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.
Love broccoli and cheddar? Try my Cheesy Chicken Divan, One Pot Cheesy Chicken, Broccoli, and Rice, or this Broccoli Casserole recipe.
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.
What to serve with this soup
- Try a slice of crusty bread, Garlic Bread, or garlic knots.
- I'm a big fan of topping it with some Homemade Garlic Croutons.
- If you love the soup and salad combo, try a side salad with this Easy Caesar Salad Dressing or this quick Ranch Dressing.
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!
Just made it tonight-delish!!
Jan Huber says
This is better than Panera's soup! I took this soup to a friend's house since her husband was in the ICU. I used vegetable broth (some family members are vegetarian) and they said it was really good. I did sample before taking it and it was delicious. Will definitely make this again.
Thank you so much!! 🙂
Heather Shute says
Can you dobthis in a crock pot?
Hi! A soup like this isn't a simple switch to the crockpot, unfortunately. I would probably google a tried and tested slow cooker version.
To make it keto do you have any recommendations for replacing the flour?
I don't, sorry.
I have tried several recipes from this site and I have to say they are fabulous. This cheddar Broccoli soup was delicious and so easy to make.
Trying another dish tonight. I work a heavy schedule and it is so nice to be able to find recipes that taste so great and are easy to make.
That's awesome!! I'm so happy you're liking the recipes, Toni!
Made this tonight, followed recipe, it was delish !! 😊
That's great to hear!! 😀
I'm looking forward to making this soup!
Is there a brand of quality cheddar cheese you recommend?
Try Tillamook 🙂 Hope you enjoy the soup!
Thanks, Heather!! 😀
This soup is absolutely the best! I will be making this many times. Thank you’
Yay!! I'm thrilled you enjoyed it. Thanks for your review!!
My favorite soup - eat it throughout the year (P....a). Love this recipe!! Thank you!!
You're very welcome!! I'm the same way with soups haha.
This is the first time I have ever made this. I didn’t have any broth so I just used water and I didn’t have cream or milk again I used a little box of milk that I received from the soup kitchen! I have to say that this was amazing! I can’t wait to make it again for my love when he gets home!!
I'm so glad you enjoyed it, Brenda!! That's fantastic. 🙂
I followed the recipe; no changes. It is an easy recipe to make. Most important is the satisfying taste! This is a soup I will be making over and over!
That makes me so happy, Cindy! Thanks for taking the time to write me a review.
Theresa Godwin says
Sounds so yummy , plz can I ask if the nutrition values are based on the whole 6 portions or is it for one serving !
Hi! It's for one serving. 1/4 of the soup (the recipe card shows 4 servings).
Marcia Behm says
Soooo delicious and easy!! I did add some chopped Canadian bacon but it is good without meat too. Will make it again.
Ooh I like that idea!! So happy you enjoyed it, Marcia!
Sounds delicious. To expand on the recommendation to grate your own cheese: Packaged pre-grated cheese is coated with cornstarch or something similar to keep it from clumping. I used some in a pinch once for homemade pizza. It gave the pizza an off taste and didn’t melt as well. I ended up having to use it again during the peak of the pandemic when the grocery store was out of block mozzarella. This time, I rinsed it off and blotted it dry with paper towels. It wasn’t the perfect solution but it helped.
Thanks for the tip! Yeah, it's definitely a shame that it doesn't melt as well.
Amazing! I used the emulsion blender to make it smooth. Make sure to use a sharp cheddar!
So glad you enjoyed it, Claire!! 😀
The soup was great. I added more broccoli than was called for bc I just happened to have it on hand and then I puréed it.
To the person who said this soup lacks flavor, get your tastebuds checked. Your soup proabably lacked flavor bc you used a cheap cheddar cheese that lacked flavor. Even if it says sharp, it doesn’t mean that it’s actually sharp. Try the extra sharp Cabot from costco (black shinny wrapper), you get a huge block for ten bucks, which is much cheaper than the specialty cheeses you can get from the Regular grocery store. This cheese is different and much more sharp than the Cabot at the regular grocery store. It packs a punch so you don’t have to add to much to your dishes. One taste of this stuff and you’ll never look back. And no, I don’t work for cabot!
Thanks so much for your sweet comment, Kate! I'm really glad you enjoyed it. 🙂
Eric Bischoff says
My toddler loved it, super easy to make, and tasted great! I definitely will be making this again! Thank you!
Fantastic! Thanks, Eric.
This recipe was super fast and easy and the dijon + cayenne definitely added more flavor than other broccoli cheese soups. I added in some leftover thanksgiving turkey and it turned out great!
Wonderful!! Thanks for taking the time to comment, Lauren.
This soup is absolutely delicious! It is so nourishing, filled with vegetables and easy to make. I actually left it in the crockpot on low for a few hours to further soften the vegetables and the flavor profile was phenomenal. I will definitely be making this soup again along with more of Natasha’s recipes. Never considered myself a soup person until making this, highly recommend.
I am so happy you enjoyed it, Nicole!! Thanks for leaving me a comment! 🙂
I thought it turned out great! I used turkey broth because that's what I had, and also I used half and half. Next time I'm adding ham! Thank you for the great recipe!
I’m so happy you liked it!!
Just made this and it came out delicious. I added ham that I had leftover, and it tasted great!
Wonderful! So glad you liked it, Sara.
I found this recipe through a link on Instagram and whipped up a quick pot for dinner tonight....so good! Thanks for working to perfect a delicious and yet simple recipe and sharing it!
I am so happy you enjoyed it, Sabrina!! Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. 🙂
This is my new favorite soup recipe. I stuck with the recommended 4 C of broth and used chicken Better than Boullion. I used 2% milk instead of cream and added a medium sized russet diced to 1/2” (after adding broth and before adding milk) and boiled for 10 minutes, then added the milk. So tasty!!
I am soo happy you liked it!! I love the idea of adding a potato. 🙂 Happy holidays!
So perfect and yummy! I like a broccoli cheddar that’s not too thick, so the consistency was on point for me. I added my salt/pepper and cayenne for taste as I went because there wasn’t a recommended measurement for it. It came out amazing!
I’m so happy you liked it!! ❤️
Hmm I’m sorry to hear that, Renee! Did you add salt? Just curious.
Try a better cheese. If your soup lacked flavor it’s bc your cheese lacked flavor. Get a bold extra sharp cheddar that makes your mouth itch! See my comment up top.