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This Easy Broccoli Cheese Soup comes together in 30 minutes with all REAL ingredients (no Velveeta!) which makes it a simple weeknight dinner that your family will love and you'll feel good about feeding them! And I'm not even exaggerating when I say - this broccoli cheddar soup is BETTER than Panera’s!
You'll Love This
- It's SO simple! This vegetarian broccoli soup is so quick and easy it can be thrown together in a snap on a weeknight AND chances are good you'll have most of the ingredients in your fridge already! If you've been around here a while, you know how much I love an easy soup recipe. Whether it's Creamy Chickpea Gnocchi, Vegan Chickpea White Chili, or Lentil Tortilla Soup, simple soups are perfect for meatless Monday or just a quick weeknight dinner!
- There's no Velveeta in this recipe! Just REAL ingredients; you know - veggies, cheese, and cream! You can still get that super creamy, luxurious texture without using pasteurized cheese product!
- It's filled with fresh broccoli but it's disguised in this creamy, cheesy delicious soup! If you're looking for a way to get your kids to eat more veggies, try this soup! If there's no way your kids are eating bite-size pieces of broccoli, give it a quick whiz in the blender (or with an immersion blender) so the broccoli is all minced up and barely recognizable!
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Butter - you could use olive oil if you don’t have butter on hand, but the flavor will NOT be the same. Butter is used in this recipe to combine with flour and help make the soup thick, but it also adds a ton of flavor!
- Yellow onion - white onion would work also but I wouldn’t recommend red onion for this recipe
- Sliced carrot - you could use a cup of matchstick carrots which would save you a bit of prep time!
- Sliced celery - if you don’t have celery, try adding a bit of extra carrot or broccoli
- Cloves of garlic - feel free to sub a ½-1 teaspoon of garlic powder if you don’t have fresh garlic on hand, however, fresh garlic will give you the best flavor!
- Ground mustard - also called mustard powder. I realize this isn’t something that everyone has in their pantry. You could sub 2 teaspoons of regular yellow mustard or Dijon mustard in place of the mustard powder in this soup. It may seem like an unusual ingredient but it really elevates the other flavors.
- Cayenne pepper - don’t worry, just a pinch won’t make your broccoli cheese soup spicy, but it will give the soup more flavor overall. If this isn’t something that you normally have in your pantry, just omit it.
- Fresh broccoli - I like to use fresh broccoli for this recipe instead of frozen. I prefer the flavor that fresh broccoli gives and I use the entire head of broccoli including the stalk. Just make sure you thinly slice the stalk or dice it into small pieces because it takes a bit longer to cook than the florets.
- Flour - this helps to thicken the soup. It cooks with the butter and then combines with the vegetable broth to make a creamy base for the soup. If you prefer not to use flour, you could add a cornstarch slurry in its place.
- Vegetable broth - if you like a SUPER thick and creamy soup, try adding just 3 cups of veggie broth. If you want to stretch the soup a little further, try adding 5 cups of broth.
- Heavy cream - this ingredient is pretty much a non-negotiable for me. However, whole milk or half and half would give you a similar texture if you don’t have heavy cream on hand. Just use ½ a cup instead of ¾ of a cup if you’re using whole milk/half and half.
- Sharp cheddar cheese - while sharp cheddar is pretty strong on its own, it really gives this soup the most perfect cheesy flavor. Mild cheddar or other kinds of cheese will likely be too bland to stand up to the other ingredients in this soup. Extra sharp white cheddar would also work!
- White wine vinegar - wait, what? White wine vinegar in a soup? Yes, friends. If you’re new around here, I LOOOOOVE to add a splash of vinegar at the end of all my creamy soups. It just takes every flavor to another level. Trust me!
- Salt & pepper - don’t forget to moderately salt and pepper your soup throughout the cooking process and then give it a final salt and pepper at the end!
Add remaining butter, garlic, ground mustard, cayenne, broccoli, and a couple pinches of salt and pepper and cook for about 5 minutes.
Cook, stirring frequently for 1 minute.
Add vegetable broth along with a couple pinches of salt and pepper.
Reduce heat to low and simmer for 6-8 minutes or until broccoli and carrots are cooked through and tender.
Remove from heat and stir in cream, shredded cheese, and vinegar until cheese melts.
Season to taste with salt and pepper and enjoy!
- Buy a block of cheese and shred it yourself. Pre-shredded cheeses are coated with cellulose to help the shreds not stick together. This also means that it won't melt as well. I've often found that buying cheese in blocks is cheaper than pre-shredded too!
Making any soup from scratch can sound daunting, but making broccoli cheddar soup is actually a pretty simple, straight-forward process! You'll saute veggies in butter, add some flour, and then broth. Simmer until the veggies are tender, then stir in heavy cream and sharp cheddar. How easy is that?
The combination of butter and flour in this recipe is what makes it so thick and creamy! Melted butter mixed with flour is called a roux. This is the base that is used to thicken numerous soups and sauces in cooking.
Some recipes require you to remove the sauteed veggies and then create the roux. But after testing the recipe both ways, I found that it made no difference in the end product if I added the roux ingredients right in with the veggies.
- This cheesy broccoli soup is the PERFECT make-ahead meal and it will stay fresh in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week!
- Because of the roux and the cheese, this soup thickens up considerably as it cools. If you're planning to reheat it at a later date, just make sure you add a splash or two of milk or broth as you heat it.
- Whenever I loosen up a soup with milk or another liquid, I always compensate for the dilution of flavor by adding a few big pinches of salt and a little more pepper.
- Along the same lines, whenever you're reheating any leftovers, it's a great idea to season to taste with salt and pepper as the flavors do change over time.
Freezing Broccoli Cheese Soup
- This soup freezes fabulously! It will stay good in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months. I like to thaw it in the fridge overnight the day before I plan to reheat it. Once the soup is thawed, it will be easier to reheat evenly.
- As mentioned above, in regards to reheating you'll definitely have to stir in some additional milk to loosen up the thickened soup.
Easy Vegetarian Soups
- Vegan Wild Rice Soup
- Easy Mushroom Lentil Stew
- Vegan White Chickpea Chili
- Creamy Vegan Lentil Tortilla Soup
- Creamy Vegan Tomato Soup
- Creamy Chickpea Gnocchi Soup
This recipe was originally posted in September of 2017. It was updated in January of 2020 to include process shots and more tips and details on how to make this delicious family favorite soup.