Do you find yourself ordering broccoli cheddar soup whenever you go to Panera Bread? Skip the drive thru and make this easy copycat soup in the comfort of your own home. It's easy, cheesy and comforting.
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All the ingredients for this popular broccoli cheddar soup are easy to find at any large grocery store in the U.S. You probably already have most of the ingredients.
- Fat: We used butter to make the roux.
- Vegetables: We used yellow onion, carrots, broccoli, and garlic. Omit carrots for keto.
- Spices: We used salt, white pepper, and turmeric.
- Flour: We used all purpose flour to thicken the soup, but you can also your favorite gluten free flour. Omit this for keto.
- Broth: We used chicken broth, but changing it to vegetable will make this vegetarian.
- Sweetener: We used white granulated sugar, but feel free to use the sweetener of your choice. Omit this for keto.
- Condiments: We used Dijon mustard and Tabasco sauce.
- Dairy: We used whole milk, heavy cream, and extra sharp cheddar to make the soup creamy, cheesy and thick. Add some cream cheese for keto.
- Thickener: We used a cornstarch slurry at the end to thicken the soup more. Omit this for keto. Use xantham gum instead.
For a 1 ½ cup serving size, there is 360 calories, 6g fat, 30g carbs, 6g fiber, and 14g protein. For the same serving size, our copycat recipe has 430 calories, 35g fat, 19g carbs, 2g fiber, and 13g protein.
Panera's website says that it contains "chopped broccoli, shredded carrots and select seasonings simmered in a velvety smooth cheese sauce."
They do add flour as a thickening agent to make a roux, so it's not gluten free at the restaurant.
You can easily adapt our copycat recipe to be gluten free by using gluten free flour and gluten free chicken broth.
Panera's soup is high in net carbs, but you can add more cheese or avocado to increase the fat if you're getting this in the drive thru.
If you want to make our copycat recipe keto, omit the carrots, flour and sugar. Use ¼ teaspoon of xantham gum as the thickener, and increase the fat by using 2 tablespoons of cream cheese.
They use chicken broth in their soup, but if you make our copycat recipe, swap it out for vegetable broth.
At Panera Bread they serve their broccoli cheddar soup with a French baguette, a bag of kettle chips, or an apple. You also have the option of having it served in a sourdough bread bowl for an additional fee.
If you are making this at home, it would also taste wonderful served as an appetizer with grilled steak as your main course. This also goes well with mac and cheese or a simple green salad.
Leftovers can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
If you know you'll want to freeze half, remove half the soup out of the pot before adding the dairy. Then reduce the amount of dairy to half for the soup that is left in the pot. When ready to eat, thaw overnight in the fridge and reheat on medium low in a pot on the stovetop. Stir in 1 cup each of whole milk, heavy cream. Remove from heat and gradually add the cheese.
How to Make
Gather all the ingredients. 6 cups of fresh broccoli florets and 2 cups of hand grated extra sharp cheddar cheese along with the dairy make this soup taste amazing.
In a Dutch oven over medium high heat, melt the butter, then saute the onion and carrots until soft, roughly 3 minutes.
Add the garlic, dried spices, and the Dijon mustard.
Cook until fragrant, roughly a minute. Sprinkle on the flour and whisk for 2 minutes to cook the rawness out of the flour. Deglaze with ½ cup of chicken broth by scraping the bottom of the pot with a wooden turner.
Whisk in the remaining 1 ½ cups and then pour in the last 4 cups for a total of 6 cups.
Add the sugar, Tabasco sauce, and the carrot puree. Stir until well combined, then add the fresh broccoli florets.
Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes to cook the broccoli.
Whisk together 2 tablespoons each of cornstarch and cold water and stir it into the soup to help thicken the soup more. Let it simmer for 2 minutes on medium low heat.
Pour in the whole milk and the heavy cream and mix well with a wooden spoon. Let it heat through for a couple of minutes.
Remove from the heat and gradually whisk in the grated extra sharp cheddar cheese one handful at a time.
Taste and adjust any seasonings. If you like your soup more yellow, like Panera's, add in another ⅛ teaspoon of turmeric.
Enjoy while it's still hot in a sourdough bread bowl.
- Need this gluten free? Use gluten free flour and chicken broth.
- Need this vegetarian? Use vegetable broth instead of chicken.
- Need this keto? Omit the carrots, flour, and sugar, add 4 ounces of cream cheese, and ¼ to ½ teaspoon xantham gum as a thickener.
- Need to lower the fat? Use fat free cheddar cheese and evaporated milk.
- Need this vegan? Use vegan butter, vegetable broth, full fat coconut milk, and ½ cup nutrition yeast flakes.
- Want garnishes? Bacon, cheese, roasted broccoli, croutons, or diced avocado (keto).
- Save time and use matchstick carrots. If you like lots of carrots, add another ½ cup.
- Grate your own extra sharp cheese; it will melt better than pre-grated.
- Use fresh broccoli for best flavor and texture. If you like lots of broccoli, add another 2 cups.
- Adding the carrot puree and turmeric will give the soup the correct color.
Other Panera Soup Recipes You'll Love
Vegetarian Panera Copycat Soups
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Panera Broccoli Cheddar Soup Recipe
- 6 tablespoons salted butter
- 1 ¼ cup yellow onion, minced
- 2 cups julienned or matchstick carrots, cut in ½ inch lengths
- 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
- ⅓ cup all-purpose flour or gluten-free flour
- 6 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- 5 dashes Tabasco sauce
- 3 tablespoons carrot puree
- 8 cups fresh broccoli florets
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch, for slurry
- 1 ½ cups whole milk
- 1 ½ cups heavy cream
- 2 ½ cups extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated and packed
- Melt the butter in a large heavy bottomed pot over medium high heat until it's bubbly. Add the onions and carrots and saute for 3 minutes.
- Add the garlic, dried spices, and Dijon mustard and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon.
- Sprinkle in the flour and cook for 2 minutes, whisking constantly.
- Pour in ½ cup of chicken broth, than scrape off the brown fond on the bottom of the pot with a wooden turner. Continue whisking in 1 ½ cups of chicken broth until smooth, then pour in the other 4 cups.
- Add the sugar, pureed carrots (see notes), and a few dashes of Tabasco sauce. Mix it well, then add in the broccoli florets.
- Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for 10 minutes to cook the broccoli.
- For a thicker soup, whisk together 2 tablespoons cornstarch and 2 tablespoons of cold water until smooth. Add it to the soup and let it simmer for 2 minutes on medium low heat.
- Stir in the whole milk and the cream and let it warm through for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and gradually whisk in the shredded cheese one handful at a time. Taste and adjust seasonings, possibly adding a tiny bit more of Dijon and Tobasco. If you like your soup more yellow, add another 1/16 teaspoon of turmeric.
- Garnish with cheese is optional, but does provide extra cheesiness. Serve hot in a sourdough bread bowl or with slices of sourdough bread or French baguette.
- Save time, use matchstick carrots.
- Grate your own extra sharp cheese with a box grater; it will melt better than pre-grated.
- Fresh broccoli = best flavor and texture.
- Adding the carrot puree and turmeric will give the soup the correct color. To make the carrot puree, blend chopped raw carrots with water.
- Need this keto? Omit the carrots, flour, and sugar. Add 4 ounces of cream cheese and ¼ to ½ teaspoon xantham gum as the thickener.
- Need this gluten free? Use gluten free chicken broth and gluten free flour.