This Panera Broccoli Cheddar Soup is a perfect copycat. It’s a delicious and creamy soup with less calories – it’s freezer-friendly, too!
Ingredients and substitutions
- Butter – a light cooking oil such as olive oil can be used instead.
- Yellow onion – white onion or shallots would also be good.
- Celery – a little crunch is nice in this soup, but feel free to swap this out for more carrots or another veggie of your choice.
- Carrot – use a bag of shredded carrots to cut down on prep time.
- Garlic – freshly minced garlic is best but jarred minced garlic will work in a pinch.
- Salt & pepper – to taste.
- Flour – gluten-free flour or cornstarch will also help thicken the soup.
- Milk – swap out the milk for any non-sweetened, plant-based milk of your choice. Extra broth will also work.
- Chicken broth – vegetable broth is the best substitute here.
- Broccoli – you can use a bag of pre-chopped broccoli to make things easier.
- Cheddar cheese – the best cheeses for soups are high in moisture and have a lower melting point. Sharp cheddar, fontina, Gruyere and Swiss all melt well, and each adds a different flavour to the soup.
How to make broccoli cheddar soup
Step 1: Sauté the veggies.
Heat butter in a large pot over med-high heat. Add onion, celery and carrot, sauteing for 5 minutes until veggies are tender.
Step 2: Add in the seasonings.
Add in garlic and salt & pepper, stirring for 30 seconds.
Step 3: Whisk in the flour, milk and broth.
Whisk in flour, tossing veggies to coat, then slowly whisk in milk and chicken broth.
Step 4: Stir in the broccoli.
Bring to a boil, then add broccoli. Allow soup to cook for 8-10 minutes until broccoli is tender, stirring often.
Step 5: Add the cheese.
Remove from heat, then whisk in cheese until fully melted and combined.
Step 6: Serve and enjoy!
Ladle into bowls and dig in.
Calories in Panera's broccoli cheddar soup
The recipe below has 244 calories per serving. According to Panera’s website, a serving of their soup is 360 calories. Panera’s version of broccoli cheddar soup is full of cream and processed cheese and sodium. My recipe shaves off calories by using milk and broth instead of cream, sautéing the vegetables in a small amount of butter, and adding a smaller amount of flavourful cheddar cheese. You’ll still get all the amazing flavours, but without the high price tag or calorie count.
Frequently Asked Questions
This recipe uses chicken broth, but you can easily swap out the chicken broth for vegetable broth to make it a vegetarian-friendly soup.
Sometimes all you need is a great bowl of soup. For those times when you need a little bit more, keep it light by serving your soup with a garden salad and some crusty bread. Make mini grilled cheese sandwiches or this Panera Bread chicken avocado melt for a more filling meal.
Broccoli has lots of vitamin C and fibre, but cream and cheese add a lot of fat and calories to the classic soup. My recipe is a much healthier version of Panera’s soup.
This broccoli cheddar soup has 16 grams of carbs per serving.
Storing and reheating
Any leftovers can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days. To reheat the soup on the stovetop, keep the temperature low and stir often so it doesn’t scorch on the bottom.
To reheat it in the microwave, put it into a microwave-safe bowl and start by reheating it for 1 minute, stir, and then heat for 30-second intervals until it is as hot as you want it.
Can you freeze broccoli cheddar soup?
Whether you have leftovers or want to cook a batch ahead of time, this soup is great to freeze.
Let the soup cool to room temperature, then pour it into a large freezer-safe container or several smaller freezer bags and freeze it for up to 2 months. You can then reheat it from frozen in the microwave, or defrost it in the fridge overnight then reheat as normal.
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Meal prep tools for this recipe
- Grab some glass meal prep bowls if you plan on storing the leftovers.
- Use these Ziploc bag holders if you're freezing the soup in reusable freezer bags.
Panera Broccoli Cheddar Soup
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 1 carrot, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced `
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1 cup milk
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 head broccoli, finely chopped
- 1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
- Heat butter in a large pot over med-high heat. Add onion, celery and carrot, sauteing for 5 minutes until veggies are tender.
- Add in garlic and salt & pepper, stirring for 30 seconds. Whisk in flour, tossing veggies to coat, then slowly whisk in milk and chicken broth.
- Bring to a boil, then add broccoli. Allow soup to cook for 8-10 minutes until broccoli is tender, stirring often.
- Remove from heat, then whisk in cheese until fully melted and combined. Serve and enjoy!