Broccoli Cheese Soup (Lightened Up!)

This is the BEST Broccoli Cheese Soup ever – you won’t believe its lightened up!!! 

This Broccoli Cheese Soup is SO FLAVORFUL, creamy, comforting, easy, and on your table in just over 30 minutes (20 of those minutes are simmering!)!!    It’s deceitfully decadent without packing on the pounds and undeniably delicious without taking all night to prepare.  Hello to a new favorite EASY Fall soup!

Broccoli Cheese Soup Recipe Video 

This is the BEST Broccoli Cheese Soup ever - you won't believe its lightened up!!!  SO FLAVORFUL, creamy, easy, and on your table in 30 minutes!

Broccoli Cheese Soup

Its finally “soup season” AKA my favorite foodie season!  I love lightening up classic soups like Creamy Cauliflower SoupCreamy White Chicken Chili, Crock Pot Potato Soup,  Mexican Chicken Corn Chowder and now it’s time for one of the greats – Broccoli Cheese Soup!  I am fairly certain you are going to LOVE this wonderfully creamy Lightened Up Broccoli Cheddar Soup!  I was basically drinking it from my bowl because I couldn’t shovel it in fast enough.

While there are many Broccoli Cheese Soup recipes out there and many copycat Panera Broccoli Cheese Soup recipes out there – I can honestly claim this is the best Broccoli and Cheese Soup I’VE ever had.  I hope you agree!  Its SO good and SO easy in fact, it’s my new go-to soup and favorite last minute meal made with pantry ingredients.  This Broccoli Cheese Soup also makes a fantastic company meal (especially when served in a bread bowl!), make ahead meal or keep-in-the-fridge-so-you-can-eat-soup-any-time-meal.

This Broccoli Cheese Soup is also my new favorite easy “take dinner to a friend meal.”  In fact, I just made this Broccoli Cheese Soup two days ago and I’m making it again tonight to bring to a friend with a new baby (and of course doubling the batch so we can devour it again).  I always take soups when I’m taking dinner to someone because they keep well, are easy, a meal-in-one and everyone loves soup.  Unlike many soups, however, this Broccoli Cheese Soup recipe is even easier because there is hardly any chopping involved.  And if you have an onion chopper and garlic press (two of my kitchen musts), then it really does take just minutes to do all your chopping.

This is the BEST Broccoli Cheese Soup ever - you won't believe its lightened up!!!  SO FLAVORFUL, creamy, easy, and on your table in 30 minutes!

What kind of cheese is in broccoli soup?

  I think sharp cheddar cheese is essential to add the strong cheddar flavor to the soup.   Gruyere would also be a welcome addition to this Broccoli and Cheese Soup recipe, but I would only add it in addition to the cheddar and not in place of, unless you are willing to loose some of the cheddar flavor.

How do you make Creamy Broccoli Soup?

The key to Creamy Broccoli Soup is threefold:

  1.  Roux:  Make a roux of flour, olive oil and butter and then add chicken broth to create a thick, creamy sauce-like base.   This eliminates our need to use heavy cream.
  2.  Cream cheese:  Cream cheese adds a rich, creamy tanginess.
  3. Pureed broccoli:  Pureeing some of the broccoli with the cream cheese adds creamy body to the Broccoli Cheese Soup.  It also allows us to use light cream cheese without any melting problems.
This is the BEST Broccoli Cheese Soup ever - you won't believe its lightened up!!!  SO FLAVORFUL, creamy, easy, and on your table in 30 minutes!

How do you make broccoli cheese soup?

  • Melt butter in olive oil in a Dutch oven/soup pot over medium heat. Add onions and sauté for 3 minutes. Sprinkle flour over onions and cook, while stirring for 2 minutes. Add garlic and continue to cook 1-2 minutes or until onions are soft.
  • Turn heat to low and add chicken broth and milk. Add chicken bouillon and all seasonings. Add broccoli and bring soup to a simmer, stirring constantly. Once it starts to thicken, continue to simmer one minute. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until broccoli is tender to your liking.
  • Working in batches, remove half of soup (more or less to your liking) to a blender along with cream cheese. Puree until smooth, taking care to let smoke escape or it will explode (I leave a corner open and cover with a paper towel). Pour pureed soup back into pot. Stir in cheese, a handful at a time, stirring after each addition until mostly melted.
  • Taste and season with additional salt/pepper if desired. Garnish individual bowls with additional cheese (optional).
     

Lighter Broccoli and Cheese Soup

To make this Broccoli  Cheese Soup lighter, I used half olive oil and half butter instead of all butter and created a simple roux as our thickener so we don’t have to use any half and half or heavy cream or velveeta.  After our soup has been simmering for 20 minutes, we puree half (more or less depending on how “chunky” you like your soup) with 2 ounces ⅓ less fat cream cheese.  These cream cheese not only adds a delightfully subtle tang but adds additional velvety rich creaminess to the soup and when pureed with the broccoli, works as a natural thickener.

This is the BEST Broccoli Cheese Soup ever - you won't believe its lightened up!!!  SO FLAVORFUL, creamy, easy, and on your table in 30 minutes!

Is broccoli and cheese soup low carb?

Yes!  While many soups contain pasta, rice or potatoes, this Broccoli Cheese Soup is loaded with broccoli and cheese for a delicious low-carb meal!

TIPS AND TRICKS FOR BROCCOLI CHEESE SOUP

  • CONSISTENCY.  You can customize the consistency.  You can use smaller or larger florets depending on your personal preference and you can puree as little or as much as the soup as you would like depending on if you prefer more of a smooth texture or more whole pieces of broccoli.
  • FRESHLY GRATED CHEESE.  It is important that you use high quality freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese for your Broccoli CHEESE Soup.  Freshly grated cheese not only tastes much better and boasts a stronger flavor but melts much easier than the pre-shredded bagged variety.  Pre-shredded bagged cheeses often contain potato starch or another similar anti-clumping agent that keeps the cheese separate in the bag – this separating agent also makes it difficult for the cheese to melt smoothly in the soup.  So just stay away from bagged cheese and this Broccoli Cheese Soup is sure to please 😉 !
  • GOAT CHEESE.  If you want to get a little decadent for guests or because you just have amazing taste, then trying substituting the cream cheese with garlic and herb goat cheese (from a log).   I did this the last time I Broccoli and Cheese Soup and it was heavenly!
  • AD-INS.  This Broccoli Cheese Soup is a fabulous base for all sorts of add-ins such as ham, potatoes, corn, rice, etc.  In other words, use it to clean out your pantry and enjoy one of the best soups of your life – because everything is better with cheese!
This is the BEST Broccoli Cheese Soup ever - you won't believe its lightened up!!!  SO FLAVORFUL, creamy, easy, and on your table in 30 minutes!

Make Ahead Cheddar Broccoli Soup

Unlike soups with pasta which sometimes soaks up the broth, this Broccoli Cheddar Soup is perfect to make ahead for lunches or dinners.  You can reheat the soup on low on the stove or in the microwave, stirring occasionally.   If you would like the soup to be thinner after you’ve reheated it, simply add in additional water until it reaches desired consistency.

CAN YOU FREEZE BROCCOLI CHEESE SOUP?

While Broccoli and Cheese Soup reheats well, it does not do well if reheated from frozen, so NO, I do not recommend freezing this soup.  As a general rule of thumb, soups that contain diary do not freeze well because milk fat separates which results in a grainy, funky texture.

This is the BEST Broccoli Cheese Soup ever - you won't believe its lightened up!!!  SO FLAVORFUL, creamy, easy, and on your table in 30 minutes!

What goes with broccoli and cheese soup?

Broccoli and Cheese Soup can be a meal all by itself or it goes fabulously well with:

Broccoli Cheese Soup – SO FLAVORFUL, creamy, comforting, easy, and on your table in just over 30 minutes!

This is the BEST Broccoli Cheese Soup ever - you won't believe its lightened up!!!  SO FLAVORFUL, creamy, easy, and on your table in 30 minutes!

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©Carlsbad Cravings by CarlsbadCravings.com

This is the BEST Broccoli Cheese Soup ever - you won't believe its lightened up!!!  SO FLAVORFUL, creamy, easy, and on your table in 30 minutes!

Skinny Broccoli Cheese Soup (Video!)

This is the BEST Broccoli Cheese Soup ever – you won’t believe its lightened up!!!  It’s SO FLAVORFUL, creamy, comforting, easy, and on your table in just over 30 minutes (20 of those minutes are simmering!)!!   
Servings: 6 servings
Total Time: 35 mins
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 25 mins

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Ingredients

  • 4 cups broccoli florets chopped into small pieces
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 large onion, diced
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups milk (any kind)
  • 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon powder
  • 1/2 tsp EACH dried/ground mustard, ground cumin, paprika, salt, pepper
  • 2 oz. ⅓ less fat cream cheese room temperature
  • 1-2 cups freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese

Instructions

  • Melt butter in olive oil in a Dutch oven/soup pot over medium heat. Add onions and saute for 3 minutes. Sprinkle flour over onions and cook, while stirring for 2 minutes. Add garlic and continue to cook 1-2 minutes or until onions are soft.
  • Turn heat to low and add chicken broth and milk. Add chicken bouillon and all seasonings. Add broccoli and bring soup to a simmer, stirring constantly. Once it starts to thicken, continue to simmer one minute. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until broccoli is tender to your liking.
  • Working in batches, remove half of soup (more or less to your liking) to a blender along with cream cheese. Puree until smooth, taking care to let smoke escape or it will explode (I leave a corner open and cover with a paper towel). Pour pureed soup back into pot. Stir in cheese, a handful at a time, stirring after each addition until mostly melted.
  • Taste and season with additional salt/pepper if desired. Garnish individual bowls with additional cheese (optional).

Video

Notes

Don’t miss the “how to make” recipe video at the top of the post!

Tips and Tricks for Broccoli Cheese Soup

  • CONSISTENCY.  You can customize the consistency.  You can use smaller or larger florets depending on your personal preference and you can puree as little or as much as the soup as you would like depending on if you prefer more of a smooth texture or more whole pieces of broccoli.
  • FRESHLY GRATED CHEESE.  It is important that you use high quality freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese for your Broccoli CHEESE Soup.  Freshly grated cheese not only tastes much better and boasts a stronger flavor but melts much easier than the pre-shredded bagged variety.
  • GOAT CHEESE.  If you want to get a little decadent for guests or because you just have amazing taste, then trying substituting the cream cheese with garlic and herb goat cheese (from a log).   I did this the last time I Broccoli and Cheese Soup and it was heavenly!
  • AD-INS.  This Broccoli Cheese Soup is a fabulous base for all sorts of add-ins such as ham, potatoes, corn, rice, etc.  In other words, use it to clean out your pantry and enjoy one of the best soups of your life – because everything is better with cheese!
  • CAN I FREEZE BROCCOLI CHEESE SOUP?  No, I don’t recommend freezing this soup because the texture will get grainy due to the dairy.

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34 Comments

  1. Allie says

    This looks so good Jenn. I lived in No. California and it’s getting cold outside. I may just make this today even tho’ I don’t have broccoli but do have cauliflower……..(close enough)….ha..

    Have a wonderful day and thank you.

    • Jen says

      I can’t wait to hear how you like it with cauliflower! I have never tried it but it sounds yummy! Thanks Allie!

  2. Ria mathew says

    Thank for the soup! Did you bring anything else over other than soup? Bread, salad etc?! Just wondering. Planning on bringing exactly what you brought to a friend with a baby as well <3

    • Jen says

      Hi Ria, how nice of you to bring dinner to your friend! I made it super easy and brought store-bought French bread, grapes and a Caesar salad. Super yum!

  3. Stefanie says

    Is there any way to make this without blending it? I like my soups with bigger pieces of vegetables.

    • Jen says

      Hi Stefanie, I would still blend the cream cheese with 1/2 cup of soup so its nice and smooth but that way you can keep your veggies chunky. Enjoy!

  4. Layne Schwabedissen says

    A new family favorite! Thanks for another great great recipe!

    • Jen says

      Awesome Layne! I am thrilled this is as new fav! Thank you so much!

  5. Beth says

    I can’t wait to try this, the soup looks delicious!! The bowl is beautiful!! What brand are the dishes? I need them in my life!

    • Jen says

      Thank you Beth! I believe these bowls are knock offs of William Sonoma but I found these inexpensive ones at TJMax. Some people buy shoes, I collect bowls 🙂

  6. Heather says

    First time commenter – just wanted to let you know that after many tries making Broccoli Cheddar soup at home my husband declared this is the one! Great job – and thank you 🙂

    • Jen says

      Hi Heather, I SO appreciate your comment, thank you! I am thrilled your search is over for Broccoli Cheese Soup! I hope you enjoy my other soup recipes as well!

  7. Melanie says

    I have an immersion blender. Would I still need to blend in the blender?

    • Jen says

      Hi Melanie, if you use an immersion blender then I would remove some of the soup if you don’t want it completely smooth and still want chunks of broccoli and then add the cream cheese to the soup and blend away. I hope that helps!

  8. Melanie says

    How would the cooking change with frozen broccoli or cauliflower?

    • Jen says

      Hi Melanie, it should be about the same – might just need to simmer slightly longer. Enjoy!

  9. Karen Johnson says

    My daughter is vegetarian. Can i substitute vegetable broth for the chicken broth?

    • Jen says

      Absolutely! You may need to add additional salt to taste. enjoy!

  10. Stephanie says

    Surprised my kids by making this broccoli cheese soup for lunch on a chilly 38 degree rainy day while they are home doing online schooling today. They were so excited and said it was better than Panera’s which is pretty tough competition. This was so simple to make, on the table in 30 minutes and used an immersion blender because I was too lazy to pull out the blender. Wonderful recipe and another favorite to add to my collection of your recipes.

    • Jen says

      I can’t believe it’s already 38 degrees – burrr! You are such a great mom to make homemade lunch while tackling online school! Thank you so much for your awesome review, I’m honored this Broccoli Cheese Soup was “better than Panera!”

  11. Caity says

    Can you use the chicken bouillon base instead of powder? I thought j had some but it’s beef powder not chicken.

    • Jen says

      Absolutely! I use them interchangeably.

  12. Caity says

    Also if I want to add potatoes at what part in the recipe do I do that?

    • Jen says

      I would use Yukon gold or another starchy potato (unless you want them to fall apart, then use Russets) and add them with the broccoli. Enjoy!

  13. Traci says

    Can you use almond flour instead of APF?

    • Jen says

      Yes Traci, that should work well. Enjoy!

  14. Jenny Gardenswartz says

    So delicious and easy! Thank you for yet another great dinner, Jen!

    • Jen says

      Thanks for taking the time to comment Jenny, I’m so pleased it was a hit!

  15. Jean Heavrin says

    PLEASE include the Nutritional Information with your recipes.

    • Jen says

      Hi Jean, I’m not prepared to do that at this time (time constraints), sorry!

  16. Charlene Soukup says

    So delicious and I have made this many times. Thank you for all your wonderful recipes, you are my first stop every time I am cooking (which is every day!) 🙂

    • Jen says

      I am honored to be your go-to site Charlene, thank you so much! I’m so pleased this recipe was another hit!

  17. Karin Stephens says

    I’m not usually a broccoli cheese soup person and my son and husband aren’t the biggest broccoli fans but my daughter wanted this after getting braces on and EVERYONE loved this soup! It was so easy to make and so amazing!!! Your recipes never disappoint!

    • Jen says

      Yessss! I’m so pleased this recipe was a win with the entire family! Thanks so much for making my recipes!

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