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

  1. Fantastic!

    Rating: 5
  2. The soup was very good, but I would say it’s 3 generous servings if having only soup for your meal. Thanks for sharing.

    Rating: 4
  3. My goodness this was delicious! We modified a bit and left out the carrots, and used one cup of whole milk and one cup of evaporated milk instead of the half and half. Turned out perfect, much better than any other broccoli cheddar soup I’ve tried.

    Rating: 5
  4. ***EXCELLENT!!!***This tasty soup exceeded my expectations!My husband, not much of a “ soup” guy, was reluctant. Was he surprised!I had a leek in the fridge, so I added that. Used half and half ( fattening kind) and had fresh chicken broth on hand. Added the dry mustard, cayenne, and paprika. I can’t say enough about this soup!Thanks for sharing this great recipe!

    Rating: 5
  5. This is by far the best Broccoli Cheddar soup ever! I love the spice blend!

    Rating: 5
  6. This soup is amazing!!! I made it as written except I added about 1 cup of 2% milk right before adding the cheese because mine got quite thick. I used regular half & half so I’m not sure if that made the difference or not. I also added a bit of garlic powder and onion powder to accentuate those flavors. All in all, very, very good. My 2 teenage girls cleaned their bowls and asked for it in their lunch tomorrow :)

    Rating: 5
  7. I made this and I have to say, it is the BEST soup I have ever made. Love the recipe! Making it again tonight!

    Rating: 5
  8. I love the soup it was one of the best ive had… everyone in my household loved it.. thanks for the recipe I will be making this again..

    Rating: 5
  9. I made this exactly as written and it was so good! I’m thinking that the people who had “the soup being to thin” didn’t simmer it properly after adding the stock and cream. At this point, I had the stove on low to simmer for 25 minutes as written in the recipe and the liquid was not thickening up. I put my stove at medium and watched it carefully, it finally started to simmer properly and it thickened up really well. Hope this helps the people with the “thin” soup problem. I highly recommend putting in the spices, makes it delicious!! Thank you

    Rating: 5
    • Thanks for the 5 star review and I’m glad you enjoyed it! All stoves vary in their heat output so medium vs medium-high can really vary from stove to stove, but yes it should be simmering adequately and then it will thicken accordingly as you pointed out as well.

  10. Would this be ok to make then transfer to the crockpot to keep warm for a few hours? I have all the ingredients and want to make tonight but daughter has an orchestra concert and would like it to be done when we get home;)

  11. OMG!!!! SOOOO good. Also i used bag cheese.. didnt read the “get quality cheese” and it worked.. BEST SOUP EVERR! HIGHLY RECOMMEND

    Rating: 5
  12. I just made this only I ran out of 1/2 so used evaporated milk. That was the only change I made to the recipe and the soup turned out amazing. This truly is the best recipe by far. Thanks so much for sharing.

    Rating: 5
  13. I thought there was no way this could be as good as all the other reviews said. Ummm….holy cow. The amount of compliments from my family were insane. My 18 year old made me promise to save the recipe, and my husband devoured a whole bowl (even though he doesn’t even like broccoli cheese soup.) The ooohs and ahhhs were a real confidence booster! 😊

  14. I just used this recipe for the first time andddd it turned out GREAT!!!!! I’m so loving this broccoli cheese soup…and my bestfriend said, i did great❤

    Rating: 5
  15. This is the 1st time I have made this recipe turned out awesome! I did add parm, asiago, & romano cheese also the best and made home made garlic bread this was a big hit with the family! Def., will be making again!

    Rating: 5
  16. I’m getting ready to make this soup for the second time today. I always make a point of making a recipe as written the first time and then adjusting the ingredients to fit personal preferences. However, this soup needs no alterations, in my opinion. It’s delicious as it is. I wondered about the combination of spices, really questioning the paprika and ground mustard, but it was perfect! Averie, you said you had never frozen the soup, so you weren’t sure how it would do. Well, I froze a little “test” cup and have to tell you that I noticed NO change in taste or texture with the frozen soup

    Rating: 5
  17. Great recipe, but used whole milk/half-and-half mixture. Highly recommend against using fat-free half-and-half – just take a look at the ingredients list – gross! Full fat dairy is just fine – and delicious!

    Rating: 4
  18. Great soup! I didn’t have half and half so I did half 2% milk and half heavy cream. My family loved it! I am a weirdo who likes milder cheese, so next time I might not do extra sharp, but otherwise definitely a keeper! Thanks for the recipe.

    Rating: 5
  19. Made this soup last night and it’s really really good,got a little heat bite with the cayenne,so if you don’t like heat you may not want to add the cayenne pepper….I personally loved the recipe….Thank you!!!!

    Rating: 5
  20. Love this soup! The best I have ever made…absolutely delicious. I did use regular half-and-half because that’s what I had, everything else was as written. I do think the ground mustard and paprika were a brilliant addition. I will be making this soup often; thanks so much for a great recipe!

    Rating: 5
  21. Absolutely Wonderfull ! Way better than Paneras ! Made it twice. First time as recipe, second time (today) had to use a little over1/2 cream & the rest 1% milk. Worked fine.

    Rating: 5
  22. I’ve made this soup probably a dozen times now. It’s absolutely perfect and I prefer it to actually buying Panera. I do use chicken stock and have gone between milk vs half and half.

    Thank you so much, all your commentary and instruction is spot on and probably what was missing from past recipes I’ve made.

    • I appreciate your comment that you appreciate my commentary and instruction and that it’s spot on for helping you make a soup that you prefer to Panera’s and that you’ve made it a dozen times already!

  23. Very tasty! Made enough for 2 days. Your directions were easy to follow.my only recommendation is to read up how to make roux as the directions here aren’t enough if you haven’t made roux before.

    Rating: 5
    • Thanks for the 5 star review and I’m glad you loved the soup! There are hundreds of people who have commented here and made this and have loved it so I am thinking the directions are fine.

  24. Delicious soup, although I had to double the amount of liquid as the soup was very thick. This recipe is a keeper.

    Rating: 5
  25. Outstanding…..we had no leftovers. This is far better than the beloved Panera version. I followed the recipe exactly except added a bit more cayenne for garnish. It gave it an extra kick. Excellent recipe! Thank you for sharing it.

    Rating: 5

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