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Broccoli Cheddar Soup – Even Better Than Panera Bread’s Famous Soup!

On a cold, blustery day, there is nothing that can satisfy the soul more than a hot bowl of soup, including this Broccoli Cheddar Soup.

As much as I love a healthy bowl of Chicken Soup or a comforting bowl of Potato Soup, this soup is one of my favorites!

Bits of broccoli and shredded carrots floating in a creamy cheese sauce that is seasoned to perfection. In fact, I have been told that it is even better than Panera Bread’s soup!

But best of all, it is easy to make, and it is much healthier than the soup that you could purchase at your favorite restaurant or grocery store.

broccoli cheddar soup
A delicious bowl of homemade broccoli cheddar soup! It is not only healthier, but it tastes even better than your favorite restaurant’s soup!

Broccoli Cheddar Soup Recipe

INGREDIENT LIST

  • Unsalted butter
  • Small sweet yellow onion
  • Garlic clove
  • All-purpose flour
  • Chicken stock
  • Half-and-half
  • Broccoli florets
  • Shredded carrots
  • Salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • Smoked paprika
  • Dry mustard powder
  • Cayenne pepper, optional
  • Freshly grated extra-sharp Cheddar cheese

Optional Broccoli Cheddar Soup Garnish Ingredients

  • Fresh grated extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
  • Croutons
  • Diced green onions
  • Bacon bits

INSTRUCTIONS

The first step in making this soup is to melt the butter in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat.

Once the butter has melted add the the diced onion and then saute until tender. The onions will become translucent and opaque in approximately 4-5 minutes. Then turn the heat off of the burner, but keep the pot in place.

Add the minced garlic and stir with the onions for 1 minute. Although the stove is turned off, the pot will have enough heat to make the garlic fragrant.

Then transfer the onion and garlic mixture to a bowl and set aside.

onions in dutch oven
After you saute the onions, turn off the heat and add the garlic. The heat of the pan will bring out all the flavors of the garlic without making it bitter tasting.

Add the remaining butter to the same pot that the onions and garlic were in and allow it to melt over medium heat.

Then add the flour and continue to cook over medium heat for about 3 to 5 minutes, whisking constantly, until flour is absorbed and the mixture is thickened.

Slowly add the chicken stock to the pot and whisk until no more clumps of flour are visible. Then slowly pour in the half-and-half and whisk until well incorporated.

The half-and-half is what makes this broccoli cheddar soup so creamy. However, if needed you could use whole or 2% milk instead.

Allow the mixture to simmer over low heat, stirring frequently for 20 minutes, or until it has reduced and thickened.

Next add the finely chopped broccoli, shredded carrots, and the cooked onion and garlic back into the pot.

Then add the salt, pepper, smoked paprika, dry mustard powder, and cayenne pepper (if using). Stir to combine.

Cayenne Pepper

*Just a note on the cayenne pepper. If you add just a small dash it will only intensify the flavor of the other ingredients in the soup and not add heat.

However, if you would like to add a little extra heat to your broccoli cheddar soup, feel free to add 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon of the cayenne pepper powder.

finely diced broccoli
For the ease of eating, I prefer to chop the broccoli into fine pieces. It also decreases the amount of time that the soup needs to simmer on the stove.

Let the pot continue to simmer, stirring frequently, for 15-20 minutes, or until the broccoli and carrots are tender. The larger the pieces, the more time is required for the vegetables to become soft.

After simmering, stir in the fresh grated cheese until melted and incorporated. It is important to use fresh grated cheese in order for it to melt properly.

Shredded store-bought cheese has an anti-caking agent applied to it during packaging and does not melt well. Therefore, purchase a block of extra sharp cheddar cheese and use a food processor or cheese grater instead.

Once the cheese has melted and the soup is ready to serve. Although this soup is delicious as is, feel free to add a few toppings if desired.

Suggested toppings for broccoli cheddar soup: croutons, bacon bits, extra shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese, diced green onions.

And as always, you can’t have soup without a little bread. I love to serve this soup with my Texas Roadhouse Copycat Rolls or a slice of homemade French Bread.

Store any leftovers in an air tight container in the refrigerator for 5-6 days.

broccoli cheddar soup
It is important to use fresh grated cheddar cheese in this recipe so that the cheese melts properly.

Enjoy! Mary

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Yield: 6 servings

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

broccoli cheddar soup

Creamy broccoli and cheddar soup that tastes even better than any restaurant's soup! The perfect comfort food meal on a cold day!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes

Ingredients

  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 small sweet yellow onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 2 cups broccoli florets, finely diced
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard powder
  • pinch cayenne pepper, optional
  • 8 ounces freshly grated extra-sharp Cheddar cheese,

Optional Garnish Ingredients

  • Fresh grated extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
  • Croutons
  • Bacon bits

Instructions

  1. In a large stockpot or Dutch oven, add 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat. Once the butter has melted add the the diced onion and saute until tender, about 4-5 minutes. Turn the heat off.
  2. Add the minced garlic and stir with the onions for 1 minute. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and set aside.
  3. Add the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter to the same pot and allow it to melt. Then add the flour and continue to cook over medium heat for about 3 to 5 minutes, whisking constantly, until flour is absorbed and the mixture is thickened.
  4. Slowly add the chicken stock to the pot and whisk constantly until no more clumps are visible.
  5. Slowly pour in the half-and-half and whisk until well incorporated.
  6. Allow the mixture to simmer over low heat, stirring frequently for 20 minutes, or until it has reduced and thickened.
  7. Add the broccoli, carrots, cooked onion and garlic back into the pot.
  8. Add the salt, pepper, smoked paprika, dry mustard powder, and cayenne pepper (if using). Stir to combine.
  9. Let the pot continue to simmer, stirring frequently, for 15-20 minutes, or until the broccoli and carrots are tender. The larger the pieces, the more time is required for the vegetables to become tender.
  10. After simmering, stir in the fresh grated cheese until melted and incorporated. It is important to use fresh grated cheese in order for it to melt properly.
  11. Serve warm and garnish with desired toppings.
  12. Store in an air tight container in the refrigerator for 5-6 days.

Notes

To make this soup vegetarian substitute vegetable stock in place of the chicken stock.

Recipe provided by Make Your Meals

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6

Serving Size:

1 cup

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 455Total Fat: 34gSaturated Fat: 20gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 98mgSodium: 784mgCarbohydrates: 20gFiber: 3gSugar: 7gProtein: 18g

Nutritional Information is to be used as a general guideline only . Nutritional calculations will vary from the types and brands of the products used.

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