Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Are you familiar with Panera’s Broccoli Cheddar soup? Well, I used to be.  I got it every time I went to Panera (usually in bread boule).  The stuff is amazing, isn’t it?  But, unfortunately, it’s not vegetarian.  It’s made with a chicken stock base, and therefore I longingly stare at it on the menu and then order something else (the vegetarian options are also great, in my opinion).  So, when I saw that one of my food blogging friends had made the copycat version in her own kitchen, I decided to try a vegetarian twist on it.  I was not disappointed.

I ended up substituting a vegetable stock base, and I increased the vegetable component to make it a little more healthy.  Coming from one of the biggest cheese regions of the country, I pulled out all the stops and used a high-quality sharp cheddar for the cheese (I used Cabot Creamery’s sharp cheddar….my favorite.)  This recipe does make a lot of servings, so if you aren’t planning to either eat it all or freeze it, I would recommend cutting the recipe in half.  My next challenge?  Trying to make the bread boule…….

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Servings: approximately 8 servings


3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 small onion, chopped

1/4 cup flour

1 cup whole milk

1 cup heavy cream

3 cup vegetable broth (plus more if needed)

Pinch nutmeg

2 bay leaves

Salt and pepper, to taste

2 carrots, grated

4 cups broccoli florets

8 ounces sharp cheddar, cubed



1. In a sauté pan over medium-high heat, melt the butter.

2. Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently.

3. Remove the onions from the heat and set aside.

4. In a large Dutch oven or sauce pot over medium heat, whisk together the flour, milk, and cream.**It’s very important to be PATIENT here and whisk continuously.  The mixture will be lumpy, but it will smooth out eventually with the heat.

5. Whisking constantly, add the vegetable broth until smooth.

6. Add the nutmeg, bay leaves, and salt and pepper (to taste) and let the mixture simmer,uncovered, for about 20 minutes.

7. Add the cooked onions, broccoli, and carrot, mixing well.  Let simmer for another 20 minutes.

8.  Add the cheese and stir until completely melted, adding more broth if necessary.


Source: Adapted from Blog is the New Black.


December 5, 2011 - 7:02 am

Blog is the New Black - Oh, yum! How I could use another bowl of this. I like that you didn’t use the processed Velveeta- as delicious as it was… next time I would certainly use a “real” cheese. Good call on upping the veggies, too!

December 5, 2011 - 9:01 am

Melissa @ Kids in the Sink - I am not a big soup person but this looks amazingly good! I make my own veggie broth so I bet that would add a lot of flavor to this dish.

December 5, 2011 - 9:47 am

Tracey - That looks phenomenal!! I love Panera’s broccoli cheddar soup, definitely need to try this one this winter.

December 5, 2011 - 1:18 pm

Ann P. - Just the right bowl of soup for a cold day like this! This has got to be one of my favorite soups, and you make the recipe look so easy, too. 🙂

December 5, 2011 - 3:02 pm

Alice - Looks scrumptious! I am definitely making this soup tonight.

December 5, 2011 - 5:04 pm

Gail - So glad you used our amazing Sharp Cheddar! A comfy soup for this time of year!

December 5, 2011 - 5:41 pm

Laura - Yum! Was trying to come up with something different for the boys and I to have for lunch later in the week. I just happen to have some broccoli leftover from last week that needs to be used to. Perfect, thanks so much for sharing!

December 5, 2011 - 6:06 pm

jennifurla - Oh yes please, this is exactly what I am craving!

December 5, 2011 - 9:00 pm

Amy - I used to LOVE that soup at Panera! The problem? I have been a vegetarian almost my whole life and had NO idea until one day when they took down the “V” next to it that it contained chicken stock. Disappointing. That being said I cannot wait to try this. Thank you!

December 6, 2011 - 11:22 am

Kelsey - This looks wonderful, Shanon. I think I know what we’ll have for dinner Friday night!

December 6, 2011 - 1:24 pm

Nicola @ unhip squirrel - Yumm. Broccoli cheddar soup is such a classic. This looks amazing. Good call on the cheese – that can really make or break a soup like this!

I’m not a vegetarian (though I don’t eat that much meat, especially at home), yet I’m kind of weirded out by vegetable soups that use meat stock. Odd but true!

December 8, 2011 - 1:14 am

Dana - GET OUT OF MY HEAD! The day I discovered that Panera’s broccoli cheddar soup wasn’t vegetarian was one of the worst days of my life. Thank you so much for this! I’ll definitely be making this soon!

December 18, 2011 - 6:14 pm

Laura - Made this today for lunch, and it was delicious! Everyone loved it. Thanks for a winner!

December 21, 2011 - 12:09 pm

Amy - I made this for a family gathering and everyone LOVED it. I finally have one of my favorite soups back!

December 21, 2011 - 3:43 pm

Kim @ Just Baked - This soup was so good and easy to make. I had to do a last minute sub out for the vegetable broth though. I bought the boxed kind, went to use it and the seal was broken open. Ugh. So, I had to make a quick broth of chicken bouillon and water since I was already halfway through the recipe. My kids who are crazy picky both had seconds. Thanks for the great recipe!!

December 22, 2011 - 7:33 pm

Angie - Just made this soup and it’s AWESOME!!!! 🙂

March 3, 2012 - 10:27 pm

Souper, souper, supper! « Sarky Tartlet - […] Broccoli Cheddar Soup […]

April 10, 2012 - 3:48 pm

Chelsey - Made this tonight and it was fantastic. I grated up a bit of cheese and sprinkled it on top. Home made croutons would be good too.

October 1, 2012 - 6:40 pm

vonnie - I made your Broccoli Cheddar soup tonight! It was delicious! Thank-you for the post! I shared the recipe on my facebook page: Maisy’s Pie Company

October 8, 2012 - 2:24 pm

Broccoli Cheddar Soup | Smells Like Brownies - […] from The Curvy Carrot serves […]

November 1, 2012 - 8:19 pm

Kate - thanks for this wonderful recipe. love, love, loved it (and i am terrible in the kitchen!). you’ve restored my favorite soup as i, too, had the vegetarian-panera soup problem. it tastes exactly the same (so why not always use veggie stock?!).

January 10, 2013 - 2:19 pm

Busy busy busy… « wild food swings - […] will give credit where credit is due. It’s a fantastic recipe that my husband came across on The Curvy Carrot. It’s a delicious recipe. The only thing i changed was the method. Instead of stirring my […]

January 28, 2013 - 7:49 pm

Toni - Wonderful recipe. I made it for dinner tonight. It tastes fabulous for being such a simple recipe. I was very impressed. Other soup recipes I’ve gotten off the web usually need a lot of sprucing up – this one did not.

May 3, 2013 - 7:38 am

Healthy Imposters: Part 3 | LiveSimply - […] The Curvy Carrot’s Broccoli Cheese Soup (another one of my favorite soups at Paneral…BRF (Before Real Food) days) […]

May 4, 2013 - 9:23 am

Real Food Meal Plan: May 6-12 | LiveSimply - […] Broccoli cheese soup using chicken broth from freezer in homemade bread bowls (make dough ahead of time and freeze defrost Friday night to cook today) and green salad with homemade dressing   […]

June 3, 2013 - 2:28 am

Dinner Menu for the week of June 3rd | Determining Value - […] Thursday:  Broccoli cheddar soup […]

June 8, 2013 - 10:49 am

Real Food Meal Plan: June 10-16 | LiveSimply - […] in your Mouth Kale SaladBroccoli cheese soup using chicken broth from […]

September 25, 2013 - 2:21 pm

Fall Hit List | von Z is the new black - […] We love this recipe here. […]

November 10, 2013 - 12:30 pm

Mia - How much salt would you recommend? I’m incredibly bad at salting to taste. Please get back to me!

November 10, 2013 - 1:08 pm

srlacy - Hi Mia-

I always start with 1/2 a teaspoon. Remember, you can always salt individual servings, too. Start low…you can always add more. I think 1/2 teaspoon for an entire pot of soup should be ok.

November 23, 2013 - 3:14 pm

Brittney - Just made this.. It was so easy and DELICIOUS. A beautiful recipe. I added jalapenos for a little kick.

December 7, 2013 - 9:19 pm

Emily - Making this right now for tomorrow lunch. One tip. If you mix your flour and milk in an jar and shake it mixes much better and quicker and you don’t have to wisk it to get the lumps out.

April 24, 2014 - 12:38 pm

Broccoli Cheddar Soup | Recipes Home - […] Read all the instructions at […]

January 5, 2015 - 6:45 pm

10 Warm Soups for Chilly Nights - Baking Beauty - […] This Broccoli Cheese Soup is a vegetarian version of […]

January 25, 2015 - 8:03 pm

Amanda - Any suggestions on a substitute for the heavy cream? My tummy can only handle small amounts of dairy, so I can’t have cheese AND heavy cream without ending up in the bathroom (tmi, sorry)
Usually I sub soy milk but I’m assuming it won’t be thick enough, any ideas??

January 25, 2015 - 9:41 pm

Claire - When do you remove the bay leaves?

February 22, 2015 - 3:56 pm

Broccoli-Cheese Soup | Boston Girl Bakes - […] (with cheese of course!) and found a few similar recipes on Annie’s Eat’s blog and The Curvy Carrot.  I adapted to what I had on hand, and lightened it up a bit by reducing the cream, and using […]