Creamy Broccoli Cheddar Soup


Panera Bread is known for their famous, delicious broccoli cheddar soup and this is a copy-cat recipe. It’s made with fresh broccoli and lots of cheddar cheese.  Serve for lunch or dinner with a side of crusty bread!

Panera Bread Broccoli Cheddar Soup Recipe in Bread Bowl (2)

Have you ever had Panera Bread’s Broccoli Cheddar Soup before?  Everyone I know who has tried it LOVES it.  I went to visit my brother and sister-in-law in Syracuse a couple days before Christmas and my sister-in-law made this soup for lunch.  Immediately after taking my first bite, I asked her for the recipe because it was THAT good.  She made it with vegetable broth since my aunts that were eating lunch with us that day are both vegetarian.  I just loved it so much and knew I had to make it at home right away so my hubby could try it.  Now I can make Panera-style broccoli cheese soup right in my own kitchen – so exciting!  Of course, I had to serve it in bread bowls to make it extra fun to eat.
This was an awesome soup that thickened up nicely and it is very, very filling.  Whether or not you will think this tastes EXACTLY like Panera Bread’s soup – who really cares?!  Either way, it is fantastic and has outstanding flavor to it.  The nutmeg may seem strange, but it really gave it a special flavor without being too strong.  You may not even be able to detect it at all.  Personally, I thought it was pretty darn close to the restaurant version of this soup, possibly even better.
Just a tip about using anything other than half and half for this Broccoli Cheddar Soup recipe:  the lower the fat content in the milk product (half & half, milk, heavy cream, etc.) that you use, the higher your risk of curdling. The higher fat content protects it from curdling as easily. That being said, you can still use low or no-fat products, but you have to take great care not to let them boil and your soup will not be as thick or creamy.  It’s all a matter of preference!  Have a great weekend!
Creamy Broccoli Cheddar Soup
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
Panera Bread is known for their famous, delicious broccoli cheddar soup and this is a copy-cat recipe. It's made with fresh broccoli and lots of cheddar cheese. Serve for lunch or dinner with a side of crusty bread!
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • ½ medium chopped white onion
  • ¼ cup melted butter
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 2 cups half-and-half cream
  • 2 cups chicken stock (can use vegetable broth to make it vegetarian!)
  • ½ lb fresh or frozen broccoli
  • 1 cup carrot, sliced
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 8 ounces grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Melt the 1 tablespoon of butter in a pot over medium heat and sauté the onion in it.
  2. Set the onions aside.
  3. Melt the ¼ cup butter in the same pot and then add flour and stir together using a whisk over medium heat for 3-5 minutes.
  4. Stir constantly to prevent burning and then add the half & half.
  5. Add the chicken stock. Simmer for 20 minutes.
  6. Add the broccoli, carrots and cooked onions. Cook over low heat for 20-25 minutes.
  7. Add salt and pepper, to taste.
  8. At this point, the soup can be puréed in a blender, but you don’t have to. I did puree half of it so that half was smooth and some chunks of broccoli and carrots remain. (Note: be cautious putting hot liquids in the blender – it expands from the steam! Only do a SMALL amount at a time and hold a dish towel over the top while blending just in case OR wait until it cools before blending then reheat afterward! Use an immersion blender if you have one – that would be easier.)
  9. Return soup to heat and stir in the cheddar cheese.
  10. Stir in nutmeg.
  11. Once all is hot and blended, serve in regular bowls or bread bowls. Enjoy!

Recipe source:  adapted from

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These are a few of my favorite things: cooking, baking, Broadway musicals, cruises, Disney World, Christmas, thunderstorms, 80's and country music, and my favorite pastime has ALWAYS been baseball. Go Yankees!

52 Responses to “Creamy Broccoli Cheddar Soup”

  1. Joe DiBella
    January 10, 2014 at 12:30 AM #

    IIt was fantastic. Thanks for propping up Missys cooking. We are having this soup again Sunday!!

    • January 10, 2014 at 4:04 PM #

      No need to thank – enjoy your second round of soup Sunday!

  2. January 10, 2014 at 2:16 AM #

    Ashley, this soup looks so delicious – what a pure comfort food! One of the best ways to eat broccoli! To my shame, I’ve never had this soup before but now I want to try it!

    • January 10, 2014 at 4:04 PM #

      This is the only way I’ll eat broccoli 🙂

  3. January 10, 2014 at 6:43 AM #

    this warming soup oozing with the taste of delicious cheddar and broccoli is all we need to warm up during the winters….comforting,rich and delectable soup…perfect inside a bread bowl,thanks so much for the inspiration 🙂

    • January 10, 2014 at 4:04 PM #

      Thanks so much!

  4. January 10, 2014 at 8:59 AM #

    This looks like the perfect comfort soup! I’ve never had it at Panera bread before, but I’m with you – anything homemade is probably much better! I love the idea of serving it in bread bowls. I can totally imagine eating this on a cold, winter day!

    • January 10, 2014 at 4:04 PM #

      Thanks, Kristi! You really should try it sometime (Panera or homemade) 🙂

  5. January 10, 2014 at 9:26 AM #

    This is the only soup I ever order while I’m at Panera. It looks so easy to replicate at home. Thanks for the recipe, Ashley! 🙂

    • January 10, 2014 at 4:03 PM #

      I’ve tried all their soups at Panera and always come back to the broccoli cheese 🙂

  6. January 10, 2014 at 10:57 AM #

    Soup looks fantabulous Ashley! I need to get my hands on a lactose free cheese so I can duplicate this recipe!

    • January 10, 2014 at 4:02 PM #

      I hope you can find some so that you are able to make this!

  7. January 10, 2014 at 11:14 AM #

    Broccoli cheddar soup is one of my absolute favorites!! I need to try making a vegan version so that I can satisfy my cravings ;).

    • January 10, 2014 at 4:02 PM #

      I’m sure you will make a wonderful vegan version!! Let me know if you do!

  8. January 10, 2014 at 12:48 PM #

    Oh, I love soup bowls. Yum!

    • January 10, 2014 at 4:01 PM #

      Me too!!! Thanks!!

  9. January 10, 2014 at 1:29 PM #

    Oh my goodness, I went through a phase when I was just crazy for broccoli cheese soup. I loved putting it on a baked potato 😀 Putting it in a bread bowl…amazing!!

    • January 10, 2014 at 4:01 PM #

      I bet it would be awesome on a baked potato!

  10. January 10, 2014 at 2:15 PM #

    Mmm I love broccoli soup! And ever since I went to Boudin’s in San Francisco, I’ve been obsessed with bread bowls. Have you ever had one from there? Omg so good. I think you can order them online

    • January 10, 2014 at 4:01 PM #

      I’ve never been to Boudin’s or San Fran! Would love to try it, though!

  11. January 10, 2014 at 2:30 PM #

    I used to always order broccoli cheese soup when I was younger … always! This sounds delicious – so thick and creamy and comforting. It’s been rainy and dreary all day – I’d love a bowl of this!

    • January 10, 2014 at 4:00 PM #

      I have always loved it, too. There’s just something about broccoli cheese soup!

  12. Missy
    January 10, 2014 at 3:39 PM #

    Thanks Ash. I think most the fat in the soup is “good” fat anyway, and it actually was able to be eaten on our restrictive diet. You can even eliminate the flour and use a starch as a thickener if you are going gluten free. I love the bread bowls though!

    • January 10, 2014 at 4:00 PM #

      I agree, Missy! Thanks for introducing me to this soup 🙂

  13. January 10, 2014 at 4:05 PM #

    That looks so comforting! I love bread bowls…like way too much.

    • January 10, 2014 at 4:11 PM #

      Me too!!! They MAKE the meal 🙂

  14. January 10, 2014 at 9:55 PM #

    I’ve always wanted to go to Panera and try their soup and bread… but this soup sounds sooooo delicious! Maybe I don’t have to go to Panera after all. 😀

    • January 10, 2014 at 10:02 PM #

      This is just as good- I promise!

  15. January 11, 2014 at 1:24 AM #

    My favorite soup! I HAVE to try this 🙂

  16. January 11, 2014 at 1:31 AM #

    YUM! I definitely remember having Panera’s broccoli cheddar soup and wishing that my bowl would magically re-fill itself! This looks so delicious and I love that you cut the fat content down.

  17. January 12, 2014 at 12:55 PM #

    I LOVE broccoli cheese soup, but I haven’t tried Panera’s (because it’s not vegetarian). Who needs it when there’s tasty recipes to make at home, though!

    • January 12, 2014 at 1:32 PM #

      You can definitely make this with vegetable broth! I personally have had this soup made with the vegetable broth and it was JUST as good!

  18. January 12, 2014 at 3:27 PM #

    This is such a GOOD idea.. I love it and I´m defitely going to try to make it this winter 🙂
    Hope you had (or having) a good weekend!! Xx

  19. January 12, 2014 at 3:59 PM #

    Love the bread bowls! I haven’t had this soup before, but it looks delish. Definitely something I should try. Thanks so much!

  20. January 13, 2014 at 6:46 PM #

    I love cheddar-broccoli soup in a bread bowl! This looks delicious! I, too, made a “knock-off” version of Panera’s soup and this recipe is very similar. I think the nutmeg makes all the difference. It’s really good!

    • January 13, 2014 at 11:47 PM #

      I thought it turned out so good! Thanks! I agree with you about the nutmeg…

  21. January 14, 2014 at 9:17 PM #

    I must be missing out not having had this soup at Panera before because I’ve heard about it a few times now. I love a good make-at-home and looks like you nailed it.

    • January 14, 2014 at 9:58 PM #

      Thank you, Monica!!

  22. January 14, 2014 at 10:50 PM #

    The idea of recreating Panera-style broccoli cheese soup in my own kitchen has me super excited. It’s been cold and nasty here all day…I’d love to have a bowl of this right now! Pinned! 🙂

    • January 14, 2014 at 10:59 PM #

      WOW! Thank you soo much, Christina!

  23. January 15, 2014 at 11:32 AM #

    I love panera’s soup! This looks great!

    • January 15, 2014 at 12:38 PM #

      Thank you thank you!!

  24. January 15, 2014 at 3:18 PM #

    Oooh, this looks so creamy and comforting. Just the thing to beat the winter blues. I used to eat broccoli soup all the time but haven’t had it in ages. Now I’m craving it!

    • January 15, 2014 at 5:37 PM #

      Time to change that! LOL

  25. January 16, 2014 at 8:47 PM #

    Oh wow! It looks so thick and delicious! I’m a big fan of everything at Panera 🙂

    • January 16, 2014 at 11:30 PM #

      Me too! It’s my fave lunch spot

  26. January 17, 2014 at 4:25 AM #

    Have a great day ahead,regards.

    • January 17, 2014 at 3:30 PM #

      Thanks, you too!

  27. January 20, 2014 at 12:50 AM #

    What a great looking soup, Ashley! I love the Panera soup. One day I vow to be able to make an exact replicate of it! Ha, me and probably thousands of other people. 🙂

    • January 20, 2014 at 1:46 AM #

      Yes wouldn’t that be awesome!!

  28. tracey
    February 12, 2014 at 7:04 PM #

    Very stupid question (please excuse me Im Australian) what is half and half cream? Is that half cream and half milk?

    • February 13, 2014 at 2:37 AM #

      Yes! Exactly! And that is not a stupid question at all!!

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