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 ()
Did you make this recipe?

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.

Related Recipes

Creamy Tomato Soup (vegan, GF) – Panera copycat that’s fast, easy, and healthy!

Creamy Tomato Soup (vegan, GF)

Roasted Carrot and Red Pepper Peanut Soup (vegan, GF) – Thick, rich, and loaded with smoky flavors!

Roasted Carrot and Red Pepper Peanut Soup (vegan, GF)

Immune-Boosting Vegetable Soup and Broth (vegan, GF) – Easy soup that’s healthy, nourishing, and keeps you healthy! Bye-bye germs!

Immune-Boosting Vegetable Soup and Broth (vegan, GF) - Easy soup that's healthy, nourishing, and keeps you healthy! Bye-bye germs!

Creamy Vegan Corn and Red Pepper Blender Soup (gluten-free, soy-free, no added salt) – Ready in 5 minutes and packed with flavor!

Creamy Vegan Corn & Red Pepper Blender Soup (gluten-free, soy-free, no added salt) - Ready in 5 Minutes and Packed with Flavor

Sweet Potato Red Pepper and Coconut Milk Soup (vegan, GF) – Ready in 10 minutes and so thick and satisfying!

Immune-Boosting Vegetable Soup and Broth – (vegan, GF) – Easy soup that’s healthy, nourishing, and keeps you healthy!  Bye-bye germs!

Immune-Boosting Vegetable Soup and Broth (vegan, GF) - Easy soup that's healthy, nourishing, and keeps you healthy! Bye-bye germs!

1,300 comments on “The Best Broccoli Cheese Soup (Better-Than-Panera Copycat)”

  1. This soup was phenomenal!!! The carrots give it a mild sweetness. My husband said it was the best soup he has had. It going in my normal rotation.

    Rating: 5
  2. Wow! Delicious… Kids loved it!👍

    Rating: 5
  3. Fantastic recipe, I used half and half and all ingredients except cayenne pepper. I use a touch of steak seasoning in its place, it worked great! (I’m allergic to peppers).

    It fed 4. Next time I will do it the same but maybe add a little milk to thin it out a touch. Just my preferenvpce to have it a bit more soupy.

    Thank you so much for the share!

  4. Great recipe! Doubled it right away. Used olive oil to sauté the onions instead of butter. Added some Espelette pepper for a bit of a kick and extra taste. Turned out AMAZING! My girls had it eaten and begging for more in less than 2 days.

    Rating: 5
  5. This soup is AWESOME!! I’ve made it several times, usually in double batches, and we love it. I do freeze it in individual servings and have not had a problem with it breaking if I heat it gently. My husband asks for this and, yes, it is better than Panera.

    Rating: 5
  6. This is truly delicious! I’ve been looking for years for a recipe like this.
    By the way, it does freeze well.

  7. Made this for my husband and I tonight and it was wonderful! Thanks for the great recipe

    Rating: 5
  8. This soup is AMAZING!!!! Definitely better than Panera’s! This recipe converted my husband into a soup lover! I have made this maybe 10 times now, and I will say I have used both freshly grated Cabot cheese and Tilamook or Sargento pre-grated cheddar, and I don’t find those brands of pre-grated cheese make any real noticeable difference. I think the biggest key is, as you said, a high quality cheese. And I always use regular half and half, so maybe the extra fat helps it melt a bit smoother?

    Rating: 5
    • Thanks for the 5 star review and glad that you agree that it’s better than Panera’s! Glad it also converted your husband into a soup lover and that you’ve made it 10 times or so! Awesome!

      Extra fat always makes everything taste smoother, creamier, and when it comes to cheeses, yes fattier cheese tends to melt smoother. You can’t go wrong with regular half and half, it’s guaranteed to give a super smooth taste!

  9. YUMM, best ever, total yummy, I would think to change a thing. Yum!!!!

  10. 5 Star food Yummy!!!

    Rating: 5
  11. yummy

    Rating: 5
  12. Outstanding! I’ve made several broccoli cheese soups, sometimes from recipes, sometimes off the top of my head, but this one may be my go-to from now on.

    Rating: 5
  13. Double the recipe..seriously. You will want more! It’s sooo good!!

    Rating: 5
  14. I don’t usually make the time to leave a comment on most recipes but this broccoli cheddar soup was so good it has ruined my entire family for any others. I did add a wee bit more chicken stock after I added the broccoli, and I added 2 or 3 dashes of cayenne to give it a little more kick but it would’ve been just as amazing without it. Seriously, don’t even bother with another broccoli cheddar soup recipe, print this one out for your heirloom recipe book. I also blended up a few bowls in my blender for those that like it smooth. Both ways were so delicious, and I served it wtfh rosemary cheddar biscuits. Thanks for the truly wonderful recipe, we will enjoy it for many, many, years to come.

    Rating: 5
  15. This is the BEST broccoli-cheese soup ever! I made it this week and will toss out all the other broccoli-cheese soup recipes I have in my collection. It is densely laden with veggies and has the thickest creamiest base I’ve ever tried. I used regular half and half and a quality cheddar cheese. If I am going to invest my time and talent in making a soup, why would I not want to use quality ingredients? Moreover, why would I pay Panera for their soup when I can make this soup at home?

    Rating: 5
    • Thanks for the 5 star review and glad that you think it’s the best and are tossing out all your other broccoli cheese soup recipes! And I agree, why pay someone else for something that’s far less tasty!

  16. Just added the broccoli, carrots & onion and it looks like it’s too much veggies vs soup broth mixture. Any suggestions to add more liquid? Next time I will double the broth or add less veg, but I have it on the stove now! Help! Thank you!!
    PS smells delicious!

  17. This sounds delicious! Just one question – can I sub out almond flour for a gluten free soup?? Thanks!

    • I believe people have done that here with decent results, although I haven’t personally tried, and it’s the gluten in the real flour that helps make the roux to thicken the soup so technically I wouldn’t, but other people have if you read over some of the older comments. So you can try it and see if it works for you, or not.

  18. So I made this with shredded carrot that I sautèed with the onions and garlic. I used a full tsp of the mustard and smoked paprika. I used far more cheese than called for, some of which was pre-shredded bag cheese. I did not have a problem melting it and never have. Came out delicious. It freezes just fine too. I always use the defrost method of placing the frozen container in a pot of low simmering water. It did not break or separate.

    Rating: 5
  19. Made this soup today for the first time. I made it with chicken stock. Otherwise, followed recipe exactly. This is quite literally the best soup I have EVER tasted! If you choose to make this you will not be disappointed! LOVE! Thanks so much, Averie Sunshine!!! You Rock! This recipe needs at least TEN stars, btw!

    Rating: 5
  20. This was a great recipe. Everyone loved it. Definitely will be our “go to” for broccoli cheddar soup.

    Rating: 5
  21. Amazing! I’ve made other broccoli cheese soups in the past, but this one wins hands down! Awesome flavor and consistency. My whole family loved it including my picky 13 year old daughter…a win!

    Rating: 5
  22. Yep, new go-to recipe for broccoli cheese soup. And in case anyone happens to read this—I used the cheap cheese (store brand pre-shredded zip top bag cheese, medium cheddar), and it still worked out perfectly and melted/blended in fast and nicely with regular half and half.

    Rating: 5
  23. The best broccoli cheese soup & so easy!! I used Lucerne cheese which is mediocre but it was still delicious.

    Rating: 5
  24. No dry mustard,, will soup still come out ok. First time making it and I’ve decided I liked your recipe the best <3

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.