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Last updated on May 1st, 2024 at 06:22 pm

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Panera Bread Broccoli Cheddar Soup [VIDEO]

Panera Bread Broccoli Cheddar Soup Copycat is the perfect recipe from your favorite restaurant chain to easily make it at home. This soup is so thick and cheesy, perfectly seasoned, and with the right ratio of broccoli to cheese. You cannot go wrong with this creamy and rich dish, whether you are serving it as a first course, side dish, or main dish.

Panera Bread Broccoli Cheddar Soup

This Copycat Panera Bread Broccoli Cheddar Soup is the homemade version of this delicious recipe I ordered so many times at Panera Bread. With this easy recipe, you can now satisfy your craving anytime you want. Seriously, guys, this is one of the easiest recipes you can make at home.

This great soup is the ultimate comfort food that is hearty and loaded with mouthwatering flavors, while also using everyday ingredients. Not to mention that is affordable and ready in about 30 minutes! My type of an easy dinner for the whole family to enjoy during busy weeknights. 

This broccoli cheddar soup recipe is also loaded with extra cheddar cheese and is very rich and flavorful. The perks of making your soup are you can make it extra, extra cheesy! But don’t worry, it also has broccoli and carrots, so you get a good veggie intake too. That is how I balance all that cheese!

This is one of the most popular soups at Panera Bread. At this point, I have told you many times, that I made it my mission to make at home my favorites from them. This is the fourth recipe in my collection, alongside Panera Bread creamy tomato soup, baked potato soup, and chicken and wild rice soup. Which one is your favorite?

It did not take too long once I figured out the secret ingredients for the perfect cheesy broccoli cheddar soup (nutmeg and heavy cream) and tried different amounts of each ingredient. Now, I think mine is better than theirs.

All you need for this soup is a few ingredients including broccoli, cheese, butter, onion, carrots, cream, broth, and nutmeg. And it is so easy to make, that you can have it done and ready to eat in less than 30 minutes. I told my family we were going to have our Panera Bread soup at home, and they were hesitant at first. But now they agree it is better the way I make it.

I am not sure what I do differently than the restaurant. All I know is that it tastes just like theirs but better. Maybe I use more cheese or maybe they do not use freshly shredded cheese. Either way, if you follow my recipe, you will never have to go to the restaurant for the comfort food you love so much.

You can serve it alone or with a meal, use it as a dip, or add stuff to it to make it heartier. My family loves it when I serve it with my fried mozzarella cheese sticks.

What you’ll need to make Panera Bread broccoli cheese soup:

Special items:

  • Potato masher – For creaming potatoes.
  • Dutch Oven – I use a Le Creuset Dutch oven, but you can use a big pot.
  • Wooden spoon – For stirring your soup and sautéing veggies.


To make this delicious soup, you will only need a handful of ingredients.

  • Broccoli – I use fresh broccoli chopped into small florets.
  • Carrots – One carrot julienned is all I use for just a touch of sweet carrot flavor.
  • Sharp cheddar cheese – I only use freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese for the absolute best flavor with the creamiest texture.
  • Vegetable broth – Perfect for keeping your soup vegetarian and it tastes incredible.
  • Butter – Unsalted butter for sauteing the onion.
  • Onion – A small sweet yellow onion is what I prefer for a bit of a bite and a touch of sweetness. 
  • Flour – To thicken the sauce. All-purpose flour has the best texture with the least flavor added.
  • Heavy cream is an important ingredient for a thick and rich soup base.
  • Nutmeg – For a bit of earthy sweetness.
  • Salt – To enhance the other flavors. 
  • Ground black pepper – Like cheese, I prefer my pepper freshly ground.

How to make Panera Bread broccoli cheese soup?

  1. Saute the onion: First, melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Then, add the diced onion and sauté, stirring, for three to four minutes or until it is translucent. Set it aside for now.
  2. Make the sauce: Now, heat the Dutch oven or pot on medium until it is warm. Add butter and melt before adding the flour. Continue cooking while whisking constantly for three minutes. Keep whisking as you add the chicken broth. Then, add the cream, stir, and let it simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Add veggies: Once the sauce is condensed and thick, add the nutmeg, onion, carrots, and broccoli and stir. Add salt and pepper to taste before cooking on low heat for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Blend it: For extra creamy soup, use a potato masher to mash half of the potatoes and stir it all together to combine. Add cheese and let it melt before serving with extra cheddar cheese and other toppings.

Expert tip

Fresh or pre-shredded cheese

Fresh is always better than store-bought no matter what you are talking about. Especially shredded cheese. Many people still go to the store and buy shredded cheeses instead of making their own. Maybe because they do not have much time, or they think it is too difficult. I am here to tell you; that it is easy, takes just a few minutes, and is worth every bit of that time.

Freshly grated cheddar (or any cheese) has a richer and creamier flavor and texture than pre-shredded. Why go to all the trouble to make something from scratch and then use pre-shredded cheese? Especially when cheese is the main ingredient. You want the highest quality cheese, freshly shredded for the best taste.

Fresh cheese also melts better because the storebought stuff has preservatives and wax to keep it from clumping. And although it may seem less expensive to buy the shredded stuff, you can get a big block of good cheddar cheese that makes eight cups for about $10 but the $8 bag of shredded only makes two cups. You do the math. 

The additives are also quite scary. Pre-shredded cheese may have cellulose powder and natamycin in it as additives. These ingredients have no place in my cheddar broccoli soup or any of my recipes. Cellulose powder is made from wood pulp and natamycin is an antibiotic. Those two are not part of my ingredient list EVER.

Recipe variations and add-ins:

  • More vegetables: Diced bell peppers, sweet corn, chopped cauliflower florets, and minced zucchini can be added for a heartier soup. 
  • Noodles: For even more heartiness, add some egg noodles or another kind of pasta to your soup.
  • Spice up your broccoli cheese soup: Add a little bit of cayenne pepper or chopped jalapenos to your soup for a spicy flavor to kick it.
  • Add some meat: This broccoli cheese soup would be a great hearty dish with chunks of ham, chicken, or turkey in it. You could also top it with bacon crumbles.
  • More cheese: Just because the name says cheddar, that does not mean you cannot use a different kind. You can add mozzarella, pepper jack, Swiss, or shaved parmesan too.
  • No onion: Some people don’t like onions. Go ahead and leave them out if you want to. It will not change the flavor too much.
  • No stove: If you are a student living the van life, or simply do not have access to a stove here is a Crockpot Broccoli Cheese Soup Recipe and Instant Pot Broccoli Cheddar Soup version.

Serving suggestions:

Panera Bread copycat broccoli cheese soup is the perfect appetizer, side dish, or snack. Here are some ideas for serving that I love.

Favorite toppings:

This is the perfect comfort food to serve with the following toppings:

  • Bacon crumbs
  • Cheddar cheese: For an extra cheesy flavor and creamy texture. 
  • Chopped green onion
  • Diced chives
  • A dollop of sour cream

Frequently asked questions

What is the best cheese for broccoli cheddar soup?

I use only sharp cheddar cheese, freshly shredded for the most intense and incredibly flavorful cheesiness. While mild cheddar cheese would also work, you will not get that extra boost of cheese taste. Sharp cheese is aged longer for a more pronounced flavor. Some say that the sharp stuff does not melt as well, but it will melt just fine if you use a high-quality block of cheese, shredded right before you use it.

Why is my soup grainy?

It usually has to do with the cheese. Get the best cheese and be sure to shred it yourself right before using it. If you are worried about it, use mild cheddar instead of sharp. It could also be the temperature you used. Use medium heat and be sure to stir while adding the cream. If the temperature is too high, you can curdle the dairy products and make them grainy.

How do I thicken broccoli cheddar soup?

If you use the proper amounts of each ingredient, that should not be a problem. However, if it does happen, it’s easy to fix so don’t worry. Just mix a tablespoon of cornstarch with two tablespoons of water. Stir until it is dissolved and then add it to your soup, mixing well. Continue to heat it on medium, stirring constantly, until it is thickened. Remember though, it thickens as it cools.

Why won’t my cheese melt?

If you use pre-shredded cheese, it is the additives and wax that prevent it from melting properly. Use freshly bought high-quality cheese and make sure you do not shred it until you are ready to use it. It may also be that it was not cooked long enough. Try heating it some more, stirring constantly.

How to store:

  • Refrigerate: The broccoli cheddar soup can be refrigerated for 3-4 days in a sealed container.   
  • Freezing: If you have more than you can eat in a few days, pack your soup into quart-sized freezer bags. They will stay fresh for three months. 
  • Defrost: The night before serving, thaw frozen soup in the fridge for the best results.
  • Reheating: After it thaws, your soup can be reheated in a pot on the stove or the microwave. 

More comforting soup recipes:

Recipe tips:

  • Instead of a potato masher, use an immersion blender or mash the potatoes in a blender or food processor.
  • Be sure to get the highest quality cheese since it is the main ingredient.
  • If you are freezing your soup, use a measuring cup to scoop it up and pour it into freezer bags.
  • For less fat, you can also use half-and-half, light cream, or Greek yogurt.
  • When adding the flour, stir constantly to combine it.
  • Add as much cheddar cheese as you like because it is the star of the show.

Panera Bread Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Panera Bread Broccoli Cheddar Soup is the perfect recipe for your favorite creamy, rich, and cheesy soup, that you can now make at home.

Panera Bread Broccoli Cheddar Soup Copycat is the perfect recipe of your favorite creamy and cheesy soup, that you can now easily make at home.
  • Prep Time10 MIN
  • Cook Time30 MIN
  • Servings 6 servings


  • 6 tablespoon butter unsalted
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups heavy cream or half-and-half
  • 2-4 cups vegetable broth add as needed
  • 3 cups fresh broccoli chopped into bite size pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups carrot julienned
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


  • Add 2 tablespoons of butter to a medium skillet over medium heat.
  • Once the butter has melted, add diced onion and sauté for about 3-4 minutes, until translucent. Stir a few times. Once done, remove the skillet from heat and set it aside.
  • Next, place a medium-heavy bottom pot or Dutch over medium heat.
  • Once the pot is warm, add 4 tablespoons of butter and melt. Once melted, add the flour and cook over medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Stir constantly with a whisk. While still whisking, add the chicken broth. Stir to combine.
  • Add the heavy cream, stir to combine, and simmer for about 10 minutes.
  • Add the broccoli, carrots, and cooked onion. Add nutmeg. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cook over low heat for 20-25 minutes. Stirring occasionally.
  • Once done, you can leave the soup chunky or blend about 1/2 of the soup, by adding it to a blender or using an immersion blender. After blessing the soup, stir it in for a smoother soup.
  • Return to low heat and add the cheddar cheese.
  • Serve warm with extra cheddar cheese. Enjoy!

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NA7 WhatsApp

NA7 WhatsApp

I'm so glad you reviewed Panera Bread's Broccoli Cheddar Soup! It's one of my favorites too! I love the creamy texture and the perfect balance of cheesy flavor. Definitely giving this recipe a try. Thanks for sharing! 😋

College Brawl

College Brawl

Ooh, broccoli cheddar soup? Count me in! Can't wait to try this at home. Love the idea of adding in some bacon for extra flavor. Thanks for sharing!



Have made this in the past and LOVED it!! It's a huge hit in our house. I was just curious though why the ingredients for the crock pot version are so different? I was hoping to make the crock pot version this weekend, but didn't see the adjusted recipe until now and there's several different ingredients and quantities I hadn't accounted for. 😬 My bad! But should this recipe still work in the crock pot?

Catalina Castravet

Catalina Castravet

Thanks a different recipe, but you can use this one and the cooking time from that one.

Peggy Hittle

Peggy Hittle

Can it be frozen?

Catalina Castravet

Catalina Castravet

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