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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.
Why you’ll love it
Homemade is best, and you’ll definitely see why with this easy recipe. This broccoli cheese soup has an incredibly creamy, coat-the-back-of-a-spoon body to it. You also can feel good knowing exactly what goes into it. It will be a favorite with picky eaters in your family!
This is everything you want in a broccoli cheddar soup. 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 broccoli soup recipe would be. It’s thick, silky, and has tons of flavor!
What you’ll need
- Butter – to sauté the aromatics
- Onion and garlic – I prefer Vidalia (sweet) onion, but you can use a yellow onion.
- Flour – it thickens the soup
- 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
- Heavy cream – for luxuriousness and texture
- Broccoli – I used fresh broccoli, but you can use frozen broccoli
- Carrots – pre-cut matchstick carrots make it easy
- 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
- I cut the broccoli into fairly small bite-size florets. They cook faster and are easier to eat this way. One pound of broccoli should easily yield 3 cups when cut into 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!
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.
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 or Dutch oven, melt the butter and then sauté the onion until softened. 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.
Reduce the heat, 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.
Substitutions and variations
- Sub the heavy cream at your own risk for something with a lower fat content; it will be less rich and/or alter the taste completely.
- You could always thinly slice a small carrot up instead of using pre-cut ones. Don’t add too many carrots, or the soup will taste more like carrots than it probably should.
- The cayenne is option but strongly recommended. This amount won’t make this soup spicy, and it just gives it more dimension. That said, you can leave it out if necessary.
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! If you made it, please leave me a star rating and review in the comments below. You can also tag me on Instagram.
Easy Broccoli Cheddar Soup Recipe
- 1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick)
- 1/2 medium onion chopped
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 6 tablespoons flour
- 4 cups chicken broth or use veg broth
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 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 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.
- One pound of broccoli, once cut up, will easily yield the 3 cups of florets required for this recipe.
- 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).
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
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This recipe was originally published on December 12, 2018. It’s been tweaked to be even easier, tastier, and has new photos!