Soup is one of the most comforting meals and this Panera Broccoli Cheddar Soup recipe is perfect on a cold day. This creamy and cheesy soup can be made in the slow cooker (or stove top) and is a favorite family dinner.
Panera Broccoli Cheddar Soup Recipe
This soup recipe takes very little prep and uses fresh ingredients which makes all the difference in the flavor, trust me! Once it’s all together in your slow cooker, you can sit back and let it all come together with minimum interference. I can guarantee that it will be requested again and again. Plus, the leftovers make the perfect lunch, especially during soup season!
It is a very creamy and cheesy soup. We use white cheddar (extra sharp is my favorite), which adds a little strong and salty flavor, making this recipe absolutely mouthwatering. I also love broccoli, especially when it’s fresh. You can definitely taste the difference between it and frozen. The slow-cooking method makes the veggies nice and tender but not mushy.
What You’ll Need to Make this Cheddar Broccoli Soup
- Broccoli – Chop the fresh broccoli florets from the heads of the broccoli into small, bite-sized pieces.
- Onion – Use a small onion or half of a large onion and dice it finely.
- Carrots – You can shred them yourself or buy them pre-shredded.
- Seasonings – Salt, pepper, and garlic powder are needed to add flavor to the veggies.
- Chicken stock – This is the liquid to cook the veggies. You can also use chicken broth or even vegetable stock if that is more to your taste..
- Butter – Unsalted or salted works fine.
- Flour – Simple all-purpose flour is best.
- Heavy cream – This will thicken the soup.
- Cheddar cheese – Shredded sharp cheddar will give you the best results but you can use medium cheddar or really any cheddar you prefer.
How to Make the Broccoli Cheddar Soup
There are only a few steps to put this Broccoli Cheddar Soup together. Then let it cook nice and slow to let its’ cheesy goodness develop into a delicious meal for dinner!
- Add the veggies. Add your chopped broccoli florets, diced onion, shredded carrots, salt, pepper, garlic, and chicken stock to your slow cooker. It should be at least 4 quarts.
- Cook. Cook for 3 hours on high or 6 hours on low. Check the tenderness of the broccoli to determine when the base of your soup is ready.
- Make the roux. Melt butter in a skillet on medium heat and stir in your flour. Cook the flour mixture together for about 2 minutes and stir consistently. Do this 10 minutes before your slow cooker finishes.
- Add cream and cheese. Stir in the heavy cream and continue to stir until it starts to thicken. Then, turn your heat down to low and add the shredded cheese. Cook and stir until the cheese is melted and combined.
- Add the mixture to the slow cooker. Once your “sauce” is finished and the broccoli is cooked, add the creamy mixture to the slow cooker. Cook on high for an additional 30 minutes.
- Serve. Garnish with extra cheese if you desire and enjoy!
- Add 1 Tbsp butter to dutch oven and heat over medium heat. Add chopped onion and saute until onions are soft, about 2-3 minutes. Add 2 Tbsp butter to pot, still over medium heat. When melted, add flour and whisk together. Cook mixture about 1 minute, whisking often.
- Slowly pour in half of chicken broth, whisking as you pour. Continue with remaining chicken broth and heavy cream, pouring slowly and whisking as your pour.
- Let broth/cream mixture cook for a minute or two, whisking often, making sure no flour lumps remain.
- Add chopped broccoli and carrots and stir to combine. Add seasonings, stir. Reduce heat to LOW/MED LOW and simmer about 10-15 minutes or until thickened and broccoli/carrots are fork tender.
- Add grated cheddar cheese a handful at a time, stirring to melt the cheese into the soup after each handful. Taste soup and season with additional salt and pepper if needed.
- Serve hot with additional shredded cheese on top if desired.
What to Serve with Broccoli Cheddar Soup
Curious about what you can serve with this delicious, creamy soup? You can’t go wrong with a piece of nice hearty bread and this recipe for Jalapeno Cheddar Bread is the perfect pairing. Soup and a sandwich is also a classic combo. A Hot Ham and Cheese Sandwich a simple side and yummy!
Substitutions and Tips
- Garlic. You can use 2 minced garlic cloves in place of the garlic powder.
- Cream. Feel free to replace the heavy cream with whole milk or half & half.
- Stock. Use an equal amount of chicken broth instead of the chicken stock if you like or if it’s what you have on hand.
- Toppings. Besides extra shredded cheese, you can garnish with soup crackers, croutons, or even diced green onions.
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
You can store any leftovers in the refrigerator in an airtight container. It will last up to 3 days. The soup can be reheated either on the stovetop or in the microwave. I highly recommend the stovetop if you can because it heats more even;y and has a better texture.
More Soup Recipes to Try
Broccoli Cheddar Soup (Panera Copycat)
- In a 4 quart or larger slower cooker, add the chopped broccoli florets, onion, carrots, salt, pepper, garlic and pour in the chicken stock.
- Cook on HIGH for 3 hours or LOW for 6 hours or until the broccoli is tender or cooked to your liking.
- 10 Minutes before the broccoli is done cooking, melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in the flour and cook over medium heat for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Pour in the heavy cream, cook over medium heat on stir constantly until thickened. Turn down the heat to low, add the shredded cheese and stir until completely melted. Remove the cheese mixture from the heat and set aside.
- Once the broccoli is cooked, pour in the cheese mixture and stir until completely incorporated. Cover the slow cooker and cook on HIGH for another 30 minutes. • Serve and sprinkle on more shredded cheese if desired. Enjoy!
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- The soup can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days in an airtight container.
- Reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave.
- Half & Half or whole milk can be used in place of the heavy cream.
- You can use 2 minced garlic cloves in place of the granulated garlic.