Next time you get that soup craving, just make it at home.
If there’s one soup I crave as we get closer to fall, it’s a good broccoli cheddar soup. For some reason the combination of creamy broth, fresh broccoli and cheddar cheese really hits home for me. I have zero problem making an entire meal out of a soup like this.
One place that makes a very good broccoli cheddar soup is Panera Bread™—it’s one of my favorite things on their menu. So of course, I had to try recreating it at home. I don’t know exactly how they make it, but this from-scratch version is pretty darn close! If you’re a fellow fan of Panera’s broccoli cheddar soup, you’ll want to make this all season long.
Grab a spoon and dig in!
Obviously, to make a broccoli cheddar soup, you need a lot of broccoli. Use fresh broccoli for this and be sure to peel and use the stems as well as the florets. The stems have a lot of flavor and it’s a shame to just toss them.
To start the soup, melt some butter in a large pot over medium heat and add a diced onion. Cook until the onion turns translucent, just a few minutes.
Then add the flour to the pot and stir it together to form a roux. This will make the final soup really nice and thick.
Next, whisk in the cream and broth slowly to avoid forming lumps. The broth might seem a little thin now, but it will thicken as it cooks. Once all the liquid is whisked in, add in the all the broccoli and carrots. (Yes, carrots! They add a little sweetness to the soup. Don’t skip them!)
Bring soup to a very light simmer and turn your heat down to low to avoid burning the soup. Cover and let it simmer or about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure it doesn’t burn.
This was my soup after simmering. It already smelled great!
Next, break out your trusty immersion blender to puree the soup right in the pot. Personally, I like to blend my soup so it’s nice and smooth, but you could leave it chunky if you want. You can also do half and half so you still have some chunks. It’s your call!
Whether or not you blend, taste your soup at this point and season it with salt and pepper until you get the flavor that’s just right for you. It’ll probably need a good pinch of both. Then add all the cheddar cheese!
I like to serve this soup with a side bread like Pillsbury Crescent rolls for dipping (okay, and cleaning out the bowl).