Ultra creamy homemade broccoli and cheese soup with a dash of smoky flavor. It’s the ideal comfort food for all year long and can be served as an appetizer, main dish, or side.
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About Broccoli and Cheese Soup
When it comes to comforting soups, there are few more popular than broccoli and cheese soup. With countless recipes and a variety of ways to serve it, everyone is bound to have their favorite way to make it, or their favorite place to get it.
As for me, I tend to prefer making this soup at home, so I have total control over the taste and flavor.
Plus, when you whip up your own batch, you have enough soup to last for days.
That can really come in handy on a lazy weekend or when the weather has you trapped inside.
What is in broccoli cheddar soup?
Every homemade soup will have its own unique taste, and this recipe is no exception. I like to think of this version as a smoky broccoli cheddar soup thanks to a few extra spices.
However, one of the perks of being the cook is being able to adjust any recipe as you see fit. Feel free to get creative with any of the ingredients below!
The savory broth – The base of this soup is made by sauteing yellow onions and garlic in a healthy dose of butter. Chicken broth and half and half cream is added, with a little touch of flour for thickening.
The seasonings – Next up is a dash of salt and pepper, to taste, plus some ground mustard and smoked paprika. The smoked paprika is my favorite part of this soup and it has a very present flavor. However, if a smoky flavor is not “your thing,” feel free to skip it. The soup will still taste amazing without it.
The heart – And, finally, there’s the broccoli, shredded carrots, and the cheddar cheese. Broccoli and cheese are the staples here with the carrots as a bonus. But like the smoked paprika, you an skip the carrots (or even add other veggies) if you’d like.
Is there a difference between chicken stock and chicken broth?
Since chicken broth makes up a large part of this soup, that does beg the question – is it required? Or can you swap it out for chicken stock?
The good news here is that you can use chicken broth or chicken stock, but before making a choice, it might help to know what the differences are.
Chicken broth is made from the meat, so it has a lighter flavor and tends to be more like water. Chicken stock, on the other hand, is made from the bones, which tends to result in a more potent flavor and slightly thicker consistency.
So if you were to substitute the chicken broth for chicken stock, expect your soup to have a stronger chicken flavor and possibly be a bit thicker. You also may want to reduce the flour by one or two tablespoons to compensate for the thicker liquid.
Can you freeze broccoli and cheese soup?
I wish I had better news for you here, but I wouldn’t recommend freezing this soup.
When it comes to dairy, and especially cream, the ingredients can separate and change their texture once frozen. And when it comes to a creamy and cheesy soup like this one, the odds are not in its favor for this soup to still be the one you remember once it’s been frozen.
However, if you simply must freeze this soup, be sure to completely chill the soup in the refrigerator before transferring to the freezer in a sealed container.
What goes well with broccoli soup?
The only thing better than broccoli and cheese soup is a whole meal based on broccoli and cheese soup.
So the next time you have a batch of this soup handy, try serving these side dishes with it!
- Freshly baked bread (beer bread is a favorite!)
- Cheesy garlic bread
- Meaty sandwiches or wraps
notes & tips for this cheese soup
- Once you’ve made this soup, you may want to serve it up in some classic soup bowls. I have these soup bowls in a few different colors and love them!
- This soup is made using a dutch oven. There are plenty of pricey name-brand options out there, but I’ve used this Dutch oven for years and it’s still holding up just fine.
More great soup recipes
How to make broccoli and cheese soup
This next part is only a photo tutorial of the recipe steps. If you’re looking for the full recipe measurements and instructions, scroll down to Recipe Details.
Step 1 – In a Dutch oven (or a similarly large, deep pot), melt the butter, then toss in the onion. Cook a few minutes until the onions are soft, then add in the garlic and cook for a minute more.
Step 2 – Add the flour to the pot and then whisk until the flour as absorbed the butter and the mixture has turned a tan color.
Step 3 – While continuing to whisk, pour in a bit of the chicken broth. Mix until the flour has absorbed it, then pour in a little bit more chicken broth. Work slowly and repeat this step until all of the chicken broth has been added to the pot.
Step 4 – Like the chicken broth, slowly add in the half and half cream while whisking, working in small pours until all the cream has been added.
Step 5 – Bring soup to a simmer and season with salt, ground mustard, smoked paprika, and some pepper (to taste). Once the sauce is bubbling, allow it to simmer for a few minutes.
Step 6 – Toss the broccoli and carrots into the pot and give everything a good stir. Bring the mixture to another boil and then allow it to cook, uncovered, for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Step 7 – Remove sauce from heat and add the cheese, then mix well.
Step 8 – Serve and enjoy!
Broccoli Cheese Soup
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 1 tbsp garlic, minced
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
- 2 1/2 cup half and half cream
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground mustard
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika, optional
- 1 pinch black pepper
- 1 lb broccoli, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1/2 cup shredded carrots
- 2 cup shredded cheddar cheese, plus more for garnish (optional)
- In a Dutch oven over medium heat, melt butter. Add onions and cook, stirring frequently, until soft, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute more.
- Whisk in flour and continue to cook, stirring constantly, until flour has absorbed butter and has turned a tan color, about 5-7 minutes.
- Continuing to whisk, pour in a little bit of the chicken broth and allow the flour to absorb it. Once absorbed, pour in a little bit more chicken broth and repeat the process. Continue until all of the chicken broth has been added.
- Stil continuing to whisk, pour in half and half cream and stir until combined.
- Bring soup to a simmer. While soup heats up, season soup with salt, ground mustard, smoked paprika, and pepper, to taste. Once bubbling, reduce heat and let simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add broccoli and carrots to soup. Bring to another simmer and allow to cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes or until broccoli is tender.
- Remove soup from heat and stir in cheddar cheese until well incorporated.
- Serve soup immediately with more cheddar cheese as garnish.
I do my best to provide nutrition information, but please keep in mind that I'm not a certified nutritionist. Any nutritional information discussed or disclosed in this post should only be seen as my best amateur estimates of the correct values.