Soup of the Day: Broccoli Cheddar

Broccoli cheddar soup is everything I want in food: comforting, nourishing, and full of cheese.

There’s no shortage of recipes out there for broccoli cheddar soup, and I’ve tried many of them, but they all seem to have a few things in common that don’t work for me: 1) they all have nutmeg (ew — what is that, and why is it near my cheesy deliciousness?), and 2) not enough cheese. So I’ve tweaked and tested, and come up with my perfect recipe.


  • 5 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • A small onion, diced
  • 2 cups half & half
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 small heads of broccoli, about 4-5 cups, chopped into florets
  • A large carrot, julienned
  • 16 oz shredded cheddar cheese (two bags if using pre-packaged)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Ingredients for broccoli cheddar soup
There’s no shame in store brand, but Kraft cheese was on sale.

In your saucepan or stockpot, add 1 tbsp of butter and the diced onion over medium-low heat. Stir until onions are soft and translucent.

Add the remaining 4 tbsp of butter and the flour, and whisk until the mixture is thick and starts to brown. Add the half & half and whisk until thick (about five minutes). Add in the chicken stock, stir, and simmer over low heat about 20 minutes.

This next bit depends on how you like the texture of your soup. I like a mostly smooth soup, with some small broccoli florets still intact. So I add the carrots and all but one cup of the broccoli and simmer for 10-15 minutes, then blend* and then add the remaining broccoli and simmer an additional 15 minutes. If you like a totally smooth or totally chunky soup, you can just add everything all at once and simmer for 25-30 minutes.

Broccoli cheddar soup, halfway through cooking
Just added the veggies, and my extra florets that aren’t getting blended are there on the side.

*To blend: I’m going to be honest; this whole process is vastly easier if you have an immersion blender and can blend right in the soup pot. If not, you can use your kitchen blender and blend your soup in batches until smooth, but please be careful, because that’s a lot of moving hot liquid from one container to another. So I immersion blend the whole thing until it’s smooth, then add in the rest of my broccoli for a little chunkiness, but you can blend the whole thing, or leave it all chunky. Your call.

Image of soup being blended with an immersion blender
Fun with the immersion blender! Note to self: it’s difficult to both blend and take pictures at the same time. Hence, the mess.

Once everything is blended (or not), stir in your shredded cheese and stir over medium heat until all of the cheese is melted. Dish your soup out into bowls (or bread bowls if you’re feeling particularly impressive), and try to let it cool down enough not to burn your tongue while you scarf it down, reveling in the creamy cheesiness.

Image of a bowl of broccoli cheddar soup
Suck it, Panera! I made a whole pot for less than you charge for a bowl of this.

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