Broccoli Cheddar Soup (2022)

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Thick, creamy, cheesy – broccoli cheddar soup as it should be! This easy recipe is made with sharp cheddar cheese, fresh broccoli florets, and simple spices you likely have on hand already.

This savory, perfectly seasoned soup isn't a copycat recipe. It's just the ultimate broccoli cheese soup, and one your family will love. It got rave reviews at my house.

Let's get one thing straight: this isn't a Panera copycat recipe. It's so much better than that! Plus you can make it gluten-free if you'd like.

When it comes to making homemade broccoli cheddar soup, I'm a purist. I don't add carrots to my soup like many Panera copycat recipes call for.

This recipe is heavy on the broccoli and cheese, with just a few choice aromatics added in to round out the flavor of this cheesy soup.

Prepare this broccoli and cheddar soup recipe as written, or double it to freeze for later. Leftovers stay in the fridge up to a week, so you can enjoy it for two dinners if you'd like.

Serve with a crisp green salad or crusty bread for dipping. No matter the season, this easy broccoli cheese soup is always a good idea!

Jump to:
  • Recipe Ingredients
  • How to Make Broccoli Cheddar Soup From Scratch
  • What Makes Broccoli Cheese Soup Grainy?
  • What to Eat with Broccoli Cheddar Soup
  • Tips for the Best Broccoli and Cheddar Soup
  • Classic Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Recipe Ingredients

A mixture of garlic, onion, and celery flavor the base of this soup. Whenever I sauté veggies in butter — like I did for this recipe! — I always add a little olive oil to the pan as well to prevent the butter from burning.

A combination of cornstarch and flour helps thicken the soup base, while shredded cheddar cheese and half and half add creaminess and flavor.

Paprika, red pepper flakes, and seasoned salt flavor the soup. I love using Redmond Organic Season Salt, which is made with mineral-rich, untreated salt and seasonings. (Use the code TARATEASPOON for 15% off. Not sponsored, but I am an affiliate and I love this brand!)

Naturally, I couldn't make cheddar broccoli soup from scratch without the broccoli! I love grabbing a bag of already trimmed and cut broccoli florets from the produce section to save time, but use what you have on hand.

The one ingredient you may not have on hand already is sodium citrate. It's completely optional, but it helps prevent the cheesy soup base from curdling.

How to Make Broccoli Cheddar Soup From Scratch

Making broccoli cheddar cheese soup is incredibly easy and takes less than an hour to prepare.

I've given detailed instructions in the recipe card below, but here's an overview of how the soup comes together.

  1. Melt butter and oil together in a soup pot over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the onion, celery, and garlic and cook until the onions are softened and translucent.
  3. Stir in the flour, cornstarch, paprika, sodium citrate (if using), seasoned salt, and red pepper flakes. Add broth and water and stir to combined.
  4. Allow the soup to heat to just steaming and then add the broccoli.
  5. Cover and simmer until the broccoli is very tender.
  6. Reduce the heat to low and add half and half.
  7. Stir in the shredded cheese a little at a time until completely melted. Do NOT boil.
  8. Serve immediately.

What Makes Broccoli Cheese Soup Grainy?

The main culprit that curdles broccoli cheese soup and makes it grainy is heat. Heat mixed with cheese in liquid! My secret to smooth cheese soup is below.

It's very important that you reduce the heat to low before stirring in the half and half and shredded cheese.

If the soup is simmering too violently, or you add the dairy products to the soup when it's cooking on a higher heat, your broccoli cheddar soup will inevitably curdle.

If you've struggled with making homemade broccoli and cheddar soup in the past, I highly recommend buying a bag of sodium citrate. It's a natural emulsifier that creates super smooth cheese soups, sauces, and dips.

Another reason your soup may be grainy is because you used pre-shredded cheddar cheese.

Bagged pre-shredded cheeses are often coated in potato starch or something similar to prevent clumps from forming. This added starch also prevents the cheese from melting properly in soups and can create a grainy texture.

Let me know how it went!

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Can This Soup Be Served in a Bread Bowl?

Be my guest! If you'd like a thicker soup for your bread bowls, add an extra tablespoon of flour.

Can This Recipe Be Doubled?

Yes, this recipe is easily doubled. That would make a total of 12 cups of soup. Just make sure to use a large soup pot.

Can You Freeze Broccoli Cheddar Soup?

Absolutely! This is a great soup to prepare and freeze for later. Frozen broccoli cheese soup will last up to six months if frozen properly. I'm a huge fan of freezing meals for later. See my tips on this post.

I recommend freezing smaller portions of soup in zip-top freezer bags or resealable bags for best results. Be sure to squeeze as much excess air out of the bags before stashing them in the freezer!

How to make Gluten-Free Broccoli Cheese Soup:

You can make flour-thickened broccoli soup GF by swapping the all-purpose flour with a gluten-free AP flour. A 1-to-1 formula will be the best. I prefer to use the Cup4Cup brand.

What to Eat with Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Enjoy this soup as an appetizer, side dish, or main course! Here are a few dishes that pair well with cheddar broccoli soup:

  • Wedge Salad
  • Herbed Potato Flatbread
  • Mini Puff Pastry Tomato Tarts

Tips for the Best Broccoli and Cheddar Soup

  • You can use yellow or white cheddar cheese. Yellow cheddar will impart that classic yellow color to the soup, but both work well in terms of taste.
  • I used sharp cheddar cheese to ensure the cheese flavor is really enhanced, but a milder cheddar is also fine.
  • The soup can be made gluten free by swapping gluten-free flour for the all-purpose flour. I use the Cup4Cup brand for all my gluten-free cooking needs.
  • Make this soup vegetarian by using vegetable broth.

Broccoli Cheddar Soup (7)

Classic Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Tara Teaspoon

Thick, creamy, cheesy – broccoli cheddar soup as it should be! This classic recipe is made with sharp cheddar cheese, fresh broccoli florets, and simple spices you likely have on hand already. (makes 6 cups)

5 from 2 votes

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Prep Time 15 mins

Cook Time 25 mins

Total Time 40 mins

Course Dinner

Cuisine American

Servings 4 to 6 servings

Calories 509 kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¾ cup finely diced onion
  • ½ cup finely diced celery
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • teaspoons cornstarch
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon sodium citrate optional
  • teaspoons season salt
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 5 cups small broccoli florets and stems
  • 1 cup half and half
  • cups grated sharp Cheddar (10 ounces)

Instructions

  • Melt butter and oil together in a 4- or 6-quart soup pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, celery, and garlic and stir. Cook, stirring, until onions are softened and translucent, 5 to 7 minutes.

  • Stir in flour, cornstarch, paprika, sodium citrate (if using), season salt, and red pepper flakes. Add broth and water and stir to combined.

  • Allow soup to heat to just steaming and then add the broccoli. Bring to a simmer, reducing heat if necessary. Cover and simmer until broccoli is very tender, about 25 minutes.

  • Reduce heat to low and add half and half. Stir in cheese a little at a time until completely melted. Do not boil. Season to taste with extra season salt and red pepper flakes.

  • Serve, topped with extra cheese if desired. Can be stored in the fridge for up to a week, or frozen up to 3 months. (Makes 6 cups)

Notes

  • You can use yellow or white cheddar cheese. Yellow cheddar will impart that classic yellow color to the soup, but both work well in terms of taste.
  • I used sharp cheddar cheese to ensure the cheese flavor is really enhanced, but a milder cheddar is also fine.

Nutrition

Calories: 509kcalCarbohydrates: 20gProtein: 26gFat: 38gSaturated Fat: 22gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 104mgSodium: 1303mgPotassium: 696mgFiber: 4gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 1837IUVitamin C: 105mgCalcium: 648mgIron: 2mg

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Broccoli Cheddar Soup (21)

About Tara Teaspoon

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