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This copycat Panera Bread Broccoli Cheese Soup is a thick, rich, and creamy soup with tender broccoli, shredded carrots, and a hint of nutmeg, all cooked together with melted cheese. It’s so delicious and easy to make!
Copycat Broccoli Cheese Soup Recipe
With the colder weather moving in, a nice warm soup is just what to look forward to at dinner time. This Panera Bread copycat broccoli cheese soup hits the spot perfectly. And let me tell you, it is the BEST broccoli cheese soup I have had! The only thing that makes it a little better is serving it up in a bread bowl. Or you can serve it up with some delicious dinner rolls instead!
I might be biased, but I truly think that this is better than the Panera Bread broccoli cheese soup that they are so famous for. This one is creamy, packed with delicious veggies, and the best part is… You can make it from home! That means you save time and money. It’s a win-win!
Ingredients in Broccoli Cheese Soup
This soup is so easy and delicious. Try topping your soup with extra cheese, crumbled bacon or ham, and some chives for a full broccoli cheese soup experience.
- Butter: I used unsalted butter in this recipe.
- Onion: You can use a white or yellow onion for this soup.
- Flour: The flour is used along with the butter to create a roux. The roux is what will make your soup thick and creamy.
- Half-and-half: The half-and-half makes your broccoli cheese soup ultra-thick, rich, and creamy. You can also use heavy whipping cream instead.
- Chicken Stock: This adds flavor to the base of the soup.
- Broccoli: I use fresh broccoli for this recipe. If you use frozen, cook it in the microwave first and add it to the soup once the veggies are done sauteing.
- Carrot: I buy shredded carrots to save myself time!
- Nutmeg: This secret ingredient adds so much flavor!
- Sharp Cheddar Cheese: This adds color and flavor to this classic soup.
- Salt and Pepper: Just a pinch is enough.
How to Make Broccoli Cheese Soup
This broccoli cheese soup comes together super easily, and it’s a great meal to make ahead of time and eat for lunch or dinner.
- Make a Roux: Sauté the onion in 1 tablespoon melted butter and set aside. In a large pot, whisk together the melted butter and flour over medium heat for about 3-4 minutes.
- Whisk: Slowly whisk in the half and half and chicken stock. Let it simmer for about 20 minutes.
- Add Vegetables: Add the broccoli, carrots, and onions. Let them simmer on medium-low for about 25 minutes until the broccoli and carrots are tender.
- Add Seasonings and Cheese: Add nutmeg, salt, pepper, and sharp cheddar cheese. Let the cheese melt, and then serve. For a smoother soup, puree the soup.
Can I Use Different Cheeses
Yes! You can try out all sorts of varieties of cheese in this recipe, depending on your taste preference. Here are a few that I recommend:
- Cheddar Cheese
- Colby Jack Cheese
- Swiss Cheese
- American Cheese
- White Cheddar Cheese
- Velveeta Cheese
- Parmesan Cheese
Variations and Substitutions
This copycat Panera Bread Broccoli Cheese Soup is so delicious, and there are ways to change it up to fit your needs!
- Fresh or Frozen Broccoli: Fresh broccoli is preferred, but frozen broccoli will also work. Frozen tends to cook faster because it is already blanched.
- Change the Broth: If you want to make this recipe vegetarian or don’t have chicken broth, vegetable broth also works well.
- Want some heat? Add in a pinch of cayenne or red pepper flakes to the broccoli cheese soup recipe.
- Cream Substitute: You can substitute the half and half for heavy cream or even whole milk. Heavy cream will make the soup a bit thicker, and whole milk will make it a bit thinner.
- Shred Cheese from the Block: Pre-shredded cheese has a coating on it that makes it more difficult to melt. When you shred your cheese directly from the block, it gives the soup a very creamy and smooth consistency with no lumps.
Can I Make Broccoli Cheese Soup in the Slow Cooker?
Yes! Sometimes, this is the best option when you aren’t around to make this right away. The soup can heat up, and it’s ready to serve whenever you need it to be!
- Make a Roux: Make a roux by whisking together the flour and butter.
- Combine: Add all of the ingredients to your slow cooker but leave out the cheese, and milk.
- Cook: Cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 5-6 hours.
- Add in Dairy Ingredients: About 20 minutes before the soup is done, add in the milk and cheese to the slow cooker. Cook everything together for about 20 minutes. It’s ready to serve when the cheese is all melted.
Leftover broccoli cheese soup is so delicious (almost better!) the next day. Here is how you can properly store it to last as long as possible.
- In the Refrigerator: Let your soup cool, and then place it in an airtight container and store it in your fridge. It will last 4-5 days.
- In the Freezer: Let the soup cool and pour it into a ziplock bag. Label it with the date and lay the soup flat in the freezer. It will last about one month.
- Reheating: To reheat your broccoli cheese soup, place it in a saucepan over low to medium heat for about 4 to 5 minutes or microwave it in 1 to 2-minute increments. Stirring slowly each time until it is warmed through.
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Sauté the onion in 1 tablespoon melted butter and set aside. In a large pot whisk together the melted butter and flour over medium heat for about 3-4 minutes.
Slowly whisk in the half and half and chicken stock. Let it simmer for about 20 minutes.
Add the broccoli, carrots, and onions. Let them simmer on medium low for about 25 minutes until the broccoli and carrots are tender.
Add nutmeg, salt, pepper, and sharp cheddar cheese. Let the cheese melt and then serve. For a smoother soup puree the soup.
Originally Posted on January 13, 2014
Calories: 420kcalCarbohydrates: 15gProtein: 16gFat: 33gSaturated Fat: 19gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0.3gCholesterol: 96mgSodium: 537mgPotassium: 387mgFiber: 1gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 3785IUVitamin C: 23mgCalcium: 420mgIron: 1mg
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.