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!!

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

  1. I absolutely love this recipe and have made it several times. My husband says it is so much better than Panera’s. My family loves cauliflower so I double the recipe and put cauliflower in it too!!! I steam both the cauliflower and broccoli and process the stems which make the soup very thick. I have tried several recipes and this one is without a doubt the best!!!!! I always end up doubling it because they want more.

    Rating: 5
    • Thanks for the five star review and I’m glad you love the recipe! I love your twists that you put on the recipe with the cauliflower and processing it. I’m glad that you think this recipe is the best!

    • When blending the cauliflower & broccoli into the soup, do you still make the roux? Or would the soup be thick enough without it?

  2. YYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYUM !!!!!!!!!

    Rating: 5
  3. Hi! I would love to link your soup in one of my posts and adding one of your pictures. I’m organizing a cooking challenge and your recipe would be one of the suggested dishes to try for my subscribers. I hope you like the idea! The soup looks so tasty! I’m definitely trying it myself. :)

    Rating: 5
  4. Wow! Best broccoli cheese soup I’ve ever made.

    Rating: 5
  5. This is pretty great, especially when it’s cold and rainy outside. I loved the creaminess of the soup base! The only negative for me was that even after 30 minutes of simmering, the broccoli and carrots were still pretty tough (I like them to be fall-apart-soft) so I’d steam these a bit before adding them to the soup. This definitely captures the Panera flavor. I’m looking forward to guzzling down my leftovers!

    Rating: 4
    • Glad you enjoyed the soup! Everyone is different with regard to the broccoli and for me, I am on the opposite site of the spectrum as you – I like it with some texture and dislike the falling apart soft – but that’s easy to account for with simmering times based on personal preferences or with presteaming as you said.

  6. When a recipe calls for 8oz, is that weight or a cup? Thks

  7. SO GOOD. I’ve never had a broccoli cheese like this before. So much depth, you will NOT be disappointed!

    Rating: 5
  8. I have been on a hunt for a great broccoli and cheese soup recipe. I think I have found it and can’t wait to try it!!
    Do you think there is a way to adapt it to make in a Insant Pot?

  9. Wish it had a share button!

    Rating: 5
  10. I was making a quick check of a Panera copycat broccoli cheese soup recipe and stumbled on your version. I thought your additions sounded good so made it with the garlic and added spices, and it was “over the top”-much more flavorful.. I also thought cutting the carrots in rounds made the soup more sppealing. Good Job!

    Rating: 5
  11. I got to this recipe via a link for low-carb soups yet this recipe’s nutrition info shows it to be high in carbs. Is this all from the 1/4 c flour used in the roux??? I would like to sub xanthan gum for thickener. Would this result in a truly low carb soup then? The other ingredients seem low carb. Thanks.

    • It is an automatic nutrition Calculator using a computer generated program and it’s not always perfect I’m sure. You can manually look up every single ingredients and nutritional values, add everything together, and divide by the number of servings. I’m thinking that the broccoli itself does have some carbs but it’s broccoli, that’s a lot different than carbs from a chocolate cake in my opinion. And I’ve only made the recipe the way that I wrote it so I’m not sure how modifying it would work with what you wrote.

    • I omitted the flour and added 2 tsp. Guar Gum to the melted butter as a thickener. I didn’t have carrots and did not miss them.
      This was an excellent and will always double the recipe.

  12. I’m writing again (and thanks for your reply) bacause as I was copying the broccoli cheese soup recipe and got to the broccoli florets and stems part, I was wondering if everyone knew that peeling them makes them so tender and delicious. That was something I had to learn.

    Rating: 5
  13. How many carbs is a serving of this soup? And is a serving size considered 1 cup?

    Rating: 4
  14. I must be the only person who made this too thick! I think I read some comments of people who didn’t do the roux correctly and ended up with thin soup and went too far in the other direction! hah! It tasted super good though! I feel like I could even use less cheese next time

    Rating: 5
  15. Wow…This was the BEST soup! I am so grateful that I came across this on Pinterest. Reading over the directions a couple of times like you suggested definitely helped. I steamed the broccoli for 3 minutes as some suggested and it didn’t turn it too mushy and the carrots were just right. It’s a house divided on that ‘texture’ so I may try your way and not do so next time. Thank you so much for sharing this delicious recipe. I look forward to trying all of your others, they all look amazing! Karen

  16. Good soup. My soup turned out really thick, I am going to add some more chicken stock to it, I added 8 oz. of cheese that I measured not weighed, I used Kirkland Signature Sharp cheddar. I also think I added too much broccoli, I used 4 cups. I did not add hardly any salt. The soup had really good flavor!

    Rating: 4
  17. Excellent, read directions twice, did just as directed and amazing. Thank youA keeper and will be making again.

    Rating: 5
  18. Excellent with loads of flavor. I made it with what I had on hand. Unsalted chicken stock instead of veggie which I will try next time. I didn’t have the paprika, so I added a dash of nutmeg and a bay leaf. I used a sharp white cheddar that I always have on hand. I will definitely make again!

    Rating: 5
  19. Where is the 6-star option??? This really is the best! I tweaked it just a bit to “keep it keto” but not by much. This recipe lends itself really well to that – thank you! All I did was use almond flour instead of all-purpose, use full-fat half-and-half, and left out the carrots. The paprika tip was divine inspiration!

    It’s sitting in the kitchen taunting me right now. I think I’ll need a second bowl :)

  20. Can I use smoked cheddar ?

  21. I usually don’t comment on recipes but OMG i had to. This is the best soup (like soup in general, not just broccoli cheese) I’ve ever had. So so so good. The only thing i changed is i used half sharp cheddar and half SMOKED cheddar, just cuz i love smoked cheddar in my cheese dishes. And subbed Mrs dash for salt cuz we don’t do salt. And left out the mustard powder stuff just cuz i didn’t have any. So good.

    Rating: 5

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