, but you can use florets only if preferred. Even people who ‘don’t like broccoli’ should love broccoli when it’s bathed in a creamy, cheesy broth.

There’s a few optional spices like smoked paprika, mustard powder, and cayenne pepper. They’re not mandatory if you don’t keep them on hand, but they do add extra depth of flavor, albeit subtle. The cayenne doesn’t make the soup hot in the least, it makes it not taste boring.

The Best Broccoli Cheese Soup (Better-Than-Panera Copycat) - Make the best soup of your life at home in 1 hour! Beyond words amazing!!

Use a high-quality cheddar cheese that you grate yourself. Don’t use the cheapest cheese you can find because the flavor just isn’t there.

I prefer extra-sharp, although sharp may be used. Pre-grated cheese in ziptop bags is resistant to melting and won’t incorporate well.

The Best Broccoli Cheese Soup (Better-Than-Panera Copycat) - Make the best soup of your life at home in 1 hour! Beyond words amazing!!

Read the recipe at least twice before beginning because while it’s a simple soup, there are a few fast-moving stages. While one thing is simmering, you need to be chopping for the next stage, while stirring the simmering pot intermittently between chopping.

You’ll be rewarded with the best, creamiest, richest, and most amazing soup.

The Best Broccoli Cheese Soup (Better-Than-Panera Copycat) - Make the best soup of your life at home in 1 hour! Beyond words amazing!!

The Best Broccoli Cheese Soup (Better-Than-Panera Copycat)

This is the best broccoli cheese soup. Not only that, it’s some of the best soup I’ve ever tasted, period. If you like Panera’s broccoli cheddar soup, this blows the pants off it. It’s an easy soup to make and is ready in 1 hour. I kept the soup vegetarian by using low-sodium vegetable stock rather than chicken stock, and made it healthier by using fat-free half-and-half. I love broccoli and used plenty because I prefer big chunks of broccoli in every bite but you can use less. I also used some stalks to make use of the entire head and not waste any, but you can use florets only if preferred. There’s a few optional spices like smoked paprika, mustard powder, and cayenne pepper. They’re not mandatory if you don’t keep them on hand, but they do add extra depth of flavor. Use a high-quality cheddar cheese that you grate yourself. Read the recipe at least twice before beginning. You’ll be rewarded with the best, creamiest, richest, and most amazing soup.

5
5 / 5 ()
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Ingredients:

1 tablespoon + 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 small/medium sweet yellow onion, diced small
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced finely
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups low-sodium vegetable stock (chicken stock may be substituted)
2 cups fat-free half-and-half (regular half-and-half may be substituted; whole milk or 2% milk will work but soup won’t be as creamy)
2 to 3 cups broccoli florets, diced into bite-size pieces + 1 cups stems, optional (I used 3 cups florets and 1 cup stems as not to waste them)
2 large carrots, trimmed, peeled, and sliced into very thin rounds, about 1/16th-inch
3/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika or regular paprika, optional and to taste
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard powder, optional and to taste
pinch cayenne pepper, optional and to taste (doesn’t make soup spicy and serves to enhance flavor)
8 ounces grated high quality extra-sharp cheddar cheese, with a small amount reserved for garnishing bowls

Directions:

  1. In a small saucepan, add 1 tablespoon butter, the diced onion, and sauté   over medium heat until the onion is translucent and barely browned, about 4 minutes. Stir intermittently.
  2. Add the garlic and cook about 30 seconds, stirring constantly so it doesn’t burn. Remove from heat and set pan aside.
  3. In a large heavy-bottom pot (I use this Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast-Iron 6-3/4-Quart Oval French (Dutch) Oven) add 4 tablespoons butter, flour, and cook over medium heat for about 3 to 5 minutes, whisking constantly, until flour is thickened. You are making a roux and it’s very important the mixture is thick or soup will never thicken properly later.
  4. Slowly add the vegetable stock, whisking constantly.
  5. Slowly add the half-and-half, whisking constantly.
  6. Allow mixture to simmer over low heat for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until it has reduced and thickened some. Whisk intermittently to re-incorporate the ‘skin’ that inevitably forms, this is normal.
  7. While mixture is simmering, chop the broccoli and carrots. After simmering 15 to 20 minutes, add the broccoli, carrots, and the onion and garlic you previously set aside.
  8. Add the salt, pepper, optional paprika, optional dry mustard powder, and optional cayenne. If you don’t have these seasonings on hand, it’s okay, but they do add subtle depth of flavor. Stir to combine.
  9. Allow soup to simmer over low heat for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until it has reduced and thickened some. Whisk intermittently to re-incorporate the ‘skin’ that inevitably forms, this is normal.
  10. While soup simmers, grate the cheese. It’s important to use a high-quality cheese (not the cheapest thing you can find) because the flavor of the soup depends on it. Do not use pre-grated cheese in ziptop bags because that cheese is resistant to melting and won’t incorporate well. After simmering about 20 to 25 minutes, add most of the cheese, reserving a small amount for garnishing bowls. Stir in the cheese until melted and incorporated fully, less than 1 minute.
  11. Transfer soup to bowls, garnish with reserved cheese, and serve immediately. Soup will keep airtight for 5 to 7 days in the fridge. Reheat gently in the microwave. I find the soup is less likely to ‘break’ or separate when reheated in the micro rather than on the stovetop, but do what you think is best. I don’t recommend freezing the soup because I feel like the cheese and half-and-half will not do well upon thawing and soup could break, but I haven’t actually tried freezing it.
Only Eats

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641 comments on “The Best Broccoli Cheese Soup (Better-Than-Panera Copycat)”

  1. I make this all the time! Big comfort food for me. I double the batch and I put in crockpot and keep on warm until serving with oven fresh bread. I shred my carrots and sauté with the onions and garlic. I usually set aside some for my mom and she freezes it. It does freeze well. I use 1/2 and 1/2.

    • Glad this is on rotation for you and that you have good luck freezing it as well as putting it in your CP to keep warm!

    • I’m. It sure what happened to mine. Everything looked exactly as it should until I added the broccoli and carrots. Then it looked like the half and half curtled and separated. We had to go out for dinner. Any ideas why that happened?

      • Yes it’s called ‘breaking’. The cream broke. Basically if you cook dairy at too high of a temp or for too long, it is prone to breaking and that’s what happened to yours. Lower/less heat next time.

  2. Absolutely delicious. Just got up from the dinner table. Rich and creamy and so flavorful. Thank you!

    Rating: 5
  3. Fantastic soup!! Easy to follow and I have never made a roux but it was super easy. My daughter and I loved it and will make again. Thank you for sharing.

    Rating: 5
  4. I haven’t tried the panera bread soup since I don’t live near any outlets, so I can’t attest to the copy-cat aspect, but this soup is amazing! Absolutely delicious! Looking forward to eating the leftovers.

    Rating: 5
  5. This is the best broccoli cheese soup ever

    Rating: 5
  6. Oh. My. God. I’m a total broccoli cheese soup snob. This is the best broccoli cheese soup I’ve ever had. That is all. Thank you so much for sharing!

    Rating: 5
  7. Amazing!

    Rating: 5
  8. Very good! It was a little thin before I put the veggies in. I just heated up the onions and garlic again and added flour to that before adding to soup. Worked like a charm. Will make a double batch next time, it was so tasty!

    Rating: 5
  9. very very very good. i will never go out for broccoli cheese soup again. 6 stars

    Rating: 5
  10. Averie has never steered me wrong and this recipe was no exception! I used a little over a cup of half and half and used 1% for the rest and it was plenty creamy! Tillamook cheddar knocks this soup out of the park! Yummm. Perfect for a cold day!

    Rating: 5
  11. I don’t usually leave comments on recipes because most of time, they turn out to be not as good as I thought they would but this one blew me away! I chose this one because I had almost everything the recipe called for (except I used mild cheddar off the block and 1c. heavy whipping cream and 1c. 2% milk because that’s what I had on hand) and it turned out great! Really does taste very similar to Panera…in my opinion, even better, because it’s cheaper and I can make it at home! I should’ve doubled it though because I’d say it made enough for only 4 servings and I definitely wanted more!

    Rating: 5
  12. This is the best broccoli soup I have ever eaten, and I have tried several recipes.

  13. Unable to leave well enough alone normally, I stuck with the recipe with only a single addition: a chopped bunch of scallions thrown in with the rest of the vegetables, and one substitution: we had some homemade chicken stock which I used.. I used piquant smoked paprika, which would probably obviate the need for cayenne for most, but added a pinch anyway. The soup tasted fantastic even before the added cheddar step. After the cheddar, it is truly over the top wonderful. I had to add more broth as the roux was a pretty substantial and it became really more of a stew than a soup. Truly wonderful recipe and many, many thanks.

    Rating: 5
  14. 👍AWESOME!!! Absolutely the best broccoli cheese soup I ever made. Everyone enjoyed!!🙂 Already shared this recipe with family and friends to far away to invite over. Not vegan here and I added browned bacon pieces as I always have in the past. The spices and carrots were new to my recipe and absolutely added to the flavor. Can’t wait to make the other soups recommended. Thank you!!!!

    Rating: 5
  15. Can i use frozen broccoli??

  16. I love this soup and make it often! It is very creamy and packed full of flavor. I make it just as written but sometimes I add additional veggies, like cauliflower or zucchini just because. Thanks. For such a good recipe. It has been passed long to friends many times

  17. Love this soup! I kept the flour out (watching my carbs) and it still has a thickness to it without it….just amazing!

    Rating: 5
  18. I made this soup almost exactly as listed and it was delicious! The only changes I made were to use what I had on hand -regular half and half, and shallots instead of onion. This will be a frequent dish in our house!

    Rating: 5
  19. If I could only give this recipe higher then 5!!! Absolutely THE best soup EVER!!! Period. Thank you for sharing … it is now my family’s go to for everything… celebrations, casual suppers and of course, comfort soup when you need a hug and a pick me up.

    Rating: 5

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