Broccoli Cheddar Soup is a super creamy soup that is loaded with broccoli florets and carrots just like the soup at your favorite restaurant. You’re going to love the real cheddar cheese that melts so smoothly. It’s perfect for those cold winter nights.
This Broccoli Cheddar Soup recipe is a great copycat for the soup that you can get at Panera Bread.
It is creamy and rich with a great cheddar flavor and some nice chunks of broccoli and carrots.
Another bonus on this recipe is that the soup reheats really well.
It is just as good the second day. You can reheat in the microwave or in a crockpot.
Disclosure – I may get a small commission for purchases made through links in this post.
Key to Success #1 – Start with a Roux
If you’re not familiar with the term roux, it’s simply a mix of flour and fat that are mixed in equal parts and cooked over medium heat to brown the flour.
In our recipe, we’re using butter in our roux. Butter is the most frequently used fat in a roux.
Browning the flour and butter together adds a great depth of flavor to your dish.
The roux is used to help thicken your soup or sauce.
Don’t be intimidated by the term. It’s easy to do.
Place your 4-quart saucepan over medium heat then add in the butter that has been cut into 3 or 4 pieces.
Allow the butter to melt then sprinkle the flour over the butter.
Use a whisk to combine the butter and flour together in the bottom of the saucepan.
After a minute or so, the flour and butter mixture will start bubbling.
Keep whisking until the mixture is a medium tan color.
You don’t want it to be dark brown.
Key to Success #2 – Simmer But Stir Frequently
After the roux gets to that nice tan color, it’s time to add in the half and half.
Continue whisking while you slowly pour in the half and half.
The mixture will sizzle a bit at first but will settle down as you add more liquid.
Next, whisk in the chicken stock. You can use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock if you prefer.
Now that you have the base for your soup, you’ll want to let it simmer over medium heat for about 20 minutes.
It will not need constant attention, but you will need to stir it frequently to make sure it does not burn or stick to the bottom of the pot as it thickens up.
Key to Success #3 – Add in the Veggies
While the soup is simmering, it’s the perfect time to cook your onions in butter and chop up your veggies.
You want the broccoli florets to be fairly small when they go into the soup so that they will cook relatively quickly.
If your broccoli florets are too large, you can just use a sharp knife to chop them into smaller pieces.
It’s okay to use frozen broccoli in this Broccoli Cheddar Soup recipe if you thaw it first.
For the carrots, you can either use shredded carrots or you can use whole carrots that have been peeled then cut into matchstick-sized pieces.
Again, the reason for using small and thin pieces of carrots is so that they will cook and soften quickly in the soup.
After your soup has simmered for about 20 minutes, add in the broccoli, carrots, and sauteed onions.
Stir the soup well then reduce the heat to medium-low.
You still want the soup to be gently simmering. If it’s not, increase the heat a bit.
Cook your vegetables in the soup for about 30 minutes or until the broccoli and carrots are tender.
Key to Success #4 – Grate Fresh Cheddar Cheese
I prefer to use sharp cheddar cheese in my Panera Broccoli Cheddar Soup, but you can substitute mild cheddar cheese for a milder flavor.
Use what you have in your kitchen. There are substitutes for so many things when you’re cooking and it will save you a ton of money.
Using freshly grated cheese in your soup will make a huge difference.
I know the bags of pre-shredded cheese are convenient, but there are so many preservatives in there to prevent the cheese from sticking together and it will definitely affect the texture of your soup.
If you use freshly shredded cheddar cheese, you will end up with Broccoli Cheddar Soup that is silky smooth.
I use a handheld cheese grater. You can get these for a few dollars at your local supermarket or at big box stores.
You can also use a box grater if you have one.
I personally don’t have the room for storing something so large that is not used all that often.
When your vegetables are soft, simply stir in the shredded cheese until is completely melted.
Taste your soup to see how much seasoning it needs then add salt and pepper as needed.
That’s it! So easy and a great hearty soup for a cold night just like the Broccoli Cheddar Soup at Panera Bread.
Save this Copycat Panera Broccoli Cheddar Soup recipe to your favorite Soup Recipes board or your Broccoli Recipes board.
- 10-12 oz broccoli florets, cut small
- 1/2 cup onion, diced
- 1 cup shredded carrot
- 4 Tbsp butter, divided
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 cups half and half
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 8 oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- In a 4-quart saucepan, melt 3 Tbsp butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour. Continue whisking as the flour cooks, about 2-3 minutes.
- Pour in half and half while whisking continuously. Add chicken stock and whisk to combine. Continue simmering over medium heat for 20 minutes. Stir frequently.
- While the soup is simmering, melt 1 Tbsp butter in a small skillet over medium heat then add in the diced onion. Saute onions in butter until onions are translucent. Remove from heat.
- To the soup, add the broccoli, carrots, and sauteed onions. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 30 minutes, until the vegetables are softened. The soup should continue to simmer gently while the vegetables are cooking.
- Stir in cheese until fully melted. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- If using frozen broccoli, defrost in the microwave before chopping.
- Shredded carrots should be matchstick-sized.
- May substitute two whole carrots that have been julienned, or cut into matchsticks.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
K Basix Cheese Grater & Shredder - Stainless Steel - Razor Sharp Blade - Medium Shred - Ideal Hand Grater for Hard Fruit, Root Vegetables, Nuts, Parmesan Cheese & More!
Sweese 1130 Porcelain Fluted Latte Bowls - 28 Ounce for Cereal, Soup - Set of 6, Hot Assorted Colors
Santoku Knife - MAD SHARK Pro Kitchen Knives 8 Inch Chef's Knives, Best Quality German High Carbon Stainless Steel Knife with Ergonomic Handle, Ultra Sharp, Best Choice for Home Kitchen and Restaurant
Resort Chef Plastic Kitchen Cutting Boards Set of 4 Reversible Boards with Food Icons BPA Free & Eco Friendly, Non Porous, Dishwasher Safe. Best for Food Safety- Includes Ceramic Knife & Non-Slip Mat
Cuisinart French Classic Tri-Ply Stainless 4-Quart Saucepot with Cover
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 877Total Fat: 48gSaturated Fat: 28gTrans Fat: 2gUnsaturated Fat: 17gCholesterol: 133mgSodium: 1361mgCarbohydrates: 84gFiber: 29gSugar: 22gProtein: 42g
Nutrition Information Provided For Educational and Informational Purposes Only.