Broccoli Cheddar Soup is comfort in a bowl. The broth is rich, creamy and packed with cheddar cheese. Tender broccoli and carrots make this a hearty and nutrient packed soup!
Panera Broccoli Cheddar Soup Copycat Recipe
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This famous soup is so simple to make at home. Skip the takeout and impress your family with this delicious recipe. There is something so special and delicious about the combination of broccoli and cheddar. They are a perfect pair!
What is Panera Broccoli Cheddar Soup Copycat?
This is a copycat recipe for Panera’s famous broccoli cheddar soup. One of their most popular menu items, it is so flavor packed and easy to make at home!
The soup has a creamy cheddar based broth with onion, garlic, and a pinch of nutmeg. Broccoli and shredded carrots are cooked into the soup which adds great nutrients and makes the soup nice and hearty. This soup is a great way to increase your veggie intake!
What to Serve with Panera Broccoli Cheddar Soup Copycat
- Olive Garden Breadsticks
- Olive Garden Copycat Salad
- Chicken Scampi
- Chicken Waldorf Salad
- Jalapeno Popper Pull Apart Garlic Bread
- German Pork Schnitzel
What is in Panera Broccoli Cheddar Soup?
- Broccoli – the star of the show in this soup. Fresh or frozen broccoli can be used. Fresh is recommended for best results but frozen work great as well. Note: if using frozen broccoli, thaw completely and add in to the soup last.
- Carrot – shredded carrot adds a pop of color to the soup, added nutrients, and a hint of sweetness.
- Garlic and Onion – sautéed into the broth.
- Cheddar – my favorite part about this soup! Broccoli and cheddar pair so perfectly together. Shredded cheese is cooked into the broth, every bite of the soup is packed with cheesy goodness! We highly recommend shredding your own cheese for best results. Store-bought shredded cheese has a coating on it to prevent it from sticking together in the bag. This coating makes the cheese gritty when melted.
- Chicken Broth – homemade, store bought or even chicken bone broth can be used for this recipe. For a vegetarian recipe swap for vegetable broth.
- Cream – makes the soup extra rich and creamier. For a lighter recipe you can use milk or half-and-half.
- Butter and Flour – a roux is made to thicken the soup.
- Nutmeg – a pinch of nutmeg adds a beautiful warm and rich flavor to the soup.
- Salt and Pepper
How to Make Broccoli Cheddar Soup
Full Printable Recipe at Bottom of Page
1 Over medium heat in a large pot, melt the 1/4 cup butter and sauté onions until soft, about 3-4 minutes.
2 Add in garlic and continue to sauté for another 2 minutes.
3 Sprinkle the flour over the mixture. Cook and stir over medium heat for 1-2 minutes.
4 Reduce heat to low. Slowly whisk in the half & half and chicken stock.
5 Add the broccoli. Cook over low heat for 10-15 minutes or until the broccoli is tender. Note: if using frozen broccoli, thaw completely and add in to the soup last.
6 You can leave the soup chunky or blend about 1 cup of the soup and stir it in for a smoother soup. Or use immersion blender to puree completely.
7 On low heat gradually add in the cheese, stir continuously and scrape the bottom of pot to ensure no cheese sticks to the bottom. Note: if the heat is on too high your soup can get grainy and cheese may burn on the bottom of the pot.
8 Add in the carrots. Stir to combine into the soup.
9 If using frozen broccoli add it into the soup now.
10 Stir in the nutmeg if desired and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Tips for the Best Panera Broccoli Cheddar Soup Copycat
- Cheese – for the creamiest melted cheese texture you MUST use freshly grated cheddar cheese. Store bought pre-grated cheese is covered in anti-caking agents that prevents it from melting as smoothly.
- Broccoli – you can use either fresh or frozen broccoli. We recommend fresh broccoli as it will have the best texture in the soup. If using frozen just allow the broccoli to thaw on the kitchen counter while you prepare the soup and add it into the soup last.
- Extra Veggies – this copycat recipe has shredded carrots but you can also add in any other veggies you have on hand. For example, thinly sliced bell peppers, cauliflower, zucchini, etc. This is a great way to sneak some extra veggies into your diet. You can also use any leftover veggies you have in the fridge!
- Cream – you can substitute the cream for half and half cream, whole milk, or milk. Each milk type will give it a different consistency. Avoid low fat or fat free milk because the fat from the milk will make the soup thick, rich and creamy!
FAQs Panera Broccoli Cheddar Soup Copycat
You can reheat the soup in the microwave or on the stovetop. The soup will thicken in the fridge, add a splash of milk or cream to thin it out again.
This broccoli cheddar soup should last 4 to 5 days in the fridge when stored in an airtight container.
Yes, you can make the soup up to 1 day in advance. Prepare the soup and store in the fridge. Just before serving reheat stovetop or in the microwave until warmed through.
I would not recommend freezing because dairy does not freeze well. It is best if you leave out the milk and cheese until you are ready to heat it up. Undercooking the broccoli can also help when reheating frozen broccoli cheese soup.
If you are planning to freeze, let the soup cool completely. Place in a freezer safe container or Ziploc bag. Lay flat in the freezer for easy stacking and saving space in the freezer. This soup will last in the freezer for about 1 month.
If you are wanting to make it vegetarian use vegetable broth.
Part of the thickening ingredients in this soup is the flour in the roux. There is a 1/4 cup of flour and you can definitely leave it out but your soup will not be as thick.
You can thicken the soup at the very end if needed by creating a cornstarch slurry. Add 1 tablespoon of cornstarch to a small bowl and add water until it forms a paste. Stir this mixture into the soup at the end of cooking to thicken it.
More Easy Soup Recipes
- Hamburger Soup
- Zuppa Toscana (Olive Garden Copycat)
- Creamy Tortellini Soup
- White Chicken Chili
- Chicken and Gnocchi Soup (Olive Garden Copycat)
- Loaded Baked Potato Soup
- Caldo Verde (Portuguese Kale Soup)
Panera Broccoli Cheddar Soup Copycat
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/2 medium onion, chopped
- 2 tsp garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 cups half-and-half cream
- 1 ½ cups chicken broth
- 2 ½-3 cups broccoli florets, chopped into small pieces
- 1 cup carrot, shredded or thinly sliced
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg, (optional but brings out the flavor)
- 2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
- 1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
- 1/4 tsp pepper, or to taste
- Over medium heat in a large pot, melt the 1/4 cup butter and sauté 1/2 medium onion until soft, about 3-4 minutes.
- Add in 2 tsp garlic and continue to sauté for another 2 minutes.
- Sprinkle the 1/4 cup flour over the mixture. Cook and stir over medium heat for 1-2 minutes.
- Reduce heat to low. Slowly whisk in the 2 cups half-and-half cream and 1 ½ cups chicken broth.
- Add the 2 ½-3 cups broccoli florets. Cook over low heat for 10-15 minutes or until the broccoli is tender.Note: if using frozen broccoli, thaw completely and add in to the soup last.
- You can leave the soup chunky or blend about 1 cup of the soup and stir it in for a smoother soup. Or use immersion blender to puree completely.
- On low heat gradually add in the 2 cups cheddar cheese, stir continuously and scrape the bottom of pot to ensure no cheese sticks to the bottom. Note: if the heat is on too high your soup can get grainy and cheese may burn on the bottom of the pot.
- Add in the 1 cup carrot. Stir to combine into the soup.
- If using frozen broccoli add it into the soup now.
- Stir in the 1/4 tsp nutmeg if desired and season to taste with 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper.