A single serving of broccoli cheese soup in a white bowl garnished with cheese and crackers.

Creamy Fresh Broccoli Cheddar Cheese Soup (Better Than Panera!)

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This better-than-Panera broccoli cheddar cheese soup is made from scratch and is so creamy and delicious; you’ll never need to buy it from a restaurant again. It’s made with fresh ingredients and flavorful spices, including nutmeg, garlic, carrots, onions, and of course, broccoli! The combination of half and half, chicken broth, and sharp cheddar cheese produce a soup base so creamy and smooth it will remind you of silk. My homemade broccoli cheddar soup will warm your soul on a cold day!

A single serving of broccoli cheese soup in a white bowl garnished with cheese and crackers.

How to Pick the Best Cheese For Broccoli Soup

I don’t know about you, but when I decide to make broccoli and cheese soup, what I am really after is the cheese. (Thank you, broccoli, for taking the guilt out!) I want the flavor of cheddar cheese to stand out, and not get lost in the soup, which can sometimes happen due to the intense flavor broccoli brings. That’s why it is important to pick a cheese that can stand up to it. If you need help picking a good sharp cheddar for your broccoli and cheese soup that will not disappoint, then follow this guide:

– A higher milk fat percentage = better flavor retention, which is what we are looking for! Try to choose an extra sharp or aged cheddar for the best flavor.

– Look for a cheddar cheese that has been aged for at least 60 days to get the most flavor. But don’t worry, if you can only find younger cheeses, they will still work just fine!

– Don’t go cheap. While it’s tempting to pick up a block of Velveeta or a low-quality cheddar, it’s not advisable. If you really want to make a soup, your friends will call home about splurge on the good cheese!

Equipment You’ll Need To Make Better Than Panera Broccoli Cheese Soup

If you’re not a fan of doing the dishes, you’re going to love this recipe! All you need to make this soup full of cheesy deliciousness is a one-pot! That’s right! I use a 5.5-quart Dutch Oven. If you have leftovers and room in your fridge, you can store the soup in your dutch oven to heat up for dinner another night. (Skipping washing dishes altogether! Yes, please!)

Ingredients You’ll Need For Your Creamy Broccoli Cheddar Cheese Soup

  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 Medium yellow onion (diced)
  • 6 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 Cups half and half
  • 6 Cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 Teaspoon salt
  • 1 Teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ Teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ Teaspoon nutmeg
  • 3½ Cups broccoli florets (cut into bite-size pieces)
  • 1 Cup shredded carrots
  • 3½ Cups sharp cheddar cheese
All the ingredients needed to make broccoli cheese soup.

How To Make The Best Homemade Broccoli Cheese Soup

  1. Melt butter in a large pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add chopped onions and cook, stirring often until onions are soft and translucent. About 4-5 minutes
  2. Slowly whisk in the flour to the butter and onions. Cook for about 1 minute, whisking the entire time.
  3. Slowly whisk in the chicken broth until completely combined.
  4. Add broccoli, salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and nutmeg. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium. Add shredded carrots, then cover and simmer until the broccoli is tender, about 12 minutes.
  5. Whisk in the half and half and stir until well combined. Simmer for 3-5 stirring occasionally.
  6. Add 1½ cups of sharp cheddar cheese, constantly stirring until the cheese has completely melted. Then add in another 1½ of sharp cheddar cheese, constantly stirring until the cheese has completely melted.
  7. Top with the remaining cheddar cheese and serve while hot.
Broccoli cheese soup in a pot with a scoop in a laddle.

What To Serve With Your Fresh Broccoli & Cheddar Cheese Soup

While broccoli and cheese soup is delicious on its own, I highly recommend serving this fresh broccoli cheddar cheese soup with some of my garlic knots for dipping! If you prefer something more substantial, you can’t beat the classic soup and sandwich or salad pairing!  For dessert, go with something easy like no-bake blueberry cheesecake bars or air fryer chocolate chip cookies. Yum!

closeup of broccoli cheddar soup in a white bowl.

Broccoli Cheddar Cheese Soup FAQs

Can You Freeze The Creamy Broccoli Soup?

I would not recommend freezing fresh broccoli and cheddar cheese soup. Due to the half and half and butter, it will most likely separate when frozen.

How to Store and Reheat Your Better Than Panera Broccoli Cheese Soup

You’ll want to store any remaining fresh broccoli and cheddar cheese soup in an airtight container for up to four days. You can either leave the soup in your Dutch oven or transfer it to a different storage container with an airtight lid. 

To reheat, simply put the cheese soup back into your dutch oven over medium heat on the stovetop until warm. Don’t forget to stir frequently!

Can I Use Frozen Broccoli instead of fresh for this recipe?

You can use frozen broccoli instead of fresh broccoli if that is all you have on hand. Keep in mind that frozen broccoli retains a lot of water, producing a thinner soup base. I would recommend thawing and draining the frozen broccoli before adding it in place of fresh.

Can I use a large pot if I don’t have a dutch oven?

If you do not have a dutch oven, you can use a large pot to make broccoli cheese soup. Just be sure to watch the heat when bringing it up to temp as stainless steel cookware heats faster than cast iron, and adjust accordingly.

How can I make my broccoli cheddar soup thicker?

If you end up with thin or runny soup, you can fix it in a few ways. One is by making a cornstarch slurry with cold water, or you can simply add more cheese. If it is really watery, you may need to make another roux with butter and flour.

Why is my broccoli cheese soup gritty?

Your soup may be gritty because the cheese is curdled. Diary is very temperamental when it comes to heat, which is why it’s important to stir frequently and make sure it doesn’t get too hot. A slow and low cooking method is going to render the best cheddar broccoli soup!

Why won’t my cheese melt in my broccoli cheddar soup?

If your cheese isn’t melting, then your soup is most likely too cold or hot. So helpful, I know! If your soup is not warm enough, the cheese will not melt, so up the temperature just a little. If your soup is too hot, the cheese starts to “burn” and congeal together. Like Goldilocks, cheese needs the temperature to be just right to melt successfully.

How do you fix cheese clumping in soup?

If you are melting your cheese at the “just right” temperature and you are still having issues with clumping, you can take a small amount of flour or cornstarch and toss the cheese in it. This will keep the cheese from bonding together long enough to blend into your soup seamlessly.

A spoonful of broccoli cheese soup lifted from a bowl filled with soup.
An overhead look at broccoli cheddar soup in a white bowl garnished with oyster crackers.

Broccoli Cheese Soup

This better-than-Panera broccoli cheddar cheese soup is made from scratch and is so creamy and delicious; you’ll never need to buy it from a restaurant again. It's made with fresh ingredients and flavorful spices, including nutmeg, garlic, carrots, onions, and of course, broccoli! The combination of half and half, chicken broth, and sharp cheddar cheese produce a soup base so creamy and smooth it will remind you of silk. My homemade broccoli cheddar soup will warm your soul on a cold day!
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Dinner, Lunch, Soup
Cuisine American
Servings 8
Calories 431 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter *
  • 1 Medium yellow onion (diced)*
  • 6 Tablespoons all-purpose flour *
  • 2 Cups half and half *
  • 6 Cups low sodium chicken broth *
  • 1 Teaspoon salt *
  • 1 Teaspoon black pepper *
  • ½ Teaspoon garlic powder *
  • ¼ Teaspoon nutmeg *
  • Cups broccoli florets (cut into bite-size pieces)*
  • 1 Cup shredded carrots *
  • Cups sharp cheddar cheese

Instructions
 

  • Melt butter in a large pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add chopped onions and cook, stirring often until onions are soft and translucent. About 4-5 minutes
  • Slowly whisk in the flour to the butter and onions. Cook for about 1 minute, whisking the entire time.
  • Slowly whisk in the chicken broth until completely combined.
  • Add broccoli, salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and nutmeg. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium. Add shredded carrots, then cover and simmer until the broccoli is tender, about 12 minutes.
  • Whisk in the half and half and stir until well combined. Simmer for 3-5 stirring occasionally.
  • Add 1½ cups of sharp cheddar cheese, constantly stirring until the cheese has completely melted. Then add in another 1½ of sharp cheddar cheese, constantly stirring until the cheese has completely melted.
  • Top with the remaining cheddar cheese and serve while hot.

Notes

*Nutrition Disclaimer: All information presented on this site is intended for informational purposes only. Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate. I am not a certified nutritionist and any nutritional information shared on Modernmealmakeover.com should only be used as a general guideline.

Nutrition

Calories: 431kcalCarbohydrates: 23.1gProtein: 19.8gFat: 30.3gSaturated Fat: 18.8gCholesterol: 90mgSodium: 761mgPotassium: 757mgFiber: 5.5gSugar: 4.7gVitamin D: 11µgCalcium: 465mgIron: 2mg
Keyword Broccoli Cheddar Soup, Broccoli Cheese Soup, Soup Recipes
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