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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1,239 comments on “The Best Broccoli Cheese Soup (Better-Than-Panera Copycat)”

  1. Sounds delish and I can’t wait to try it with the unusual spice additions.

    Just a handy tip, @Avery: precook the broccoli by steaming until crisp, then plunge into ice water. This way it will stay a vibrant green in the soup rather than getting all washed out in color.

    • You nailed this recipe! It is delicious!!!

      Rating: 5
    • I made this tonight and it was fantastic. Also I can say 100% that it’s a very forgiving soup. I used what I had and made mistakes because A – I had only skimmed the recipe ahead of time and wasn’t going back to the store and B – I was rushing. I only used one pan and just made the roux in with the onions and let them cook extra with the soup which was fine because I like them very soft anyway. I also wasn’t aware that my boyfriend had used most of the butter so I cooked the onions in olive oil and used the 3 tbsp I had for the roux – I ended up adding another tbsp of olive oil into the roux. I also cooked the carrots ahead of time so they would be super soft and just mushed them in and used my remaining 1/4 cup of heavy cream mixed with whole milk. I also forgot to add the garlic to the onions and it only made it into the stock raw. I didn’t measure the broccoli and just added an entire bag of frozen florets. I didn’t have anything but pre grated cheddar so I just used that. And I added two leftover baked potatoes for thickening in case my roux was lacking. Turned out great will definitely make again.

      Rating: 5
  2. Any tips or changes when doubling or tripling this recipe? We loved it last time and we are a family of 6 so I really would prefer to triple it. Does that mean it will cook differently? Anything I need to do differently? I’m not an expert cook lol. Thanks for any feedback!

    Rating: 5
  3. This soup was delicious, creamy, and the best broccoli cheese soup I have ever had.

    Rating: 5
  4. I made this with about 4 oz of heavy cream and half & half, it seemed a little heavy so I thinned it slowly with 2-3 cups water and doubled the broccoli to serve it alone as a hearty meal. The flavor of the heavy cream shone through even after thinning with water. It simmered about twice as long to cook all that broccoli. I used organic bone broth chicken stock.

    Rating: 5
  5. Too much life story not enough broccoli cheese recipe

  6. 5 stars! This was my 1st time making this soup and it was AMAZINGLY DELICIOUS! I mostly followed the recipe but tweaked it. I added gnocchi (cooked separately and then added at the end), used frozen steamed broccoli instead of fresh. Didn’t need to add the cheese (I used bagged) to the soup because it was already creamy and delicious but used it as a garnish instead. I used chicken stock instead of veggie. Seasonings were salt, pepper, old bay, onion powder and chili flakes.

    Rating: 5
    • Thanks for the 5 star review and glad it was amazingly delicious and that the tweaks you made worked out so well! You’re the first person who’s ever mentioned adding gnocchi, I bet it worked really well in this broth!

  7. Read the recipe twice?? Lol…. this isn’t rocket science

  8. This soup is Awesome so much flavor. I used chicken stock in place of Vegetable broth. This is definitely on my family’s favorite list. Ty

    Rating: 5
  9. I never comment on recipes, but I loved this! Made this soup with coconut cream (actually 13oz of coconut cream and 3oz of oat milk because I didn’t want to open another can!) and I added potatoes and a tablespoon of nutritional yeast because why not?! So so creamy, cheesy, and delicious! Highly recommend this recipe

    Rating: 5
  10. I consider myself a pretty accomplished cook and love soup of all kinds. I usually start with an online recipe for something I’ve never made and will make as-is, then make alterations to my taste the next few times until it’s just right for my guy and me. I’ve made this a few times with various alterations but have to admit the original has been the best thus far…very nicely done. Going to make again today with bacon added to the onions as recently suggested, because…well, bacon!

    Rating: 5
  11. I am making this right now. Waiting for veggies to soften. Tasted the broth and it’s amazing. Can only be better after cheese is added. I added a bit more broth as it seemed too thick. Used a combo of milk and regular half and half. The fat free version has sweetener in it. Can’t wait to eat it!

    Rating: 5
  12. Delicious and I will make it again!!!

    Rating: 5
  13. I came across this recipe and can’t wait to try it!!

  14. Great recipe, I used vegetable broth and 5% cream instead.Thank you !

    Rating: 5
  15. This soup is delicious. I softened some broccoli stems with the onions, garlic and a little chicken stock. I blended it up and added it to the soup for more broccoli flavor. I also added some Parmesan cheese. So good.

    Rating: 5
  16. Excellent soup…thank you for sharing!!! I will be making it again and again.

    Rating: 5
  17. How many does this recipe serve?

  18. I am almost done making this soup and it is already delicious. I did substitute chicken stock for veg but otherwise left this masterpiece alone. I will put it in the fridge overnight so flavors can further develop and it will be served tomorrow at a luncheon I am hosting for friends. Everyone is tired of Christmas fare and just want something simple and warming (we are in the Midwest and it is COLD…) so thank you for sharing this recipe and your lovely intro.

    Rating: 5
  19. Only had 1 cup of broccoli so I included 2 cups of cauliflower. Tasted great.

    Rating: 5
  20. Made this soup today, exactly as your recipe shows and it did NOT disappoint! Very yummy! I doubled the recipe for my husband to take to work on the cold snowy nights up here in Canada! My kiddos also loved this soup. It was so easy to make. Thank you again!

    Rating: 5
  21. I made this today for a quick lunch and served it with a homemade black pepper Asiago bread and it turned out great! I didn’t have half and half on hand so I used 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream and 2/3 cup unsweetened coconut milk to substitute for each cup of half and half. I also did not have carrots so used corn. The soup was delicious!!

    Rating: 5
  22. I make recipes from the Internet all the time. I have never ever commented on one or reviewed one. That being said, OH MY SOUP. I made the recipe EXACTLY as written, with the exception of doubling it. I absolutely love smoked paprika so I always have that on hand and even had some dry mustard I found in my pantry. Along with just a pinch of the cayenne. This is probably about the seventh or eighth broccoli cheddar soup recipe I have tried. My family loves broccoli cheddar soup but I haven’t been able to find a recipe that just hits that special soup spot. My search is over. This recipe is bookmark, screenshotted And printed. It is amazing. Absolutely amazing. You are a genius for the spices that you put in this. You’re absolutely right, It just enhances the flavor. My 14 year old son had a friend over for dinner and his friend pronounced this “epic.” He’s 100% right. Myself, my 14-year-old son and his 13-year-old friend and my four-year-old daughter ate almost an entire pot of this recipe doubled. It is delicious. The depth of flavor, the texture, the use of fat-free half-and-half so it’s creamy but not overly cream flavored. You’re a genius. That’s all I can say. Thank you so much for this recipe. I will never again use another one. And anybody on the fence about whether or not they should make this? Make it. Don’t try to get fancy and add a bunch of stuff or take stuff away. Make it exactly as it is written and you will not be sorry. This is everything. And she’s right. Hands-down is it better than Panera and I don’t think I can ever eat Panera soup again. You ruined it for me. Thank you again for the fantastic recipe. By the way we are also kind of my hero for how you’ve checked that one commentor who left the nasty life story comment. I loved every second of the life story and I loved the recipe better. Thank you!

    Rating: 5
    • Thanks for the 5 star review and glad you are in love with this soup! Thanks for all your kind words and compliments, I really appreciate them :) Glad you’ll never need the Panera version again and that even the teenagers were huge fans of this!

  23. Delicious….this recipe is a keeper. I don’t much like broccoli either.I might partially steam the broccoli next time.Thanks for sharing!

    Rating: 5
  24. I can’t stop making this soup! It’s the best combination of texture and flavor. Perfection!

    Rating: 5
  25. I made this today for the very 1st time ! It was amazing 😉 Certainly will be on my menu again and again and again 🤗I m in Scotland 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 thought I’d just drop that in 🥦🙏🤗

    Rating: 5

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