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.

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!!

MY OTHER RECIPES

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

  1. I made this soup last night for dinner and it was wonderful! The whole family loved it, the pot was empty!!

    Rating: 5
  2. Seriously, just the very very best soup. There is nothing like it. Great job and thank you for developing and sharing this recipe!

    Rating: 5
  3. Best ever. So much so my daughter asked for this for her birthday dinner. She will be 16. It is summer now and hot. However she still wants this soup.

    Rating: 5
  4. This is absolutely delicious! I halved the recipe (used a 2 quart pan) and found it cooked more quickly than the specified times. For people who use weights, I used 90 grams of florets (no stems) for half the recipe. More could probably be used for people who really love broccoli!

    Rating: 5
  5. This one’s a keeper. I made it last night and we loved it. I included all of the optional spices, although I did use both the smoked paprika and the regular (1/4 tsp of each). I’ll definitely be making this soup again.

    Rating: 5
  6. I have made this more than a few times and leftovers don’t last long. My 6 year old also LOVES this soup!

    Rating: 5
  7. This is my go to Broccoli cheese soup recipe. i do make a minor change to the recipe, I use heavy whipping cream instead of half and half. But we always make a double batch. It’s so versatile we put it over pasta with some chicken, eat it as soup, mix with rice.

    Rating: 4
  8. Made this soup today and it was the best! I doubled the recipe hoping I was going to love it and it did not disappoint! This will become one of my go to recipes!

    Rating: 5
  9. Very good soup; had no milk of any kind in house but used an 18oz can of Progresso Cheese recipe starter and about a quarter of a cup of dry milk dissolved in a couple oz of water. Used a very sharp cheddar and the spices called for. Left the broccoli in large florets as we like our veg crisp. Excellent results even with my half-baked substitutions!

    Rating: 5
  10. I made this yesterday and it was exceptional. It did take much longer than 1 hour for me; I did all the prep work first (slicing the carrots, cutting the broccoli & onion, measuring out the spices, etc). I like to have my ingredients ready to go before I start cooking. Even though it was about 1 1/2 hours from start to sitting down and enjoying the first bowl, it was worth it!!

    Rating: 5
  11. Made this today based on the reviews. It was fantastic. Will definitely make again. Great recipe.

    Rating: 5
  12. This soup is amazing! I followed each step carefully, and left out the dry mustard and cayenne ingredients because I didn’t have any. I can’t wait to bring some of this soup in to my work friends tomorrow.

    Rating: 5
  13. I have made this many times now, my 3 year old requested it again today and my husband loves it as well. Thanks for a recipe the whole family loves!

    Rating: 5
  14. I have made this soup 4 or 5 times and it is perfection! I have to double the ingredients to make sure we don’t run out before everyone has eaten! The directions are easy to follow !

    Rating: 4
  15. Do you have a corn chowder recipe?

  16. The flavor was awesome!! My only complaint was that the veggies didn’t seem like they were completely cooked. I had it on low for 25 minutes in the second part. I may just cook it longer or par cook the veggies first next time. But definitely a good soup!

    Rating: 5
    • All stoves and the rate that things could get very so definitely make sure that things are cooked to your liking before carrying on. I’m glad that you still gave it a five star review and enjoyed the soup!

  17. The soup was delicious. But mine turned out a little curdled. Any advice?

    Rating: 5
    • Your soup ‘broke’. That’s what happens if you overheat or for a prolonged duration heat a soup after adding dairy. It doesn’t effect taste but it doesn’t look as appealing. Also full fat dairy products are good insurance against this, i.e. whole milk or half and half rather than anything lighter.

  18. I needed a strong bowl of comfort food so calories weren’t given a second thought. Nothing “lite”. It was delicious but a bit heavy. That was purely my fault. I will definitely make this again using more common sense 🤪

    Rating: 5
  19. Can you substitue vegetabke broth instead of stock??

  20. Yummy recipe, perfect weekend to kick off the Fall weather! My boyfriend and I made this soup together and will definitely be making this again. Thanks for sharing!

    Rating: 4
  21. Can I use 1% milk?

  22. My favorite soup and it freezes well. I always make a double batch and freeze the leftovers. Makes for an easy dinner night for another night.

    Rating: 5
  23. Can I use frozen broccoli florets?

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