Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Creamy Broccoli Cheese Soup

One of our favorite places to eat as a family is Panera Bread.

Because we love the bagels. And, because we love the Broccoli Cheese soup.
This soup tastes very much like the Broccoli Cheese soup at Panera. My husband thinks it's better. It's creamy, cheesy, and savory.

I have been making various versions of this recipe for many years. But, I have changed it and adapted it over time, and I don't think I can improve on it any further. So, I'm finally ready to share it.

I would say this soup is a cross between a Broccoli Cheese soup and a Cream of Broccoli soup. The cheese is not overpowering; hence the name: Creamy Broccoli Cheese Soup. You can add more cheese if you like, in fact, you can double it.
Mmmm. Cheese.

This recipe is very adaptable to your tastes. Add more spices, omit the carrots and onions - it's totally up to you! And, you can control how chunky or smooth you want the broccoli - break it up to your desired consistency.

*There is one thing you need to remember when making this recipe: Keep some chicken stock next to the pot. Cream soups can be tricky in that they can get too thick very quickly. They can be finicky like that. Adding a cup of chicken stock if the soup starts to get too thick will thin it out perfectly.

But, this recipe is easy. Very, very easy to make.

And, my kiddos love this soup! It's one of only two ways I can get them to eat broccoli - in this soup, and covered with homemade cheese sauce. (This was one of the days that we stayed in pajamas all day. That is the norm around here. We love staying in pajamas!)

So, grab your favorite soup pot, and a loaf of your favorite bread (or bake fresh, Homemade Beer Bread), and make this Creamy Broccoli Cheese Soup.

It's such a great fall dinner.

So warm. So comforting. And, so good!

Creamy Broccoli Cheese Soup

1 pound of fresh broccoli florets (you can also use frozen)
4 tablespoons butter
1 carrot, finely chopped
1/2 onion, finely chopped
6 cups chicken stock, divided (I use chicken bouillon and water)
1/2 cup flour or corn starch
3 cups half and half or whole milk
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
8 ounces cheese, shredded (I prefer Monterey Jack and cheddar, but you can use any type of cheese or blend of cheeses you like)

Melt butter in a soup pot over medium heat. Add onions and carrots and saute for 5-6 minutes, or until onions and carrots are tender.

Add 2 cups of chicken stock to the pot and heat until boiling. Add broccoli and put lid on pot. Steam broccoli with the carrots and onions for 5-6 minutes in the chicken broth until the broccoli is tender. Using a spatula or spoon, break up broccoli into small pieces. Reduce heat to low.

Add remaining chicken stock. Mix flour and half and half in a small bowl or measuring cup with a whisk until smooth. Add half and half/flour mixture to the pot. Add garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Continue cooking over low heat until soup thickens - about 5-6 minutes.

Add cheese, handfuls at a time, and stir constantly over low heat until smooth and creamy - about 10 minutes. If soup becomes too thick, add additional chicken stock.
Serve immediately. (This recipe makes 8 generous servings. This feeds my family for two nights.)


*You can add more cheese to this soup if you like a cheesier soup. Just increase the amount of chicken stock as needed.

*Also, this recipe can be made gluten free by using corn starch instead of flour as the thickener.


  1. Oh, yummy!

    btw ... I think fresh veggies is the way to go (or at least freeze fresh veggies yourself, rather than buy prepackaged variety). I find that prepackaged frozen veggies sometimes have a funny taste and texture.

    If anyone knows of a good brand of prepackaged frozen veggies, please share.

  2. JM - I agree with you about the funny taste/texture of frozen veggies. So, I always use fresh broccoli for this recipe. (Would also LOVE to know if y'all have a favorite brand of frozen!)

  3. Ah, if only Brett liked broccoli...and Elizabeth weren't allergic to milk!! I should make this for myself sometime, though. I'm terrible about never making stuff that only I will eat - this would be a great lunch for me! I love broccoli soup - or broccoli ANYTHING, for that matter. Thanks for sharing!


    P.S. I'm not a fan of frozen veggies either, but Trader Joe's frozen broccoli is great (for those fortunate enough to have TJ's nearby).

  4. MB,

    I miss TJ's. We don't have one here, and I miss it terribly! (especially the Chai - best stuff ever!)

  5. I have a huge bag of fresh broccoli in my fridge that I picked up in a Costco frenzy this past Saturday. (I admit I get carried away at Costco.) Looks like I've found a way to use some of it!

  6. DelKee,

    That's *exactly* what I bought this weekend at Costco - same bag. I love having all that fresh broccoli in my house to use all week long!

  7. Definitely a favorite soup here in our house. I was just laughing with Marc a month or two ago, as we were sitting in Panera, about how much our girls love Broccoli Soup. They think Panera is the best! Kate begs for broccoli.

    I always buy BJ's frozen veggies and have never had a problem. Their spinach is better than most also, and that is a must in our house!

  8. Oh my heavens...you're killing me with your food recipes! So yummy. It's like you can read my mind. I just was thinking this morning, what I should make for dinner tonight, and then was looking at a whole bag of broccoli that I have, wondering what I could make with it-- Thank you! p.s. I hope you don't mind, but I linked to your fondue recipe on my blog. I don't really know the blogging etiquette, but I'm sorry I didn't ask first. It was just too good to not share. Love your blog,

  9. Jane,

    You are always welcome to link to my recipes - you never have to ask. I love it that you're sharing them with others - it's one of the things that's so great about blogging - the community it creates. :)

  10. This recipe makes this lactose intolerant woman cry... time to get more of those pills so I can eat like a whole person again.

  11. I have a similar version of this recipe that we LOVE! I'll have to change it up and try this one.

  12. a new favorite in our house. we all loved it and it was so EASY! thanks!

  13. I made this for our tailgate last weekend. I'm no cook but I had everyone singing my praises! Thank you so much for helping those of us who are less fortunate in the culinary skils seem like we know what we're doing! It was fantastic and so simple but simply delicious!

  14. can't believe I never commented on this when I totally stuck it in the back of my mind to make sometime... and that sometime is going to be today. My kids aren't soup eaters, but lately, they've been loving broccoli (as it makes their ears taste bad for 2 whole days) sooo... we're going to give it a try... serving nuggets too on the side. I've been talking it up all day and my 3 yr old is quite excited!

  15. ok, Scott, was really Crystal from LifeAtTheCircus... was logged in as him and didn't realize... ooops!