The cold weather of fall is starting to make an appearance so that means it's also the beginning of soup season. Making a delicious soup at home from scratch is a great way to use up any veggies or ingredients you might have on hand. A healthy broccoli cheese soup is much easier to make than you might think.
There's something so warm and comforting about soup that just makes a person just feel great! Add some cheese and it can only get better, right? 😀
In this house we're big fans of anything cheese related – as you have probably noticed from some of my other recipes. If you're also a cheese fan, cheese broccoli soup is something you have to try. So bring out those soup pots, read-on and learn how to make the best broccoli cheddar soup yourself!
What Ingredients are used to make this Broccoli Cheese Soup recipe?
For your primary broccoli cheese soup ingredients, you will need some chopped broccoli florets and freshly shredded cheese (shredded cheddar cheese works well but you can't use pre-shredded, you need to shred it yourself). In this recipe I used aged sharp cheddar cheese that I shred, but really, you could use any cheese that suits your taste. I find that mild cheddar does not have enough flavor, so I recommend sharp cheddar and sharp cheeses in general.
The base flavors for the soup are created by softening up some minced garlic and chopped onions in melted butter before adding the other ingredients.
A little bit of salt and freshly ground black pepper in addition to the cheese, milk, chicken broth and broccoli are really the only other flavors that you need to make this an amazingly flavorful soup!
Feel free to experiment with adding some other herbs to the soup if you like – some thyme might be nice!
Why does my broccoli cheddar soup taste grainy?
Why is my broccoli cheddar soup clumpy?
If your broccoli cheddar soup feels grainy instead of smooth and creamy as it should be, there are a few possible reasons. One possibility is that you used pre-shredded cheese. Pre-shredded cheese has an additive called cellulose in it that is used to prevent the pieces of shredded cheese from sticking together inside the bag. However, these additives also prevent the pre-shredded cheese from melting properly, resulting in a grainy or clumpy texture. If you want to avoid this, shred your own cheese from a block.
Another possibility is that you didn't cook the soup long enough so the cheese didn't have enough time to properly melt. Cheddar broccoli soup should be simmered for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld and the broccoli to soften.
Finally, it's possible that you didn't use enough fat. Soup needs some fat to smooth out the texture and help the ingredients bind together. If your soup is too lean, it will taste grainy. Try adding some additional cream or milk to the soup until it reaches the desired consistency.
How do you thicken broccoli cheese soup?
One common way to thicken broccoli cheese soup is to add some flour to it. You can do this by mixing the flour with a little bit of water to form a paste, and then stirring it into the soup. Another way to thicken the soup is to puree some of the vegetables in it, which will make the soup thicker and creamier.
It is also possible to mash or puree a couple of potatoes (depending on how thick you would like it, add more) and then combine it with the soup.
If you want to avoid adding any flour or pureed vegetables, you can also try reducing the soup down by simmering it for a longer period of time. This will allow some of the water to evaporate, making the soup thicker. Whichever method you choose, be sure to stir the soup frequently while it thickens so that it doesn't burn.
Can you use frozen broccoli instead of fresh in soup?
+ Some broccoli tips
This is a great question, and one that I get asked a lot! The answer is yes, you can use frozen broccoli in soup. In fact, using frozen broccoli is a great way to add nutrition to your soup without having to spend a lot of time chopping fresh broccoli florets.
Here are a few tips for using frozen broccoli in soup:
1. Thaw the broccoli before adding it to the soup. This will help it cook evenly and prevent it from making the soup watery.
2. Cut the broccoli into small pieces before adding it to the soup. This will help it cook faster and more evenly.
3. Add the broccoli during the last few minutes of cooking. This will help it retain its nutrients and color.
I hope these tips are helpful!
Alternative Cooking Methods (slow cooker, instant pot, etc.)
If you don't have time to simmer your soup on the stovetop, there are a few alternative cooking methods that will work just as well. Try making your soup in a slow cooker or an instant pot. Both of these appliances will cook the soup evenly and quickly, so you won't have to worry about it boiling over or scorching.
If you want to make your soup in a slow cooker, start by chopping up your broccoli into small florets. Then, melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the chopped broccoli, onion, and garlic to the melted butter and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Next, add the chicken stock, milk, cheddar cheese, and salt and pepper to the pot. Stir until the cheese has melted and the soup is heated through. Serve hot with a slice of bread or some crackers on the side.
If you want to make your soup in an instant pot, start by adding the chopped broccoli, onion, and garlic to the instant pot. Then, add the chicken stock, milk, cheddar cheese, and salt and pepper to the pot. Stir until the cheese has melted and the soup is heated through. Serve hot with a slice of bread or some crackers on the side.
- You can do a vegetarian variation by swapping the chicken broth for a vegetable broth.
- Try adding some chopped bacon or diced ham for extra flavor.
- You could also switch out the cheddar cheese for a different variety of sharp cheese, such as Swiss, Gruyere, Gouda, Parmesan or Pecorino Roman.
- If you're looking for a bit of a kick, try adding a pinch of cayenne pepper to the soup.
- Don't forget the garnish! A sprinkle of fresh parsley or chives takes this soup from good to great.
- If you want a creamy and slightly thicker soup, add in 1/4 cup of heavy cream or half and half.
Can I make Broccoli Cheese Soup ahead of time?
Yes, you can make Broccoli Cheese Soup ahead of time. Store it in an airtight container in the fridge until needed then warm it up gently over a low heat while stirring in a pot on the stove until heated through.
How to Store and Reheat Leftover Broccoli Cheese Soup
To store your leftover broccoli cheese soup, place it in an airtight container and store it in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. When you're ready to reheat, simply place the container in a pot of boiling water until heated through.
If you find that your soup has become too thick after being stored, simply add a little bit of water or milk to thin it out before reheating. Broccoli cheese soup is best enjoyed fresh, but leftover soup can still be absolutely delicious if stored and reheated properly!
How long is Broccoli Cheese Soup good for? In the fridge, freezer, etc.
When it comes to storing your Broccoli Cheese Soup, you have a few options. In the fridge, it will last for 3-4 days. If you want to keep it for longer, you can freeze it for 2-3 months. Just make sure to thaw it completely before reheating. You can also keep Broccoli Cheese Soup in an airtight container for 1-2 days outside of the fridge.
Can I freeze Broccoli Cheese Soup?
I wouldn't recommend that you freeze Broccoli cheddar soup. Since Broccoli Cheese soup is a dairy based soup the creamy and smooth texture will change and become grainy once it freezes and thaws.
What to Serve with Broccoli Cheese Soup
- Broccoli cheddar soup tastes wonderful with some additional sprinkled cheese on top and with some nice crusty bread on the side.
- For a bit of extra sweetness and crunch, top your soup with some croutons
- If you want to keep things light, a simple green salad goes well with this soup.
- You can pair your soup with a roasted chicken
Broccoli Cheese Soup
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Yield: 6–8 servings 1x
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 2/3 cup onions, chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 4 cups milk
- 4 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 4 1/2 cups broccoli, chopped
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Pepper, to taste
- In a large soup pot melt the butter.
- Cook the onions and garlic in the butter until they are softened.
- Quickly whisk the flour and salt together with the butter, onions and garlic. It should become almost like a paste.
- Pour in the milk and chicken broth. Whisk together and bring to a boil. The soup should thicken up a bit as you continue to whisk.
- Turn down the heat and add the shredded cheese. Continue to mix using the whisk.
- Add the broccoli to the pot. Cook for about 10 minutes until the broccoli is tender.
- Season with additional salt and some pepper to taste.
- At this point I like to remove about half of the broccoli from the pot and use my stick blender to process the soup a bit. Only a couple minutes of blending will do the job – this will help keep the texture of the soup nice and creamy and incorporate the broccoli a bit. If you don't have a hand/stick blender that's ok – you can also do this using a food processor or just a typical blender (you might have to blend portions in part if your equipment won't hold a whole pot of soup! no worries though!). Add the soup back to the pot and warm on low.
- After the soup reaches the desired creaminess, add the broccoli chunks you removed back to the pot.
- Serve with some sprinkles of cheese on top and some crusty bread on the side. 🙂
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 25 minutes
- Category: Soup
- Method: Stove top
- Cuisine: American/Canadian
*This post has been updated from an earlier version to include new photos and a few tweaks to the original recipe to make it even more scrumptious!*