Today, I have a quick and easy one pot broccoli cheddar soup recipe for you. I am embracing soup season because we have sub-zero temperatures and more snow than we've seen in years here in the Midwest. When the snow drifts and the wind blows, there's nothing better than a great recipe for soup. This one is made with simple ingredients, bursting with cheesy flavor, and can be made with fresh or frozen broccoli florets.
In addition to this one-pot cheddar broccoli soup, some of my favorite soups include my Authentic Pasta Fagiole and Copycat Panera Chicken Noodle Soup. If you're looking for a fabulous slow cooker soup, try this Loaded Baked Potato Soup.
One of my favorite things about a cozy recipe for soup is that it is filling enough to be a main entree. The only thing you might need is some hot, crusty bread. Try these Challah Buns by Ugly Duckling Bakery or Homemade Foccacia by The Kitchen Bucketlist.
Need more ideas? Check out my list of What to Eat with Broccoli Cheese Soup - 62 Best Sides.
Why You'll Love This Broccoli Cheese Soup Recipe
One Pot - With just one large pot and minimal cooking time, this recipe is a breeze. This delicious broccoli cheddar soup is perfect for busy days when you crave a homemade, fuss-free meal that's hearty and easy to clean up. It can even be made in the crockpot. See those instructions in the notes/FAQ section below.
Family-Friendly Comfort - This soup brings everyone together, whether you're cooking for yourself or your entire family. It's appeals to all ages. Even picky eaters won't be able to resist the cheesy goodness, and they will quickly become soup fans. This easy broccoli cheese soup is a family favorite.
Homemade Cheesy Goodness - The combination of sharp cheddar, cream cheese, and Parmesan creates a blend of cheesy goodness that will make this one of your favorite recipes. Additionally, when you make this soup at home, you can use wholesome ingredients and skip mystery additives and preservatives. It's hard to beat the convenience of a bakery-made soup. But, I think it's better than Panera's broccoli cheddar soup.
- Instead of all olive oil, you can saute the onions and celery in a combination of olive oil and butter or use 2 Tablespoons of butter and swap out the entire amount.
- Swap chicken broth for chicken stock, vegetable stock, or vegetable broth.
- Swap out the chicken base for vegetable base.
- Using leftover broccoli in this recipe is a great way to reduce food waste and cut grocery costs. If the broccoli is already cooked, add it after cooking to avoid overcooked and mushy broccoli.
- Instead of cheddar and Parmesan cheese, experiment with different types of cheese to add your unique twist. Colby, Monterey Jack, or even Swiss would be delicious choices.
- For a lighter version, you can omit the cream cheese.
- Use heavy cream in place of the evaporated milk for a creamier soup.
- Serve it in a bread bowl for a cozy and rustic presentation.
- Experiment with different toppings like crumbled bacon, croutons or crispy fried onions.
- For a gluten-free version, use cornstarch instead of flour as a thickening agent. Since cornstarch has twice the thickening power of flour, you will only need 1 Tablespoon. When choosing a chicken base, make sure that it's a gluten-free version.
- Throw in some cooked, shredded chicken or diced ham for a protein boost.
- Add a dash of hot sauce for a spicy kick.
*For specific ingredient amounts, please scroll down to the printable recipe card.
How To Make Broccoli Cheddar Soup
Step 1. Heat 1-2 Tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the chopped onion and celery and saute for 3-4 minutes over medium heat until slightly softened.
Step 2. Add the garlic powder, nutmeg, pepper, cream cheese, broth, base, evaporated milk, and flour. Stir to combine.
Step 3. Add the fresh or frozen broccoli and stir to combine.
Step 4. Cook over medium heat, partially covered, for 25-30 minutes. The soup should simmer, BUT NOT BOIL. Stir a couple of times during cooking until the broccoli pieces are tender when pierced with a fork.
Step 5. Turn off the heat, stir in the grated Parmesan cheese and cheddar cheese, and stir until melted.
Step 6. Mash some of the broccoli, leave it in large pieces, or use an immersion blender to make a smoother soup. Taste for salt and pepper and serve!
Storage and Freezing
Refrigerate leftover cheesy broccoli soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 5 days.
Since the base of the soup has dairy in it, I don't recommend freezing it. The evaporated milk's texture changes and the soup will likely separate when thawing.
For reheating, keep the burner on low heat. Bringing the soup to a boil can result in separation and a change in texture.
- I have used fresh and frozen broccoli florets, but I prefer frozen. I used to always use fresh, but I prefer frozen unless the broccoli is super fresh and sweet. It's also a good alternative and a great timesaver! Sometimes, I microwave it in the bag for 1 minute. This doesn't cook it, but it breaks up any clumps.
- I use chicken base, such as Better than Boullion, instead of salt in most soup recipes because it amps up the flavor. The cheese adds plenty of saltiness so I find that the base is a better option.
- Use an immersion blender at the end of the cooking process for a smoother consistency. This allows you to control the soup's texture—whether you prefer chunky or smooth, this simple tool makes all the difference. Use a potato masher if you prefer larger pieces of broccoli in your soup.
Yes. You will need about 1 ½ cups. I used evaporated milk because it's been cooked and doesn't curdle. However, I tested this delicious soup recipe with milk, and as long as you keep the heat on low, the soup will be fine.
Skip the pre-shredded cheese and shred your own. Avoid packaged shredded cheese that has anti-caking additives. They prevent the cheese from melting and result in a clumpy and lumpy soup.
If your broccoli cheese soup curdles, it's probably because the heat was too high. During cooking time, you can bring the soup to a simmer, but don't boil it. Additionally, I use evaporated milk in the soup. Since it's been cooked, it helps to prevent this from happening.
This soup will thicken upon standing. Turn the burner at the end of cooking for about 10 minutes before ladling this delicious cheesy soup into bowls.
Using an immersion blender will naturally thicken the soup slightly. If you want the soup a little thicker, you can mix a Tablespoon or two of flour with a little milk or water to form a slurry and add to the soup, turning the heat back on and cooking for at least another few minutes to cook out the raw flour taste.
Yes! Place everything in the crockpot except for the cheddar cheese. Give the ingredients a stir to combine, put the lid on, turn it to LOW, and set it for 4 hours. Every pot is different, and I found it might be done after only 3 hours. When the broccoli is tender, you can use the immersion blender or potato masher to get the desired texture. Then add the cheese and stir until melted.
Yes, you can prepare the soup in advance. However, leaving it on the stove can result in the broccoli being overcooked. I recommend cooling it and storing it in the refrigerator in an airtight container until you are ready to eat it. Reheat on the stove top over low heat.
If you've tried and loved this recipe, I would love to hear about it. Please leave a comment on this post and give this recipe a star-rating.
One Pot Broccoli Cheddar Soup Recipe
- Large Soup Pot or Dutch Oven
- Box grater or cheese shredder
- 4-5 cups fresh broccoli florets or 16 oz. frozen
- 1 medium yellow onion or ½ large onion, chopped
- 2 stalks celery with some leaves chopped
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 3 oz. cream cheese softened (optional)
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 2 teaspoons chicken base may use vegetable base
- 12 oz. can evaporated milk see notes
- 2 Tablespoons flour
- ⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- Heat 1-2 Tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the chopped onion and celery and saute for 3-4 minutes over medium heat until slightly softened.
- Add the garlic powder, nutmeg, pepper, cream cheese, broth, base, evaporated milk, and flour. Stir to combine.
- Add the fresh or frozen broccoli and stir to combine.
- Cook over medium heat, partially covered, for 25-30 minutes. The soup should simmer, BUT NOT BOIL. Stir a couple of times during cooking until the broccoli pieces are tender when pierced with a fork.
- Turn off the heat, stir in the grated Parmesan cheese and cheddar cheese, and stir until melted.
- Mash some of the broccoli, leave it in large pieces, or use an immersion blender to make a smoother soup.
- Taste for salt and pepper and serve!
Refrigerate leftover cheesy broccoli soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 5 days. Since the base of the soup has dairy in it, I don't recommend freezing it. The evaporated milk's texture changes and the soup will likely separate when thawing. For reheating, keep the burner on low heat. Bringing the soup to a boil can result in separation and a change in texture. This recipe is easily doubled.