Broccoli Cheddar Soup
When my sister Elina and I were teenagers, we would really love to hang out at Barnes and Noble bookstore. We were both bookworms growing up, so sitting in a quiet bookstore surrounded by hundreds of volume was our cup of tea. It was especially fun when we were planning our weddings. There was a Panera Bread just a few minutes away, and it became our tradition to stop by for soup and sandwiches either before going to the bookstore or right after. 100% of the time, we would both order the Broccoli Cheddar Soup. Elina was always such a picky eater, but she could eat broccoli a hundred different ways and cheese was always a big hit with her too. I’m not picky at all, and I just love the flavor of this soup. It’s so comforting.
It turns out we aren’t the only ones who love this creamy, cheesy and thick soup. Try googling “Broccoli Cheddar Soup”. You’ll get a ridiculous number, like 2,030,000 search results . I have no idea how Panera Bread makes their soup, but this is my version of it. Enjoy. By the way, aren’t the country boules that I found in a local grocery store super cute?
6 Tablespoons butter
1 onion, chopped
1 celery stalk, minced
2 carrots, peeled and grated
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup flour
4 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
2 cups half and half
1 dry bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
salt, pepper, to taste
6 cups broccoli (cut into florets and 1 1/2 inch pieces) (3 broccoli crowns with the stems)
2 cups Cheddar cheese, grated
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
Melt the butter in a medium or large cooking pot. Add the onions, celery, carrots and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Cook on medium heat for 5-7 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.
Add the flour and mix it until it’s completely incorporated.
Cook it for about a minute to get the raw flour taste cooked out. Add the chicken broth and the half n half, mixing until it’s smooth. Add the bay leaf and the nutmeg. Season with salt and pepper.
Bring the soup to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for about 15 minutes, until the soup has thickened. Discard the bay leaf. Add the broccoli and cook for another 15 minutes or so, until the broccoli is tender too.
Add the cheese to the soup and mix it until it melts.
Pulse the soup in a blender in batches until it is the consistency that you like; you can make it completely smooth or chunky.
I like to set aside some of the cooked broccoli florets to add to the soup. Cut a circle off the top of some small sourdough or country boules. Take out the inside of the bread with your fingers or using a fork to make a cavity. Pour the soup inside the bread.
- 6 Tablespoons butter
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 celery stalk, minced
- 2 carrots, peeled and grated
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- ¼ cup flour
- 4 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
- 2 cups half and half
- 1 dry bay leaf
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- salt, pepper, to taste
- 6 cups broccoli (cut into florets and 1½ inch pieces)(3 broccoli crowns with the stems)
- 2 cups Cheddar cheese, grated
- ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- Melt the butter in a medium or large cooking pot. Add the onions, celery, carrots and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Cook on medium heat for 5-7 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.
- Add the flour and mix it until it's completely incorporated. Cook it for about a minute to get the raw flour taste cooked out.
- Add the chicken broth and the half n half, mixing until it's smooth. Add the bay leaf and the nutmeg. Season with salt and pepper.
- Bring the soup to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for about 15 minutes, until the soup has thickened. Discard the bay leaf.
- Add the broccoli and cook for another 15 minutes or so, until the broccoli is tender too.
- Add the cheese to the soup and mix it until it melts.
- Pulse the soup in a blender in batches until it is the consistency that you like; you can make it completely smooth or chunky. I like to set aside some of the cooked broccoli florets to add to the soup.
- Cut a circle off the top of some small boules. Take out the inside of the bread with your fingers or using a fork to make a cavity. Pour the soup inside the bread.
Thank you so much for posting this! I’ve been looking for a great recipe and the one time I tried making it, it was not good. I can’t wait to finally try your version!
I really hope you like this one, Tanya:). I’d love to hear what you think once you try it.
Natasha of Natashaskitchen.com
Wow Olga this sure looks delicious! I do love the bread you found! It looks perfect! Pinning! 🙂
Thanks, Natasha! I thought it looked adorable; couldn’t pass it up. I might be weird, but I get strangely excited when I go grocery shopping:). I get so many great ideas and walk through the aisles with a silly grin on my face:).
Anna @ Happy Medley
This is practically my favorite soup!
That’s great, Anna. I guess that’s something we have in common:).
Will you be posting the instructions for the bread bowl tomorrow?! (I just don’t think I could properly enjoy it without the bread bowl!)
Nope, I just bought the bread in a local grocery store, Doug:). You’re right, the bread bowl is great with this soup.
This is totally everyone’s favorite soup! Broccoli and cheddar were practically made for each other. Yum 🙂
Made it this morning! “Just like panera bread” stated my husband. I also made the bread bowls! Yummy! I ommited nutmeg (didn’t have any). Taste was still amazing! Thank you Olga! Gods Blessings for your family!
Good for you for making the bread bowls too:). That’s great that you all enjoyed the soup.
Olga, Can I use Heavy Whipping cream instead of the half and half. I know it has a thicker constistency, but would it work? I have some in my fridge now. Thanks!
Yes, you can, Liz. It should be just as delicious.
Just made this with my toddler. He loves breaking apart the broccoli 🙂 so delicious too!! Thanks for the great recipe.
That’s so sweet! You must enjoy having your great little helper. I’m so glad you enjoyed the soup, Enessa.
First, you are adorable! I love reading your stories as they relate to your recipe. I love this soup too and have tried different recipes 4-5 times. They were a disaster! I love Panera’s soup but don’t like the price of a quart! I am going to try yours tomorrow!
Thank you, Tracee! I really hope you enjoy the soup. I would love to hear what you think once you try it.
Hi Olga, I came via Pintrest to see your soup recipe which looks amazing! I’m going to try it tomorrow!
Welcome, Sami! I hope you enjoy the soup:).
Hi, Olga, may i use milk instead of Half & half? thank you so much in advance
I wouldn’t recommend it, Yulia, because the milk has a lot less fat content, in which case the milk might curdle.
made this today… delicious! pinned!
Thanks for taking time to write and let me know. I love hearing feedback. And thank you so much for pinning – I really appreciate it.
Can I use fat free 1/2 & 1/2 ?
I don’t know, Renee. I’ve never used fat free half n half.
This is some of the most amazing soup I’ve ever had. I have a homesteading blog and I made it with some of the fresh veggies from my garden. May I share it as part of a recipe roundup?
I LOVE this soup! Thank you so much for the recipe, I already cooked it like 4 times and now hosting a family dinner for my parents and siblings to try. Love this recipe, it’s delicious!
Quick question, for cheddar cheese does it mean I need to buy 16 oz of cheese or will I just measure out 2 cups as I shred it?
That’s awesome, Maryna. Thanks for your feedback.
2 cups of cheese is actually 8 oz, not 16. But the amount of cheese is totally up to you. Add as much or as little as you prefer.
Hi, what is half n half? Thanks.
Half n half is sold in the dairy section of the store. It is half milk and half heavy cream.
I made this soup before and it was so so good. I’m seven months pregnant now and craving panera bread every day. Going to make this again, save me some money! and it’s so much better! Also, I use organic white cheddar cheese. Healthier and richer taste. Thanks for the recipe, Olga.
Congratulations on your precious baby, Marina.
When I was pregnant and on the days that I had an appetite, I would often crave this soup too:). I love using the white cheddar cheese too.
my favorite soup! i love it so so much , thank you Olga!!!!!!!!
I just made this today and it was a big hit!
Since I have a Russian mom who loves to say “на глаз”, the main way I have been able to learn how to cook is through your recipes and a couple other Russian ladies. Thank you 🙂
We like a chunkier soup so I only puréed about 1/3 of it. I’m pretty sure it’s the best broccoli soup I’ve ever eaten. Thank you so much for the recipe!
better than Panera Bread!!!! love it !
Eating this soup right now! So delicious!!
Definitely will be making it again!
Thank you Olga
So glad to hear that you liked it, Dina!
Phenomenal!!!! The flavors are amazing! Better then Panera. The only changes I made were: half the butter and nutmeg and more broccoli. Instructionsry are very easy to follow. Thank you Olga.
Oh my! This soup is just so delicious!
Totally recommending it to friends and family!
Thank you for the great recipe ❤
This is an amazing soup. I tried your recipe and changed it up a bit and I was shocked by the results! Thank you so much! I just started my own blog and this recipe was my first recipe on my blog. I am hoping my blog will grow throughout time.
Again, thank you for such a great blog!
I’m so glad you enjoyed the Broccoli Cheddar Soup, Sarah.
Thank you for this recipe! This soup was not only delicious but it was simple and quick to make! We loved it!
I’m so happy you enjoyed it, Sarah.
Love your soup!!! Just have a question… can this soup be stored. Is there a better way to do it so that it doesn’t separate?
Store leftovers in the refrigerator. It shouldn’t separate. Just reheat it on low heat.