This Panera broccoli cheese soup recipe combines a crusty bread bowl with melty cheddar cheese, savory chicken broth, cream, and fresh bits of broccoli to create a soup fit for a king or queen. Plus, it's so, so easy to make. In fact, this copycat Panera broccoli cheddar soup takes only 10 minutes to prepare!
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The Best Panera Broccoli Cheese Soup
I can't think of a more comforting meal than soup. And, honestly, whenever I'm craving soup, the first thing I think of is broccoli cheddar soup. More specifically I'm thinking about the broccoli cheddar soup from Panera Bread. It's just always so creamy and so flavorful and leaves me satisfied every time.
If you've ever had it, you know what I mean, and you're going to be blown away with this copycat version of their famous soup. I'm telling you this copycat recipe nails the flavor perfectly - you'll see what I mean when you take your first bite.
I mean, what's better than a super creamy and cheesy soup served in a bread bowl?! The answer is nothing, my friends. Nothing!
Seriously, the whole family will absolutely adore this warm and comforting homemade soup. And you'll never guess just how easy it is to make this copycat Panera broccoli cheese soup. Honestly, it only takes 10 minutes to prep the soup. Really all you have to do is cook and mix everything together in a pot and then pour all of that yummy cheese soup deliciousness into a hollowed-out bread bowl.
By the way, if you want the full Panera experience, you can make your own "you pick 2" meal at home by making this Panera Bread sierra turkey sandwich to go with the soup. We always seem to make the 2 together at our house, and it's a hit every time.
It may come as a surprise, but this Panera broccoli cheese soup recipe is actually made with super simple ingredients. In fact, you probably have everything you need at home to make it already!
Anyway, here's what you'll need to make broccoli cheddar soup:
- 4 tbsp butter
- 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
- ¼ cup all purpose flour
- 1 ¾ cup chicken broth or stock (or vegetable broth)
- 2 cups half and half cream
- 3 cups broccoli florets, cut into bite-size pieces
- 1 cup diced carrots
- Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 cups cheddar cheese, finely grated
- Crusty bread bowl, to serve in (optional)
See what I mean? Super simple stuff, right?!
By the way, you can use a lot of these same ingredients to make this chicken divan casserole recipe as well. So, if you love broccoli and cheese recipes as much as I do you'll definitely want to give that a shot sometime.
Ingredient Substitutions and Modifications
Now, I think this copycat Panera broccoli cheese soup recipe is perfect just how it is, but, with that said, you definitely can make a few adjustments to suit your tastes and preferences, and it'll turn out just as delicious.
First off, this broccoli cheddar soup recipe is made with chicken broth because that's what Panera uses in their soup. But you certainly can use vegetable broth instead to make the soup vegetarian friendly! We've actually made the soup a few times this way for a family member who's vegetarian, and she absolutely devoured it.
As for the half and half cream, if you don't want to use it - or don't have it - you can easily substitute it out with some whole milk and heavy cream. Just replace the 2 cups of half and half cream with 1 ½ cups of whole milk and ½ a cup of heavy cream.
If you're looking to add a kick of heat to this broccoli cheddar soup, my favorite thing to do that with are some red pepper flakes. I usually add a couple of teaspoons into my soup, but you'll want to adjust the amount you use to how much heat you can handle.
Finally, when I think of Panera's broccoli cheese soup, I think of their delicious bread bowls. Of course, this recipe suggests serving the soup in a crusty bread bowl just as the original is served. However, you can totally serve it in a regular bowl. The soup will be just as delicious if you do!
How to Make Panera Broccoli Cheese Soup
Now, I mentioned before that this copycat Panera broccoli cheese soup recipe is so simple to make, and I wasn't kidding. All you have to do is cook the onion, boil the chopped vegetables, blend those together, and then cook all of that veggie deliciousness with some cheese.
Honestly, it's a fail-proof 4-step process. Whether this is your thousandth time making soup from scratch or your first, I guarantee you'll end up with a delicious soup tonight!
Anyway, let's not waste any more time and get cooking!
Step 1: Cook The Onions
First, you'll cook the onions to give the soup some flavor.
So, to do that, you'll want to take out a large pot, put it over medium-high heat, and melt the butter in it. Then, once the butter is melted, you can add the minced onions and cook them for about 5 minutes or until the onions are translucent and tender. Next, you'll want to add the flour to the pot and cook it - stirring frequently - until the flour has turned a light tan or blonde color.
Step 2: Cook The Broccoli and Carrots
So, now that the onions and flour are combined, you can slowly whisk in the chicken broth - or chicken stock - and half and half into the pot. Then, you'll want to bring that to a boil and carefully add in the chopped broccoli and carrots and give everything a stir.
Now, once you've got that up to a boil, you can reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer the soup for about 20 minutes - or until the broccoli is fork-tender.
Step 3: Blend The Soup
Once the vegetables are cooked and tender, you can transfer half of the soup to a blender and blend the soup until smooth. You can also blend half of the soup in a separate saucepot with an immersion blender if you have one.
Step 4: Serve The Soup
Finally, it's time to add all of that cheesy goodness to the soup.
So, to do that, you'll want to pour the blended soup back into the large pot, add the cheddar cheese into it, and then stir everything up until the cheese has melted. Also, just so you know, the soup should be hot enough that the cheese melts without the heat on. However, if it's not melting, just turn the heat back on to low, and you should be good to go.
Anyway, once the cheese has melted, you can ladle the soup into a couple of bowls or into your prepared bread bowl.
To finish up, serve garnish with some more shredded cheddar cheese on top, and enjoy!
How to Store Broccoli Cheddar Soup
This recipe for Panera's broccoli cheddar soup makes 4 servings. So, it really makes the perfect amount for a family dinner. You might even get lucky and end up with some leftovers!
Speaking of leftovers, if you end up with some, you can store the cooled soup in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. And if you want to keep the soup for longer, you can freeze it for up to 3 months.
How to Reheat Broccoli Cheddar Soup
Once you're ready to enjoy this absolutely delicious soup again, you'll definitely want to reheat it. The quickest way to reheat this broccoli cheddar soup is to scoop it into a microwave-safe bowl and microwave it for about 1-2 minutes or until it reaches your desired temperature. If it's still not heated through, heat it in 15-second increments, stirring between each until it's warmed to your preference.
If you want to reheat more than one serving of soup, you can transfer it to a large pot and warm it on the stovetop over medium heat - stirring frequently - until it's hot.
Wrapping It Up
Well, that's how to make Panera's broccoli cheddar soup at home in just a few simple steps!
I know I'm biased, but this has to be the best broccoli cheddar soup recipe out there. I mean, it's just so luxuriously rich and creamy, it's loaded with veggies, and every slurp is packed with flavor.
Honestly, this copycat Panera broccoli cheddar soup is truly irresistible, and I think you'll be surprised by how similar it is to the one actually from Panera.
In fact, I think it might be even better! Well, at least my family thinks so since we make this recipe all the time.
Anyway, I hope you and your family love this recipe as much as we do! As always, if you give this recipe a try, let us know how it goes in the comments below.
More Copycat Recipes
If you loved this copycat Panera soup recipe, we have a ton of other easy copycat recipes on the blog that I think you'll like just as much!
Here are some reader favorites:
- Outback mac and cheese
- Cracker Barrel hashbrown casserole
- Wendy's chili
- Olive Garden chicken alfredo
- Chick-Fil-A chicken noodle soup
The BEST Copycat Panera Broccoli Cheese Soup (Prepped In 10 Minutes)
This Panera broccoli cheese soup is an explosion of flavor. It has a rich and creamy base with melty cheese and bits of broccoli in each bite. What's not to love about that? And the best part is this Panera broccoli cheddar soup only takes 10 minutes to prepare!
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 4 servings 1x
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Panera Bread
4 tbsp butter
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
¼ cup all purpose flour
1 ¾ cup chicken broth or stock (or vegetable broth)
2 cups half and half cream
3 cups broccoli florets, cut into bite-size pieces
1 cup diced carrots
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
2 cups cheddar cheese, finely grated
Crusty bread bowl to serve in (optional)
- Melt butter in a saucepot over medium-high heat.
- Add onions and cook, stirring for 5 minutes.
- Add flour and cook until the flour is somewhat like a peanut butter color.
- Pour in chicken stock and half cream.
- Bring to a boil and stir in broccoli and carrots.
- Reduce heat and simmer until the broccoli is tender.
- Remove half the soup and add to a food blender, and blend the soup. Or you can blend it in a saucepot with an immersion blender.
- Pour the blended soup pot into the pot of soup and add cheddar cheese.
- Set the soup over the stove and stir, heating until the cheese is melted.
- To serve, ladle soup into bowls, or carve out the middle part of the bread. Remove the center part leaving a ½-inch thick bread shell, and ladle the soup inside the bread.
- Serve garnished with some cheddar cheese on top.
- Serving Size: 1 serving
- Calories: 550
- Fat: 43
- Carbohydrates: 17
- Protein: 22
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