This Copycat Panera Broccoli Cheese Soup recipe tastes just like the original! Save money by making this soup at home!

Broccoli cheese soup in a bread bowl.

You will love this Copycat Panera Bread Broccoli Cheddar Soup

I have found that we have been eating A LOT of soup this winter. However, we have some favorites that we love to get when we’re out and about.

One of them is the Broccoli Cheese Soup from Panera. But I do not love driving in the snow. So what am I to do when I crave one of my favorite soups, and it’s snowing outside?

I decided to develop a copycat recipe of my favorite soup from Panera. The best part of this soup is that it takes less time to make this recipe than it takes actually to drive to Panera and come home, score!

A ladle full of broccoli cheese soup.

Panera Broccoli Cheese Soup Recipe ingredients (and cost!)

Per Serving Cost: $1.60

Recipe Cost: $6.40

NOTE: The recipe prices are used calculating name brand products from Walmart’s website. The recipe’s actual cost will vary depending on what your pantry is already stocked with and current grocery prices. 

  • 5 Tablespoons salted butter – $0.50
  • ½ cup chopped yellow onion – $0.31
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour – $0.08
  • 1 ¾ cups chicken broth – $0.84
  • 2 cups half-and-half – $0.88
  • 3 cups broccoli florets – $2.08
  • 1 cup julienned carrots – $0.42
  • 1 teaspoon salt – $0.01
  • 8 ounces shredded cheddar cheese, mild or sharp – $1.28

All of the ingredients needed to make Panera Broccoli Cheese Soup.

COOK’S TOOLS

  • Cutting board
  • Chef’s knife
  • Large heavy-bottomed pot
  • Wooden spoon
  • Whisk
  • Cheese grater 

Panera Broccoli Cheddar Soup Recipe variations

  • This soup doubles and triples nicely.
  • Instead of chicken broth you can use chicken stock.
  • If you don’t have half-and-half you can use milk, just don’t use skim milk.
  • You can use frozen broccoli florets in this recipe, just make sure they’re thawed. If you use frozen florets, reduce the simmer time to 5 minutes.

How to make Panera Broccoli Cheddar Soup

  1. First, melt butter in a large pot over medium heat.
  2. Next, add onions and cook for about 4-5 minutes.
  3. Then make a roux by stirring in the flour. Stir until the roux turns the color of peanut butter.
  4. Next, slowly whisk in the chicken broth and half-and-half while whisking constantly. Bring the soup to a slow bubble and then reduce the heat to simmer.
  5. Then stir in the broccoli florets and carrots and simmer for 15 minutes. Be sure to stir the soup every few minutes.
  6. Finally, stir in the cheese and salt and mix until the cheese is melted. Season with additional salt to taste and serve.

A picture collage showing how to make this Copycat Panera Broccoli Cheddar Soup Recipe.

***For complete recipe instructions, see the recipe card and recipe video below!

How to thicken this Panera Broccoli Cheddar Soup

If you need to thicken the soup, you can try adding more cheese into the soup. If that does not work, you can also whisk cornstarch into some water. Whisk until the cornstarch is dissolved, and then stir the mixture into the soup until the soup thickens.

What to serve with Panera Bread Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Bread Bowls
Copycat Panera Mac and Cheese
Cobb Salad
Garlic Cheese Breadsticks
Spinach Salad

How to store Copycat Panera Broccoli Cheddar Soup

SERVE: As with most recipes with dairy products, you shouldn’t leave this soup out for longer than 2 hours.

STORE: Leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. Note that the broccoli will not be a vibrant green the longer the soup sits.

FREEZE: You can freeze this soup. Just know that the texture may be altered, and it will take some care when reheating it. Place the cooled soup in a freezer-safe container and freeze for 1-2 months. 

DEFROST: Defrost the broccoli cheese soup overnight in the refrigerator. 

REHEAT: Place the soup in a saucepan or soup pot and heat over medium heat, and often whisk to work out any lumps and get the liquid to reincorporate. Heat until heated through. You may need to add additional milk to thin the soup out. 

My love of this soup led me to create a recipe with my spin on it to share with my family and now with you. I do love creating recipes that my family will enjoy.

I hope you will make this version of Panera’s Broccoli Cheese Soup for you and your family and friends to share the love with them. 

Panera Copycat Broccoli Cheddar Soup FAQs

Is broccoli cheddar soup vegetarian?

You would at first glance think the Broccoli Cheddar Soup is vegetarian, but it is not. The recipe calls for chicken broth, which is not vegetarian. However, you can make it vegetarian by using vegetable broth.

Is Panera broccoli cheese soup vegetarian?

No, it is not vegetarian, as it contains chicken broth. You can make it vegetarian by using vegetable broth instead.

Why is my broccoli cheddar soup gritty?

The grittiness in your broccoli cheddar soup could be due to unblended cheese or poorly cooked roux. When making the soup, ensure the cheese is fully melted and incorporated into the broth, creating a smooth and creamy texture. Also, cook the roux thoroughly; undercooked roux can leave a gritty consistency.

What is the best melting cheese for soup?

The best melting cheese for soup is generally cheese with a smooth and creamy texture that melts easily. Some popular choices include cheddar, Gouda, Swiss, and American cheese.
Cheddar cheese adds a rich and sharp flavor, while Gouda provides a milder, smoky taste. Swiss cheese offers a nutty and slightly sweet flavor, and American cheese is known for its excellent melting properties, creating a creamy and smooth consistency in the soup.

How many calories in a bowl of Panera broccoli cheese soup?

There are approximately 501 calories in a bowl of this soup.

Close up picture of broccoli soup.

MORE SOUPS

Copycat Panera Broccoli Cheddar Soup in a bread bowl with a spoon.
4.13 from 113 votes

Copycat Panera Bread Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Recipe Cost $ $6.40
Serving Cost $ $1.60
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
4 people
This Copycat Panera Broccoli Cheese Soup recipe tastes just like the original! Save money by making this soup at home!

Equipment

  • cutting board
  • chef's knife
  • large heavy-bottomed pot
  • wooden spoon
  • whisk
  • Cheese grater

Ingredients
 
 

  • 5 Tablespoons salted butter
  • ½ cup chopped yellow onion
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 ¾ cup chicken broth
  • 2 cups half and half
  • 3 cups broccoli florets cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 cup julienned carrots
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounces cheddar cheese, mild or sharp shredded (about 2 cups)

Instructions

COOK ONIONS:

  • Melt butter to a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat.
  • Add onions and cook until lightly golden brown on the edges and the onions are translucent about 4-5 minutes.

MAKE ROUX:

  • Make a roux by stirring in the flour. Continue to stir and cook the flour mixture until the roux turns the color of peanut butter. This will take about 4 minutes.

MAKE SOUP:

  • Grab a whisk and slowly pour in the chicken broth and half and half while whisking constantly.
  • Turn the heat up to medium-high and bring the soup to a slow bubble. Once bubbling, reduce the heat to simmer.

SIMMER SOUP:

  • Stir in the broccoli florets and carrots. Simmer the soup for 15 minutes, stirring every 3-4 minutes.

TO FINISH:

  • Stir in the salt and cheddar cheese until the cheese is nice and melted.
  • Season the soup to taste with additional salt. Serve.

Video

Notes

  • Serve the soup on its own or with bread bowls
  • Make sure you don’t heat the broth and half and half too quickly because you run the half and half curdling risk. 

Nutrition

Serving: 2cups | Calories: 501kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 35g | Saturated Fat: 22g | Cholesterol: 103mg | Sodium: 1598mg | Potassium: 728mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 6827IU | Vitamin C: 72mg | Calcium: 580mg | Iron: 2mg

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Recipe Rating




28 Comments

  1. Can I use almond or coconut flour instead of all purpose for the copycat Panera Broccoli Cheese Soup?

    1. Hi Maria, I don’t think the almond or coconut flour will thicken the soup like all-purpose would. Sorry.

    2. Tiffany Smith says:

      You could probably use cornstarch. We use it since we are gluten-free.

  2. Shadi Hasanzadenemati says:

    This is absolutely delicious! I love that it’s such a crowd pleaser for the whole family

  3. I love Panera’s broccoli cheese soup, but this recipe was so much better and cheaper!

    1. I think this soup tastes better, too! Thanks for the review.

  4. Delicious Soup!
    I did blend the cooled soup and then reheated it
    to add the cheese. Wonderful flavor.
    I made Black Russian bread to go with it.

  5. So Yummy! Made it for dinner and no leftovers!

    1. No leftovers are always the sign of a great recipe. Thanks for the rating!

  6. Doris Huddleston says:

    I love everything Panera Bread and I’ve always wanted to try out bread bowls, so this is a good fit! This recipe was perfect.

    1. From one Panera Bread lover to another, I’m SO glad you enjoyed it!

  7. Lori Bahn says:

    This was really delicious, the entire family loved it.

  8. Antoinette M says:

    Delicious soup. Thanks for the recipe.

  9. Samantha Rodriguez says:

    Excellent step by step recipe. My first time making it came out fantastic.

  10. Trudy Wright says:

    I’m really excited that I found your Copycat Panera Broccoli Cheese Soup and can hardly wait to make it. I have one question, is the cheddar cheese mild, medium or sharp?

  11. Can you use frozen broccoli instead of fresh?

  12. Brittanie says:

    I absolutely LOVE this recipe! My husband, who isn’t much of a soup person, also said it was amazing. Just wondering if it would be okay to freeze?

    1. Hi Brittanie, I’m SO glad you enjoyed this recipe! To answer your question, I haven’t had great success freezing it. The soup becomes super grainy once it thaws and is reheated. To get around the graininess I processed the soup in a blender, but I lost the delicious chunks of broccoli. I hope this info helps!

  13. Stephanie says:

    Hands down the best broccoli and cheese soup I have ever had. Thank you so much!

    1. You’re SO welcome! Thanks for stopping by to let me know! 🙂

  14. Stephanie says:

    Fantastic soup recipe! Comes together quickly. Thank you for sharing this recipe.

  15. What could I use in place of half and half

    1. You could youse half heavy cream and have whole milk or just use whole milk.

  16. Honestly, save yourself the trouble and just double the recipe. IT IS THAT GOOD! One to have on rotation.

  17. Jessica Johnson says:

    Perfect! It’s so much cheaper to make this than buy it from Panera and I didn’t even know it was this easy.