This broccoli cheddar soup is an insanely rich and comforting soup! It's a family favorite that uses everyday ingredients and is so simple to make at home.
Better than Panera broccoli cheddar soup
You literally will not be able to stop eating this soup. It's everything you want in a soup. Ok, I love Panera as much as the next person when I'm on the go, but my version is actually so much tastier than a straight-up Panera copycat recipe would be. It's thick, silky, and has tons more flavor! There are no fancy ingredients in here, but it's amazing just how good it is.
Homemade is best, and you'll definitely see why with this easy recipe. This broccoli cheese soup has an incredible creamy, coat-the-back-of-a-spoon body to it. You can feel good knowing exactly what goes into it. Why copy a restaurant when you can do so much better in your own kitchen?
What goes into it
- Butter - it starts our soup off right with the buttery base to sauté the aromatics
- Onion and garlic - they immediately give this soup a savory foundation. I prefer Vidalia (sweet) onion, but you can use a yellow onion.
- Flour - it thickens the soup. Don't skip it!
- Dijon mustard - this is my secret ingredient to set this soup apart from the rest. Don't worry, you don't taste it specifically! It just gives a robust savory flavor you didn't even know you needed.
- Broth - you can use vegetable broth if you need this to be vegetarian, but I do find chicken broth (or stock) has more flavor
- Cream - we're using heavy cream here for luxuriousness. Sub at your own risk for something with a lower fat content; it will be less rich and/or alter the taste completely.
- Broccoli - I used fresh broccoli, but you can use frozen broccoli
- Carrots - pre-cut matchstick carrots are easiest, but you could always thinly slice a small carrot up. Don't add too many carrots or the soup will taste more like carrots than it probably should.
- Cheddar cheese - the cheese you buy really impacts the flavor of this soup! I can't emphasize this enough. Buy a good quality sharp/old cheddar and grate it yourself.
- Cayenne - it's optional but highly recommended to give depth of flavor. This amount won't make this soup spicy, and it just gives it more dimension.
- I cut the broccoli into fairly small bite-size florets. They cook faster and are easier to eat this way. I recommend buying about a pound of broccoli, especially if it has a large stem, because by the time you cut it into florets, you'll end up with the 3 cups (about 1/2 pound) of florets. Don't worry about being too exact here.
- I suggest grating your own cheese vs. buying the bagged pre-grated kind. It can have some issues melting and just isn't as good. I use this cheese grater. It's so much faster than my old box grater!
How to make broccoli cheddar soup
This is an overview with step-by-step photos. Full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.
In a soup pot, melt the butter and then sauté the onion. Stir in the garlic, followed by the flour. Make a quick roux and let it cook for a couple of minutes.
Slowly whisk in the broth until all the flour clumps have dissolved. Add the Dijon mustard and then the cream, broccoli, and carrots, and bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the broccoli and carrots are tender and the broth has thickened up (about 15-20 minutes).
Reduce the heat to low, and gradually stir in the cheddar (this prevents it from getting grainy). Let it cook for a few more minutes, then season to taste with the cayenne pepper and salt & pepper. Enjoy!
- You can blend a portion of the soup to make the texture smoother. Simply place your immersion blender in the pot and pulse it a few times. This is optional! It's totally fine if you leave it chunky for a more rustic texture.
Leftovers and storage
- Leftovers will keep for about 3 days in the fridge.
- This soup isn't ideal for freezing since it can separate, but if you do try, be sure to re-warm it slowly over a low heat.
- It also thickens up even more the longer you leave it, so if at any point it becomes too thick for you, simply add a splash more broth or cream to it.
I hope you'll give this classic broccoli cheddar soup a try! Questions? Ask me in the comments below.
Easy Broccoli Cheddar Soup Recipe
- 1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick)
- 1/2 medium onion chopped
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 6 tablespoons flour
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 4 cups chicken broth or use veg broth
- 1 cup heavy/whipping cream
- 3 cups broccoli florets cut small
- 1/2 cup matchstick-cut carrots
- 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese + extra for serving
- Pinch cayenne pepper optional but recommended
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Melt the butter in a soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté for 4-5 minutes.
- Stir in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
- Add in the flour and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring often (important! This helps get rid of that uncooked flour flavor).
- Whisk the chicken broth in (pour it in slowly) until the flour has dissolved.
- Whisk in the Dijon mustard.
- Add in the cream, broccoli, and carrots. Increase the heat to high and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat so it's bubbling but not furiously boiling (medium-low heat is what works with my cast iron pot and gas stove). Cover the pot with the lid slightly ajar.
- Let the soup simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the broccoli and carrots are tender and the soup has thickened up to your liking. I like to stir it a couple of times to ensure nothing is sticking and that the stove's temperature is still correct.
- Reduce the heat to low and gradually stir in the cheese and cook for an additional few minutes.
- Add in the cayenne pepper and season with salt & pepper as needed. Optional: blend some of the soup (I just pulse my immersion blender a few times right in the pot). The soup will thicken up more as it cools. Add more broth if needed to thin it out.
- Serve immediately with a little extra cheddar on top of each bowl.
- Serves 4-6.
- I suggest grating your own cheddar cheese (buy a good quality sharp cheddar) vs. using the pre-grated bagged stuff or it won't melt as well or taste as good.
- If you don't have matchstick carrots, thinly slice one small carrot.
- If you're looking for the original version of this recipe that was published in 2018, I have a PDF of it here (the old version was very similar in flavor but I tweaked it to make it thicker).
- Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only and should be construed as an estimate rather than a guarantee. Ingredients can vary and Salt & Lavender makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information.
This recipe was originally published on December 12, 2018. It's been tweaked to be even easier, tastier, and has new photos!