One of the things I love to do when it’s chilly outside is indulge in a warm bowl of creamy soup. And when it comes to comfort in a bowl, Panera’s broccoli cheddar soup is right at the top of my list. There’s something about that rich, velvety texture and the perfect blend of broccoli and cheddar that just hits the spot and warms you from the inside out. But if you’re anything like me, you don’t always want to go out to have that same yummy experience. That’s why I’m going to share my favorite Panera Broccoli Cheddar Soup copycat recipe! You can recreate the best broccoli cheddar soup recipe you’ve ever tasted right in your own home.
Panera Broccoli Cheddar Soup Copycat Recipe
Here’s a list of the broccoli cheddar soup ingredients you’ll need to make your own pot of tasty goodness:
- Olive oil: This is where the magic begins—a drizzle (or generous pour) of olive oil sets the stage for a delicious soup journey.
- Medium onion, chopped: The aromatic base of our soup! Sautéed onions add the perfect hint of sweetness and depth of flavor to this broccoli soup recipe.
- 2-4 cups chicken or vegetable stock: I’m using chicken stock, but feel free to use whatever works best for your dietary needs. Whichever you choose, it’s the foundational element that gives the soup its heartiness.
- White pepper: This ingredient adds a gentle, subtle heat to the soup without overpowering it. And it prevents you from having black specks in your soup.
- Garlic powder: A sprinkle of this magical powder brings in that comforting and familiar taste of garlic in every spoonful.
- Garlic salt: To enhance the flavors, add a pinch of this! Trust me, it goes a long way.
- 3 cups frozen or fresh broccoli: The star of the show that gives the soup that signature wholesome, earthy taste.
- 1 cup chopped carrots: I love how this veggie adds a touch of natural sweetness and a pop of color.
- 2 cups half & half or heavy cream: This simple touch adds that creamy, luscious texture to the soup making it feel luxurious and indulgent.
- Velveeta Block Cheese, cut up: The secret to the smooth, velvety consistency that makes every spoonful a delight.
- 1-2 cups of shredded mild cheddar cheese: Adding shredded mild cheddar enhances the flavor profile and gives you that extra cheesy goodness.
Now that you’ve gathered your ingredients, get ready to make the best fall soup recipe that you’ll want to eat over and over again for the entire season.
Ingredients sorted, broccoli prepped, and apron on—now we’re all set to dive into the cooking process. Let’s bring this easy broccoli cheddar soup recipe to life! Here are step-by-step instructions.
- Prep The Ingredients:
- Chop your carrots.
- If you’re using fresh broccoli, cut it into medium-sized pieces.
- Dice your onion.
- Cut up your Velveeta cheese.
- Heat The Pan:
- Grab your favorite Dutch oven. (I’ll talk about the one I use a little later.)
- Turn the heat to medium-high.
- Drizzle in the olive oil and coat the bottom of the pot.
- Sauté The Veggies:
- Once the oil is heated, add the onion and cook for 3–4 minutes, or until softened and light gold.
- Add your carrots and cook them for roughly 3–4 minutes, or until softened.
- Add Remaining Ingredients:
- Pour in the chicken stock and broccoli florets.
- Stir in the half & half and the cheese, and simmer until the cheese is melted.
- Bring the ingredients to a boil and add seasoning.
- Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes or until the broccoli and carrots are cooked through.
- Taste your soup and adjust your seasoning as needed.
- Serve And Enjoy:
- Serve in your best bowls with a side of toasted crusty bread or a sandwich.
Easy Broccoli Cheddar Soup Tips And Tricks
Why Is My Cheese Clumping In Broccoli Cheddar Soup?
Ah, the infamous cheese clumps in your broccoli cheddar soup. Don’t worry; it happens to the best of us. So, why is your cheese misbehaving and forming those clumps in your otherwise velvety soup? Here’s what’s happening…
First, it’s all about the temperature. Cheese can be a bit finicky when it comes to heat. When added at too high a temperature or to a boiling soup, the proteins in the cheese can get all tangled up and clump together, leading to a not-so-pleasant texture. It’s like cheese throwing a mini tantrum—it prefers to melt slowly and gracefully into the soup, creating that dreamy, creamy blend.
Also, cheese prefers to be friends with a thickener. Imagine the cheese as a little social butterfly at a party (the soup). Without an introduction or a common friend (a thickener like flour or cornstarch), the cheese tends to clump and stick together.
And then there’s the age factor. Older cheese, having more time to develop its flavor and structure, can be a bit more temperamental. Freshly grated cheese or younger cheese tends to blend more smoothly and integrate better into the soup without clumping.
So, to avoid cheese clumping in your broccoli cheddar soup, introduce the cheese gently, let it melt at a low temperature, and maybe introduce a mutual friend like a thickener. Your soup will thank you, and you’ll get to enjoy that smooth, velvety goodness you’ve been dreaming of!
How Can I Thicken My Broccoli Soup?
Broccoli cheddar soup is all about being hearty and satisfying. So, if you’re soup is looking a little too watery for your liking, here are some simple tricks to thicken things up.
One great thickening agent is flour. Mix a little bit of flour with water to create a slurry (it’s just a fancy word for a smooth, runny mixture). Then, gently pour this slurry into your simmering soup, stirring as you go. The flour will instantly thicken the soup and give it that lovely, creamy texture. Another trick is to add potatoes. Chop up some potatoes and drop them in. As they cook, they’ll naturally break down and thicken the soup. Plus, potatoes and broccoli taste great together! (It’s a win-win!) And if you’re looking for a gluten-free option, add cornstarch! Mix a bit of cornstarch with cold water, then pour it into your soup. It works like a charm, thickening the soup without any side effects.
So, next time your broccoli soup needs a little extra love, you’ve got thickening tricks up your sleeve—flour, potatoes, or cornstarch—that can come to the rescue! Your soup will be thicker, heartier, and oh-so-delicious.
Is Frozen Or Fresh Broccoli Better For Soup?
I’m sure everyone has an opinion about which is better for your soup: fresh or frozen broccoli. My choice? Well, I prefer fresh, but they both have their benefits. It just depends on what works best for you. Fresh broccoli, with its vibrant color and crisp texture, can be a bright and flavorful addition to your soup. It holds up well during cooking, adding a nice bite and a burst of color to your bowl.
On the other hand, frozen broccoli, although lacking the same crunch, is incredibly convenient and is often harvested and frozen at its peak, locking in the nutrients. It’s a time-saver and still brings that familiar broccoli taste to your soup. So, whether you’re all about the farm-to-table experience or prefer the ease of prepped veggies, both fresh and frozen broccoli can bring their own kind of goodness to your soup pot. The choice is yours!
How To Make The Best Soup
When it comes to making the best soup, it all begins with the right tools, and for me, the essential starting point is the perfect nonstick pot. One of my all-time favorites in my kitchen arsenal is the trusty Always Pot. This pot is versatile and can be used for a number of dishes, including a cheesy, creamy soup. Its nonstick surface is a game-changer, making sure ingredients sauté beautifully and nothing sticks, allowing for easy stirring and hassle-free cleanup.
It’s not just about ease of use. The even heat distribution ensures that each ingredient gets the attention it deserves, letting flavors meld together to create that perfect, comforting bowl of soup. The right pot truly sets the stage for a stress-free cooking experience, helping you deliver the best soup possible.
Now, it’s your turn to give this copycat recipe of Panera’s famous broccoli cheddar soup to your loved ones. Remember, beyond the ingredients and steps, it’s about infusing your heart into the process. Just like the warmth of a good soup, let your love and passion for cooking simmer through every stir, infusing the dish with that special ingredient that makes it uniquely yours.
With your favorite pot in hand and the freshest ingredients at play, may your rendition of this classic soup not only be delicious but a reminder of the care and creativity you pour into every meal. Here’s to creating culinary delights that not only nourish the body but also warm the heart!
Love this post? Here is an easy white chicken chili recipe!