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
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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.

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1,354 comments on “The Best Broccoli Cheese Soup (Better-Than-Panera Copycat)”

  1. Awesome! I didn’t cook quite as long as stated for each simmering step, I grated the carrots and chopped the broccoli quite fine. It was done in 30 minutes and tasted great! Thanks!

    Rating: 5
  2. Yum. Only change was “non-chicken chicken broth”. I prepped everything ahead of time per other comments. Definitely will make this again but will double it so we’ll have leftovers.

    Rating: 5
  3. I am an avid home cook, always creating new recipes and I had a lot of left over cheddar cheese from the holidays that would have eventually ended up in trash. I was trying to think what I could make with it and thought about this soup. I had NO idea where to begin and found myself searching online and so happy I came across your recipe. It is absolutely delicious! I only had aged white cheddar on hand so that’s what I used. It’s very silky and flavorful. My daughter LOVES this Panera soup and I can’t wait for her to come home to visit so I can show her how to make it! Thank you so much!

    Rating: 5
  4. This was the best broccoli cheese soup ever! Easy and tastes like a restaurant version. I ate it twice in 2 days. Can’t wait to make it again.

    Rating: 5
  5. Love this soup, totally make this again!!s

    Rating: 5
  6. My wife had broccoli and cheese soup at a restaurant yesterday and wanted me to try it. We both loved it and She thought it was much better than the version the restaurant served. I’m only sorry I didn’t double the recipe. Thanks.

    Rating: 5
  7. First attempt at Broccoli cheddar soup and it turned out great! Thanks for the recipe!

    Rating: 5
  8. I have made this soup many, many times. I always chop and measure ahead. It is seriously the best broccoli cheese soup around.

    Rating: 5
  9. Made this soup tonight and it was amazing!! Even our teenager loved it.

    Rating: 5
  10. This is, hands down, without a shred of doubt, the BEST Broccoli Cheese Soup I have ever had. So easy to make. Don’t get me wrong, you need to dedicate yourself to the prep and process, but I chopped everything ahead of time and it was flawless. Used the simmer time to clean up! My family was so wowed, my kids took leftovers when they left. There was maybe one bowl left behind for me and the hubby!! Little pigs……I wouldn’t change a thing. This soup is amazing.

    Rating: 5
  11. My husband is not a veggie person and he was not sure he wanted to even try it….He said I hate to say it but I liked it.Since I thought he might not be a fan I made only 1/2…the pan was empty! I did sauté the carrots, onions and leeks and tossed in the brocolli, topped with a lid, steamed while making cream broth and used whole milk….it was great! Thanks for sharing…my first time to your website but not my last!!

    Rating: 5
  12. Very delicious. Made it for my mum for lunch. She went back for seconds and then had it with dinner too – I think she liked it LOL. I used whole milk and it was still very thick and creamy. There were no left overs. Fabulous recipe, will make again. Thank you.

    Rating: 5
  13. I made this last night and am very grateful I doubled the recipe. OMG!! It is amazing……and consumed with gusto. Thank you!

    Rating: 5
  14. This soup is delicious! I made the recipe exactly as it was written and would not change anything about it, it is that good!

    Rating: 5
  15. This is wonderful soup! I did prep all the veggies ahead of time so I wouldn’t get distracted and burn the soup. My husband doesn’t like carrots so I substituted cauliflower and he really liked it. Thanks!

    Rating: 5
  16. Fantastic! I served in toasted bread bowls! 5 stars!

    Rating: 5
  17. I made this with regular half and half. It was DELICIOUS! A huge hit with my whole family, For sure better than Panera!

    Rating: 5
  18. Hi Averie, Thank you for sharing this recipe. It was Delicious. its our go to now. I tried Panera’s soup and not really a fan. My family really enjoys! Perfect for those cold days.. This recipe is nothing but Fresh tasting.. The dry mustard really adds depth of flavor. I used Hungarian Paprika which gives it a great flavor. also the cayenne doesn’t make it spicy at all. just perfect! * as another review noted, reheating in microwave seems better than on stove top. Thanks again!

    Rating: 5
    • Thanks for the 5 star review and glad glad this was delicious for you and your go to now!

      I agree about reheating, microwave seems better than stove top for me too.

    • Perfect! We used vegetarian “chicken” broth, hot smoked paprika, and shredded the carrots. There were no leftovers. I will double or triple the recipe next time! Nice with a bit of bacon and green onions but not necessary. We will come back to this one again and again!

      Rating: 5
  19. Looking for a creamy lower fat Broccoli Cheese soup. Your soup did not disappoint. I loved it!!! Do you have the calories and fats in recipe.

    Rating: 5
    • Thanks for the 5 star review and glad my lower fat version didn’t disappoint!

      I am working on updating all of my recipes to include nutrition stats but it’s a work in progress since I have about 2500 to get through.

  20. Just made this soup…it is delicious…blows away Panera’s!!! I made a double batch and turned out perfect! Next time I make this, I will shred the carrots instead of slicing them…just a personal preference. Also, I would not make this soup without the dry mustard and smoked paprika…it really adds to the flavor and color as well. Thanks so much for this amazing recipe…it’s a keeper!

    Rating: 5
    • Thanks for the 5 star review and glad you think it’s delicious and blows away Panera’s! Me too :)

      Glad to hear this is a keeper and you’ll keep on using the smoked paprika and dry mustard, too!

  21. Very good and thick soup. Best broccoli soup recipe that I have ever tried.

    Rating: 5
  22. I made this tonight for my 85 year old mom. I try very hard to find recipes for her that are quality of life in a meal. This qualifies. I love dry mustard and cheddar paired, and my mother loves paprika, so this seemed perfect for us. It was. It was spectacular. Thank you.

    Rating: 5
    • What a lovely compliment to say about this soup as it related to your mom. How nice that you were able to share this with her and glad it was spectacular! Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  23. Followed directions exactly. I made a double batch for 10 people everybody wanted seconds. Some people said it was the best soup they ever ate. There was nothing left in the pot of soup when dinner was complete. My measure of good food is if it disappears. This passed the disappearing test.

    Rating: 5
  24. Great recipe! I would advise just prep and chop everything before hand so you can just dump it in and not have to worry about burning. :)I doubled and used heavy cream, which I then thinned out with a little weak chicken stock. Added some celery and carrot and blended in a ninja, added coarsely chopped broccoli afterwards. Thank you!

    Rating: 5
    • Thanks for the 5 star review and glad they heavy cream thinned out a bit worked out just fine! Yes best to have everything in place and chopped before you go, makes it less rushed and pressured later on – totally agree.

  25. I was looking around for creamy soup to make for dinner and found your website, liked the looks and ingredients in the recipe, so I made this delicious Broccoli Cheese soup today. Very very delicious. I might try and puree a portion of to see if that is an alternative..

    Rating: 5

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